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US Ambassador criticises ’attempts to rehabilitate Horthy’

September 7th, 2023

The main pro-government daily criticises the ambassador for ‘chipping in’ while a left-wing website expresses concerns similar to those of the US ambassador.

Hungary’s interwar Regent, Miklós Horthy who died in exile in Portugal in 1957, was reburied in Hungary 30 years ago, and a ceremony at his grave on the anniversary was attended by two Fidesz MPs. On the same occasion, Construction and Transport Minister János Lázár called Miklós Horthy an ‘exceptional head of State, a true Hungarian patriot, and heroic soldier’. Hungary’s chief rabbi Róbert Fröhlich reacted by quoting a letter written by Horthy to Hitler in 1943, in which the Regent described himself as an anti-Semite. In a prompt reaction, U.S. ambassador David Pressman wrote on X that Horthy ‘was complicit in the slaughter of Hungary’s Jewish population during the Holocaust’ and that the United States is ‘concerned by the participation of a senior Orbán government official in efforts to rehabilitate and promote his brutal legacy’.

In an unsigned report, Magyar Nemzet writes that Mr Pressman regularly ‘chips in’ when it comes to Hungarian internal affairs. Without commenting on János Lázár’s appraisal of Horthy’s legacy, the pro-government daily recalls two previous examples of criticism from the US ambassador towards the policies of the Hungarian government. In both those cases, Mr Pressman expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s position on the war in Ukraine.

On Hírkilkk, Péter Földes admits that PM Orbán’s government often declares that it pursues a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism. If they were serious about that, he writes, they would not ‘cultivate the flame’ of the Horthy cult, he writes.

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