NEW YORK – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has asked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to intervene in a celebratory event scheduled for International Holocaust Remembrance Day honoring the Nazi collaborator Admiral Miklos Horthy, in which a senior Hungarian politician has been confirmed to attend.
In a letter to Orban on Wednesday, Lauder wrote: “The World Jewish Congress, which represents more than 100 Jewish communities on six continents, was astonished and severely disappointed to learn that Hungarian Parliament Deputy Speaker Sándor Lezsák will speak at a celebratory mass honoring Admiral Miklos Horthy, precisely on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
Lauder called the event, organized by the Christian Intellectuals’ Association, “nothing short of a provocative measure,” adding that it was “truly disturbing that it is being given legitimacy through the participation of a high dignitary of Hungary.”
“The terror that Admiral Horthy, an unabashed anti-Semite, inflicted on the Jewish community of Hungary by allowing them to be stripped of their rights and their humanity, and his role in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews, must never be forgotten and can never be excused,” Lauder wrote. “In fact, it is one of the critical lessons the international community can learn in Holocaust education.”
“As democracies around the world today strive to face their history, and take responsibility for the crimes of their predecessors, it is inconceivable to us that a senior Hungarian political leader would represent your government in celebrating a Nazi-collaborator, and one of the darkest figures of Hungary’s past,” he added.
Lauder also noted the strong professional and trustworthy working relationship the Hungarian government has developed with the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) as an “exemplary partnership that we hope will continue to develop and grow,” and concluded: “We urge you to take a firm stance against this shameful event by ensuring that no government representative participate, for the sake of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and for the sake of Hungary’s diplomatic image around the world.”
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.