Recently in the spotlight

The Leninplatz statue before 1992.

Lenin’s head goes missing in Berlin

A statue of Vladimir I. Lenin that stood in East Berlin for over two decades and which was dismantled and removed in 1991 was thought to have been buried in pieces in the Köpenick Forest, located to the southeast of the German capital. The monument’s 3.5 ton granite head was believed to have been buried there as well, but when a […]

by · August 23, 2014 · East
New book explores Hungarian communist era architecture

New book explores Hungarian communist era architecture

A new book by photographer Katharina Roters explores an often neglected form of architecture unique to socialist era Hungary and one that is simply known as “The Cube” (or Kádár kocka). The Cube is perhaps so often neglected simply because it is incredibly ubiquitous throughout the country, especially when it comes to housing constructed shortly after World War II. Yet what made […]

by · August 23, 2014 · Culture
Ferenc Falus on the cover of Heti Válasz.

Right-wing weekly probes mayoral candidate’s Jewish “connection”

Coded antisemitism is a familiar phenomenon on the “moderate” Hungarian right (provided that there is still such a thing as moderate, centre-right Hungarian politics). While Jobbik and those to the right of Fidesz-KDNP are open in their antisemitic diatribes, the pro-Fidesz press simply aims to insinuate that the Hungarian left – en masse – is somehow beholden to Jewish interests. The […]

by · August 21, 2014 · Antisemitism
Imre Kertész

Stop abusing seriously ill Nobel laureate Imre Kertész!

This week, in a reversal of their previous position, Mr. Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party declared that the writings of author Imre Kertész, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, are actually in sync with their philosophy and are putting him up for a high state award. Historian Dr. Mária Schmidt wrote a lengthy article declaring Mr. Kertész the Hungarian […]

by · August 15, 2014 · Focus
Ágnes Kunhalmi

Socialists set Ágnes Kunhalmi and Ferenc Falus up for failure

The democratic opposition’s election campaign ahead of the October 12th municipal elections in Budapest is the very epitome of a political train wreck. It is certainly true that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to completely transform the Hungarian capital’s electoral system a mere four months before the vote would have thrown a wrench into the plans of any political party, no […]

by · August 14, 2014 · Focus
Canadian embassy staff at the Salgotarjáni St. cemetery. (Photo: mazsihisz.hu)

Canadian embassy staff visit and clear weeds from Budapest Jewish cemetery

Staff of the Canadian embassy in Budapest visited the Salgotarjáni Street Jewish cemetery to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to tend to a portion of the graveyard that has been largely neglected. The embassy workers visited the cemetery’s Budapest ghetto memorial and used this as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tolerance, diversity and […]

by · August 13, 2014 · Antisemitism
Kassowitz and Williams

Robin Williams and Hungary

Robin Williams, a comic and sitcom star, an Oscar-winning dramatic actor, died at the age of 63. He appears to have committed suicide. The news truly rocked North-America, television channels broke into their usual programming to make the announcement, and the news dominated online trending topics. Mr. Williams was a comic genius, a star of both movies and television for […]

by · August 12, 2014 · Culture
Illustration: Echo24.cz

Illiberal Orbán portrayed as Central Europe’s paprika dictator

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s infamous (and illiberal) Tusnádfürdő speech has taken on a life of its own in the foreign press. The Czech Republic’s Ech024.cz news site published this caricature of Mr. Orbán, as Central Europe’s new “paprika” dictator: The illustration warns of Central Europe’s dangerous transformation and of Mr. Orbán’s dreams of resurrecting Greater Hungary, at the expense of neighbouring […]

by · August 11, 2014 · Politics
Spanish volunteers in Eastern Ukraine fight alongside rebels. Photo: RT.

Spanish volunteers fight alongside rebels in Ukraine

The satellite news channel RT (previously known as Russia Today)  is not best known for its balanced, dispassionate journalism. It was once referred to by US Secretary of State John Kerry as a “propaganda bullhorn” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. (The State Department seemed especially vexed by RT’s continued assertion following the ousting of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, that the revolt had […]

by · August 10, 2014 · East
Zoltán Balog with Rabbi Köves

Rabbi Köves defended minister Zoltán Balog in 2009

Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog’s recent comments concerning the deportation of Roma from Hungary during WWII reminds me of some of his earlier faux pas. The Hungarian Free Press reported earlier that Mr. Balog has denied that Roma citizens were deported from Hungary. He went on to warn the Roma community that it must not focus on these wartime experiences […]

by · August 7, 2014 · Antisemitism