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Hungarian Minister under fire for praising Hitler ally

A senior government official in Hungary came under sharp criticism on Wednesday for praising the country’s World War II-era leader, an ally of Nazi Germany who is believed to have imposed Europe’s first anti-Jewish laws of the 20th century, as an exceptional head of state and a hero, The Associated Press reported.

  • Minister of Construction and Transportation Janos Lazar made the comments on Sunday during a ceremony held on the 30th anniversary of the reburial of Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s regent during most of World War II.

Horthy, an autocrat who ruled Hungary from 1920 to 1944, passed anti-Jewish laws and oversaw the deportations of several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews to Nazi German death camps.

Almost a third of the approximately 1.1 million victims at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews. An estimated total of 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished during the Holocaust.

A video of the commemoration held in Kenderes, Horthy’s hometown, features Lazar, a Cabinet member in the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, heaping praise on the wartime leader while speaking at the ceremony in Horthy’s hometown of Kenderes.

  • “It is my conviction that a remembrance and homage is due to Miklos Horthy,” Lazar says in the video, which he posted Tuesday on his Facebook page, according to AP.
  • “It is due to Governor Miklos Horthy because in Miklos Horthy we can honor an exceptional statesman who was a true heroic soldier and a true Hungarian patriot.”
  • The Israeli Embassy responded to Lazar’s comments Wednesday, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Glorifying a person who’s (sic) deeds brought a catastrophe upon the Hungarian people and especially the Jewish compatriots of which around 600,000 innocent men, women and children were murdered, has no place in a modern Hungary.”

The US ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, wrote on X that Lazar’s participation in the event honoring Horthy concerned the US government.

Hungary has experienced something of a Horthy cult revival in recent years, with new statues dedicated to him and streets named after him.

In 2013, a park was named after him in Gyomro, on the outskirts of Budapest. Also that year, a bust of Horthy was unveiled outside a Budapest church, causing protests among locals.

In 2017, Prime Minister Orban came under fire from local Jewish groups for praising Horthy during a speech in parliament.

  • Another Horthy bust installed last year in the parliamentary offices of a local party was denounced by the Israeli Embassy in the Hungarian capital.

Source: Arutz Sheva