Protests as Hun­gar­ian warmemo­ri­alun­veiled

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY VALENTINA JO­VANOVSKI

A MON­U­MENT that op­po­nents say min­imises Hun­gary’s re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Holo­caust was com­pleted in the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing, de­spite months of protests from the Jewish com­mu­nity.

The fi­nal parts of the statue were raised un­der po­lice guard shortly after mid­night in Bu­dapest. Demon­stra­tors, in­clud­ing some op­po­si­tion politi­cians, gath­ered soon after to protest. Some threw eggs at the mon­u­ment, which was sur­rounded by an iron fence in front of which stood po­lice.

Con­struc­tion started in April but stalled after the sched­uled com­ple­tion date of May 31 passed. No rea­sons were given for the de­lay and no no­tice that it would be fin­ished on Sun­day.

The statue shows a Ger­man ea­gle at­tack­ing an an­gel, meant to sym­bol­ise Hun­gary. Crit­ics say this im­plies Hun­gary was a vic­tim rather than an ally of the Nazis dur­ing a pe­riod when more than 500,000 Hun­gar­ian Jews were killed.

A ban­ner on the mon­u­ment reads, “A me­mo­rial to the vic­tims of the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion.”

An or­gan­iser of the protests, Gá­bor Sebõ, whose par­ents were Holo­caust sur­vivors, said the mon­u­ment was a “provo­ca­tion” . He added: “I think it’s a fal­si­fi­ca­tion of his­tory,”

Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­bán said that the statue was meant to de­pict the con­se­quences the coun­try suf­fered “as a re­sult of los­ing its free­dom”.

Pro­test­ers have left me­men­tos, pic­tures of Holo­caust vic­tims and can­dles at the foot of the mon­u­ment.

Mean­while, An­drás Heisler, the head of the lead­ing Hun­gar­ian Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tion, Mazsi­hisz, has com­plained about the nom­i­na­tion of Péter Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó as the next am­bas­sador to Italy. In 2000, Mr Sz­abó wrote an an­tisemitic ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled Agents of Satan in a far-right pub­li­ca­tion.

PHOTO: VALENTINA JO­VANOVSKI

Pro­test­ers at Hun­gary’s con­tro­ver­sial war me­mo­rial

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