WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS URGES HUNGARIAN CITY TO STOP PLANS FOR STATUE IN HONOR OF ANTI-­‐SEMITIC HORTHY-­‐ERA MINISTER NEW YORK/BUDAPEST

, July   8 – The  World   Jewish   Congress   (WJC)   is   urging   authorities   in   a   Hungarian   city   to   abandon  plans  to  honor  a  Horthy-­era  government  minister  well  known  for  his  actions  against  the  Jews.  Municipal   leaders  in  Székesfehérvár,  a  city  of  100,000  inhabitants  located  between  Budapest  and  Lake  Balaton,  are  planning   to  erect  a  life-­size  bronze  statue  in  honor  of Bálint  Homan  (1885-­1951).  It  is  to  be  funded  in  large  part  through  a   grant  from  the  Hungarian  Justice  Ministry.   WJC   President  Ronald  S.   Lauder called   on  Hungarian   Prime  Minister  Viktor  Orbán   to   block   plans   for   the   statue   from  moving   forward.   “Seventy  years  after   the  end   of  World  War  II,  it  is  inconceivable  and  wrong   for  a   city   to   erect  a  statue  in  honor  of  a  known  anti-­Semite  and  a  key  figure  in  the  persecution  of  Hungarian  Jews  before  and   during  World  War  II.  Homan  was  an  outspoken  supporter  of  Nazi  Germany  and  the  fascist  Arrow  Cross  regime  in   1944,  and  he  remained  unrepentant  until  his  death,”  said  Lauder. “Bálint  Homan  was  an  emblematic  figure  in  the  humiliation  and  deportation  of  Hungarian  Jews.  He  was  an  anti-­ Semite  who  does  not  deserve   to  be  honored,  and  doing  so  would  insult   the  victims  of   the  Holocaust,”  declared   WJC   Vice-­President   András   Heisler,   who   also   serves   as   president   of   the   Federation   of   Hungarian   Jewish   Communities  (Mazsihisz).   In  a  letter  to  Székesfehérvár  Mayor  András  Cser-­Palkovics,  a  member  of  the  Orbán’s  Fidesz  party,  Heisler  recently   wrote:  “From  October   1932,  Bálint  Hóman,  as  culture  minister  in   several  Hungarian  governments,  played  a  key   role  in   the  systematic  outlawing  of   the  Hungarian   Jewish  people.  His  name  is  connected   to   the   first  anti-­Jewish   law.  He  supported  banning  Jews  from  exercising  certain  professions.  Before  the  German  occupation  [in  1944],  he   wanted  to  expel  Jews  and  later  served  as  a  member  of  the  Arrow  Cross  regime.”   Heisler  added  that  no  Hungarian  citizen  today  could  be  proud  of  a  personality  like  Homan,  and  he  stressed  that   Homan’s  academic  achievements  could  not  outweigh  the  role  he  played  before  and  during  the  Holocaust. About  the  World  Jewish  Congress The   World   Jewish   Congress   (WJC),   founded   in   Geneva   in   1936,   is   the   international   organization   representing   Jewish  communities  in  100  countries  to  governments,  parliaments  and  international  organizations.

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