U.S. Reps. urge Hungary to scrap controversial Holocaust memorial

Jewish members of the U.S. House of Representatives are urging the Hungarian government to cancel plans to unveil a controversial memorial for the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944. 

Dr. Randolph L. Braham (pictured), a prominent Holocaust historian and a survivor from Hungary, chose to return an award—the Medium Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic—that he received from the Hungarian government in 2011, in a personal protest against the government's planned Holocaust memorial. Credit: Courtesy Dr. Randolph L. Braham.

Critics of the monument say that the planned statue depicting the German imperial eagle devouring the Angel Gabriel, who represents Hungary, whitewashes the role of Hungarians themselves in the deportations of more than 400,000 Jews to concentration camps.

“I am concerned that this proposed monument glosses over the role played by Hungarian authorities... and it is my hope that Prime Minister [Viktor] Orban will work with Hungarian Jewish organizations to design a memorial that respects the experience of all Hungarians during World War II," U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) told the Wall Street Journal

In March, JNS.org interviewed Dr. Randolph L. Braham, a prominent Holocaust historian and a survivor from Hungary, who had chosen to return an award—the Medium Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic—that he received from the Hungarian government in 2011, in a personal protest against the planned Holocaust memorial.

He also criticized the renewed rise of anti-Semitism in modern Hungary, particularly with the growth of the far-right political party Jobbik.

“The Jews have always been used as convenient scapegoats for all political and economic ills. Anti-Semitism has always been present, but subdued during the Communist era (1948-1989), and ever more vocal after the systemic change of 1989. After this year, it became ever more pervasive and was often coupled with Holocaust-denigration and denial. The anti-Semitic drive has increased since the elections in 2010, when the current party in power (FIDESZ) had received a super majority in parliament and the extremist neo-Fascist Jobbik party close to 14 percent. The latter’s anti-Semitic views and policies seem to be condoned rather than rejected by the official government in power," he said.

Read the full story, "70 years after Hungarian Holocaust, historian protests planned memorial," here.

 

Posted on May 23, 2014 .