Orbán’s explicit praise of Horthy is a denial of Hungary’s fascist past

In a bizarre speech Hungary’s right-wing authoritarian strongman, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, recently called Miklós Horthy an “exceptional statesman.” Admiral Horthy, also an authoritarian (although some called him a dictator) led his country as Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. He turned pro-Mussolini and pro-Hitler in the 1930s and entered World War II on Hitler’s side. (Read about the Orbán speech in the Austrian Kurier.) Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has since called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his upcoming visit to Hungary, unless Mr. Orbán “personally and fully apologizes” for his statement, referring to the Hungarian prime minister in his open letter as “a semi-democratic leader” who “complimented a mass murderer.”

Just imagine if Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany would praise the German Nazis, or if the Italian Prime Minister would call Benito Mussolini an “exceptional statesman.” Hungary is the only EU country where the government celebrates World War II fascists today.

Horthy (left) Hitler (right) were close allies

Horthy’s regime directly and indirectly was responsible for the murder of close to a million citizens. Almost 250,000 soldiers were sent to certain death in fighting the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front; Horthy’s own son died there. Over half a million rural Hungarians, declared Jewish by the race laws, were sent to concentration camps and few survived. As early as 1921 Horthy’s henchman butchered Serbs in the city of Novi Sad. Yet today the Orbán regime chooses to celebrate those who sided with Hitler and fought against the Allies.

You would expect that all American- and Canadian-Hungarian organizations would be up in arms protesting Mr. Orbán’s recent statements. Think again. Andrea Lauer Rice of the Hungarian American Coalition and Frank Koszorus Jr. of the American Hungarian Federation are mum. Why?

By any measure, Horthy was not an “exceptional” patriot; he was a corrupt fascist coward. On December 12, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Horthy’s regime followed Hitler and declared war on the United States. Hungary maintained warm relations with Imperial Japan. Horthy’s Prime Minister, László Bárdossy was executed as a war criminal in 1946. Horthy was also arrested by US troops but saved himself through his contacts with Stalin; the Russian Communists thought that the old turncoat would be useful for the Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe.

Praising Admiral Miklós Horthy today, the man who declared war on the Allies, is not only shameful but offensive. Mr. Orbán’s statement is disrespectful to the memory of Allied soldiers who lost their lives in the fight against fascism.

Let’s make it clear that the Hungarian Free Press strongly condemns Mr. Orbán’s statement. We also encourage our US and Canadian readers to contact their legislators, the Hungarian Congressional Caucus, co-chairs Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) and Rep. Andy Harris (R), to express their dismay over Mr. Orbán’s statement and to raise their voices against those who are supporting the Horthy-cult in North America.

Horthy was the enemy of the United States and Canada. Even his descendants, many of whom live here in North America, refrain from praising him. In Budapest, Mr. Orbán has crossed the line. For the first time in post-WWII history a Hungarian Prime Minister has openly praised Horthy and flatly denied the country’s pro-fascist past.

Mr. Orbán and his supporters in the US and Canada deserve a strong response.

György Lázár


  1. And just imagine – the Orbán regime, according to key members of the Trump campaign, is the “model” for America. After praising the “illiberal” Polish regime to the skies in Warsaw this morning, is it Mr. Orbán’s turn to get the Donald’s blessing for trampling on the common values of the Euro-Atlantic community? Would someone tell the Orangman, that the European Parliament initiated Article 7 procedures against Hungary on May 7th because of its Rule of Law violations?

  2. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:

    Clearly Orban must be just as silly as the author of this article.

    Horthy did not start world war two, nor did he initiate the Holocaust.

    He just let Hungary fall into the trap of agressive Germany.
    But Germany, as an highly industrialized power, could not survive without markets and raw materials. That is what forced Germany into two world wars.
    Today Germany is again in the very same situation. The industrial powerhouse of Europe. Must have markets, and the flow of raw materials.
    Today Germany also in need of low cost industrial labor, that is why Merkel fuhrer invited several millions of Asians and Africans.
    Germany is also pushing strongly toward the east again. The “east” is the market place.
    Frau Merj]kel also made it clear Europe (Germany) need to take the lead in the defense of Europe. That is like the repeat of the 1930’s, without the “super-race” slogans.

    Hungary again being an “loyal” ally of Germany, regardless of who may be the prime minister.

    So ,is there anything new under the Sun ?

