Lauder urges Hungary to end divisions over Holocaust commemoration, expresses support for Jewish community


Lauder urges Hungary to end divisions over Holocaust commemoration, expresses support for Jewish community


 


BRUSSELS / NEW YORK – Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), is urging the Hungarian government to put an end to the row with the country’s Jewish community over the commemoration of the Holocaust. In an opinion article to be published by Hungary’s leading newspaper Népszabadság in its Saturday edition, Lauder reaffirms that the WJC backs the decision taken last Sunday by the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) not to take part in official events marking the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the Nazi death camps unless its concerns regarding controversial projects are addressed.
“The decision taken by Mazsihisz has the full support of the World Jewish Congress. Let there be no doubt: The Jewish community both in Hungary, and internationally, stands united on this issue. Reconciliation and forgiveness are difficult to achieve when the views of the Jewish community, of those who lived through these dark days, or of their descendants, are not are not taken into account, or are publicly discredited,” Lauder argues.
In his article, the WJC president expresses concern that the issue of Hungary’s role in the Holocaust has become the subject of debate in the midst of the general election campaign. “Extreme-right forces must not be allowed to exploit this issue for electioneering purposes. The remembrance of the Holocaust and of the atrocities committed during World War II ought to unite Hungarians, not divide them. It is of critical importance that younger generations are educated about what happened during World War II,” he writes.
“For Jews, the Holocaust is not an issue of left or right. It is not, and should not be, the subject of an election campaign,” Lauder writes, adding: “Portraying Hungary solely as a victim of Nazi Germany obfuscates the role the administration of Miklós Horthy played, first in depriving Hungarian Jews of their civil rights and later in sending thousands of them to the death camps.”
Lauder also calls on the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to postpone the installation of a controversial monument on Budapest’s Liberty Square. “If Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government seriously believe that the statue should also be a memorial for the Jewish victims, at the very least they should listen to the Jewish community's concerns, take them into account, and reconsider their plans.”
Last May, the World Jewish Congress held its Plenary Assembly in Budapest in solidarity with Hungary’s Jewish community, which is the largest in Central Europe.



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