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Marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed a letter to Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, in tribute to his work preserving the memory of Holocaust victims. Meanwhile, PMO Chief Gergely Gulyás pledged the government’s continued support for the preservation and strengthening of the cultural identity of Hungarian Jews.

Orbán said he and his wife recalled Lauder’s “great speech” given at last year’s commemoration at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the PM’s press chief said in a statement.

Orbán assured Lauder that

“Hungary has drawn the appropriate lessons from the dark chapter of Hungarian history that took away so many of our compatriots from the Jewish community and deprived the survivors of their loved ones.”

The prime minister noted that his government maintained a policy of zero tolerance against anti-Semitism. He also offered Lauder and the Jewish World Congress his full cooperation “in the spirit of common values”.

“With head bowed to the victims, I wish you much strength and good health in your work for the world’s Jewish community,” the letter concluded.

PMO Chief: Hungary equipped to protect Jewish citizens, freedom of religion

According to the prime minister’s chief of staff, Hungary’s government was equipped to protect Hungarian Jews, human dignity and freedom of religion.

Gergely Gulyás pledged the government’s continued support for the preservation and strengthening of the cultural identity of Hungarian Jews.

While the Hungarian government now has the means to protect Jewish citizens, it’s also eying the rise of new anti-Semitism in the world, Gulyás said in a video posted on Facebook, concerned to see forces “aiming to curb the freedom of religion by legal and administrative means”.

Hungary stands by Jewish communities living under the shadow of daily physical threats, he said.

Gulyás said that in 1945 Hungarian Jews had received no support from their homeland. “The Hungarian state was complicit in the terrifying atrocities committed,” he said.

Today, Hungarian Jewry enjoys the greatest possible security in Europe, he said. While zero tolerance against anti-Semitism is

“not only government policy but a social reality”

in Hungary, Europe is struggling to find a solution to social changes giving rise to a new anti-Semitism, Gulyás said.

“We remember the terrible tragedy Jews all over the world faced during the second world war, which was also Europe and Hungary’s historical tragedy. We keep count of the murderers who … killed innocent people on the basis of racial supremacy. We remember this so that in the 21st century, we can avoid the godless and inhumane dictatorships of the 20th,” Gulyás said.

“We remember the heroes who remain human under inhuman circumstances. Those who conquered their fears and helped at a time of hopelessness.”

“Jews in Hungary are safe, but there would be a lot more to do” - Interview with Péter Kirschner
“Jews in Hungary are safe, but there would be a lot more to do” - Interview with Péter Kirschner

Hungarian Jews can live in safety, their cultural live are thriving, but there would be a lot more to do, and unfortunately Hungarians still score high in xenophobia, says Péter Kirschner, leader of the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association (MAZSIKE), the first, biggest and neutral Hungarian Jewish cultural organization, and manager of a number of important […]Continue reading

The United Nations General Assembly declared January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005.

Featured photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office