Miklós Horthy will not have a statue in Perkáta after all

In December 2015 Viktor Orbán, under American pressure, declared that no Hungarian politician who remained in office after Hungary’s occupation by German troops on March 19, 1944 could have a memorial. Prompting this declaration was the controversy over the decision of the City of Székesfehérvár to erect a statue of Bálint Homan, the anti-Semitic minister of education in the 1930s. The idea to honor Hóman with a statue ostensibly began as a local initiative, but Viktor Orbán was the real promoter of the project. The government provided a sizable amount of money to fashion a life-size statue of the corpulent education minister. The statue became a flash point in the already strained relations between Hungary and the United States, and Orbán retreated. As he explained in parliament, the reason the City of Székesfehérvár couldn’t erect a statue of Hóman was that Hóman remained a member of the Hungarian Parliament after German troops occupied Hungary. As Orbán put it, “the constitution forbids honoring anyone who collaborated with the oppressors.” He added that “for that reason, he wouldn’t support a statue for Governor Miklós Horthy either.”

One would have thought that the issue had been put to rest once and for all. So I was surprised to hear that a Horthy bust will be unveiled in Perkáta, a village situated between Székesfehérvár and Dunaújváros. There are already three Horthy busts or statues in existence: in Csókakő (2012), in Hencida (2013), and in Budapest (2013). Despite Orbán’s claim that the Hungarian constitution forbids the existence of such statues, they have not been removed. At the very least one would have hoped that no other municipality would embark on erecting an “unconstitutional” monument. But this is exactly what happened.

As opposed to the Hóman case, which turned out to be a clandestine government project, I suspect that the Perkáta affair is a genuine local blunder. Balázs Somogyi (Fidesz) has been mayor of Perkáta, a town of 4,000 inhabitants, for the last eleven years. The citizens of Perkáta are not enthralled with his performance because on the question “How satisfied are you with the work of the mayor?” he received a D+. It’s hard to fathom why they keep reelecting him. One thing is sure: he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He accepted the offer of a free bust of Horthy from three citizens of Perkáta, who turned out to be members of the New Hungarian Guard, a far-right organization that came into being after the original Hungarian Guard was declared to be illegal. The three men assured Somogyi that the erection and unveiling of the bust would not cost the village a penny. The mayor jumped at the offer and at the earliest opportunity presented the project for approval to the town council. On April 20 the town council, without ever informing the local citizens of their decision, approved the project. The unveiling was scheduled to take place on May 20, with leaders of far-right groups in attendance.

All set and ready

After the opposition media got hold of the story, several organizations and parties raised objections, but the mayor confidently announced that “the erection of a memorial is a completely local issue. It is up to the people who live there.” The problem was that the people of Perkáta were never asked or even informed about the arrival of a Horthy statue. And Somogyi either was or pretended to be ignorant of Viktor Orbán’s verdict on Horthy’s veneration as an unconstitutional act.

This time, unlike in the Hóman case, a reversal took place in record time. A few hours after this confident announcement, the town council of Perkáta suddenly withdrew its permission for the erection of the bust. So, what happened? The locals learned about the unveiling of the bust from TV reports. Some of the more enterprising citizens began an anti-bust drive, which gathered several hundred signatures in no time. They didn’t want Perkáta to become like the nearby Csókakő, which is a common destination for far-right pilgrimages as a result of the statue of Horthy placed there 15 years ago.

