In response to the attack on two Holocaust-related monuments in Budapest last week—on the heels of an international dispute over the reinterment of writer Jozsef Nyiro—B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin sent the following letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban:
“On behalf of B’nai B’rith International’s members and supporters in over 50 countries, we write to express our deep dismay over the attack on two Holocaust-related monuments in Budapest last week. On May 24 a memorial by the Danube River honoring resistance fighters was defaced with spray-painted Stars of David and anti-Semitic phrases. This attack came days after assailants hung pigs’ feet on a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
These alarming events took place as a dispute over the reinterment of writer Jozsef Nyiro, who collaborated with Hungary’s fascist war-time regime, played out between authorities in Hungary and Romania. While we are gratified that the Romanian government barred the reburial of Nyiro’s ashes, we are nonetheless troubled that a commemoration ceremony honoring Nyiro took place in Odorheiu Secuiesc and was attended by 2,000 people, including Hungarian National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Kover and Jobbik party leader Gabor Vona.
B’nai B’rith deplores the public display of anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi sentiment evident at the memorial defacements. We call on your government to unequivocally condemn these hate crimes. We further lament the glorification of Jozsef Nyiro, whose views were openly anti-Semitic and pro-fascist. Any ideology or movement that promotes intolerance and elevates the Nazi legacy must be forcefully opposed.
Mr. Prime Minister, the confluence of these deeply disturbing events has created an important moment for Hungary. We hope that your government will use this opportunity to emphatically denounce anti-Semitism and hatred and signal to the international community that Hungary stands firmly in favor of tolerance, human rights and democratic principles.”
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