Recently in the spotlight

Syrian and Afghan refugees in II. János Pál pápa tér, a park in the 8th District, after being evicted from the Keleti railway station by police. There is no sign of tents, fires being lit, knife violence or fighting, as Mayor Kocsis claimed on Facebook. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI.

Fidesz mayor Máté Kocsis and the hysteria around refugees in Hungary

Máté Kocsis, the Fidesz party mayor of Budapest’s 8th district, is among the most avid Facebook users in Hungary, and in his case it’s not a press secretary posting updates on his behalf, but the mayor himself. Sometimes he gets himself into trouble, like when he engaged in a homophobic tirade earlier this year, after a liberal politician outed him […]

by · August 5, 2015 · Politics
A rather edgy Kuruc.info propaganda poster.

Budapest teacher turned Nazi journalist jumped on opportunity to get inheritance from Canada

HFP readers will recall a story we published in June about how a small activist cell, which calls itself The Voice of Six Million Souls, “outed” a rabidly antisemitic and Holocaust-denying contributor to the Nazi website Kuruc.info (who wrote under the pseudonym Ottó Perge), as being a high school history teacher by the name of László Zábori. Since that article […]

by · August 4, 2015 · Politics
Mayor Orosz, in his signature military fatigues. Photo: Hir24.

Érpatak: a Hungarian town living under far-right terror

I imagine that most of our readers have not been to, and perhaps never even heard of the northeastern Hungarian town of Érpatak (population: 1,700). The small town is run by far-right mayor Mihály Zoltán Orosz, who made a national name for himself by causing a scene at last year’s Gay Pride parade in Budapest, where he showed up dressed […]

by · August 3, 2015 · Focus
Viktor Orbán in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tuşnad), Romania.

Hungary’s Orbán is far more dangerous than Jobbik or any other extreme right movement

Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde, the author of Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2005), made a critically important point in an op-ed piece published Saturday in The Guardian. According to Professor Mudde, western journalists and activists who have been concerned primarily with, and focused almost exclusively on, the rise of the far-right Jobbik in Hungary have been wrong […]

by · August 1, 2015 · Politics
Rev Ludwig and Rev. Poznan in better times.

Calvin Synod Bishop Rt. Rev. Koloman K. Ludwig responds to HFP article

Bishop Kolomon K. Ludwig responded to our article about the sudden removal of Rev. Béla Poznan the long-time Bishop of the Calvin Synod. In his email, Bishop Ludwig explained that Rev. Poznan was never accused of financial mismanagement, nor was this ever insinuated by anyone. He also indicated that the Synod has no further comment on this subject. We thank […]

by · August 1, 2015 · Diaspora
French photographer Bruno Bourel, who relocated to Budapest in 1993, created a series of photos on Jégbüfé.

Jégbüfé: Reflections on an authentically retro Budapest confectionery

Amidst all the kitsch, the tacky souvenir shops, the tourist traps and the overpriced “traditional Hungarian” restaurants along Váci utca, Budapest’s main pedestrian mall, there’s a little haunt called the Jégbüfé (Ice buffet), located just a block away, right near the foot of Elisabeth Bridge. When you go to the Jégbüfé, think more communist era retro, rather than old world […]

by · July 31, 2015 · Culture
Sister Margit Slachta

Angel of Mercy in Canada – a film about Sister Margit Slachta

In 1949 when Sister Margit Slachta arrived to the United States and asked for temporary refuge, she had no idea that she would never return to Hungary. She died in Buffalo, New York, in 1974 and the local paper headline read, “Sister Margaret Slachta Dies; Champion of Rights.” Indeed, she was an uncompromising fighter of human rights. George Csicsery arrived […]

by · July 30, 2015 · Culture
Dr.Yama Nayab, sits with his daughter in Szabadka (Hungarian-dominated northern Serbia), waiting to cross into Hungary. Dr. Nayab was a surgeon in Afghanistan. Photo: Sima Diab/The Guardian.

It’s in Hungary’s interest to accept more refugees and immigrants

I increasingly believe that it is in Hungary’s enlightened self-interest to begin accepting many more of the Syrian and Afghan refugees, rather than stoking fear within Hungarian society and creating a siege mentality, which seems to be the tactic du jour. There is the humanitarian argument, where one might reasonably expect a greater degree of compassion and understanding from Hungarian […]

by · July 29, 2015 · Focus
Rabbi Andrew Baker (left) Michael Georg Link (next too him) and Péter Szijjártó (across).

Antisemitism in Hungary: Talk is not enough, real action needed

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued a statement a few weeks ago on antisemitism in Hungary, during a joint visit to Budapest by Michael Georg Link, the director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and Rabbi Andrew Baker of Washington, DC. The Hungarian media quoted parts of the statement, but did not […]

by · July 28, 2015 · Antisemitism
Muslim prayer in Budapest. Photo: Ahmed Miklós Kovács.

The Hungarian far-right and Islam

Traditionally, Hungary’s extreme right was not openly Islamophobic. In fact, the Hungarian right-wing in general tended to differ markedly from conservative politicians in North America and much of western Europe in its support for Palestinian nationhood and its criticism of Israel. At the time of the war with Hezbollah back in 2006, I wrote a response to a piece published […]

by · July 27, 2015 · Politics