Hungarian Jews slam PM’s comments calling country’s WWII leader an “exceptional statesman”

After Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban described the country’s leader during the Second World War, Miklós Horthy as an outstanding statesman, the president of Mazshisz, the country’s Jewish umbrella organisation and EJC affiliate, strongly condemned the remarks.

András Heisler said in a statement on Friday that “the serious historical experience of our community proves that our country had been buried by the history of the 20th century – largely by Miklós Horthy’s actions between 1st March 1920 and 16th October 1944.”

“Horthy’s quality – between the two world wars – is strongly debatable,” Heisler said. “A man cannot be called exceptional who signed the Numerus Clausus (1920) which degraded Hungarian Jewry into second class citizens, then signed the first and second anti-Jewish laws (1938 and 1939). The antisemitism of the era under his name, which he also took on, cannot be put as an example for the future generations.”

Similarly, the statement went on “Horthy’s responsibility for the 600,000 Hungarian Jewish victims and the tens of thousands of soldiers who died at the Don River cannot be questioned by our community.”

“We think it would be more advanced if the contesting political parties would focus on the questions of present and future instead of evaluating Horthy,” the statement concluded.


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community