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President Sulyok accused of lying about his father

March 5th, 2024

A liberal historian writes that the President’s father was a Nazi sympathiser, while a conservative author retorts that digging up the sins of the fathers of opponents is an unfair political practice.

On hvg.hu, historian László Karsai debunks President Sulyok’s story that his father was unjustly sentenced to death in absentia at the behest of a Communist official after the war and had to hide for ten years. (The President elected last week made that statement seven months ago in an interview.) He writes that Sulyok Sr. was the county leader of a pro-Nazi party and penned a pro-Nazi front-page article in 1944 in the county daily but was never tried, let alone sentenced for his role. The headline to the hvg.hu article suggests that President Sulyok is ‘either mistaken or is lying’. (In a Facebook post on Sunday, DK leader Ferenc Ferenc Gyurcsány wrote that ‘Sulyok is lying for the sake of his Nazi father. If the right wing will lie for Sulyok’s sake, then the whole Orbánist Fidesz right wing will be soiled by Nazism’.)

On Pesti Srácok, Gábor Sebes recalls that in 1990, liberals were outraged when their opponents mentioned the past of the fathers of some of their prominent members as communist political police officers. More recently, it is liberals who are trying to discredit conservatives by digging up the past of their fathers. Sebes characterises that method as dishonest, and as one that can easily backfire. Karsai, he writes, should know this, as his own maternal grandfather authored an enthusiastic article about Italian Fascist dictator Mussolini in 1938, while under Communism, his father was accused of informing on colleagues at a daily newspaper and in the State Archives where he was employed.

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