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U.S. congressmen oppose statue of anti-Semitic Hungarian minister

History

The U.S. House Bipartisan Taskforce for Combatting Anti-Semitism co-chairs sent a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Friday to protest the erection of a statue of the Hungarian minister who ordered the death of nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported yesterday.

Bálint Hóman (pictured), who served as minister of Education and Religion in Hungary between 1932–1938 and 1939–1942, and who was also a prominent historian, was responsible in part for drafting legislation in 1938 and 1939 to restrict the rights of Jews in Hungary and later, in 1944, he ordered the deportation of 420,000 Jews to Auschwitz, according to JTA.

The life-size statue, which was for the most part funded by the state, is set to be unveiled this month in Székesfehérvár, central Hungary, JTA reported. 

In its letter, the committee of U.S. congressional leaders expressed its “deep concern” regarding the statue of Homán, reportedly writing that he “spearheaded Hungary’s anti-Jewish legislation and paved the way for deportations of and atrocities against Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust,” JTA, reported.

In its letter, the committee also urged the Hungarian government to “condemn Hóman’s role in the persecution and deportation of innocent Hungarians” and asked the government not to fund any statue in the future that would serve to honor this man, JTA added.

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