Péter Barnabás Farkas, deputy mayor of Ózd who was Jobbik’s candidate at the opposition primaries but failed in the first round, called it vile slander that the press claimed that he seemed to be making an arm gesture that suspiciously looked like a Nazi salute. Now, after another suspicious photo emerged, he apologized in a Facebook post.
The first photo, discovered two weeks ago, was taken in 2018 at the Holocaust Museum in Poland. But now an even more suspicious photo has been published, to which Péter Barnabás Farkas has reacted in a separate statement.
Farkas said about the first photo below that it was not a Nazi salute but “a snapshot of this [waving] gesture, and it is vile slander to say otherwise.”
Photo via atv.hu
After this photo, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) released a statement calling on the deputy mayor to visit the Holocaust Documentation Center and take a stand against extremism. “If he refuses to do so, it clearly means that he has a need for a racist, anti-Semitic voter base,” the Mazsihisz claimed.
Farkas responded to the statement on Facebook and wrote that he would be happy to accept the invitation. In his post, he added among other things, that the invitation of the Jewish organization was “exemplary in Hungarian public life, as such a gesture is not usually made in Hungary.”
“I consider it an honor and a great pleasure to accept this invitation, not only in the context of the unfortunate situation that has now caused such a stir but also as a former museum director, since it was for this reason that I visited the museum in Poland where the unfortunate picture was taken,” he wrote.
However, the latest photo that came to light is more suspicious:
After a new photo was published by naphire.hu, Farkas took to Facebook saying that he has never been a Holocaust denier, nor a member of any extremist, racist organization. “Their ideas have always been far from my mind, and those who know me personally know that about me,” he continued: “I sincerely regret what happened, I would not do it today. I will go to all the communities I have offended and pay my respects to them personally and to the sad memory of the shameful genocide of war! I cannot undo what has been done, but I will make every effort to make amends and apologize to those who have been wronged.”
“When I was confronted with the fact of the first published photo, I didn’t even remember that such a photo could ever have been taken of me, as I am far from holding any fascist, racist thoughts. The photo was taken at an informal event with supposed friends, and it is no secret that I was in an inebriated state at the time, which I regret.”
He continued: “When I was approached by the press, I described the circumstances under which the picture was taken, based on vague memories. It was only later, after my misstatements, that I remembered to look up the conversation with my then deputy mayor and the photos he sent me at the time. I was shocked to realize that there were indeed more and more candid-looking photos taken at the time. I regret that I did not make this statement sooner!”
Already after the first photo surfaced, Momentum, MSZP, and LMP said they would no longer support Farkas, but his party, right-wing Jobbik, and another opposition party, leftist DK did not withdraw their support.
Featured photo via Péter Barnabás Farkas’s Facebook page