One could say all this was nothing more than a storm in a tea pot. But the Hungarian right—and I include Fidesz here—is outraged. An incredible editorial appeared in Magyar Hírlap by Pál Dippold, a writer and journalist who is not considered to be extremist by Hungarian standards. He is just a good old Fidesz supporter whose articles appear at regular intervals. As far as he is concerned, Perkáta’s rights were violated by journalists who descended on the village and talked about Horthy’s controversial historical role. Dippold describes them as “green sharks tattooed with five-pointed stars that attacked a Hungarian carp.” The shark is of course a “liberal shark” which can easily move from a salt- to a fresh-water environment. The carp is helpless against it. If the shark metaphor weren’t graphic enough, at one point he calls independent journalists “imported pigs” who consider themselves members of the fourth estate. These imported liberal pigs/sharks attacked true democracy by going against a local decision. They managed to force their will on Perkáta. The poor Fidesz mayor’s statement about the reasons for his retreat is “poignant” when he talks about defending his people from “these strangers bent on creating a scandal.” What follows is a defense of Miklós Horthy, who was “a decent Hungarian politician who did everything he could to preserve the remnants of the country that remained after Trianon.” He was a good Hungarian, like “the inhabitants of Perkáta and its well-meaning mayor.”

As we know, at least since December 2015 erecting a statue of anyone who collaborated with the Germans, as Horthy certainly did, is not a local affair. What would Dippold say if, as a friend of mine suggested, György Moldova, a prodigious writer known for his detailed sociological nonfiction, were to offer a bust of János Kádár to be erected on a public square anywhere in the country? (Moldova is known to be a great admirer of János Kádár, whom he considers a genius and the greatest statesman of modern Hungarian history.) If some town or village took Moldova up on his offer, I would wager to say that local opinion, which Dippold finds such an important part of democracy, would no longer be the deciding factor. The locals would need to be “educated” by right-wing–well, pick your favorite cuddly animal.

May 19, 2017
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Guest

And all of this just illustrates that Hungary is a completely lawless country, where the PM lies from dawn to dusk, and is both unable and unwilling to abide by his own legislation.

The only law in Hungary is to eliminate any opoosition to, or criticism of Orbán and his band of merry thieves.

Guest

latefor could take that statue to Australia and erect it there – maybe then all the little fascists would move there too …
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a colony of Horthy and Orbán admirers down under, melanie – under your great leadership?

PS and totally OT (or not?):

politics.hu still seems to be unreachable – another case of foreign pigs being destroyed by the glorious Hungarian government?

Guest

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Guest

It is not the first time politics.hu is down. And after the site was left without updates for some 2-3 months last year, it hasn’t been the same.

wrfree
Guest

Re: statues to Australia…why not Magyarorszag?

Nothing like those ‘statues’ to unite the far-right and those on the right who just can’t wait to have something to fixate themselves on moving more to the ‘job’ side of things.

Here in my Southern parts there looks to be a problem now with finding homes for some Johnny Reb/Confed statues of famous rebels that have been unceremoniously knocked off their pedastals. The monuments now represent a dark side of the American experience today. It remains to be seen where they will go.

Thought VO would like to grab these and he could be named far- right ‘aggregator’ of the year. The pilgrimages will come. Besides representing white supremacy , a predilection for that ‘peculiar institution’ and upholding inequality the statues also represent that ‘rebellious side’ of VO which comes off usually as being on the cusp of perhaps Europe secession. The fellow looks to be an apt Jeff Davis in Magyar guise.

Melanie Zuben
Guest

wolfi,
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a colony of Horthy and Orbán admirers down under, melanie – under your great leadership?”

I’d hate to disappoint you but I’m NOT a leader/boss material. I value my personal freedom above anything else.

old1956
Guest

Very decent self-declaration by Melanie.

Can you feel some empathy for the oppressed citizens of Hungary, for the victims of the gulash fascism, for the millions of Hungarian refugees, from the free shores of Australia?

Melanie Zuben
Guest

old1956,

Can I feel compassion for the opressed?
Not only I can feel compassion, I am willing to do something for it (what my modest circumstances allow me to do) from the “a#se end of the world”.
If I didn’t feel passionate about the future of the Hungarian people, do you honesly believe that year after year I would come back to this blog to comment and take all the vindictive abuses from some of the commentators here? (Please note: my first book was published four years ago and I started commenting on this blog about seven or eight years ago). And YES, I took advantage of the opportunity and YES, I promoted my books. So, what? (Thank you, Eva for the opportunity!)

