Apr 10, 2017

Hungary remembers victims of the Holocaust

Antal Rogán, the minister heading the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister, said "Hungarians can never forget what happened, because it happened to us; the Holocaust is our national tragedy"

The Hungarian government has held an event to commemorate the Day of Remembrance for the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust in Budapest.

Held in front of the House of Terror Museum on Andrassy Avenue on Sunday, the event also remembered martyr and theology teacher Vilma Bernovits. 

Antal Rogán, the minister heading the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister, said "Hungarians can never forget what happened, because it happened to us; the Holocaust is our national tragedy."

During his speech, the minister stressed that “during the Holocaust there were some who entered foreign service and betrayed the Hungarian nation, who sent their Jewish compatriots to their deaths and by doing so humiliated the whole country. The events must be remembered so they can never happen again," Rogán stressed.

“However, our members of Parliament still include some who a few years ago wanted to draw up a list of Jews and who spat into the shoes on the Danube: Márton Gyöngyösi and Gergely Kulcsár," he said, adding that “Gyöngyösi’s suggestion is a neo-Nazi idea, and Gergely Kulcsár’s act was a neo-Nazi act."

“The facts must be stated because their presence in the National Assembly is unworthy of the memory of the victims (of the Holocaust) and is unacceptable”; no decent person can tolerate them continuing to be members of Parliament, he said.

“We commemorate those we lost in inhuman conditions during the Holocaust, which did not spare the Hungarians either, and strong communities never forget, they also want to and dare to remember the difficult things, which the human mind cannot fathom. The 20th century was a woeful century from which the horrors of the holocaust stand out and remain a tragedy that is still with us to this day," he said.

The minister said that in his opinion what happened must be stated, because what has now become history was once a bloody reality. “Every tenth victim of the Holocaust was Hungarian and the people who were dragged off were those who wanted the best for the country; innocent people were made scapegoats and murdered," he pointed out.

Rogán also said that we must face the whole truth, and no matter how difficult it is we must declare that the Hungarian state at the time was incapable of protecting its citizens, and the fact that the same thing occurred in other European countries is no excuse.

He also mentioned that at the same time many everyday Hungarians became heroes in those bloody times; many protected their persecuted compatriots. “It was they who gave the nation the chance to get back onto its own two feet after the war; they offered an example, hope and the strength to carry on, proving that there is no dark and evil force that cannot be conquered," he said.

Sunday's event remembered martyr and theology teacher Vilma Bernovits (1901-1944), who regularly took food, clothing and identification papers to those in need after the capital’s Jewish ghettos were set up. Many have her inventiveness and devotedness to thank for their lives. In December of 1944 she was arrested by the Arrow Cross together with Sára Salakházi, a nun from the Sisters of Social Service Catholic women’s institute, and taken to the Pest bank of the Danube, where they were stripped and shot and their bodies thrown into the river.