World War II criminal Albert Wass is celebrated (again) at the NY Hungarian House

On February 23, 2018 the Hungarian House on East 82nd Street in Manhattan hosted another program to celebrate Albert Wass. This is the fifth year that the Széchenyi Society has staged this event. Politicians, Hungarian-Americans, the Wiesenthal Center and other organizations have protested in the past; yet, the organizers were unfazed and the Hungarian House continued the program. (Read the Wiesenthal Center protest here.)

Poster of the Wass event in February 2018

It is hard to believe that in 2018 in New York City this event could take place. The audience worshiped a convicted World War II criminal who fought against the Allies, murdered Romanians and Jews and gained fame with his anti-Semitic writing. It seems that the Orbán government is determined to export its racist and anti-Semitic propaganda to the US with the aim to rehabilitate the reputation of Hungary’s wartime leader, pro-Hitler Miklós Horthy and his regime.

Ildikó Nagy is responsible for the programs at the NY Hungarian House. She is a recent immigrant from Hungary who is also a member of the Hungarian Government’s Diaspora Council. She regularly attends its meetings in Budapest and also received a Hungarian State award for her propaganda work. (In a personal note, although I despise her activities, I admire her husband, Chris Potter who is one of the best saxophonists in the US.)

Ms. Ildikó Nagy (left) receiving a State Award in New York from Foreign Minister Szijjártó (middle) and New York Consul Mr. Ferenc Kumin (right).

The Wass event was sponsored by the Széchenyi Society led by Ákos Felsővályi. A member of his group is Ákos Szilágyi, another immigrant, a member of the Vitézi Rend and friend to Prime Minister Orbán. This program is “imported” by the NY House, they joined to the Budapest “celebration” and the event took place with the full knowledge of the Hungarian Consul, Ferenc Kumin, who frequently talks about having “zero tolerance” for far-right ideas.

Cardinal Erdő in the Hungarian House. On his left Mr. Ákos Felsővályi and next to him NY Consul Mr. Ferenc Kumin.

Here is his statement from 2015:

Consulate General of Hungary in New York
February 14, 2015

In recent days we received emails and phone calls about an event related to the late Hungarian writer Albert Wass, which will actually take place at an independent US-based cultural institution of the Hungarian diaspora. It depended on the quality of our contacts’ information whether they asked why we, the Consulate General would host this event or why we would support it. A significant wave of disinformation manifests behind the questions of these misled people, concerned friends. It’s not the first time that we see this disinformation mechanism in action, and unfortunately for sure not the last. Our humble suggestion is that every time you get disturbing information regarding the activity of our mission, always double check its credibility. Although luckily we’re surrounded by friends here, in New York and in the US, there are minor exceptions.

As diplomats it is an important part of our jobs to observe the sensitivity of all relevant groups. We understand the feelings of those who have question marks related to the historic role and some activities in the US immigration of Albert Wass, that’s why we do not host or support any event related to him at our New York mission. At the same time we also observe the sensitivity of those who respect the literature and patriotism of Albert Wass, and who would reject to be associated with evil ideologies.”

Let’s be clear, there are no “question marks” related to Wass. This event is insulting to Americans and even members of the Wass family avoid attending them. It is evident that the support of the Hungarian government has transformed the House into a center of right-wing Hungarian propaganda in the US.

In the last couple of years more than 50 Wass statues, plaques and commemorative signs were installed in Hungary. While the vast majority of Hungarians reject Wass, requests for the removal of these statues have been ignored by the Orbán government.

György Lázár

33 Comments

  1. At the core of this particular issue is, that Jews themselves are divided in their judgement of the Orbán regime, and it’s callous dalliance with Nazi sympathizers.

