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May 2, 2016 / 24 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’

Hungarian Jews May Use Force to Stop Jobbik Protest

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) is considering sending people to physically prevent Hungary’s ultra-nationalist Jobbik party from holding a rally at a former synagogue on next Friday.

Jobbik, which holds 43 of 386 seats in the country’s parliament, is planning the rally in a building in the city of Esztergom which had once been a synagogue. The Jewish community in the city was killed during the Holocaust. The Jobbik party leader, Marton Gyongyosi, had demanded that the Hungarian government make a list of citizens with Jewish ancestry who might post a security risk to the country.

Holding the rally at the former synagogue would be an “unworthy, ugly, and cynical desecration of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the sentiments of the survivors,” Esztergom’s Socialist Party chairman Tamás Gál wrote in a letter to the town’s mayor.

Meanwhile, the Rabbinical Council of Europe (RCE) has announced its plans to hold a conference in March that will cooperate with the Hungarian government. “In the past few years, the voices of anti-Semitic ideology have become louder in the country. The conference is aimed at showing support to the Jewish community, and to the majority of Hungarians who experience with fear the negative developments,” RCE Director-General Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a statement.

JNS News Service

Holocaust Historian Returns Honor from Hungary over ‘Whitewash’

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Holocaust historian Randoph Braham is returning a high honor from the Hungarian state as a protest against attempts to whitewash Hungary’s role in the Holocaust, Braham said in a letter quoted by the Hungarian state news agency MTI on Sunday.

Braham, 91, a Holocaust survivor, wrote that he was handing back the Cross of the Order of Merit “with a heavy heart” following recent developments in Hungary.

The Bucharest-born scholar and expert on the Holocaust in Hungary also said he would no longer permit the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center to use his name for one of its research departments.

Braham, an emeritus professor at the City University of New York, wrote in the letter, “The campaign of history falsification which aims to whitewash the (Miklos) Horthy era has shocked me.” Horthy led Hungary into World War II as a Nazi ally.

Braham said the “last straw” was the decision by the government to erect a memorial in downtown Budapest to the 1944 German occupation of Hungary. He called it a “cowardly attempt” to exonerate Hungarians from their role in the Holocaust and confuse the issue by placing all blame on the Nazis.

Hungarian Jewish leaders, historians and others have sharply criticized plans for the memorial.

“The events of 1944 are, to say the least, more complicated than a story of ‘bad’ Germans fighting ‘good’ Hungarians,” the historian Krisztian Ungvary wrote in the HVG.hu news magazine. “Eichmann himself was thrilled by his experiences here, observing that the Hungarians must surely be descended from the Huns since nowhere else had he seen so much brutality ‘in the course of solving the Jewish question.’ ”

Hungary’s conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has designated 2014 as Holocaust Memorial Year, with a series of events and initiatives planned.

In October, Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics told an international conference that the country’s leaders recognized Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust and vowed that the state would combat anti-Semitism and racism. Hungary’s ambassador to the United Nations made a similar statement last week.

JTA

Hungarian Jewish Leaders Accuse Government of Minimizing Holocaust

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Hungarian Jewish leaders demanded the resignation of a key government appointee and threatened to boycott government-sponsored events marking the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary.

In an unusually strong statement posted Sunday on its website, the leadership of Mazsihisz, the official Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization, said they were “aghast and find incomprehensible” the “relativization of the Holocaust” by a new historical institute called Veritas, which the government established in November.

Mazsihisz demanded the resignation of Veritas Director Sandor Szakaly, who in a recent interview called the 1941 deportation of Jews to Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine “a police action against aliens.” In July and August 1941, about 18,000 foreign-born Jews who had sought refuge in Hungary at the outbreak of World War II were rounded up and deported to German-held territory in what is now Ukraine. Most of them were among the more than 23,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis at Kamenets-Podolsk at the end of August 1941.

