Israel Embassy Condemns Horthy Statue In Hungary’s Parliament

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Israel’s embassy in Budapest and the Jewish community have condemned the unveiling of a bust of Hungarian leader and Nazi collaborator Miklós Horthy in Hungary’s Parliament.

In a statement seen by Worthy News on Thursday, the embassy recalled that under Horthy, the regent who ruled the nation from 1920-1944, many Jews were killed.

“It is hard to imagine that in modern Hungary in the heart of Europe, there are still political circles that are busy glorifying a person who was also responsible for the inhumane sufferings and death of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian citizens, among them the majority of the Jewish community,” it added.

“There is no room and tolerance for antisemitism and antisemitic ideas, period,” the embassy stressed.

The far-right Mi Hazánk (“Our Homeland”) Party announced the bust’s installation in the parliamentary office of the party’s vice president Dóra Dúró on Tuesday, saying they were repaying a historic debt.

The move was apparently not coordinated with Hungarian House Speaker László Kövér of the ruling Fidesz party. He said he would not allow the party to use an official conference room to make the announcement or place the statue.


Horthy was a fascist leader of Hungary who aligned the country with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, killing 63,000 Jews before the Nazi occupation, according to historical records.

When it looked like the Nazis would lose, Horthy tried to change sides with the allies. But an Israeli diplomat told a Worthy News reported earlier that “the blueprint for the Holocaust was made under Horthy’s leadership.”

After Germany invaded Hungary in 1944, hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were deported to Nazi death camp Auschwitz in occupied Poland, where most were gassed.

Experts say that Horthy directly approved some of the massacres and deportations of Jews and other populations carried out by Hungarian armed forces during World War Two.

Of about 825,000 Jews living in Hungary in 1941, some 600,000 were murdered.

A Mi Hazánk lawmaker claimed on Hungarian television that “grateful Jews” laid a wreath on Horthy’s grave and that there have been “historical falsifications” about his legacy.


However, Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities president András Heisler said in response that “75 percent of Hungarian Jews cannot be grateful to Horthy because they were murdered in World War II and the Holocaust.”

He noted that “The largest Hungarian cemetery is in Auschwitz. To say that grateful Jews are laying wreaths on Horthy’s grave, I think that is not true on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is disgusting cynicism.”

The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities said placing the bust in Parliament was illegal and urged Kövér to remove it.

This week’s controversy was also due to putting pressure on nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has ranked Horthy among “some exceptional statesmen” defending Hungary’s interests.

Orbán later said his government “proclaims zero tolerance on anti-Semitism” after Israel asked for an explanation.

He also came under fire this year for saying that “we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race,” though Orbán later clarified he meant “different civilizations.”


Besides Parliament, few other locations host Horthy statues in Hungary, including Budapest’s 5th district, where a bust stands at the Church of Homecoming of the Reformed Church.

That statue was covered in red paint two years ago, but a court didn’t convict the perpetrator.

A bust also stood in Horthy’s birthplace, Kenderes, since 1993.

And last year, a life-sized statue of Horthy was unveiled in the eastern town of Hajdúbagos amid difficulties as it was spilled with oil the night before.

Yet, with the latest Horthy bust standing in Hungary’s Parliament, the debate over the leader’s legacy was expected to continue.

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