Protest planned after anti-Semitic vandalism in Budapest

On Sunday, we published a piece on how a far-right perpetrator vandalized and desecrated a Hungarian memorial to victims of the Holocaust. Today we are sharing with you the English translation of a statement issued by the Living Memorial Discussion Group and its partners–these are the dedicated activists and volunteers who established and continue to care for the memorial.

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Photo: Péter Fávics.

Photo: Péter Fávics.

During the night of 8th–9th September 2016 vandals caused significant damage to the so called Living Memorial at Freedom Square, in the centre of Budapest.

Early in 2014 the government erected a highly controversial statue on the square, called the’ Monument to the German Occupation’. Permanent protests hindered the building of this monument that amounts to a whitewashing of Hungary and its people of the sins of the Holocaust.

Freedom Square itself is an iconic place: it houses the US Embassy, the last remaining Soviet memorial to their soldiers who died liberating Hungary from the German occupation and a Ronald Reagan statue, in recognition of his efforts and success in defeating the ‘evil empire’ and helping to give Hungary its freedom in 1989.

The protests couldn’t prevent the erection of the government’s monstrous monument but it did put a stop to an official unveiling.

In March 2014 many brave and engaged citizens continued their protest by establishing a permanently evolving counter-memorial to the Hungarian Holocaust in which around 500,000 people died in a single year. This Living Memorial, located just opposite of the government monument, consists of personal items, documents, photos, stones, candles and tells a very moving, personal story of the disenfranchised, humiliated, robbed and eventually murdered half-a-million people. It has been lovingly maintained over the past two years by many unnamed and unsung people. The space around this Living Memorial has also been increasingly used by a couple of groups to organise discussions, talks, cultural events in all seasons and weather to keep up the spirit of activism in civil society, to offer a space for honest and open discussions and provide true, factual information about the Holocaust, about Jews, anti-Semitism, democracy, freedom, human rights and many other issues of our unhappy, split, hateful society. Much information has been produced in English, German, French too to help thousands of visiting tourists to understand Hungary’s past and present.

Astoundingly, for the past two-and-a-half years the Living Memorial and the discussion space were spared any damage but couple of days ago some thugs have ripped off almost all documents and photos, upturned and damaged many iconic items and wreaked havoc in this commemorative space. Of course, the organisers of Living Memorial immediately called the police and requested investigation of the square’s numerous CCTV cameras’ footage but we can’t and don’t expect real answers from a state, a government that erected the hateful statue in the first place. Characteristically, there has so far been no mention, even less condemnation of this shameful event in any official channel or media.

So Living Memorial activists have turned to the people of Budapest again and called a protest for 18th September, Sunday, at 4 pm at Freedom Square. They are asking for expressions of support and also for replacement of stones, candles, photos, items to remember the lost ones. They ask everybody to come and show the thugs and the ones inciting and financing them that they are not afraid and will not stop protesting against falsification of history.

Facebook event: Come again, bring them again – flashmob reloaded

Organisers:

Living Memorial Discussion group

Square Republic

Liberty Stage 

6 Comments

  1. To identify the truly sick racists, google: chief rabbi of Israel, who says only purpose of goyim is to serve jews. Netanyahu says this racist is the greatest mind of this generation.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/5-of-ovadia-yosefs-most-controversial-quotations/

  2. We know that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was a racist. Lazar Berman’s article does a good job of pointing this out. But the press release above is NOT about racists in Israel (everyone knows there are racists among Israelis too!), but about neo-Nazi thugs in Hungary. Care to comment about that, which is the content of this article?!

  3. Charlie London says:

    My Hungarian partner and I can’t come to Hungary on 18th September, Sunday, at 4 pm at Freedom Square.

    However we will be with you in spirit.

    Please ‘plant’ a virtual stone for us?

  4. Child of survivors says:

    To Mal ( good name as in “malaise”?
    What is your ignorant self hating comment? We are not racists – although we sure should be – after the way we are treated to today- perhaps the Rabbi’s comment was right! Right to the point about the useless Hungarian murderers! Any Jew that visits Hungary deserves their nasty look – go visit Israel and the US – plenty to see here – who needs the bleeding bowels of the Hungarian, Polish, French blood saturated lands – of Europe in general? This latest crime proves it right – Hungary is not for Jews!

  5. “HUNGARIA” is like flogging a dead horse

  6. András B. Göllner says:

    “Yesterday something happened, which until now nobody dared to commit.”

    I beg to differ with the above statement, that was issued after the vandalism took place. What happened “yesterday” is what’s happening every day in Hungary. You can go into TESCO, the biggest retail chain in Hungary, stop by one of the hundreds of gas stations operated by the national oil company, MOL, or go to any of the thousands of newstands in Hungary, and pick up half a dozen newspapers and magazines that deny the Holocaust, and or blame the Jews for the violence committed against them, before, during and after the Holocaust. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, his deputy, László Kövér, the Party’s entire leadership has frequently expressed solidarity with those who were responsible for the hatred that resulted in the massacre of 600,000 Jews in Hungary. Bishop Prohászka, is the spiritual father of 20th centiry anti-Semitism in Hungary. There are dozens of statues all over Hungary, that were unveiled by members of the Government Party. The government Party’s chief propagandists like Zsolt Bayer, István Lovas and András Bencsik, have been engaged in spreading hate speech against Jews, Roma,Muslims and gays, for at least 15 years, and instead of being dumped by Orbán, they are decorated like heroes. It’s time to call a spade a spade: Orbán’s political Party is the champion of ethnic hatred in Hungary – and Europe !!! It is the Party, that gave birth to Jobbik, it is the Party, that preaches the harshest anti-muslim rhetoric in Europe, today. Donald Trump promises to make America great again. Orbán promises to make Europe white, Christian and muslim free again.

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