Hungarian Jews dismayed by statue honouring antisemitic wartime politician

The Federation of Hungarian Jewish communities (MAZSIHISZ) has expressed dismay after a statue honouring former Speaker of the House of representatives Gyula Kornis, who advocated the exclusion of Jews from public life, was unveiled in the city of Vác.

The ceremony was attended by Bence Rétvári,  Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Ministry of Human Resources, and by historian Maria Schmidt, whose controversial involvement in the House of Fates project made headlines earlier this year.

“This ceremony commemorates a politician who wanted to remove almost one million Hungarian people out of the country because of their origin. Kornis was among many who believed that people of Jewish origin or Jewish religion must be removed from the Hungarian educational system and from as many fields of Hungarian life as possible,” said MAZSIHISZ in a statement.

“MAZSIHISZ will continue to strongly protest the rehabilitation of unworthy politicians. The decision to honour Kornis is insensitive of Hungarians – including living Hungarian Holocaust survivors and their families – who find this gesture deeply hurtful. We are saddened that this has happened yet again,” the statement continued.

Kornis’ antisemitic views are well documented, for instance his opinion that “the Jews, crowding in the East, at first peacefully conquered the material and spiritual culture of the Hungarians, their natural born radicalism and utilitarian manner corrupting the Hungarian spirit within a half century.”

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