“After the failure of [Szakaly’s] past efforts at falsifying history, we expect him to resign from his position,” the statement said.

Hungary’s conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has designated 2014 as Holocaust Memorial Year, with a series of events and initiatives planned.

The Mazsihisz statement urged politicians not to use the Holocaust anniversary as a political tool in the run-up to elections this spring, and asked “all concerned” to refrain from “rewriting our past.”

The statement also said: “If the government of Hungary is serious about facing the true history of the Holocaust, it should immediately put an end to the disrespectful behavior that is ruinous for the credibility of the memorial year of 2014.”

The statement added that Mazsihisz is “seriously contemplating refraining from participation in the events of the Holocaust Year” because of Szakaly’s statements and several other issues. These include “the lack of information about the ideology” of a new government-sponsored Holocaust memorial center and museum slated to open in April; the plans to erect a monument to the German occupation of Hungary; what it said was the “falsification of history” in a series of broadcasts on Hungarian Radio, and recent attempts to rehabilitate the memory of Hungary’s World War II leader Miklos Horthy.

JTA

Canada Sends Ex-Jobbik Leader Packing before Montreal Speech

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Canadian immigration officials this week ordered a former leader of the ultra-nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary out of the country prior to a speaking engagement in Montreal.

Csanad Szegedi was sent back to Budapest on a plane just before he was slated to address a Chabad group. Approximately 200 people who came out to hear Szegedi, who two years ago discovered he had a maternal Jewish grandmother and was ousted by Jobbik, instead heard a videotaped message.

“I acknowledge that I have a lot of sins,” Szegedi said. “And this is why I understand those people who are not happy me being here. But these sins I try to rectify not only at the verbal level but at the level of my actions.

“I have to tell the Canadian Jewish community … that I am exactly such a Jew as they are. I cannot help it — as you cannot help it.”

Szegedi, 31, was a leading figure in the neo-fascist Jobbik party for a decade and was known for his rabid anti-Semitism. After discovering his Jewish relative — an Auschwitz survivor — he made contact with Chabad representatives in Hungary. He since has embraced his Jewish roots and publicly denounced Jobbik.

His talk at Montreal’s Chabad of Westmount was titled “My Journey From Hater to Fighter of Hatred,” but the speaking engagement caused a backlash in Montreal’s Jewish community, with detractors charging that his denunciation of Jobbik is insincere and that he only embraced his Jewish identity after he failed to suppress the news through bribery.

JTA

Re-Elected WJC President Returning Jews to Eastern Europe

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

On Monday, in Budapest, Hungary, during its 14th plenary assembly, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) re-elected Ronald S. Lauder, heir to the Cosmetics empire Estée Lauder, as its President for another four-year term.

The assembly, comprised of delegates from more than 70 Jewish communities around the world, also elected Chella Safra, 62—wife of Moise Safra, brother of Edmond and Joseph, owners of Banco Safra in Brazil—as WJC Treasurer. The same assembly also elected Baron David René James de Rothschild, 70—chairman of Rothschild Continuation Holdings, parent company for all Rothschild banking companies—as Chairman of the Governing Board.

In 1974, David married the Italian Princess Olimpia Anna Aldobrandini and they currently have four children and live in Normandy.

I wonder if they eat kitnios on Passover.

Billionaire Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor will be the new WJC Policy Council Chairman, and Mervyn Smith from South Africa is Policy Council Co-Chair.

“I see this as the top assignment for the Jewish people and I am excited to serve as President of the World Jewish Congress for another four years,” said Lauder, who had held the position of President since 2007.

What exactly does President Lauder see as the top assignment for the Jewish people? It’s terrifyingly unique, if you’re a student of history.

One of Lauder’s claims to fame is the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, which is dedicated to rebuilding Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe.

You heard right. This philanthropist actually invests a great deal of money in diverting Jews who could start a thriving life in Israel—back to the killing fields of Europe.

