Wiesenthal Center Blasts Hungarian Government’s Attempt to Intimidate Jewish Community; Protests to Hungarian Ambassador in Washington

March 5, 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called on the Hungarian government to work with the Hungarian Jewish community and to refrain from attempts to intimidate it. Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Government Affairs who protested the recent comments in a conversation with Hungary’s Ambassador to the US, Gyorgy Szapary, said: “The recent statement of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Janos Lazar (pictured) that Holocaust commemorations in Hungary, “face failure because of the absence of Mazsihisz” (the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization) is a blatant attempt to intimidate the Hungarian Jewish community into accepting a flawed process that appears to be aimed more at whitewashing Hungarian collaboration then at honestly remembering the Holocaust in Hungary.”

Mr. Weitzman, who also chairs the Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial Committee of the 31 nation International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which Hungary is scheduled to chair in 2015, added: “Instead of honestly confronting the historical record that includes Hungarian collaboration with the Nazis in the murder of over half a million Hungarian Jews, recent Hungarian actions, such as the erection of a monument ‘dedicated to the memory of the German occupation’ or highlighting the memory of the victims of communist oppression appear to be more concerned with casting Hungary as a victim that bears no responsibility for actions committed during the Holocaust. It is this attitude which caused the Jewish community to withdrawn from participation. We strongly urge the Hungarian government to listen to the community and to make an honest remembrance of the Holocaust in Hungary their priority, rather than attempting to distort history for political purposes.”

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).