NEW YORK/BUDAPEST—On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day which marks annually the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by the Soviet troops 73 years ago, Hungary’s Jewish organization Mazsihisz slammed a senior member of the country’s ruling party Fidesz for his scheduled participation in a memorial for Nazi-allied wartime leader Admiral Miklos Horthy, to be held on the same day.
In a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder asked for his intervention.
He wrote: “The World Jewish Congress, which represents more than 100 Jewish communities on six continents, was astonished and severely disappointed to learn that Hungarian Parliament Deputy Speaker Sandor Lezsak will speak at a celebratory mass honoring Admiral Miklos Horthy, precisely on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
Lauder called the event, organized by the Christian Intellectuals’ Association, “nothing short of a provocative measure,” adding that it was “truly disturbing that it is being given legitimacy through the participation of a high dignitary of Hungary.”
“The terror that Admiral Horthy, an unabashed anti-Semite, inflicted on the Jewish community of Hungary by allowing them to be stripped of their rights and their humanity, and his role in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews, must never be forgotten and can never be excused,” Lauder wrote. “In fact, it is one of the critical lessons the international community can learn in Holocaust education.”
“We urge you to take a firm stance against this shameful event by ensuring that no government representative participate, for the sake of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and for the sake of Hungary’s diplomatic image around the world.”