Hungarian Mass Honoring Miklos Horthy Canceled After Jewish Protests

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A Budapest church has called off a memorial mass it was planning to hold in honor of Miklos Horthy , former Hungarian leader and NSDAP ally on Saturday – “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” – after protests from Hungarian Jews and the World Jewish Congress.

Parliament’s deputy speaker who is member of the ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, had been due to speak at the event .

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The planned ceremony for Horthy, an admiral who led Hungary for 24 years until 1944  triggered strong objections from Jewish organizations.

With the WJC declaring it a provocative measure honoring an “unabashed anti-semite”, the Budapest church which had organized the Catholic ceremony, canceled the event on Thursday.

The affair, ahead of a parliamentary election on April 8, has thrown a spotlight again on the policies of Orban who has an ambivalent track record on anti-Semitism.

He has repeatedly pledged zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, though he has called Horthy an “exceptional statesman.” He has risked angering Israel and Jewish people with remarks about “ethnic homogeneity”  ahead of the April 8 election.

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He has also used a massive billboard campaign against U.S. billionaire George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, to promote an anti-immigrant agenda.

Zoltan Osztie, the priest of the Budapest church, said the church had a tradition of organizing a mass for Horthy each year and nobody had noticed that Saturday was also International Holocaust Remembrance  day .

“We could be blamed for this perhaps, but these two events can not be juxtaposed. Nonetheless, after discussion with church leaders a decision has been made that neither the memorial ceremony nor the mass will take place,” he told szemlelek.blog.hu.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder asked Orban to intervene, calling the event “nothing short of a provocative measure.”

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 31, 2018 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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