June 26, 2017 — New York, New York
AJC voices its strong disagreement with the remarks offered by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in which he described the wartime Fascist leader, Miklos Horthy, as an “exceptional statesman.”
Horthy was responsible for the systematic discrimination and persecution of Hungarian Jews leading up to the Holocaust and German occupation, and remained in office as Nazi Germany’s Adolf Eichmann oversaw the deportation of over 440,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
The role of Horthy and his government is presented in clear and critical detail in the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, which ironically was established by Mr. Orban during his first term as prime minister. As described by the Memorial Center, “The leading idea of the exhibition is to shed light on the relation between the state and the citizen. As of 1938, the Hungarian state has gradually deprived a group of its citizens of some basic human rights: of their property, freedom, human dignity, and, eventually, of their lives.”
While various lower-level politicians and leaders of the extreme right Jobbik Party have regularly sought to rehabilitate Horthy and other fascist-era figures, this is the first time that the prime minister has so clearly placed himself in this camp. AJC shares the profound concerns already voiced by its partner organization, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ), and its President, Andras Heisler, that this new attempt at Holocaust revisionism must be firmly rejected.