Elie Wiesel has returned Hungary’s highest honor over the country’s honoring of a Nazi sympathizer who has been called a fascist.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner repudiated the Order of Merit, Grand Cross in a letter addressed to the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Kover, and published in the Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs. Wiesel, an author and Holocaust survivor, received the award in 2004.
His action was sparked by the participation of several Hungarian lawmakers in a May 27 memorial ceremony for Jozsef Nyiro, a World War II member of Hungary’s parliament who was a supporter of Hitler.
“It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian government’s involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens,” Wiesel wrote. “I do not wish to be associated in any way with such activities.”