  3. Avatar Bendeguz79 says:

    You are again NOT telling the true facts !

    Hungary is being accused by the EU of violating Article 7 of the Lisbon treaty !

    The EU has NO Constitution, so there is NO Article 7, nor any legally acceptable ground to pass any laws.

    In the previous article on HFP, you alleged that Orban violated some laws of Hungary.
    I requested you repeatedly to name the referenced law, but you never could state any.

    Neither ever provided any material to back up your alleged claim of that Trump-Putin conspiracy that you alleged as has been conducted through Orban in the hills of Buda and under a Budapest bridge.

    I asked you to back up those allegations to save your credibility.
    You have not done so to this very day.
    That is your credibility. Zero !

    • Avatar Hungarian Free Press says:


      You are utterly clueless. Nobody accused Hungary of violating Article 7. You will no longer be permitted to comment on HFP until you do your homework and demonstrate here that you understand what Article 7 actually is. While anyone is welcome to read this site, there is an expectation that you possess a minimum of knowledge on issues at hand before your comment and most certainly before you accuse anyone else of having credibility problems. It is your responsibility to be properly informed before commenting here and–at a minimum–understand the most basic terminology (in this case, Article 7).

  4. Avatar Eliezer RABINOVICH says:

    We have many times discussed it – nobody of the mainstream historians call Horthy a fascist. But you, the left-wing extremists, never accept the truth. Several quotes from very-well know historians:

    His biographer Thomas Sakmyster wrote:

    “It was largely through his influence that in early 1944 Hungary was such an anomaly: an island in the heart of Hitler’s Europe where a semblance of the rule of law and a pluralistic society had been preserved in a sea of barbarism. And this was the basis of Horthy’s most important legacy to Hungarian history”.

    Laszlo Karzai (a rather left-wing historian:

    “Until 1944, the lives of the great majority of Hungarian Jews were not directly in danger… Until 1944, Horthy and his advisors, out of moral and humanitarian considerations, among others, would not hand over the Hungarian Jews to the Nazi mass murderers.”

    Again, Thomas Sakmyster: if Horthy retired after the occupation his “historical reputation might have been enhanced, but the only practical result in Hungary would likely have been a more rapid deportation and annihilation of the Jews… He acted in a forceful and courageous way that protected the Jews of Budapest. No other European leader… had ever defied Hitler so directly”. “This world would be a better, more decent place,” – wrote the US pre-war ambassador John F. Montgomery, – “if the leaders of the English-speaking nations developed a tiny part of the courage shown at that time by Admiral Horthy”.

    Sakmyster: “Horthy’s action was unprecedented in the history of the Holocaust: never before had a leader successfully used the
    threat of military force to halt the deportation of Jews to the death camps.”

    Nobody else in the world saved as many Jews as Horthy did.

  5. Avatar Curious George says:

    Rabinovich and all you other “readers” must be fascists under your cloacks! Horthy was cursed by my father, a survivor who with jewish men and young men (slave labor workers) built your disgusting looking Feri Hegy airport now renamed Liszt during the war! I just flew out of there yesterday – my neighbor flew in to visit the grave of her great grandfather and flew out after one a half days! The country is delapitated, they don’t even cut the grass there- all over grown, sad looking streets nothing changed from 1943…. Horthy a mad fascist – otherwise how do you give up and give in over 500,000 citizens – peaceful citizens who made Hungary a well working, rich country then? I was in Mad, all 800 Jews sent to their deaths – it used to be a rich wine making town with stores, well kept homes and decent people living there- go today, I dare you! Ghost town, the twilight zone…
    The curse from above is your empty, ugly street:stores today!
    You all attack the writer who did write the truth! Just despicable in bred anti Semitism all over- you know what? The Huns and Germans and Poles took a nap till now – now back to their ugly ways. Merkel destroyed Germany and I’m smiling! Go to Frankfurt and you will see ghettos of crime, sharia, filth – one in every 3 is Muslim. Germany is finished!

  6. Avatar karl busch says:

    Yes Adam,

    It is time that you do NOT allow bendeguz and similar neo-Nazis to use your site for their lies.
    Horthy should have been hanged with Szalasi and the others. Stalin saved him thinking he may need him for the colonization of Hungary.
    Orban is moving to the far right to capture votes from Jobbik. He will do anything to maintain his dictatorship.

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