Rabbi Hoffman responds to HFP: Orbán government is a devoted, outstanding friend of Jewish community

Dear Editor,

Recently while searching for some news items and articles about Hungarian Jews and the relationship between the Hungarian government and Jewish interests in Hungary and abroad, I was very surprised or rather shocked to read some articles by the author György Lázár in the Hungarian Free Press, in which he is accusing the Hungarian government and particular the honorable Dr. Kumin Ferenc, general consul of the Hungarian government to New York of either being anti-Semitic or being associated with the right wing party.

As someone who for years have been involved in mediating many issues relating to Jewish interests, especially the restoration and upkeep of Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, I have been amazed by the great help and outstanding friendship by the Hungarian government, and especially by the honorable Dr. Casaba Latorchai (Deputy State Secretary For Priority Affairs) and Dr. Kumin.

There was never a time that I asked them for any help that they didn’t go the extra mile trying to help and making sure the issue is resolved to the highest satisfaction, and I might add that thanks to their great help a lot was done and being done to restore many cemeteries that were desecrated during the Second World War, that is something that was impossible before they extended their help,

During my many visits to Budapest, or with Dr Kumin at the Consulate in New York City, I have always left amazed by their true devotion and true friendship.

Accusing Dr. Kumin of being anti-Semitic or sympathetic to the right wing party is very personal to me, and is the furthest from the truth, and is a real distortion of his fine personality.

Thank you for giving me the chance to set the record straight,

Rabbi M. Hoffman
Brooklyn, NY

Ferenc Kumin with Rabbi Hoffman in Budapest.

Ferenc Kumin with Rabbi Hoffman in Budapest.


Dear Rabbi Hoffman,

I’m glad that you had a positive experience with Hungarian Government officials and I was especially struck by your outstanding friendship with New York Consul General Mr. Ferenc Kumin. Your view is that he does not harbor anti-Semitic views or sympathies for right wing parties.

I see it differently. Mr. Kumin’s NY Consulate maintains close ties with neo-Nazi Jobbik Party leaders. He refused to respond to the call of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to stop an anti-Semitic provocation at the New York Hungarian House. Mr. Kumin stated that he wishes “to observe the sensitivity of those who respect the literature and patriotism of Albert Wass.”

In Hungary several Wass statues have been raised, one of them at my birthplace, in the city of Debrecen. It was inaugurated by János Áder who is currently the President of Hungary.

Statue of convicted World War II criminal Albert Wass in Debrecen.

Statue of convicted World War II criminal Albert Wass in Debrecen.


Just imagine Rabbi, Holocaust survivors, elderly residents of this city are humiliated by a statue of a World War II criminal who murdered Jews.

Hundreds of Jewish worshipers travel to Debrecen to visit the nearby tomb of Rabbi Taub, the first Kaliver (Nagykálló) Rebbe, they also must endure this humiliation. I’m sure you agree with me; the Wass statue has to go!

Please join me in demanding the removal of the Albert Wass statue in Debrecen.

I appreciate that you took the time to read my articles, and I hope that you’ll continue reading the Hungarian Free Press.

I wish you and your family a prosperous New Year. L’Shana Tova.

György Lázár


  1. Rabbi Hoffman,
    You are either an idiot or more probably getting $ome $$$$ help from Kumin and Co.

  2. Rabbi Hoffman,

    Just because your community might feel secure and protected at the moment doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t speak up in solidarity when your favoured government preaches and practices open racism against other groups. The history of the Holocaust, if nothing else, should compel you to speak up and not be passive or satisfied with the status quo.

  3. Avatar Charlie London says:

    It really comes as a surprise to how Orban and his Fideszbbik government treat the Jewish organisations without a squeak.

    I’m sure, Rabbi, you have visited Freedom Square and seen the eagle attacking Gabriel in that hideous history-rewriting kitsch sculpture?

    And the poignant ‘real’ memorial to Hungary’s shameful actions during the war close by?

    It seems to many here that your organisations keep quiet as long as the forints flow.

    Maybe you you should focus a bit more on your integrity – or at least get a handle on what is really happening in Hungary.

  4. Rabbi Hoffman, you should worry less about how the “honorable” Fidesz regime helps Jewish grave restoration (many members of my own family are buried there) — for the regime that’s just PR — and worry more about how they are treating living people today.

  5. But this letter didn’t set the record straight it was just a letter of gratitude, a courtesy to the Orban Government.

  6. Rabbi Hoffman, it is appreciated that you can see one side of the goverment’s double faced communication. We all know that they are willing to make gestures outside of Hungary mostly for their corruption related contacts and purposes, pretty much hidden from their heavily anti-semitic voting base at home, where they play on the other side on the weekly basis, where they can ony benefit out of anti-semitic propaganda. What I think they don’t care about either way about the jews. All they care about is their power at home and their pockets.