A pro-government columnist finds it disturbing that the left-wing media, which is quick to demand the prosecution of alleged Nazi-era criminals, is silent in the case of György Mátsik, an iconic figure of the Communist purges in the aftermath of the 1956 revolution. The right-wing commentator believes that crimes against humanity should not be distinguished frome one another on an ideological basis.
Magyar Nemzet and Hír TV have revealed that György Mátsik, a young prosecutor during the purges after the 1956 revolution is still alive and lives in Budapest as a pensioner. Among others, Mátsik pronounced the death penalty against Péter Mansfeld, one of the ‘lads of Pest’, a hero of the revolution, who was arrested at the age of 16, and executed when he reached his 18th birthday. Magyar Nemzet also claims that Mátsik ordered the torture of individuals under arrest. In an interview on Hír TV, Mátsik said that he only followed orders and that the verdict was passed by the court. On Tuesday, the far-right Jobbik party, Mansfeld’s brother László, and veterans of the 1956 revolution filed a criminal complaint against Mátsik.
“Public disdain for the criminals would be even more important than their legal prosecution,” Szabolcs Szerető writes in Magyar Nemzet. The pro-government commentator finds it striking that Mátsik, similarly to Béla Biszku, a former Interior Minister, who is considered to be the mastermind of the repression after the 1956 revolution (see BudaPost July 25, 2011) still feel no remorse for the actions they committed against their compatriots. It is, however, even more peculiar that left-wing pundits who loudly advocate the prosecution of Nazi-era criminals (see BudaPost July 20, 2012) remain silent in the case of crimes committed under Communism, Szerető contends.
“One cannot distinguish between criminals. … If György Mátsik was only an eager, but innocent tool of an inhumane power, then László Csatáry could also be automatically acquitted for what he sees as mere ‘abuses’ he committed as commander of the ghetto in Kassa,” Szerető suggests. This, however, would be completely alien from the spirit of the new Hungarian Basic Law, which stipulates that crimes against humanity are not subject to a statute of limitations – whether committed under Nazi or Communist rule, Szerető concludes.