Members of the Vitézi Rend should not be allowed to enter the United States

Foreign individuals who are affiliated with various organizations can be prevented from entering the US. The FAM 302.7 directive from the US State Department lists groups considered to be “criminal organizations” as defined by the international Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

Several Hungarian organizations are on the list, although most do not exist anymore. These are WWII organizations, like the Arrow Cross Party (Nyilas Párt), The Awakening Hungarians (Ébredő Magyarok) or military groups like the SS Hunyadi Division (Hunyadi Hadosztály). However one Hungarian organization, the Order of Heroes (Vitézi Rend) still exists and operates in Hungary with members in the United States and Canada.

The media considers the Vitézi Rend a Nazi-linked ultranationalist group with ideological ties to WWII-era Hungarian fascists. (Read here.) The Vitézi Rend was recently publicized in the US when President Trump’s deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka told the media that he was “proud” to wear its medal. (Read Gorka’s story here.)

Some leading Hungarian media personalities are also members of the organization, most prominent among them the publicist Zsolt Bayer, and the far-right publisher András Bencsik. In the past Mr. Bayer and Mr. Bencsik were able to enter the United States. I find this unacceptable.

Members of the Vitézi Rend Mr. Bencsik (in blue ceremonial jacket) and Mr. Mága (in black jacket)

Mr. Bayer’s swearing-in ceremony photo as published by the Vitézi Rend.

Numerous people have been misled about the true nature of the group. In 2012 star-violinist Mr. Zoltán Mága realized that the group was connected to Nazism and immediately revoked his membership (Read about Zoltán Mága here).

The vast majority of Hungarians, among them Hungarian-Americans, reject the Hungarian brand of neo-fascism and organizations like the Vitézi Rend. It seems that the Orbán regime not only tolerates it but also has government officials (e.g. Mr. Szilárd Németh) who are willing to appear with members of the Vitézi Rend at official events. (Read report here in Hungarian.)

We call on US Ambassador Cornstein to apply the State Department’s legal framework to restrict and/or refuse US entry to members of the Vitézi Rend. We do not welcome Hungarians connected to pro-Nazi organizations in the United States.

György Lázár

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