    The New York Consul General, and Orbán himself is on the best of terms with the richest, most influential of New York’s Hassidic leaders. Peter Munk, one of the richest Canadian-Hungarian Jews, a survivor, is the leading Canadian proponent of Viktor Orbán in Canada. Bibi Natenyahu adores Orbán. They were catapulted into office (along with Trump) by the same notoriously immoral, crooked consultants, the late Arthur J. Finkelstein and his partner, George E. Birnbaum (the latter was Bibi’s cabinet secretary, and is still a close confidante of Orbán, as well as of Donald Trump). Just watch how the new US ambassador Mr. Cornstein, himself a friend of the late Finkelstein and Trump, and a billionaire, will treat Mr. Orbán during his posting to Budapest. The one thing he will most certainly not do is to raise his voice against the corrupt and anti-democratic behavior of his host. Nor will he say anything against Orbán’s obscene glorification of Horthy, the man, who sent to the abattoirs, Cornstein’s ancestors.

    The Orbán regime is on the best of terms with Chabad, and has given vast amounts of money to its local Hungarian chapter, which in return pours scorn on whatever Mr. Lázár, or anyone else for that matter says about the Orbán regime’s anti-semitic reflexes. The picture is neither pretty, nor congruent with conventional wisdom. Why ? Because Jews, like Christians, Hungarians and Americans are all people, are susceptible to being swayed by fairy tales, and as such, they possess divergent identities, loyalties and images of reality. The man who signed the death warrants of 600,000 Hungarian Jews, Admiral Horthy, was provided with a handsome stipend till his dying days, by one of the lucky survivors of the Hungarian Holocaust. Go figure….

    Money talks, some listen, and some don’t. This is the RW. I’m with Elie Wiesel, and Randolph L. Braham, both of whom returned all of their awards to the Orbán government because of it’s disgusting embrace of Nazi sympathizers.

  2. Don Hermiston says:

    There is no serious evidence that Wass ordered the execution of peasants at Sucutard and Muresenii de Campie. The Romanian government was Soviet at this time and has it occurred to anyone in this post that the Communist authorities just wanted another nobleman to execute. Calling Wass a war criminal for events which happened over 70 years ago is just a bit rich. And why would anyone take the word of communists and their allies?

  3. As A. Gollner has pointed out above, various Jewish leaders and communities, for different reasons and often for material or political gain, have chosen to align themselves with Orban. Rabbi Slomo Koves is the most blatant example of this, but there are lots of others. This is what makes the lives of people who condemn things like this Wass event in NY difficult. Collaboration from prominent Jews means that for every disgraceful celebration of a wartime fascist there are three respected Jews who can take to the stage and vouch for Orban. Pathetic.

  4. György Lázár says:

    It is misguided to portray the Wass case as a „Jewish” issue, in fact Jews has nothing to do with it. Albert Wass was convicted by Romanian authorities. He was a murderer and falsified his past in order to enter the US as a stateless person in September 1951. Wass was investigated by the Justice Department and he couldn’t leave the US; later committed suicide.

    The vast majority of Hungarian-Americans never heard about Wass, he was not a community leader, he had serious mental issues. Wass claimed that Romanian Securitate units are watching him in Florida and want to assassinate him. Not a „professor” – he barely had any education and worked as a lab technician and part-time teacher at the university’s language laboratory in Florida.

    This is a US legal case, he is convicted and Hungary should remove the Wass statues just like Romania does. His case is a”Hungarian” issue…

    • “Albert Wass was convicted by Romanian authorities.”

      I wish you to have the same fairness in treatment by authorities where you live as Hungarians tend to have at the hands of the Romanian government since 1920. Right now, at this moment, Romanian authorities (prefects) are handing out fines to ethnic Hungarian communities for making use of local symbols. Meanwhile, just a few kilometers away the local flag of Brasov flies right in the front of the prefecture building. That is the situation today, in 2018, which is considered a great improvement on past behavior there.

      If that is your supporting evidence, it says a lot about you!

