Antisemitic poet honoured by Hungary

A well-known antisemitic poet received a high public recognition from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The poet and essayist Kornel Döbrentei, who is currently Vice-Chairman of the National Association of Hungarian Artists and member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts received the laurel wreath of Hungary.

Döbrentei, initially a worker, became a journalist in 1972. He has written poetry and essays since 1967. But an antisemitic statement in a 2004 speech provoked harsh reactions among Hungarians writers.

“False prophets in disguises and masks – only their beard is real – conduct the moral Holocaust at the Hungarians,” he stated.

The Hungarian Writers’ Union didn’t react officially at the time. However more than a hundred members, among them Imre Kertesz, Peter Nadas, Peter Esterhazy, Magda Szabo and György Konrad resigned from the association.

The Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002 Imre Kertesz, who died in 2016, described Döbrenteis’s remarks as pure antisemitism.

“This is the old, classic, stupid, bad, and ultimately antisemitism that leads to Auschwitz,” he wrote at the time.


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