How about you? What have you done for the Hungarian people?

Melanie Zuben
Guest

It should be ” oppressed”

old1956
Guest

Melanie is making progress.
This blog can be educational to you.
Embrace the Enlightenment, reject the lies, and you will be the shining angel.
I hope that one day, you can see the revelation that pours out of these pages.

exTor
Guest

comment image

Well Bastiat2 [May 20th, 5:19 AM], if Horthy is not quite the leader you would have him be, why erect anything to him?

The reality is that Horthy was the major preWW2 player in Hungary and he must be held to account posthumously for what he did. Horthy is a lightningrod for antisemites, for neofascists, for other vermin burrowed in detritus dungheaps festering the far-right landscape. And the not-so-far-right landscape of Magyarország.

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/20/529232823/with-lee-statues-removal-another-battle-of-new-orleans-comes-to-a-close

Notwithstanding your opinion of Horthy, he thought rather highly of himself. Hungary can do without any more reminders of him. The three busts already in existence must be removed, just as New Orleans has removed the statue of the racist Confederate General Robert E Lee.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Bastiat2
Guest

Why is Horthy colored all in black? He started his carrier as a naval captain, later admiral of the Austro-Hungarian navy in the Adriatic. To his name is the fact that Hungary was not either cut in more pieces after WWII or occupied in half by Romania.
True he does not stand as a major statesman, far from it. Let’s not forget that in 1944, he tried to make a separate peace with the USSR and even sent a three man delegation to Moscow to try to broker a deal (detailed description of this eventful trip in Domokos Szent-Ivanyi memoirs).
In all a feeble leader, who may have :liked Germans in general but not the Nazis.
In my mind, he deserves pity rather than scorn or hate.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Pity for nominating Endre László and Baky László to be responsible for deporting almost half a Million Hungarian citizens to Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Join the discussion

old1956
Guest

It is clear that most Hungarian leaders caused lots of damage to Hungary.

Under Horthy, the opposition was powerless.
Under Rakosi and Kadar, it was the same.
Nothing has changed until today.

The real cause can be found in the foreign influence.

The two major imperial powers of Europe have been the German and Russian leaders. They were using and abusing Hungary, and easily found local allies.

Nothing has changed. Horthy, Rakosi, Kadar betrayed our nation. Orban is not far behind them.

Ron
Guest

old1956: Nothing has changed. Horthy, Rakosi, Kadar betrayed our nation. Orban is not far behind them.

I disagree, it is not these “leaders”. The Hungarian people are unable to unite for a common cause. About 50+ of the Hungarian people are against VO, and the opposition is unable to unite these people.

Something is wrong with the opposition and the Hungarian people, not with VO.

Ferenc
Guest

Ron: “Something is wrong with ……, not with VO.”
Sorry, are you kidding?
My view: there’s definitely something wrong with VO/OV&Co, and there seems to be something not good with the people in Hungary, when with 50+% against they are not able to unite against and/or dispose VO/OV&Co.

Ron
Guest

Hi Ferenc, No, I am not kidding. I disagree totally with VO, and where he stands for, but he has his “role”, whatever it is. Like a parasite has a role in the ecosystem.

But to blame only him for betrayal that is not right.

Old1956 said:
Under Horthy, the opposition was powerless.
Under Rakosi and Kadar, it was the same.
Nothing has changed until today.

Under these regimes, if you were against, you were sent, either to a concentration camp, labor camp, to the front, hanged, anyhow you got the idea.
VO cannot do this.
Perhaps he did, but I do not know this.

So in this situation the opposition is the “culprit”.

Ferenc
Guest

I understand, what you mean, but disagree as it is similar to ‘blaming the messenger’.
The people can be blamed for leaving VO/OV&Co in power, but VO/OV&Co are fully responsible for all their deeds, and to blame for undemocratically* making it very difficult for a majority of people to dispose him/them.

