Wallenberg’s birthday a chance for Hungary to mark its progress

2012. szeptember 19. 13:36
Matthew Day
Scotsman.com
The anniversary of Wallenberg’s birth comes at a convenient time for the Hungarian government.

"They opened a Raoul Wallenberg memorial garden in Budapest this month. Adjacent to the city’s splendid synagogue, the garden pays homage to the Swedish diplomat, born 100 years ago, who saved many of Hungary’s Jews from the Holocaust. (...)

Peddling a mix of 'bold solutions', fiery nationalism and latent antisemitism, Jobbik has risen to become the parliament’s third largest party. Its uniformed political wing, the Hungarian Guard, which awoke grim memories of the fascist movements of the 1930s and 40s, has been banned, and it remains unlikely that Jobbik will get anywhere near government. But a core of supporters maintains its voice and opinion polls give it about 20 per cent of the vote. (...)

The government has brought in hate-speech laws, set up a monitoring system for racist attacks and initiated Holocaust Memorial Day. It has also shifted its semantics, moving away from just blaming fascists for wartime crimes against Jews and towards a broader acknowledgment that Hungary as a whole should shoulder some of the burden of guilt.

But perhaps more significant is that Hungary is home to a thriving Jewish community, despite the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the war. Budapest’s community alone numbers about 100,000, and it is far from cowed, despite an air of anxiety."

 

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