Antisemitism of the Orbán regime – Cécile Tormay’s statue and plaques

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán frequently talks about having zero-tolerance for racism and antisemitism, yet his government recently honored Cécile Tormay, a prominent anti-Semite.

Cécile Tormay was born in 1877 and died prematurely in 1937 at the age of 60 in the picturesque village of Mátraháza where she shared a house with Countess Ambrózy-Migazzi. The Hungarian writer was an admirer of Mussolini and greeted with enthusiasm the rise of Hitler.

Cécile Tormay

All her life Tormay was one of Hungary’s leading anti-Semites; she obsessively hated everything Jewish. In her view Jews were a failed race corrupting the pure bloodline of the Hungarian nation.

Tormay was also openly lesbian. As a young woman she travelled Europe with her lover Francesca D’ Orsay and her sexual escapades made headlines when she was involved in a highly publicized scandal with her then lover Countess Raphael Zichy. Hungary’s ruler (and self-confessed anti-Semite) Admiral Horthy intervened on her behalf to save Tormay’s “reputation.”

In 1938 Hungary started the introduction of draconian race laws against its Jewish citizens and in 1943 her statue was inaugurated Just two years later, in 1945, after the fall of Hungarian fascism the statue was removed as part of the denazification process overseen by the Allied Control Commission. (The United States was a member of that body.)

Tormay’s books were largely forgotten after WWII but in the 1990s her anti-Semitic manifesto, An Outlaw’s Diary (Bujdosó könyv) became popular in far right circles. Jobbik, Hungary’s then most far-right party, started to idolize her after party leader Gábor Vona praised her in a speech. (Watch Vona’s Tormay speech here.)

Jobbik poster of event to commemorate Tormay.

In 2012 ruling Fidesz party politicians followed Jobbik and with support from Budapest mayor Mr. István Tarlós, Mr. Máté Kocsis and Mr. Sándor Lezsák inaugurated Tormay’s statue calling her a “great patriot.” Kocsis is currently an MP and leader in Fidesz’ parliamentary group; Lezsák is also an MP who serves as Vice Chairman of the Parliament.

Ruling party Fidesz politicians Mr. Máté Kocsis (left) and Mr. Sándor Lezsák at Tormay’s statue.

Hungarian civil leaders protested and there has been an international outcry. “This decision by the Budapest city government, which is headed by a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, puts into question the pledge given to the Jewish community that anti-Semitism will be fought vigorously by the Hungarian authorities. However, it seems that they need to be reminded that Cécile Tormay was not only one of Miklós Horthy’s favorite writers. She was also a notorious anti-Semite.” – wrote Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress.

After the protest, the Budapest City Council rejected a move to name a street after her, but the statue still stands as Fidesz politicians refuse to remove it. (Read here.) The statue is located in downtown Budapest, on Rákóczi út at Rókus hospital. Several plaques also commemorate Tormay in the city of Balassagyarmat, (Széchenyi St. 13) and in Budapest (Kőfaragó St. 3).

Needless to say that Tormay’s statue and plaques insult most Hungarians. Kocsis and Lezsák have no place in Parliament. Hungary badly needs a new “denazification” process to remove these shameful memorials.

György Lázár

24 Comments

  1. A few years ago, wandering, I discovered this bust of Tormay Cécile at the Rokus Hospital: it was behind a tall iron fence, presumably, I thought, to protect it from defacement.

  2. Wholeheartedly agree. Even still harsher wording would be justifiable. (Since years.)

  3. Calling the Orban government anti-Semitic is really over the top nonsense. What do you refer to? Is it the fact that the government will not let any North African or third world gangsters ruin the country? Or is it fact, Orban loathes gangsters like George Soros?

    • So the once Jobbik intentions are now being realized by the Fid regime.
      The Hu antisemitism is somewhat different: while it is deeply and widely ingrained it comes together with other anti-s, the Huns love to hate.
      BTW Don H sounds like a cretin above, or at least like a complete and silly dupe.