*undemocratically here is that it on purpose misuses an originally democratic system

Guest

Do you know the crazy story of his big ships and how they tried to get to the open sea – but were defeated by a little Italian torpedo boat!
There is a kind of documentation film on this (made in Austria I think) which is actually quite funny and shows that even in WW1 he was an a**hole already …
And it seems that he was more an Austrian officer than a Hungarian.

wrfree
Guest
By Prof Gati… ‘Backsliding in Budapest’ .excerpt on FDR learning about things on old Admiral.. ‘ Even for Hungarians, let alone foreigners, the intricacies of political life in Hungary often defy simple explanation. According to a widely circulated if apocryphal story, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked an aide in the early months of World War II if Hungary, which had just declared war against the United States, was a kingdom or a republic. “A kingdom, Mr. President”, the aide replied. This dialogue followed: FDR: What’s the King’s name? Aide: Hungary doesn’t have a King. FDR: Then who runs the kingdom? Aide: A Regent by the name of Admiral Miklós Horthy. FDR: Admiral? Then Hungary must have a powerful navy. Aide: Hungary has no navy; it doesn’t even have access to the sea. FDR: Wars are often fought for religious reasons. What’s the main religion there? Aide: Catholicism, Mr. President. But Admiral Horthy is Protestant. FDR: Did this admiral declare war on us because of territorial claims then? Aide: Hungary’s territorial claims are against Romania. FDR: In that case, did Hungary declare war on Romania? Aide: No, Hungary and Romania are allies. FDR: Let me get this straight. Hungary is a… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
The historical issue of Horthy is interesting here in the American Hungarian community. As I have explained before both my grandfather and great uncle effectively deserted from the Austro-Hungarian Army while serving in the Balkans. Following the 1848 Hungarian revolution, which was in many respects a guerrilla war, the Hapsburgs developed one of the early suppression strategies against nationalist insurgents using both regular Army forces and the Gendarmes. Horthy was part of that military culture as were my ancestors. I have little doubt my grandfather and great uncle hunted down and eliminated more than their fair share of nationalist insurgents before jumping on a boat to the USA. The fact that I participated in the suppression of an insurgency in Vietnam as a very young officer also is not lost on me in my dotage. The statues of Horthy are part of the historical revisionism that flow from contemporary supporters of Orban who claim to be historians, like Mária Schmidt and László Tőkéczki. The irony of this is that Horthy was a practitioner of political suppression based on skill sets developed by Austria in its war with Hungarian nationalists in 1848 and carried into the Balkans. László Tőkéczki calls Horthy… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: Kadar as ‘genius’….

‘Ott voltam, ahol lennem kellett, es azt tettem, amit tennem kellett’ Janos Kadar

Reflection on the actions of his past stewarding Magyarorszag away from the brutal Stalinist way.

No doubt he thought his gulyas tasted well. His comment needs to be studied in context in lieu of the fact that the food was tasty but ultimately a country paid a dear price for it. It still does. The ingredients see to get poorer and poorer with VO as new chef.

Guest

A bit OT but relevant to show how these kind of problems are handled elsewhere (in a real democracy):

In Germany quite a few streets etc have been renamed even in the last ten years when somone found out that the “famous” or rather infamous people for whom the streets were named had been avid supporters of the Nazis and maybe participated in not only war crimes but crimes against their fellow humans – like killing hundreds of mentally handicapped people.

Then also some tried to defend like “oh, not everything they did was bad …” but no way! Generally the local authorities had the full support of the people for these actions – especially when they showed everybody what had really happened in those dark days …

Istvan
Guest

For those unfamiliar with the Nazis killing of the disabled that Wolfi references this short article may be enlightening https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005200 its from the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

Guest

Thanks, Istvan!
What I totally forgot – though it must have been mentioned before here:
The WW1 “heroes” in Germany which might be compared to Horthy were Hindenburg and Ludendorff. Hindenburg was president of Germany in the Weimar Republic – comparable again in his right wing conservatism to Horthy but you won’t find any “Hindenburg street” or “Ludendorff square” in today’s Germany – as Hitler’s Helfershelfer …

zsuka
Guest

Wolfi, unfortunately that’s not true. I know at least one Hindenburg Straße in Germany not far away from the place you live. Check 88499 Riedlingen.

