Hungarian-American Coalition protests statue of anti-Semite Bálint Hóman

The Hungarian-American Coalition has somewhat surprisingly joinded a growing chorus of individuals and organizations in North America condemning the Orbán government’s decision to provide 15 million forints in funding for a statue in memory of interwar antisemitic politician and Minister of Education Bálint Hóman, who was among the most enthusiastic supporters of Hitler’s Germany, even as some in the government around 1943 were engaging in a type of see-saw politics, with divided loyalties between the Allies and Germany. The latest news in terms of the monument is that a handful of key ministers in the Fidesz cabinet are opposed to it, including most notably: László Trócsányi and János Lázár. But Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, as usual, is of the mindset that he cannot “give in” to western criticism and thus appear “weak.” In Mr. Orbán’s increasingly twisted mind, the debate around the statue is now a question of national sovereignty.

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As proud Hungarian-Americans and as longtime activists in the fight against rising anti-Semitism, we are calling on the Hungarian government to forcefully and unequivocally oppose the plans to erect a statue of Bálint Hóman in the city of Székesfehérvár later this month. Hóman was a Hungarian government minister who spearheaded Hungary’s anti-Jewish legislation and, in 1944, called for the deportation of Hungarian Jews. In fact, over 400,000 innocent Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz in that year and Hóman shares shameful moral responsibility for the tragic events during this dark chapter of Hungary’s history.

We wholeheartedly echo the outrage expressed by many organizations and citizens of conscience who have spoken out against this proposed statue. The US House of Representatives Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-Semitism has expressed its “deep concern” about the statue and has called on the Hungarian government to “publicly condemn Hóman’s role in the persecution and deportation of innocent Hungarians”. We add our voice to theirs in asking the government of Hungary to make it absolutely clear, in word and deed, that they oppose this monument and any efforts to rehabilitate or whitewash the terrible legacy of Bálint Hóman. It will not be sufficient for the government to suggest that this is a matter of local concern and control. The honor and reputation of the Hungarian people cannot be held hostage to the reprehensible decision of local officials to honor a man whose legacy is stained with the blood of thousands of innocent victims of the Holocaust.

Maximilian Teleki
President of the Hungarian American Coalition

Katrina Lantos Swett
President of the Lantos Foundation

A makeshift memorial erected in Székesfehérvár by those who oppose the planned Hóman-statue.

A makeshift memorial erected in Székesfehérvár by those who oppose the planned Hóman-statue.

8 Comments

  1. András B. Göllner says:

    What took them so long ? Why couldn’t they speak up when the monuments went up to Horthy and Prohászka ? Why couldn’t they speak up when Elie Wiesel and Randolph L. Braham spoke up about the affinity fraud the Orbán government is perpetuating not only against the Jews, but against the public at large? Because they are in bed with the autocratic regime. If, by chance, Orbán decides to remove one of the dozens of statues, say this one, they will be the first ones to proclaim that all is well on the Eastern front. One affinity fraud does not make another right.

  2. Charlie London says:

    I think I understand why you say “….surprisingly joined…..” because the AGC is always so pro-Orban?

    This might be tokenism because they are losing their influence?

    But they mostly support ………. His regime with the refugee cruelty…… The rewriting of history……… The corruption………

  3. György Lázár says:

    Thanks for the statement from Max Teleki and Katrina Lantos Swett.

    It bothers me that Hungarian media tend to forget that Mr. Hóman was also anti-American. He was the prominent Germany loving politician of the Horthy-regime and he didn’t object when Horthy declared war on the United States!

    At the end of WWII he joined the withdrawing Nazi troops to escape from Hungary and he was arrested by American military authorities. They considered him a war criminal! Later he was extradited to Hungary by the Americans for prosecution. At that time this entire process was controlled by the Allied Control Commission which also had US delegates in Budapest.

    Most Hungarian-Americans agree that a statue for this man is unacceptable.

    • Charlie London says:

      Yes so much so that Colleen Bell dwelt on the subject of the statue in her first speech as US Ambassador to the Hungarian people.

      “I want to take this opportunity to applaud the leaders of the Hungarian government who have objected to raising a statue of Balint Homan in Szekesfehervar. His legacy as a proponent of some of the most venomous anti-Semitic legislation in the pre-war era casts a long shadow over the memory of those Hungarians victimized and killed during the Holocaust. Szekesfehervar, already a magnet for U.S. investment as well as other international companies, and the proposed site for a new NATO Force Integration Unit headquarters, should do better, than to raise tribute to this man….”

      The Americans have been watching progress like a hawk. I don’t think they will let it pass.

      http://hungary.usembassy.gov/bell_10282015.html

  4. I applaud Maximilian Teleki for his organization’s firm stance on the revolting Homan statue. But why was the Coalition missing in action during the last five and a half years? The Homan statue is upsetting and egregious, but it is NOT the most troubling and dangerous act of the regime to date.

  5. Mr Lazar, I do understand that there are certain strict rules for columnists at HFP to comply with, hence the constant false historical references in the articles. I even credit you with an assumption that most of time when you falsify history, you are actually know, what the truth is.
    But the problem which bothers me is not you. It is what your readers are learning from these writings at HFP. For example, you wrote in your above comment on December 10, 2015 at 6:15 pm:

    “….he (Hóman) didn’t object when Horthy declared war on the United States!…”.
    Please allow me – of course for the readers’ sake only – to tell the truth about your alleged war declaration on the USA by Horthy. I quote from his memoire (p.229-230):
    “A Pearl Harbor ellen december 7-én intézett támadás, bármi is volt az előzménye és bármekkora is volt az amerikaiak vesztesége, súlyos politikai hibának bizonyult a japánok részéről, mert az ellenséges koalició kiszámithatatlan mértékben megerősödött. Bárdossy (akkori miniszterelnök) úgy vélte, hogy a várható német követelést (értsd: a szövetségesek számára kötelező hadüzenetet) meg kell előznie. Ezért – anélkúl, hogy a dolgot velem, aki éppen akkor gyomormérgezéssel gyógyintézetben feküdtem, megbeszélte és az országgyűlés hozzájárulását kikérte volna – az Egyesült Államokkal megszakitotta a diplomáciai összeköttetést. Ez nem elégitette ki Berlint, de Rómát sem; erre aztán Bárdossy megtette, amit követeltek tőle. Magához kérette Mr.Pell amerikai követet és december 12-én közölte vele, hogy Magyarország az Egyesült Államokkal hadiállapotban lévőnek tekinti magát………….Hull amerikai külügyi államtitkár közlése szerint Roosevelt a kongresszushoz december 13-án intézett üzenetében azért javasolta Németország kis szövetségeseivel szemben a hadüzenet mellőzését, mert, mint irja: ’…tisztában voltunk azzal, hogy ezek a kormányok csak bábok Hitler kezében’.”
    So, Mr. Lazar, my point is this: you, as a writer/commenter, must stick to facts, when you’re writing about history. Even, when it is not about old or current Hungarian atrocities against Jews. Because facts are funny things. They cannot change. But they can make you lose your credibility, if you falsify them.

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