B’nai B’rith International leaders wrote a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressing deep concern that a new Holocaust memorial ignores Hungary’s wartime complicity with the Nazi regime.
With the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Nazi death camps fast approaching, B’nai B’rith supports a decision by the Hungarian Jewish organization Mazsihisz to sit out planned commemorations if the memorial is unveiled as planned.
Read the full letter from B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin below:
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
On behalf of B’nai B’rith International’s more than 200,000 members and supporters in over 50 countries, we write to express our deep concern about your government’s planned Holocaust monument in Budapest.
We strongly support the decision of Mazsihisz, the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, to distance themselves from government-sponsored events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust. We feel that the current design of the monument entirely ignores the active participation of Hungary’s own wartime government in the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust era. That such an important initiative would not reflect a serious effort to honestly and directly confront Hungary’s share of responsibility for the Holocaust is deeply disappointing.
Compounding this troubling matter are recent statements by Sandor Szakaly, head of the Veritas historical research institute. Mr. Szakaly referred to Hungary’s 1941 deportation of 18,000 Jews as an “immigration control procedure.” The gross insensitivity and ignorance of historical fact that his remarks reflect are cause for great concern.
These events have coincided with the ongoing rehabilitation and glorification in Hungary of pro-Nazi wartime figures such as Miklos Horthy and Jozsef Nyiro, whose views were not only fascist but openly anti-Semitic. Any ideology or movement that promotes intolerance and elevates the Nazi legacy must be forcefully opposed.
Mr. Prime Minister, we strongly urge the Hungarian government to immediately cancel its plans for the new Holocaust memorial center. Only after Hungary begins a much-needed critical examination of its own role in the Holocaust and pays serious attention to the concerns of the Jewish community should it undertake such a project.