Hungarian American organization supports convicted violent neo-Nazis in Romania

Two Romanian citizens, Mr. István Beke and Mr. Zoltán Szőcs were arrested in November, 2015. They are ethnic Hungarians and local leaders of a group called Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement (Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom). The two man were charged with planning to detonate an improvised device during the December 1, 2015, National Day celebration in Targu Secuiesc (Kézdivásárhely in Hungarian), Romania.

Mr. Beke and Mr. Szőcs promote convicted WWII criminal Albert Wass .

Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement rally at the Romanian Embassy in Budapest in 2016.

The Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement is a far-right, neo-fascist organization based in Hungary and targets primarily the Roma population and gays. The movement’s leader is László Toroczkai. In 2008 Toroczkai was arrested at arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport and immediately deported from Canada. It was reported that Toroczkai is on the “suspected terrorist” list for his alleged activities in the Yugoslav civil war. In Hungary he was elected mayor of a small border-town where he organized a militia “to hunt” for illegal migrants. Some members of his group are armed and could be dangerous.

Mr. Toroczkai (middle) with his American supporter Mr. András Pongrátz who lives in Phoenix AZ.

Mr. Toroczkai leader of Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement with friends.

Beke and Szőcs spent 11 months in pre-trial detention, followed by six months of house arrest. After searching Beke’s home, Romanian authorities found illegally-obtained pyrotechnic explosives and devices to build electronic triggers. On April 7, 2017 they were convicted and since the sentence already amounted to the time they had already served, the two men were released.

Both defense and prosecution teams appealed the verdict. The prosecution accused Beke and Szőcs of an aggravated charge of “attempted overthrow of the constitution order” and “incitement.” On July 4, 2018 they both were sentenced for a second time, now to five years imprisonment.

This was not the first bomb attack trial in Romania. In 1984 in the town of Sfântu Gheorghe (Sepsiszentgyörgy in Hungarian) an explosive device was detonated at the town center. The handmade bomb misfired and killed an ethnic Hungarian child who was playing nearby. The accused bomb-maker, also an ethnic Hungarian, fled to Hungary. He was not extradited because he was protected by his double citizenship.

The New York-based Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) is registered as a non-profit organization with a mission “to advocate for the human rights” of ethnic Hungarians who live in the countries surrounding Hungary. HHRF called upon the Romanian authorities “to immediately release Beke and Szőcs and exonerate them of all charges.” (Read here HHRF’s call.)

HHRF is the brainchild of Paris-born 67-year-old Mr. László Hámos who has Hungarian ancestry. Hámos developed close relations with Hungary’s far-right government and raises funds in the US and also receives monies for various projects from Hungary. HHRF also participates in the Körösi Csoma Program; this year Mr. Viktor Ivicsics from Budapest is helping their work in New York.

Mr. Hámos (left) with Mr. Ferenc Kumin, Hungary’s Consul General in New York in 2016.

Although HHRF has a website, it does not publish a physical address, a phone number, nor even an email address. According to public records it operates at 120 E90th St. #5D from an 895-square-foot condo.

Everybody, even fascist thugs, deserves proper legal process, a fair trial and a just sentence. In the Beke-Szőcs case Gabriel-Cristian Piscociu from the Romanian President’s office has made it clear that they have the right to ask for clemency from Romanian President Klaus Johannis. The law provides this option for them. However, Beke and Szőcs declined; instead they choose to be part of an international anti-Romanian publicity stunt orchestrated from Budapest. They are the willing poster-boys of a media campaign which claims that they are innocent and “heroes of the Hungarian cause” in Transylvania.

I find it highly disturbing that HHRF, an opaque US non-profit organization with Hungary’s support is lobbying in the United States for neo-Nazis as a “human rights” project. A couple of years ago I asked Mr. Hámos to reveal his organization’s finances; I never got an answer.

Mr. László Hámos (left), Mr. Árpád Potápi, State Secretary for Hungarian Communities abroad (middle) and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest.

Attempting to detonate bombs is a serious crime in the United States. In a recent case, Cesar Sayoc tearfully apologized as he pleaded guilty to sending and threatening to send pipe-bombs to prominent US politicians. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and possibly as much as life behind bars.

It would be prudent for Mr. Hámos to explain who his organization represents in the US? Where does he get his funding? I have a feeling that the vast majority of Hungarian Americans reject this campaign and would never support members of the neo-fascist Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement.

György Lázár

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Hungarian media just reported that Mr. László Hámos, founder of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) died in New York on April 17 in the early morning hours.   He was 68 years old.  Our condolences to the family.  (Hungarian Free Press)

8 Comments

  1. They are Hungarians! Not Romanians!
    Thugs, primitives, jealous of successful Jews, and any other ethnic living.
    They should be brought to justice and deported – not to Romania, but to an open market such as the ghetto outside of Budapest where the Jews suffered before boarding trains to their deaths.
    They are most likely not even US citizens but if they are new citizens, our State Dept has to strip them and their families in the States based on hidden Nazi and dangerous believes and practices.

  2. Bravo! Best article since “A Szekelyek nem Magyarok” angle. And bravo to the editor as well. Spends thousands of dollars a year and countless hours just to further ruin his reputation by becoming a platform for anti-Hungarian bigotry and hate.

