U.S. envoy joins protest over statue of anti-Semitic Hungarian minister

History

Several hundred people protested in Székesfehérvár yesterday evening, including an envoy from the United States, against the erection of a life-size bronze statue of Bálint Hóman, the Hungarian minister active in the 1930s and ’40s known for his anti-Semitic views, the Guardian reported this morning.  

Protestors in Székesfehérvár yesterday oppose the new statue. (Photo: MTI)

The protest, which was held near the building site of the statue was organized by the Federation of Jewish Hungarian Communities (Mazsihisz) and attended, among others, by U.S. envoy on anti-Semitism Ira Forman, the Guardian said.

The statue is intended to honor Hóman who apart from being a prominent historian and academic was also responsible for drafting a series of anti-Jewish laws and for the deportation of 420,000 Jews to Auschwitz in 1944, according to reports.

“An openly anti-Semitic, fascist politician should never get a statue anywhere in this country,” Andras Heisler, head of Mazsihisz, told the crowd of protestors, the Guardian reported. “There is no excuse for this statue, that’s something we won’t let up on,” Forman said to the Guardian.

The Bálint Hóman Foundation, which reportedly has links to far-right Jobbik party, received funds from the state to cover the majority of the costs of the Hóman statue, state news agency MTI reported on Friday. Last week, the mayor of Székesfehérvár requested that these funds be returned to the state, following international protests, including a letter sent to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in early December by the World Jewish Congress and a U.S. Congress taskforce on anti-Semitism.

The statue is set to be unveiled on December 29 in celebration of the 130th anniversary of Hóman’s birth, the paper added.

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