    • „Is it the fact that the government will not let any North African or third world gangsters ruin the country?“ You are openly racist and defend Orbán, we have a lot of your kind. If Orbán were not racist, you would not have any arguments. So even you say that Orban is a racist. Hermiston

  4. Sandor Kerekes says:

    Dear Mr. Hermiston, please do not mix up the shit with the liver. Who is, or is not a gangster will hardly be decided by Orban, the unprecedented and peerless gangster of Hungarian history. You just stick with the subject at hand and refer to the wisdom of Tormay concerning immigration. That is the task fitting to your mental capacity.

  5. Right around the time when Hitler was writing his “Mein Kampf”, an equally hateful book was written by Kalergi, which basically declared Jews to be the master race, and all distinct native cultures as inferior (inbred), in need of extinction through mixing. Classical racist theory, complete with references to inferiority/superiority, as well as overall hateful concepts directed at particular groups of people. Kalergi was first recipient of Charlemagne award, which since then was awarded to Merkel, Junker, just to name a few. If we are to use author’s logic here they (recipients of award) are all a bunch of hate-filled racists, who despise distinct native cultures (their recent behavior would suggest it is indeed the case).

    Author desperately trying to pin antisemitism on current government, but here is a recent assessment by leader of World Jewish Congress on Hungary:

    “I have been deeply troubled by reports in recent months that some opposition party members in Hungary have been willing to entertain the possibility of alliances with the extremist Jobbik party,” Lauder said. “I recently travelled to Hungary to assess the situation for myself and was dismayed to find that they are entirely true.”

    https://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/news/wjc-president-lauder-concerned-by-hungarian-opposition-party-members-moves-to-ally-with-extremist-jobbik-2-1-2019

    Also, if author wants to truly understand the problem of antisemitism in Europe today, I recommend he put on a kippah and devote a day to walking around, first in Budapest, then repeat in Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Malmo, Paris or any other major towns in Western Europe. If he lives through the experiment, he can then tell us all what he learned.

    • Joe your logic is that, where I’m less beaten there is no racism. And we should also try it for ourselves. Joe your logic is just babble.

    • Joe by the way, you are a nazi an you use Jews for your fals thought, that makes you what you are.

    • Latest news from a Hungarian concentration camp https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2019-02/asylpolitik-ungarn-fluechtlinge-transitzone-serbien-egmr?

      An Iraqi couple did not receive food for more than five days, said a spokesman for the hungary Helsinki news website index.hu. Only after an urgent order of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) were they restored.

      Our clients received food this afternoon for the first time in 6 and a half days, thanks to the emergency order #Rule39 of the European Court of Human Rights.

      Should the authorities restart the shameful and unlawful starvation in the transit zones, we’ll again see them in court. https://t.co/qVNDolbsoc
      — HunHelsinkiCommittee (@hhc_helsinki) 14. Februar 2019

    • “I recommend he put on a kippah and devote a day to walking around, first in Budapest, then repeat in Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Malmo, Paris or any other major towns in Western Europe.”

      Experiment is being done every day by actual Jews. So, why not just ask some Jews? Oh, it’s been done!

      2018 EURO survey.

      “Respondents who have considered emigrating
      because of not feeling safe as a Jew”

      DK 44% FR 44% HU 40%

      Doesn’t seem like Hungarian Jews feel much safer than those in Berlin or Paris.

      But you just keep up your gentile-splaining, Joe.

      • I continue to be amazed by how out of touch with reality you are. 2017 antisemitic attacks in Hungary, 37 incidents.

        2017 antisemitic attacks in UK, 1,382, and last year there was another huge increase to 1,652.

        https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/01/antisemitic-incidents-in-uk-at-all-time-high

        https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/06/uk/uk-antisemitic-incidents-rise-gbr-intl/index.html

        France 2017 attacks about 1,000, and a roughly 75% increase in 2018.

