Statement of the Hungarian Council of Christians and Jews

2014. február 27., csütörtök

In response to the controversy surrounding the Holocaust Memorial Year in Hungary, the Council of Christians and Jews, representing the member Jewish organizations and Christian churches in Hungary, has released a statement.

The declaration, co-signed by the presiding bishop of the RCH and vice president of the Council, Gusztáv Bölcskei, will be sent to Anette Adelmann and Deborah Weissman, general secretary and president, respectively, of the International Council of Christians and Jews, as well as Hungarian leaders, including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, András Heisler, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, and János Lázár, state secretary of the prime minister’s office.

The statement reads:

The Council of Christians and Jews, the official consultative body of the representatives of Hungarian Christian churches and Jewish religious organisations, make the following statement regarding the conflicts surrounding the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year, which are endangering a successful commemoration.

The Council of Christians and Jews received the plan to organize a Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year with consent. It can be an important event to sincerely face the past, draw the appropriate consequences and heal memories. We are firmly convinced that the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year must be organized in such a way that representatives of those primarily affected by the Holocaust are consulted meaningfully. We urge the parties involved in the conflict to continue the dialogue and seek solutions acceptable for both sides, which foster a real healing of memories for the whole Hungarian society. The Council of Christians and Jews offers its assistance in resolving the conflicts. May the spirit of true acknowledgement, piety, prayer and the mutual love of neighbors lead us all.


The conflict began with the planned unveiling of a memorial statue dedicated to the victims of the Nazi occupation and was exacerbated with comments made by the director of the Veritas Research Institute, Sándor Szakály, who made a controversial statement that the deportation of Jews from Hungary was a “police action against aliens.” Many Jewish organizations called for Szakály’s resignation, and in addition, the Federation of Jewish Communities has even voted to refrain from attending the state’s memorial events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian deportation and Holocaust.

 

Zoltán Balog said this about the situation following Szakály’s comments, “Hungary’s official position has remained unchanged since 1990: the Hungarian state played an unquestionable role in the deportation and annihilation of Hungarian Jews. And the German state had an unquestionable role in it, too. Responsibility cannot be divided: both the Nazi German state and the collaborators of the Hungarian state were wholly responsible for the crimes committed.”

 

Read more about the event on 19 March outside the Great Synagogue on Dohány Street commemorating the 70th anniversary of the German occupation in Hungary.

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.