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Cabinet ministers call the Holocaust Hungary’s biggest national trauma

October 5th, 2013

A left-wing columnist welcomes the government’s acknowledgement of Hungarian responsibility for the crimes committed against Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. He agrees with the government that the public needs to be reminded of the country’s past crimes.

The government has decided to hold a series of commemorative events in 2014, which will be marked as “the Holocaust Remembrance Year”. In that framework, a Memorial Museum and International Educational Centre will be opened on the 70th anniversary of the start of the Hungarian Holocaust. On Monday, the international advisory board of that future institution, to be called the House of Destinies held its first session in Budapest. The exhibition will be centred around child Holocaust victims and will be set up in a former railway station. On Tuesday at a conference on Jewish life and anti-Semitism organized by the Lantos Institute in the Parliament building, Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics, Minister of Public Administration and Justice said that the Hungarian state bears responsibility for the crimes committed under Nazi rule. Mr. Navracsics noted that Hungary took an active role in the murder of the victims of the Holocaust. He emphasized the importance of remembering the Holocaust and of fighting anti-Semitism. Addressing the same conference on Wednesday, Foreign Minister János Martonyi maintained that the Holocaust is Hungary’s biggest national trauma, a period in which Hungarians committed horrible crimes against fellow Hungarians.

Foreign Minister Martonyi deserves applause for acknowledging Hungarian responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust, Gábor Miklós writes in Népszabadság. The left-wing commentator agrees that the admission of Hungarian state responsibility for past crimes helps the government in distancing itself from the far-right. He deems it very important that representatives of the government identified the Holocaust rather than the 1920 peace treaties as the main trauma in Hungarian history. Miklós also welcomes the fact that besides remembering the Holocaust, the government publicly acknowledges the contribution of Hungarian Jews to the nation’s prosperity and cultural enrichment. Such efforts are important in weakening racist, ethnic and religious prejudice, Miklós concludes.

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