Guest

Yes, for every rule there are exceptions …

I should have written:
No one in Germany would try today to name a street or a public building in the honour of Hindenburg …
Of course in very Catholic Riedlingen (which belonged to Austria until Napoleon came – just like the clerical fascist city that I grew up in) things still look different – but luckily not as bad as 1934 when the named the street.

Delta sounds
Guest

Can we expect Trump statues in Hungary anytime soon?

Member

More Horthy statues were promised today.

Member

The Horthy sculpture was set up, as planned, today, but in the privat(ized) park of the privat(ized) Zichy–Széchényi castle in Káloz.

Who is the lucky friend of Orban, who has obtained the castle, probably using a loan from a state-owned bank ?

http://index.hu/belfold/2017/05/20/nagy_nehezen_megis_felallitottak_a_horthy-szobrot/

Member

The director of one of Orban’s pseudo-historical institute, “56-os Pesti Srácok” also gave a speech in Káloz.

http://www.vilaglato.info/horthy-miklos-szobrot-avattak-kalozon/

Member

The state news agency reported about this event, but not about the anti-corruption demonstration in Felcsút.

http://magyarnarancs.hu/feketelyuk/az-mti-ma-is-megmutatta-hogy-mennyire-szanalmasan-mukodik-a-fidesz-altal-vezerelt-allami-media-104264

Member

They did not wait for the permit to arrive to set up Horthy in the castle park, which is under protection.

http://feol.hu/belfold/kaloz-kastely-horthy-szobor-perkata-muemlek-1835890

Member

According to the HirTV television report, the new owner of the castle is a certain Pongrácz.

0368/12

2015-12-14 – Kaloz gives up its right to purchase the castle.
http://www.kaloz.hu/?module=news&action=getfile&fid=100751

Member

Election, 2014 April

Eligible: 1935
Turnout: 57.4%

Fidesz: 658
Jobbik: 307
MSzP: 102

Member

Is Putin’s honeymoon with Chabad over?

“For the second time this year, Russian authorities have ordered out of the country a foreign Chabad rabbi who had lived there for years.”

March 2017: Ari Edelkopf (Sochi <—- US)
May 2017: Yosef Khersonsky (Moscow <—- Israel)

"Boruch Gorin, a senior Chabad rabbi in Russia, told the AFP news agency that both expulsion orders were part of an attempt by Russian authorities “to replace our foreign rabbis with Russian ones, to head communities so that they [the authorities] could control them better.”

https://www.jta.org/2017/05/19/news-opinion/world/russian-court-orders-a-2nd-chabad-rabbi-deported-this-year/amp

Member

Yes, but Chabad can it be?

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Hungary: The War on Education – by JW Müller
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/05/20/hungary-the-war-on-education-ceu/

He’s right concerning CEU, the current uncertain situation (objected but at the moment valid law with strict deadline for impossible requirements) is making proper operation of any university impossible.
Pressure to HU government has to be maximized from all sides, and EU and US institutions pushed to maximum activity in this case. Think about what you personal can do to support the CEU, and DO IT NOW!
e.g.: I wrote to some MEPs, who voted for for the EU resolution against HU, making this clear to them, suggesting them to urgently start preparations for mediation between concerned parties (CEU – relevant US authorities – HU government).
“Don’t think what CEU could have done for you, but what you HAVE TO do for an independent CEU in Budapest”

Ferenc
Guest

from the article:
“No university can operate under a cloud of uncertainty that may cost it potential students and faculty. If the CEU moves it will be to the shame of all those who believe in liberal democratic ideals. For the first time in Europe since World War II, a university will have been closed for political reasons.”

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