Hungarian Jewish organizations protest government’s actions

February 6, 2014

Arrival of Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz in 1944
Arrival of Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz in 1944

In protest of government’s plans to rehabilitate the reputation of wartime leader Miklos Horthy by blaming Nazi Germany entirely for the murder of 600,000 Hungarian Jews, three synagogues and the Jewish Cultural Center have announced they will not accept government funding for the country’s 2014 Year of Remembrance for the Hungarian Holocaust.  Nor will they cooperate with the government in memorial events planned for later this year.

The Association of Hungarian Jewish Organizations (Mazsihisz) published the following statements from the Frankel Street and Dohany Street Synagogues:

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The Frankel Street Synagogue‘s statement:

We would like to make it known that the positive portrayal of the Horthy-era, inclusion of writings by [Hungary’s war-time] Arrow Cross Party, classification of mass-murders as ‘police action against aliens’, and numerous other actions, make any form of government sponsorship incompatible with the remembrance of victims of mass-murders.  Nor do they represent any honest and desirable attitudes.

We still plan on hosting our memorial services, but we will not accept any support from a government whose turn-coat behavior provokes and shocks the vast majority of Hungarian Jews and the international democratic community.

The Dohany Street Synagogue‘s statement:

The Dohany Street Synagogue Foundation was awarded grants of HUF 20 million (app. USD 85 thousand) for the 2014 Hungarian Holocaust Year of Remembrance. The awarded grants were for the renovation of Dohany Street Synagogue and Heroes’ Temple cemeteries where 2500 members of our faith community rest who perished in the [Budapest] ghetto.

The Foundation has decided to not accept the grants due to the situation that has unfolded, that is, the foundation rejects the funds. The foundation will not deviate from its plans to renovate the cemeteries, instead, it will make the renovations with funds from other sources.

The Jewish Faith Community of Nyiregyhaza statement:

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There is unanimous agreement by survivor members of The Jewish Faith Community of Nyiregyhaza that we will not accept HUF 8 million (app. USD 35 thousand) of grants provided by the National Civil Fund. We do not wish to take part in the shameful falsification of history clearly evident in the [government’s planned] Budapest 8th District memorial, by Sandor Szakaly’s historical interpretations, and the government’s memorial to the German invasion of Hungary.

Hungary’s Jews collectively were the victims of unimaginable sins and as a result they died as martyrs. The current attempts at falsifying history intends on putting the collective responsibility for this on Hungary’s “invaders”.

We had hoped to use the grants awarded to us for a worthy cause, but we believe that our modest refusal of these funds adequately expresses our rejection of the idea of collective responsibility.

We earnestly hope that our actions are worthy of the remembrance of our victims. We hope to one day see a dialogue and understanding based on truth.

Our decision is meant to extend beyond a public protest and is also meant as a show of solidarity with those who have also made similar decisions (and hopefully serves as an example for those who will also follow suit) from our faith community.

Jewish Tourism and Cultural Center:

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We protest!

The Jewish Tourism and Cultural Center would like to inform the leaders that in light of  the upsetting situation we reject all funds granted to us by the Civil Fund. We are also withdrawing any participation from this current government’s planned Holocaust Remembrance Year. We feel that our feelings of dismay need not be explained because our opinion extends beyond our own self-interest and is shared by righteous persons regardless of their religion.

We do not want a Nazi memorial, we do not want a falsified history, and we do not want the desecration of those we lost. We do not want our children or those we are remembering to fall victim to any more of this political drama.

He who expects an action is just as guilty as he who commits it!

Respectfully yours,

Dr. Vera Vadas

Referenced in this article:

A Dohány és a Frankel zsinagóga is visszautasította a Civil Alaptól elnyert támogatást, Maszihisz.hu; 5 February 2014

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