European Jews expressed shock Monday at a statue of Balint Homan, a notorious anti-Semite.
The Balint Homan Foundation in Szekesfehervar, west of Budapest, plans to honor Homan, who served as Hungary’s Minister of Religion and Education before and during World War II.
Homan was a proponent of anti-Jewish laws, a supporter of the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews and a Nazi enthusiast to the end of the war. Subsequently he was jailed and died in prison in 1951.
European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement, “It is a shocking display of insensitivity towards the Jewish People that a man who played a direct role in the killing of so many people is being honored in such an open and public manner. It is sending a strong message that Jewish lives do not matter.
“These people were Hungarian citizens so to call this man a Hungarian patriot is simply disturbing and unconscionable.
“Hungary must do a far better job of dealing with its past and this statue is turning back the clock and engaging in direct Holocaust revisionism by rehabilitating a man with so much blood on his hands,” Dr. Kantor continued.
“It is not a private matter when mass murderers are being lauded and celebrated in an open space and the Government must remove it immediately.”
A U.S. envoy also told Reuters the Washington was “shocked” at the plans. Ira Forman, U.S. special envoy against anti-Semitism, called on the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party to block the construction of the statue.
“From the U.S. government perspective we feel very strongly that history and the damage that this man did to Hungarian citizens who happened to be Jewish cannot be ignored, and to put up that statute seems incomprehensible,” Forman said.