Boycott Sándor Szakály at the 55th Hungarian Congress in Cleveland

One good thing about 59 year old Hungarian historian Mr. Sándor Szakály is that you don’t have to guess where he stands. He is not only a right-winger, a historical revisionist, and admirer of pro-Hitler dictator Miklós Horthy and his gendarmerie but also a Holocaust denier. Mr. Szakály speaks at events sponsored by Hungary’s far-right party, Jobbik.

Poster of Mr. Szakály's speech at a Jobbik event.

Poster of Mr. Szakály’s speech at a Jobbik event.

For example Szakály’s dismissing statements regarding the 1941 deportation of thousands of Jews from Hungary to Ukraine where they were massacred in the notorious Kamenets-Podolskii atrocity have sparked outrage and deep concern across Hungary and beyond. Later Mr. Szakály tried to backpedal, yet his statements were not sincere and there were calls for his removal.

Now he wants to come to the US.

He was invited by John Nádas, a physician and president of an Ohio based organization called Hungarian Congress. According to Dr. Nádas “many people have theorized why and how Hungary became embroiled in World War II. Sadly, many people have also rewritten history to serve their own purposes and views” and now he feels “a deep need to set the historical record straight.” (Hungarian Congress program and invitation here.)

The 55th Hungarian Congress will be held on November 27-29 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. The main theme is “Historical Insights, Hungary and World War II” and Mr. Szakály is supposed to “set the record straight.” English translation will be available if requested and pre-purchased tickets are required for the special luncheon and his presentation. At the Saturday night Gala Banquet Dr. Ferenc Szebényi, Hungary’s Consul General in Chicago will be present and the Árpád Academy will give a medal to Ms. Allison Pataki, daughter of onetime New York Governor George Pataki.

It is important to mention that Mr. Szakály is a Hungarian government employee, he is the Director of the Veritas History Research Center and to my surprise the Honorary Patron of the entire event is the Honorable Marcy Kaptur Congresswoman (D) from the State of Ohio.

Rep. Kaptur (left) with Amb. Szemerkényi (in striped jacket) - Kaptur is the Honorary Patron of the Hungarian Congress.

Rep. Kaptur (left) with Amb. Szemerkényi (in striped jacket) – Kaptur is the Honorary Patron of the Hungarian Congress.

Mr. Szakály has the right to travel and express his views as a private citizen, he is protected by our First Amendment. Holocaust deniers, such as historian David Irving, have visited the United States in the past, although Mr. Irving was later arrested in Canada.

It seems that the Canadian authorities are already suspicious of Mr. Szakály. Last year he was stopped at the Canadian border and interrogated for hours before they let him in. (Read about Mr. Szakaly’s Canadian border experience here.) Yet Mr. Szakály is not coming to the US as a private person. He is a Hungarian Government employee endorsed by a Hungarian diplomat, Dr. Ferenc Szebényi.

Szakály’s invitation is especially troubling because even Ms. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice has criticized his activities and her foundation is supported by the Orbán Government! (Read – The Lantos Foundation about Mr. Szakály) Szakály was also harshly criticized by the Wiesenthal center (Wiesenthal about Mr. Szakály, read here), the US Holocaust Museum (US Holocaust Museum about Mr. Szakály), and by the Jewish Community of Hungary.

Mr. Szakály’s presence in the United States is unacceptable. Please let Rep. Marcy Kaptur know that her name is used as Honorary Patron to promote a Jobbik sympathizer and Holocaust denier. ( 2186 Rayburn Building, Washington, DC 20515 Tel: (202) 225-4146 Fax: (202) 225-7711.)

Also, you may want to contact Hilton’s Ms. Jacqueline Toppings, Director, Brand Public Relations, Hilton Hotels & Resorts (7930 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Virginia Tel. (703) 883 5381.) It might hurt Hilton’s reputation to provide space for this revisionist event.

György Lázár

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