      And yes, Romania is removing those statues and so on, but they are also recently closed a Hungarian language school, and are generally hostile to anything Hungarian, so…

      I honestly cannot pronounce myself on Wass Albert and his past, but I can definitely say that you are way to eager to condemn a Hungarian, based on a condemnation of a society that pretty much condemns anything Hungarian, and is currently only observing some minimum decency in its behavior, only for the sake of keeping up some apearances.

    • Peter
      Anybody who’s read the ugly antisemitic or kitschy nationalists pieces of Wass “can pronounce” himself – they are a bunch of fascists (together with J. Nyírò, C.Tormay, etc), literary quality here or there.
      To condemn a Hungarian (or other) fascist is always a good deed.

      • Don Hermiston says:

        Why doesn’t anyone condemn Communist scumbags like Bela Khun

      • Have you read Kalergi’s “Practical Idealism”? It is full of racism, hate and disdain for democracy. Distinct nations are inbred, therefore inferior, Jews are the superior race, mixed races are superior to non-mixed races. And not to mention that he declared democracy to be undesirable. He envisioned a new world order, with Jews forming the back-bone of a new modern nobility, which should rule over a new global population formed from mixed races, which would make them more controllable, because they will have less cohesion.

        https://archive.org/stream/PracticalIdealism-EnglishTranslation/Practical%20Idealism%20%E2%80%93%20English%20Translation#page/n15/mode/2up

        Now, Kalergi was the first recipient of the Charlemagne award, and to this day he is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the EU and revered as such. And I do not hear anyone pronouncing themselves on his literary record. Apparently all that hate, bigotry and racism is just fine with most of the Western elites.

        And no, I never read Wass Albert, or Nyiro. Heard of them, but not really interested. 19’th & 20’th centuries gave rise to many messed up ideas, with some terrible consequences. These guys are nothing but some of the mediocre representations of those ideologies. Although, I believe that your ideology will ultimately go down in history as being more destructive. It is yours, which will bring down the Western World, its cultures and its people.

        • Don Hermiston says:

          Most Western Elites were bought off and bribed ages ago. The Kalergi plan is still in motion. You need only look at the African and Arab invasion of Europe introduced by the sickening traitor Angela Merkel to know that Dorothy thinks that something just ain’t right in Kansas anymore. Europeans and people elsewhere of European heritage had better wake up and wake up fast.

      • Robert Morrison says:

        If you mean to condemn an anti-Semitic racist asshole that is OK, well said, but do not mix it with the character of “fascist” because fascism was, is and ever will be a leftist idea and movement regardless how current liberal intellectuals try to flip it by falsifying history.

        • RM
          You have to sort out this “fascism .. leftist idea” with the historians. I do not ascribe anything myself.
          Fascism is a recent, 20th cen. form of dictatorship and the Orban regime ticks the boxes, althoug his corruption exceeds by far that of the fascist regimes of Italy, Germany, Portugal. In the corruption dept Orban is closed to the L.American military dictators of the 1950s 1960s, where 100 families owned and ran the country.
          Hajra, we can make it!

  5. Amoral opportunism is always despicable, but, as a Jew, I find it especially loathesome in fellow Jews, precisely because it drags down the rest of this multiply blighted, ever-at-risk community-of-fate with it. Shame on Köves, Munk, Netanyahu, Finkelstein, Birnbaum, Cornstein… Thank goodness we have far more counter-examples in the likes of George Soros and the countless other honest and humane thinkers and doers of Jewish origin, today and across the ages.

  6. @ Mr. Lázár

    “It is misguided to portray the Wass case as a „Jewish” issue, in fact Jews has nothing to do with it. ”

    I beg to differ. Wass was a Nazi sympathiser, along with Joseph Nyirő – both are heroes of the Orbán regime, and the swastika carrying alt-right. Both served governments that delivered Jews by the hundreds of thousand to the gas chambers. If you say Wass has nothing to do with the Jews please read his poem, Patkányok, (In English: Rats) That’s the name Wass gave to the persecuted Jews of Russia, Ukraine, Galicia, who fled Westward from persecution. He called the Jews rats, who took over Christian Hungary, infested it, and who must, therefore, be exterminated. If Wass had nothing to do with the Jews, Hitler had nothing to do with Auschwitz. Please. Lets get serious.