        60% increase in Germany, and so on and so on, mostly a trend seen in Western Europe.

        I don’t know about your survey. But it could be that it is a perception borne out of hate for the current government among Jewish circles in Hungary, because the facts do not support that perception.

        And no, Jews do not do that in Europe every day. In most of Western Europe most Jews know better than to try.

        Like I said, completely out of touch and you seem determined to continue reinforcing it every chance you get.

        • Hey reality Joe, I read about a Hungarian girl with a Spanish name that a mom in kindergarten told her, she would speak Hungarian almost without accent. She did not tell about Jews …

  6. 4 November 2012: At the inauguration of a commemorative plaque for anti-Semitic writer Cécile Tormay in Budapest, Kerényi (Imre Kerényi, the Special Representative of the Prime Minister to popularize the new constitution, in Debrecen. at this time) said she had been anti-Semitic, but that in her case it was “the salon anti-Semitism of the better circle”, which never led to violence against Jews “(fn.hir24.hu). The Hungarian laws of Jews remain unmentioned. … salon anti-Semitism of the better circle … OMG

    In April 2012, Fidesz spokesman Máté Kocsis (former member of right-wing extremist MIÉP) and Sándor Lezsák inaugurated a statue of antisemitic writer Cécile Tormay in Budapest.

    The journalist Beatrix Siklósi worked for the far-right Echo TV. In 2009 she was at the unveiling of a commemorative plaque 2014.10.15 for the anti-Semitic writer Cécile Tormay by right-wing, anti-Semitic pastor Lóránt Hegedűs jun. honored for their merits in his church on Freedom Square. … hungarian church …

  7. It`s a classical case of sexual insatisfaction… hence the lesbian inclination! I`m sure Cecile Tormay, was one of the women, that never knew what female orgasm feels like… 🙂 And because of this issue, it was just the jewish people`s fault…

  8. Váci Klebelsberg Kultúrkör says:

    Very correct to remember Cecile Tormay, she was brilliant writer, very close to win a Nobel-prize. She was much less antisemitic , fascist, racist as the present days left-wing party-leaders, or any of your beloved Spinoza-club members , ideological fugleman (like Ágnes Heller, György Gerébi, György Bolgár, György Spíró, …) .
    Her sexual-orientation ?
    Aha, again your double-moral !
    Does she wanted to create a movement for free lesbian adoptation, …. ???
    No , never. It was and it is the habit of her opposite site, the blood-sucking revolutionaries (Béla Kun, Tibor Samuelly, György Lukács,… ) killing thousands of hungarians and robbing out the country !
    The ‘rat revolution’ is the very expression what Cecile Tormay created and in her famous books described the perverted killing commandos.
    Thats not her fault if you are sympathizing with the killers and robbers ….

    • “György Bolgár” – George Bulgar…?
      “György Spíró” – George Spiru…?
      “György Lukács” – George Lucaciu…?

    • Váci, the smartest Klebelsberg Kultúrkör graduate, a question …

      “Her sexual-orientation ?
      Aha, again your double-moral !”

      which double-moral?

    • VKK
      Tormay, the “brilliant” author completely forgotten, but now dusted off to serve as a symbol of the current fascist regime.

      Let me remind you that the Horthy / Hèjjas / Prònai “nationalists” killed TWICE as many as “the blood sucking revolutionaries”.
      Not to speak of the 500k Jews and other undesirable the Hu governments assisted in killing.
      But obviously this is your “culture”.
      Pity the allies didn’t push with the denazification in Hu.

  9. A. Boros-Kazai says:

    There may well be anti-Semitic and “anti-Semitic” voices heard in Hungary. In that sense Hungary resembles post-WWII United States. Those voices are heard, they are criticized, condemned or praised. That is “Freedom of speech,” as the Democratic Congresswoman from Minnesota would say.
    On the other hand, Jewish schools in Hungary are not protected by armed guards, as they are in France and elsewhere in the West.

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