January 24, 2018
Hungary’s main Jewish organization lashed out Wednesday against a senior member of the ruling Fidesz party for participating in a memorial for a Nazi-allied wartime leader to be held on a Holocaust remembrance day.
Sandor Lezsak, also a deputy speaker of the Hungarian parliament, is scheduled to give a speech after a mass in Budapest Saturday in honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Miklos Horthy.
Horthy, an autocrat who ruled Hungary from 1920 to 1944, passed anti-Jewish laws and oversaw the deportations of several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews to Nazi German death camps.
Since 2005 the event’s date, January 27, is a UN-designated Holocaust memorial day marking the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the camps.
In an open letter addressed to Lezsak published on the group’s website, Mazsihisz head Andras Heisler said the official’s participation in the Horthy event on the UN Holocaust day “tramples on the memory of all the Hungarian victims.”
“It can only amount to the falsification of history,… no state representative should contribute to the building the cult of Horthy,” said Heisler.
Last year Prime Minister Viktor Orban called Horthy an “exceptional statesman” in the period after World War I.