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Holocaust-comparisons in migration debates

September 29th, 2015

A left-wing pundit protests against the use of the Holocaust as an argument in controversies over the current migration wave. He warns that such practices are tantamount to trivialising the Holocaust.

In Népszabadság, Sándor Révész is abhorred by a series of cases where the Holocaust is used to vilify opponents in migration controversies. The Serbian Foreign Ministry compared the entry ban imposed on Serbian citizens by Croatia (in retaliation for masses of migrants “being hurled” across the border) to the practices of the war-time “Fascist Croatian state”. Serbia’s Prime Minister compared the Hungarian border fence to the fence surrounding Nazi death camps. The Austrian Chancellor said he was ‘reminded of the darkest years of World War Two’ when Hungarian Railways transferred a train full of migrants to a reception centre instead of to the Austrian border as the passengers expected. (A few weeks later migrants at a Vienna railway station thought they were boarding a train to Germany while they were in fact taken to a reception centre in Graz, Austria.) He also mentions veteran Hungarian-Austrian Journalist Paul Lendvai who wrote that the march of migrants towards the Austrian border reminded him of his own youth when he (and tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews) were herded on foot to the West in what became known as a series of “death marches”, in the winter of 1944. Révész thinks such comparisons backfire, for they delegitimise criticism that might otherwise be justified. But his main point is that such arguments trivialise the Holocaust.


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