    I don’t have an english version, but here is the Hungarian text for those who can stomach this Anti Semitic “classic” of Count Albert Wass.

    • Robert Morrison says:

      @ Andris

      The time came when I can agree with you which I never expected to happen.

    • Don Hermiston says:

      When you show me an official document which describes these [MODERATED]

      [Don Hermiston, Holocaust denial is prohibited on this site — The editor]

    • Rats, is what Zsolt Bayer, the Fid “mad dog” character, called the opposition, and it was LAST WEEK, not 1930s 1940s.
      Orban threatened that after their eventual victory in the grossly rigged elections “we shall, of course, call (the opposition to account …politically and legally”.
      So, yes fascism it is, albeit not full blown yet.

  7. Mr. Lázár

    “Albert Wass is a Hungarian issue”

    Albert Wass is NOT a Hungarian issue !!! Please try to get this right.

    Manifestations of racial/ethnic/religious intolerance is a HUMAN ISSUE !!! Blindness to intolerance of others does not restrict itself to Hungarians. It has no national boundaries. It can be found among many of “God’s creatures”, including those who see themselves as God’s chosen ones.

    Our fascination with the storytellers, the manufacturers of the fictions, and myths about our own racial, ethnic, religious superiority knows no boundaries. Jews, Christians,Hungarians, Canadians, Australian bushmen, and pygmies of decency should unite in condemning politicians, or anyone for that matter, who embrace those who collect their royalty payments by portraying other human beings as rats to be exterminated.

    • Robert Morrison says:

      @ András
      what do you expect from him, he is a transportation expert.

    • Albert Wass is a Hungarian issue, Mr Lázár is right. “Mein Kampf” from Hitler is a German issue. Racist are an international issue. And Albert Wass is a Hero for a lot of Hungarians.

      And to say: “what do you expect from him, he is a transportation expert.” is stupid, why don´t you use the term Rat. “what do you expect from him, he is a Rat.” You are so primitive.

  8. The real story here is the insidious rehabilitation of the Horthy era and the situation around Wass is just one small example of this. There are actually much more serious manifestations of how FIDESZ sanitized and rehabilitated the Horthy era, including Horthy busts appearing in Hungary, the hideous Monument to German Occupation, the cult of Nyiro. Wass is the least important and least interesting. Like others mentioned above, we can’t forget the responsibility of those Jews who threw caution to the wind, didn’t care about the worrying signs and embraced Orban’s criminal gang. What was the most scandalous about the Koves incident cited above was that the Chabad rabbi endorsed a politician known for his fascination with the Horthy cult.

  9. György Lázár says:

    Dear András,

    I have a feeling we are talking about the same thing… we might have different approaches.

    First, being racist or antisemite is not a punishable crime in our system. I’m a First Amendment guy and would hate to see any restriction.

    Wass is a legally convicted WWII criminal. Even his family, his son Huba who is a high ranking retired officer in the US Army, won’t dispute that. Some claim that he had a sham or unfair trial. Ok, retry it. For decades the family was unable to find a US politician who would support a retrial in Romania because the case against Wass is rock solid. He murdered people. I might mention that not too long ago a WWII criminal case against Jan Bata was successfully retried in the Czech Republic… Albert Wass and János Esterházy are convicted, no retrial possible.

    I don’t think that it is great inspiration for future Hungarian generations to put up statues of legally convicted WWII criminals. That is what I mean when I say… Hungarian issue.

    I fully agree with you that manifestations of racial/ethnic/religious intolerance is a HUMAN ISSUE… and should not be tolerated. At the same time it is not a legal crime.. see. Knut Hamsun, Ezra Pound etc.