    Here are the facts:

    The “device” mentioned in article was in fact nothing but fireworks they seized from them, which they intended to set off in order to disrupt a Romanian celebration. Distasteful perhaps, but not an act of attempted terrorism, which is what they were convicted of. If such “justice” were to be implemented across Europe, millions of soccer hooligans would have to be imprisoned.

    Article also calls them violent, but to my knowledge these individuals were never ever convicted of violent acts.

    This is in fact a case meant to smear the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania with the “terrorist” label. It is yet another act of injustice.

    Such examples are always plentiful. Latest is from town of Korond where municipality was slapped with 100 k Euro fine, just because Romanian authorities did not like translation of “city hall” from Romanian to Hungarian. Such as fine will ruin that little town.

    https://www.erdely.ma/kelemen-hunor-felhaborito-a-korondi-magyar-feliratert-kiszabott-sulyos-birsag/

    • DacianThunder says:

      This Árpád Potápi fellow, in the photo above, looks quite Romanian(Dacian) to me… just look at his slightly darker skin tone and his rounder skull… yup! If that`s not a Romanian, I don`t know what romanian is then… he`s even slightly darker skin toned than “Chiorban” himself!

  3. György Lázár says:

    After the publication of our article the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) removed their English language call “to immediately release Beke and Szőcs and exonerate them of all charges.” HHRF replaced the link with the obituary of László Hámos. Cached version of the original page can be retrieved.

    • Assuming that you had anything to do with having the message removed, does this not contradict your stated desire to have justice for everyone? “Everybody, even fascist thugs, deserves proper legal process, a fair trial and a just sentence.”

      Now, I already pointed out, with clear examples the extent and nature of “justice” when it comes to the Romanian government in its relations with the ethnic Hungarian community. So, how does your bullying everyone out of supporting justice for those people achieve your stated desire of justice for all, even people you do not like?

      Should also point out to you that the Romanian secret service never meant to have this case be only a “terrorist” incident involving two individuals. They intended to put the ethnic Hungarian community and their “extremism” on trial. Just so you understand, the concept and definition of Hungarian “extremism” in the view of Romanian society, means anyone who will mention the desire to enjoy the same rights as other historical minorities in the EU and around the world, such as autonomy where feasible, and official language status. Or simply equal rights, such as adopting a local flag, like other local governments in Romania are doing, unhindered, while Hungarian communities are getting heavy fines (talk of Romanian justice).

      You mentioned asking for “clemency”? Would that not be a victory for the Romanian authorities who will be able to point to admitted guilt, removing all the problematic aspects in regards to this case, thus bolstering their hateful propaganda? I have no doubt, based on your venom-filled attitude towards Hungarians that it would be just the outcome you desire!

      You sir are proving yourself to be as filled with hate against that already beleaguered and suffering minority as the worst of Romania’s hate-filled bigots. As is the case with the Romanian justice system, in your mind Hungarian = guilty.

  4. GEORGE SOROS AWARDED RIDENHOUR PRIZE — DONATES STIPEND TO PROFESSOR EVA BALOGH’S HUNGARIAN SPECTRUM

    Since 2004, the Ridenhour Prizes have been awarded to men and women “who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society.”

    https://thelensnola.org/2019/04/17/soros-accepts-ridenhour-prize-for-courage-in-an-age-of-lies/?fbclid=IwAR3Ljvh_iReYIltvnZwt23AYBK3j6I4w2XoKTcfJ8XFSfUeJaio1w4fJo5g

  5. Andras B. Gollner says:

    Excellent article Mr Lázár.

    I have done considerable research myself over the years on the de-facto pro-Hitler, anti-Semitic, fascist group headed by Mr. Torockai. The evidence to this effect is empirically verifiable. I have analyzed Mr. Torockai’s publicly available hate-speeches which are full with praise for the murderer of 6 million Jews. For Hungarian speakers, I recommend my study published in Élet és Irodalom, (Elfelejtett Katona. August 27, 2007). Once I have a bit more time on my hands I’ll reveal why Canada did the right thing by deporting from these shore the disgusting Nazi agitator .

    The American Hungarian Human Rights Foundation’s defense of members of a Nazi organization has nothing to do with the defense of human rights, and everything to do with the defense of Nazism. They should be named and shamed as American promoters of a Central European terrorist group that promotes Nazi ideas and has the blood of innocent victims on their hands.

    The troll above (“Joe”) cannot be named, because he is a nameless promoter of the disgusting racists who are happily embraced by the HHRF.

    • “he is a nameless promoter of the disgusting racists”

      Oh dear! Academics and basic reading comprehension skills just don’t seem to get along. I thought Reality Check was the only one with a severe affliction in this regard, but clearly he has company among his fellow academics.

      I clearly pointed out the fact that the Romanian secret service set up those specimens in order to put the ethnic Hungarian community itself on trial. So of course they picked hard to defend individuals, meant to reflect negatively on all Hungarians fighting for basic rights (which are all called “extremists” in Romanian society). But in the defense of justice, even such individuals need to be defended in regards to their rights to fair trial, which as I pointed out they did not receive. Where in all that is there a defense of “disgusting racists”? In the head of an academic!

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