In fact, as I noted earlier this week, on Sunday night Lauder complained that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “did not confront the true nature of the problem: the threat posed by the anti-Semites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular,” and therefore, Lauder threatened: “Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country, for similar reasons.”

Lauder’s other claim to fame is his leadership of the movement to introduce term limits in the New York City Council, which were imposed on most NYC elected officials, including the Mayor and City Council, after a citywide referendum in 1993.

It was argued at the time that the term limits would infringe on the democratic rights of a citizen to vote for whomever he or she wishes, and that it also deprived the city of “race memory,” which is crucial if one tries to avoid the foolish mistakes of one’s predecessors.

Lauder spent $4 million on the initial referendum, and then on killing a 1996 council proposal to extend term limits again.

In 1989 Lauder spent a $14 million (in pre-Bloomberg times it was a record) on his NYC mayoral campaign, before losing the Republican nomination to Rudy Giuliani.

Should be interesting to watch whether President Lauder will term-limit himself. His predecessor, Edgar M. Bronfman, ruled from 1979 to 2007.

When he’s not improving democracy in America or restocking the empty streets of Europe with Jews, President Lauder is involved in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish National Fund, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and my favorite, the Jewish Theological Seminary.

From 1986 to 1987, Lauder served as U.S. ambassador to Austria.

Ronald Lauder and his wife of 30 years Jo Carole Lauder separated in 2006. According to the Internet, Ronald shares his life now with Israeli-born art dealer Daniella Luxembourg, who is believed to have been the reason behind the split.

I’m pretty sure they eat kitnios.

Yori Yanover

Hungarian Lawmaker Burns Israeli Flag, Others Call for Jew Screening

Monday, December 17th, 2012

A few weeks ago there was a call in the Hungarian parliament for Jews to be screened to assess whether they are a national security risk.  This past weekend, a member of the Hungarian government burned an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

That lawmaker, Lenhardt Balazs, is currently unaffiliated with any party, but he used to be member of the far-right Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary) party.  Jobbik opposes any relationship between the Hungarian government and the State of Israel.  The Jobbik party holds 47 seats in the Hungarian Parliament.

In October, members of the Jobbik  party torched an Israeli flag in front of a major synagogue in Budapest. That same month a leader of the Hungarian Jewish community was attacked, and in June, a Hungarian rabbi was accosted on a street in Budapest by a man who told him he “hates all Jews.”

Balazs, 37, left the Jobbik party in November, disgusted because it had become less radical over the two years he had been a member.   After his arrest and questioning following the Israeli flag burning and anti-Israel demonstration on Friday, Balazs was released.

The demonstration had been called to protest Israeli “atrocities” against the Arab Palestinians.  According to several reports, anti-Semitic slogans, such as “filthy Jews,” and “to Auschwitz with all of you!” were shouted during the demonstration.  Approximately 100 people attended the event.

Balazs posted several pictures of himself burning the Israeli flag on his Facebook page, where he wrote that “It is important to destroy the symbols of the enemy.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Hungarian Jews to Russia: Give Us Back Our Looted Torahs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Hungarian Jewry is asking the government of Russia to release between 300 and 400 Torah scrolls, covers, crowns, pointers, and other objects seized by the Nazis during World War II and then appropriated by the Red Army.

Many of the items were taken from the Hungarian National Bank, where they were being safe kept as their owners were being murdered in concentration camps and ghettos across Europe.

Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews –one out of every ten of Hitler’s Jewish victims – were murdered by the Nazis during the war.  Approximately 100,000 Jews live in the country today, including 8,000 Holocaust survivors.

The religious artifacts are just some of the items Russia is being asked to restore to its rightful owners, including art and other valuables.

Some holy scrolls have already been released to Hungary’s State Historical Museum.  A catalog of items compiled by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany lists 344 scrolls which have been returned by Russia’s Special Archive.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/hungarian-jews-to-russia-give-us-back-our-looted-torahs/2012/12/03/

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