    Cheers -gyuri

    • Retrail in Romania? Seriously? I already provided you with an example of the double standards and prejudice faced by ethnic Hungarians in Romania on a daily basis. Through your statements you are automatically declaring Romanian authorities and their behavior towards Hungarians as fair, given that you suggest a retrail would lead to a fair verdict. Do you have any idea how much of an insult this is to Transylvania’s ethnic Hungarian community, which is faced with constant injustice in everyday life?

  10. Gyuri:

    It is not a crime to disagree in public – at least not here on the pages of the HFP. I agree, that perhaps our disagreement is due to imprecise use of the English language. Perhaps what you wanted to say, when you said that “The Wass case is not a Jewish issue” is that “You can’t blame the idolization of Albert Wass on the Jews”. If so, I wholeheartedly agree.

    The discreet charm of the Hungarian, Slovak, Polish, or any run-of the mill Nazi, like Rebekah Mercer’s “alt-right” friend Richard Spencer, is to blame the Jews for the Holocaust. They had it coming to them, they say. For a while, when I was engaged in mediamonitoring of Hungarian hate literature, I used to pick up newspapers, magazines sold everywhere in Hungary, read by tens of thousands, in which the central message was this: The Holocaust is fake-news. Horthy did not persecute the Jews but saved them. The killing in the death camps was carried out by the Jews themselves. (Bendegúz would no doubt chirp in now, and ask me for detailed bibliographies, but I refuse to serve the wishes of an enabler.)

    The European, and now American dalliance with Fascism – yes, Fascism, ladies and gentlemen, and not populism – the demonization of “the other” as a rat, a terrorist, a termite, a rodent, driven by nothing than an animal like desire to destroy Christian Civilization, is a story that has been told before. Those who understand and have the stomach for it, listen to that woman in the video recite chapter and verse, and keep your eyes on the white haired man at the bottom of the frame. He is one of Hungary’s best known heart surgeons, Lajos Papp, a disgusting purveyor of that old story, that he now calls love. He is decorated, coddled, comforted by the current ruler of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, the man who is only months away from entering the White House and being praised by Trump as a great Democrat.

  11. Robert Morrison says:

    György Lázár on March 19, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Gyuri,

    Go back to your transportation expertise and keep crying over the cost of cab rides in Budapest. Less risky endeavor because András will destroy on this subject whatever little reputation you may have left. 🙂

  12. Robert Morrison says:

    @ Chris

    “[Don Hermiston, Holocaust denial is prohibited on this site — The editor]”
    This is a correct approach. And I would like to see the same standard applied to denial of the migrants’ atrocities in Europe, meaning that you should also moderate them rather than letting them flourish unchecked.

  13. @ Morrison

    “The time came when I can agree with you which I never expected to happen.”

    God is merciful. He giveth but He also taketh away. Enjoy the moment my new found friend. 🙂

    As for your harsh condemnation of Mr. Lázár, I would caution you to be less cocky. I agree with his argument in this article, one of his comments afterwards needed to be clarified, and we have done so. I don’t think he was destroyed here by anyone, least of all by me. He is sitting tall and securely in his saddle. I wish him continuous good health and energy, so he can provide readers of the HFP with materials that elicit civilized discourse and debate.

    • Robert Morrison says:

      @ András B. Göllner on March 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Happy to read you. Now if you could help Gyuri to overcome his hostility toward everything that is Hungarian and steer him into Orban bashing only we could agree that “He is sitting tall and securely in his saddle.”, but until he is bitching about cab fee in Budapest that is less than half than in Toronto he is failing over the side of the horse.

  14. József Nyirö (1889-1953), Albert Wass (1908-1998), István Sinka (1897-1969) and Dezsö Szabó (1879-1945) are in the Hungarian national framework curriculum, if you are a Teacher in Hungary, you can use this Books if you like. Al these writers are antisemitic.

    http://www.pesterlloyd.net/html/1226kerteszkanonprotest.html

    László Kövér President of the Parliament, in a Speech in Siebenbürgen, for a memorial for the recently deceased József Nyirö, says, these are the writer for ethnic Hungarians, the stuff is „spirituel Power“. No this is no Hungarian issue.

