Jews Slam Hungary Nazi Commemoration for Failing To Address Complicity

Does Monument 'Blot Out' Blame for Wartime Puppet Regime?

getty images

By JTA

Published January 11, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jewish leaders in Budapest criticized the planned commemoration of victims of Germany’s occupation because it ignored Hungarians’ complicity in the Holocaust.

The plan announced Thursday involves erecting a monument in Freedom Square situated in the Hungarian capital’s 5th district. The top official in the district is a member of the ruling Fidesz party.

The Hungarian Government Information Center said the plan would pay tribute to “all Hungarian victims with the erection of the monument commemorating the tragic German occupation and the memorial year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust.”

Mazshihisz, the local umbrella group representing Hungarian Jewish communities, said the proposed monument “would serve to blot out the responsibility of the Hungarian government of that time,” the organization’s president, Andras Heisler, told JTA Friday.

He noted that Hungarians were also involved in the mass killings of Hungarian Jews 70 years ago, and that any monument commemorating Holocaust victims should reflect that fact. Hungary under Miklos Horthy was an ally of Nazi Germany, but Horthy refused to hand over hundreds of thousands of Jews who lived in Hungary before the German army invaded Hungary in March 1944, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Horthy’s government, however, passed anti-Semitic legislation that resulted in the forced conscription to labor of 100,000 Jewish men, of whom approximately 40,000 perished. An additional 20,000 Jews from Kamenetz-Podolsk who held Polish or Soviet citizenship were turned over to the Germans by Horthy’s troops and murdered.

In an eight-week sweep after the German invasion, some 437,000 Jews were deported and murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Additionally, militiamen from the Fascist Arrow Cross party murdered thousands of Jews after the occupation by shooting them on the banks of the River Danube and forcing them to take death marches.

The proposed monument on Freedom Square would be opposite a monument commemorating the victims of Communism. Heisler said this risks creating a false comparison between the Holocaust and communist oppression.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.