Report: Hungary’s Jewish groups declining Holocaust event grants

Int’l Relations

A report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) international news service informs that, while leaders of Hungary’s Jewish communities meet today with national government representatives on Holocaust 70th anniversary memorial events and the controversies surrounding them, “several” organizations will be turning down government grants they’d received in conjunction with the observation.

Last week saw the Nové Zámky (Slovakia) community publicly reject the promised grant money as its president Tomas Lang wrote in an open letter that, while certain high-level Hungarian politicos have paid lip service to the country’s responsibility in the Holocaust, “the direction of official statements and actions belies their words.” 

Today, the Frankel Leo Synagogue and the Budapest Jewish Summer Festival along with unnamed other organizations may be added to the list of grant boycotters. Summer Festival organizers, the Jewish Culture and Tourism Center (ZsIKK), in their announcement noted “outrage”, outrage that “does not require explanation.” Further, “We do not want this political drama…”

Most parties which have openly rejected the grants have noted distortions of history propagated by the central government, most notably regarding the role of known Nazi collaborator/former Hungarian leader Miklós Horthy; as the Frankel Synagogue’s statement put it, recent incidents “are incompatible with granting support for memorial events that pay tribute to the victims of mass murders or an honorable way of thinking.”

The official declining of grants began shortly after the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) called for a March protest in Budapest in response to recent acts, most recently the announced unveiling of a monument to Hungary’s own victimization at Nazi hands in the 1940s.

According to the JTA, a meeting of Hungarian Jewish community leaders will take place on Sunday to determine whether a general boycott of state-sponsored Holocaust observation events is called for.

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