  15. @ Don Kichote

    Well said, but for a small slip, which was no doubt unintentional. (Nyirő didn’t die recently – but in 1953, as you have also indicated at the start of your comment.)

    What needs to be known about his case is this: József Nyirő was not simply a writer, but a politician as well. He endorsed the brutality of his young party members, who machine-gunned thousands of Jews (men, women, children) into the frozen waters of the Danube while he sat but meters away in his warm seat in Parliament, scribbling into his notebook. The victims, only meters away, had to strip naked in the cold, winter winds, before they were gunned down, while Mr. Nyirő sat in his warm chair, contented with himself and his leader, Ferenc Szálasi. Later, he accompanied his Arrow Cross leader, along with 60,000 Hungarian retreating soldiers, all the way, holding up the advance of the Allies, slowing down the liberation of Auschwitz, and helping to prolong the senseless and inhumane war that took the lives of 100 million people worldwide. (Including those of 1 million Hungarians)

    Why Mr. Kövér, President of the Hungarian Parliament had to make a point of bringing THIS man’s remains home to be ceremoniously reburied in Romania in 2012, says a lot about Mr. Kövér and Fidesz. It was this sentimental gesture towards Hungary’s Nazi past, that was the last straw for the great Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laurate, and Holocaust survivor himself. This is why he returned all his earlier awards to the Orbán regime. Mr. Kövér should have been fired on the spot for this callous act by his leader, Viktor Orbán. The fact that he was NOT fired, that both Orbán and Kövér laid wreaths at the gravesite of István Csurka, another of Hungary’s notorious antisemites, that they lavish state decorations upon Jew and Roma hating scumbags like Zsolt Bayer, says EVERYTHING about Orbán and his faithful.

    What baffles my mind Mr. kichote, is this: How can ANYONE – Jew, Christian, Muslim, Roma, Hungarian, Canadian, Cree, etc – especially those Hungarian-Canadian Jews who lost family members to the Holocaust – serve this fraudulent, manifestly corrupt, rule of law violating regime ? My answer to my own question is not terribly rewarding. Human greed, coupled with the propensity of human beings to be deceived, to swallow well spun fairy-tales, is limitless. What keeps Mr. Orbán solidly in HIS saddle is HIS knowledge of this fundamental human trait.

    • First „Well said, but for a small slip, which was no doubt unintentional. (Nyirő didn’t die recently – but in 1953, as you have also indicated at the start of your comment.)“ I am not sure he already died.

      I did´nt use my English for 30 Years, so it is bad. Why are the Hungarians like that. First, a Hungarian will not act directly, they learned from the History to be careful. Second the most do not understand what they read, also not if they have a Dr. Title.

      Because of that we have a Blogger, living very good in Germany, says about himself he is a Man of World, says he know Hungary and try very hard, to put Germans newspapers work, about Hungary, as lie. With the help for example of Boris Kanoky, a friend of Aristocrat and a Journalist from die Welt and die Presse, they found a few parts which was no good Journalistic work and what they found was not profound. Meanwhile after two three years they realized that Boris is the same. He is Balogs the Calvinist friend, what do they expect. All that commentators there are very intelligent but “the lying” they can´t find. Boris wrote long ago Fidesz solved the Rom-question, nothing more.

      What I want to say if you learn in the Kinder-garden with 4 Years how to build a Hungarian flag. Than it is brainwashing, not learning not knowing and what is hated must go. First it makes blind, second you get ill, thats it.

  16. @ Don Kichote

    You out did yourself.

  17. Mr. Göllner, it is possible to understand what I wrote. And this was also the answer, the education is to build an enslavement (building Flags). Orbán in his Jung times learned that very hard and he knows to use it. With jealousy for example you can´t navigate People. But with fear, that is what he learned, you can do all.

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