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Foundation withdraws plan to erect statue of anti-Semite

The Bálint Hóman Foundation, set up to honor the Hungarian minister active in the 1930s and ’40s has withdrawn its plans to erect a life-size statue of minitster Bálint Hóman, known for his anti-Semitic views, news portal origo.hu reported today.  

The building site of the Hóman statue in Székesfehérvár. (Photo: MTI/Zsolt Szigetváry Zsolt)

The foundation has been asked to return the HUF 2 million awarded the project in June by the Székesfehérvár local council. The council has also withdrawn its support of the project and held a vote on the matter, with 20 voting for and one voting against. 

The action was spurred on by 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, as well as a protest held last Sunday in which several hundred people gathered near the building site of the Hóman statue in Székesfehérvár.

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

The Bálint Hóman Foundation, which reportedly has links to far-right Jobbik party, received funds from the local council to cover the majority of the costs of the Hóman statue, state news agency MTI reported earlier.

The statue was to be unveiled on December 29 in celebration of the 130th anniversary of Hóman’s birth.