• Hungary

    Hungary: Zero tolerance for antisemitism? (Guest post by Karl Pfeifer)

    Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declares repeatedly that in Hungary there is zero tolerance for antisemitism. A recent opinion research poll among Jews in Hungary shows that they feel less threatened physically or verbally but that antisemitism has become stronger since the last research in 1999. Why do Jews feel this way, despite of the good relations of Hungary with Israel? Because they know that the government propaganda against George Soros, even without mentioning his Jewish origin, is antisemitic. The same goes for the attempts of Orbán and his close friends to rewrite Hungarian history. Orbán was the most ardent supporter of erecting a statue to honor the antisemitic Bálint Hóman,…

  • antisemitism,  Hungary

    Abandon that hope!

    Guest post by Karl Pfeifer When I started to write about Hungary 39 years ago, I met many Budapest intellectuals and thought antisemitism and nationalism were not a big problem. When 29 years ago a democratic system was established, I had to acknowledge my big mistake. The specters of the past were kicking and alive. I have published many articles at Harry’s Place about this. In the lead-up to Sunday’s Hungarian election, Prime Minister and Fidesz party leader Viktor Orbán understood how to win a part of the electorate by whipping up antisemitism without ever mentioning the word “Jew.” George Soros, the “international speculator,” became Hungary’s Public Enemy Number 1.…

  • Book Review,  History,  Hungary

    The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later

    Review by Karl Pfeifer One of the reasons for the hate-campaign against Hungary’s Central European University (CEU) and the law against CEU is that this university does not advocate narrow-minded nationalism and that it is contradicting the fabrication of fake history so dear to Prime Minister Victor Orbán. The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later provides a scholarly overview of the newest trends in the study of the Holocaust in Hungary. It includes twelve selected papers organized under four thematic groups: –The newest tendencies in the historiography of the Holocaust in Hungary. –The anti-Jewish policies of Hungary during the interwar period. –Recent research on the Holocaust era in Hungary. –National…

  • Book Review,  Hungary

    Hungary: the post-communist mafia state

    Guest post by Karl Pfeifer Because every morning I read the government newspaper Magyar Idök, Hungarian friends asked me if I am a masochist. No, I am no masochist, my blood pressure is very low and without drinking an espresso without pills, my blood pressure becomes normal by reading this Budapest daily. Their scribblers try to convince readers that George Soros is the man responsible for the more than a million migrants who came during the last two years to Europe, and that the Central European University (CEU) is a school for agents. According to recent opinion research, only 22% of Hungarians sampled had not heard of the university and…

  • Hungary

    The Orban regime takes Horthy’s Hungary as an example

    Guest post by Karl Pfeifer I have known the dark ages of Hungary. As a child, during World War Two, I experienced first-hand Hungarian ultra-nationalism and anti-Semitism. I managed to avoid deportation and murder in Auschwitz by fleeing to Palestine in 1943, along with 49 other Jewish children. Decades later, I returned to Hungary during the years of Communism. As a journalist writing for major Austrian newspapers, my reporting included interviewing dissidents. As a result, the Kadar regime expelled me four times from the country, the last time in 1987. This personal history makes me extremely sensitive to current developments in Hungary, and the shadows that are once again rising…

  • Hungary

    Zsolt Bayer, purveyor of hate, in his own words

    Cross-posted from Eva S. Balogh at Hungarian Spectrum Decent, democratic Hungarians are stunned. The hate-filled, racist, anti-Semitic journalistic hack, Zsolt Bayer, on the recommendation of Zoltán Balog, received the third highest decoration the government can bestow on people of great achievement. János Lázár presented Bayer with the “Hungarian Middle Cross.” The independent media could scarcely find words to display its disgust with the government, but some headline writers rose to the occasion. One headline read “By mistake Zsolt Bayer received the cross of the knight [lovagkereszt] instead of the Swastika.” Swastika in Hungarian is “horogkereszt.” A blog writer at Népszabadság titled his piece “The knight of the Godfather” since Viktor…

  • antisemitism,  Hungary

    Viktor Orbán, the man responsible for the statue honoring the antisemitic Bálint Hóman

    Cross-posted from Eva S. Balogh at Hungarian Spectrum After several false starts, perhaps today I will finally be able to write the real story behind the ill-fated Hóman statue intended to adorn a relatively small square in downtown Székesfehérvár. I wrote at least three times about the controversy over erecting a statue of a politician who had a major role to play in drafting the anti-Jewish laws of the late 1930s even if, in another capacity, he was a well-respected historian. But I didn’t have a full cast of characters, and I didn’t know who was really responsible for coming up with the idea for the statue. Why do I…

  • Business,  Hungary

    The Audi defiance

    Guest post by Ken Cameron This is not a story about a new car launch by Audi. This is a story about how one man defied the plans and ambitions of a multinational company, and the consequences that followed. Most people are ready to settle for a quiet life and so it can be difficult to empathise with those who resist the status quo – dissidents if you will. It may be worth remembering the events in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989, when a nameless individual stood in front of a column of tanks and defied the communist regime. Of course Audi is not the Chinese Communist Party; the point…

  • antisemitism,  Australia,  Hungary

    Shver tzu zein a Yid*: Australia and Hungary [see update]

    In Sydney, Australia: Hilel, a not-for-profit Jewish educational and cultural organisation for students and young adults, approached The Red ­Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, in Sydney’s inner west, about hiring the venue for a series of performances dealing with the Holocaust. Their inquiry was dismissed with an unsigned email that read: “Our policy does not support ­colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occu­pation of Palestine.” The response has left the [New South Wales] Jewish community shocked and distressed. Shailee Mendelevich, who approached the theatre on behalf of Hilel, said racial backgrounds or religious views should not leave anyone feeling “dimin­ished”. Ms Mendelevich said the performances…

  • Hungary,  Russia

    Orban folds to Russia

    Twenty-three years after the last of the Soviet occupation forces withdrew from Hungary, the rightwing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has caved into pressure from Moscow and halted natural gas deliveries to Ukraine. Budapest has announced that it will freeze its gas deliveries to Ukraine, as the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, said his country could not afford to run the risk of losing its own Russian gas supplies. “Hungary cannot get into a situation in which, due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it cannot access its required supply of energy,” Orban said on state radio following threats from Moscow. Hungary’s gas pipeline network operator FGSZ said late on Thursday…