By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST/WARSAW (Worthy News) – Hungary has come under pressure to tackle antisemitism as the government called the Holocaust one of the nation’s “greatest tragedies.”
The Central and Eastern European nation remembered this week the Holocaust, or ‘Shoah’ in Hebrew, in which some 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished.
“The Holocaust was one of the greatest tragedies of Hungarian Jews and Hungarian history,” said Csaba Latorcai, a state secretary of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office.
He made the remarks this week at a March of the Living commemoration at the former German-run Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland in remembrance of Holocaust victims.
The Hungarian delegation led by Csaba Latorcai also held a commemoration in front of building I.18, the site of an exhibition dedicated to Hungarian Jewish inmates.
About one in three Jewish prisoners held and killed in Auschwitz were of Hungarian descent. Some 426,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to Auschwitz, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia.
The March of the Living at Auschwitz commemorating the Holocaust victims was on the 80th anniversary of the anti-Nazi uprising in occupied Poland’s Warsaw ghetto, where Jews were held.
The ceremony drew an estimated 10,000 young people. Thousands of people earlier marched in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, including the European Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life.
The official, Katharina von Schnurbein, admitted “the thriving Jewish life in Budapest” but noted that “eight of ten Hungarian Jews still say anti-Semitism is a problem.”
Jewish people have faced verbal and sometimes physical abuse while properties such as Jewish cemeteries were damaged, Worthy News learned.
Sunday’s ‘March of the Living’ in Hungary’s capital ran this year between two memorials to forced laborers.
Gábor Gordon, who heads the board of trustees of the March of the Living Foundation, recalled that over 100,000 Jews and non-Jews from Hungary were used as forced laborers from 1939. Some 60,000 of them didn’t survive.
United States Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman said the March of the Living serves the purpose of remembering and educating.
But he said it should be “an opportunity for people to recommit to engaging with others with whom they don’t see eye to eye. And to stand up against those who target the vulnerable.”
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