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MaZsiHiSz: No Jewish participation in Holocaust events

After a meeting attended by representatives from Hungary’s Jewish communities, the leadership of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Congregations (MaZsiHiSz) has decided to boycott all national government-sponsored events organized in connection with the 70th anniversary observance of the Holocaust. 

In an official statement from MaZsiHiSz released yesterday, the group stated that “Under the current circumstances, MaZsiHiSz is withdrawing from the government’s Holocaust 2014 program.” The group cited the sitting government’s persistent “ignoring of sensitivity” toward Holocaust survivors. 

The organization again called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government to cancel the unveiling of a statue on Szabadsag tér commemorating the Nazi “occupation” of Hungary, maintaining its position that such a moment absolves Hungarians of complicity in the exportation of Jews to concentration camps.

MaZsiHiSz also called for the firing of Veritas historical institute director Sándor Szakaly. Along with the unveiling of a bust of Hitler ally Miklós Horthy in Budapest in November, Szakaly’s January comments regarding his interpretation of events of the 1940s helped pushed MaZsiHiSz to its decision this weekend. Szakaly explained away deportation of Jewish citizens in 1941 as merely “a police action against aliens.”

This weekend’s meeting was called after a handful of Jewish organizations had announced their intention not to participate in Holocaust observance events in Hungary last week.