Focus

Poster advertising RCA Victor radios in 1937. John Vassos papers, 1920-[198-], Archives of American Art.

András Göllner: RCA Viktor–His Master’s Voice in Canada (Overture)

We go abroad to wonder – at the towering beauty of the mountains, at the crashing power of the waves on the high seas, at the winding flow of a majestic river, at the vastness of the oceans, at the miracle of the stars above: but we often walk past ourselves, without wondering The Confessions of Saint Augustine Introduction How […]

by · May 25, 2015 · Focus
Vilmos Hanti

Vilmos Hanti: Dormant fascism sprouts in weak democracies

Vilmos Hanti is a prominent Hungarian antifascist activist and the 2005 recipient of the cross of the Republic of Hungary’s Order of Merit. Mr. Hanti is the president of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters and he submitted the text of his speech given in Moscow on May 7th, 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary commemorations of the […]

by · May 14, 2015 · Focus
Alfahír's reporter, Adrian Magvasi, interviews Mr. Kisberk. Photo: Alfahír.

Hungary’s Jobbik builds far-right media empire

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán isn’t the only one trying to build a new media empire, after his public conflict with long-time friend, media magnate and oligarch Lajos Simicska. Jobbik leader Gábor Vona, who is a more astute politician than just about anyone else in the Hungarian opposition, is building a media empire of his own. And this media empire is […]

by · May 10, 2015 · Focus
Hungarian Red Army monument in Újpest. Fidesz and Jobbik have partnered to have it demolished.

History wars: Hungarian radical leftist writes to college classmate, Gábor Vona

Hungary is a small country and early twentieth century author Frigyes Karinthy’s theory on the six degrees of separation isn’t really applicable to a society of this size. As it turns out, during his university days, the chairman of the Left Party (Balpárt), Szilárd Kalmár, lived in the same dorms as Gábor Vona, the leader of the far-right Jobbik party. […]

by · April 22, 2015 · Focus
Lajos Erdélyi, an 87 Holocaust survivor, holds an illustration made by a campmate in Auschwitz. Photo: László Balogh/Reuters.

Victims or perpetrators? Hungary isn’t the only country haunted by Nazi collaboration

The Polish government is in the midst of a polemical and defensive historical debate around World War II and the Holocaust. The official Polish narrative could have been taken directly from the speaking points of the Orbán government in Budapest, which has enshrined in the country’s constitution the preposterous idea that Hungary was purely a victim of German occupation and […]

by · April 20, 2015 · Focus
Szabolcs Nótin, editor-in-chief of the pro-government Hungary Today online paper.

Hungary Today responds to HFP article: The pro-government foundation does not receive public funds

Dear Editor,  I would like to point out some mistakes that took place in the following article about Hungary Today and its publisher, the Friends of Hungary Foundation.  On the same issue, we have written an article earlier, fyi. The Foundation has never received or applied for state funding and covers its operation costs exclusively from private and corporate donations. The Foundation is committed […]

by · April 19, 2015 · Focus
Marion Smith, the president of the Common Sense Society in Budapest. Photo: CCS/Facebook

The Hungarian right’s new “Common Sense” voice: Orbán in English translation

I stumbled upon the so-called Common Sense Society and its blog, “Paprika Politik,” completely by accident. A friend and prominent Hungarian civil rights activist, Eszter Garai-Édler, drew my attention to this youthful, cheerful, well-dressed group of thoroughly respectable young professionals, who enjoy research grants and write English-language articles, all about how Hungary finally crossed the Rubicon in 2012, when the […]

by · April 18, 2015 · Focus
Proportion of students in Hungarian public schools, by county, who are of Roma origin. Source: MNO's map, based on data obtained from HVG.

Hungary’s demographic revolution? Roma youth comprise a third of all students in eastern Hungarian counties

Attila Z. Papp, a researcher affiliated with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Minority Studies Institute, presented research findings on significant demographic changes in Hungary that made headlines in the Hungarian media. The conservative Heti Válasz weekly magazine wrote about a “demographic revolution” and how there are now 298 schools in Hungary where Roma students form the majority of the pupil […]

by · April 9, 2015 · Focus
Alternative Holocaust memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam.

Remembering the dead in Hungary: An example of civic engagement

It’s impossible to detach public history and collective memory from contemporary politics. How a society portrays the past is determined by current realities, contemporary values or interests, as well as the dominant, “preferred” narratives of history. But the government and public institutions don’t have a monopoly over the past ; where civic engagement is strong, grassroots organizations and local activists […]

by · April 6, 2015 · Focus
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó (left) with Chilean counterpart Heraldo Muñoz (right). Photo: Francisco Leon Puga.

Hungarian Foreign Affairs is serious about its southern “strategy”

I put the word “strategy” in quotation marks for a reason. When Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, gathered together his increasingly rag-tag group of lackeys and personal football friends-turned-ambassadors and diplomats earlier this month to announce, alongside Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the ministry’s decision to replace its policy of “opening to the east” with a new “opening to […]

by · March 30, 2015 · Focus