Géza Szőcs – promoter of anti-Semitic writers at the Göteborg Book Fair

Géza Szőcs, a Romanian-born poet, is one of the foremost promoters of Hungary’s anti-Semitic writers from the Transylvania region (today part of Romania). He was invited to the Göteborg Book Fair. According to the official program, Mr. Szőcs is scheduled to appear on Saturday, September 26th, in the afternoon, with Ms. Katalin Mezey as moderator.

We protest the invitation of Mr. Szőcs to speak at the Göteborg Book Fair.

In May 2010 Mr. Szőcs was appointed Hungary’s Secretary of State for Culture by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In this role Mr. Szőcs succeeded in making anti-Semitic writers part of the required public school curriculum.

Géza Szőcs

Géza Szőcs

Mr. Szőcs was an early promoter of the previously little-known writer, Albert Wass. In April 1987 he even visited Mr. Wass in Astor, Florida. Wass who was a convicted World War II criminal received the death sentence in absentia in Romania for participating in the killings of Jews and Romanian peasants and was under investigation by the US Department of Justice. He later committed suicide. His viciously anti-Semitic writings are popular in neo-Nazi circles; in one of his short stories he portrays Jews as rats invading the home of a good farmer.

Mr. Szőcs praising Hungarian fascist József Nyirő.

Mr. Szőcs praising Hungarian fascist József Nyirő.

Mr. Szőcs also actively participated in the reburial attempt of József Nyirő, a writer who died in Spain in 1953. During World War II, Mr. Nyirő was a politician who supported National Socialist ideas, praised Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, and called for Hungarian cultural life to be “cleansed of Jewish and cosmopolitan influences.” Six-hundred thousand Hungarian Jews were deported; most of them murdered. (See Mr. Szőcs praising Mr. Nyirő and Mr. Wass on this video)

Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel and several American politicians have protested Mr. Nyirő’s “rehabilitation” by the Orbán Government. (Read more about Wiesel’s reaction here)

Hungarian participation on the Göteborg Book Fair has already been challenged. Some delegates from Hungary had to leave an event after the audience objected their presence.

Audience protest against Hungary's policies at the 31st Göteborg Book Fair in Sweden.

Audience protest against Hungary’s policies at the 31st Göteborg Book Fair in Sweden.

Writer Masha Gessen said she was “dismayed to be sharing the stage with representatives of the Hungarian government.” Several participants waved placards criticizing Hungary’s migrant policies, including Swedish author Sven-Eric Liedman, who held up a banner saying “we turn our backs on Hungarian refugee policies.”

György Lázár


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