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Marx’s statue – another battle in the war of monuments

January 24th, 2014

Left-wing pundits welcome the decision of Corvinus University to keep Karl Marx’s statue on its premises, rejecting a claim that the figure of the “intellectual father” of Communism should not be exhibited in the University’s main hall and serve as a daily meeting point for young people.

In his reply to State Secretary Bence Rétvári, the rector of Corvinus University rejected the request made by the Christian Democrat politician to remove Karl Marx’s statue from the lobby of the university’s main building. The school used to be called the “Karl Marx University of Economics”, and its Board renamed it twenty years ago, Rector Zsolt Rostoványi wrote, but the statue is part of the University’s history and therefore will remain where it is. He did not reply to Bence Rátvári’s claim that apart from being the intellectual precursor of totalitarian Communism, Marx was also “an anti-Semite and a racist”.

On Galamus, Ádám Paár does not deny that Marx was an anti-Semite, but argues that the statue is there to commemorate him not as such, but as a great thinker. That is why it stands in a University “rather than in the Parliament building”. We are all made of a mixture of good and bad, he continues and warns Mr Rétvári that “as a Christian, he should know that”.

Népszabadság’s Sándor Révész does not deny Marx’s anti-Semitic leanings either, and remarks that anti-Semitism was not uncommon among early Socialists, or religious leaders for that matter. He would object to the idea of erecting a statue to him today, but removing it now would mean an attempt to “remove our past”. If we are unable to respect great thinkers whose ideas we cannot share, he concludes, we would “empty our past, our present and our future.”

In Népszava, editor Péter Németh finds the idea of removing the statue a sign of “complete folly”. He thinks it was a shameless act of the State Secretary to intrude into the life of the University, “fortunately, the Rector was in his right mind” and sent him the right message.



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