SZEKESFEHERVAR, Hungary A U.S. envoy mentioned on Sunday Washington was shocked by plans to erect a statue of Balint Homan, who contributed to murderous anti-Semitism in Hungary in the 1930s and 40s.
“From the U.S. government perspective we feel quite strongly that history and the damage that this man did to Hungarian citizens who occurred to be Jewish can not be ignored, and to put up that statue seems incomprehensible,” Ira Forman, special envoy against anti-Semitism, told Reuters.
Hungary’s Jewish neighborhood has referred to as on the appropriate-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz celebration to block the statue.
The private Balint Homan Foundation in Szekesfehervar, west of Budapest, wants to honor a man who was an eminent historian and minister of religion and education before and throughout Globe War Two.
Homan was a proponent of anti-Jewish laws and a Nazi supporter to the finish of the war. Right after it he was jailed and died in prison in 1951.
The central European nation nevertheless grapples with its previous, like its active part in deporting half a million Jews.
Reuters could not reach the foundation for comment.
Forman has traveled to Hungary to discuss Homan’s wartime function at a conference next week. On Sunday he attended a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the small square in Szekesfehervar exactly where the statue could stand.
“We believe its important to know what this man did to Hungarian citizens in the 1930s and 40s, taking away their citizenship rights and then arguing for them to be deported, which eventually meant going to Auschwitz,” Forman stated.
“Honoring a man like that – we’re shocked by it. It’s not our selection but we’re here to say we are shocked by it and we believe the globe ought to know about who this individual (was) and that men and women are contemplating placing a statue up.”
Forman was joined in lighting the eight Hanukkah candles by leading Israeli and Canadian diplomats in Hungary, as nicely as leaders of the Hungarian Jewish neighborhood.
“Tonight we celebrate the last candle of Hanukkah,” Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor said.
“Let us hope that the light of the candle we will chase away darkness, that the light of these candles will show the way to the people of Szekesfehervar, the leaders of the city, to the proper decision, not to erect this statue.”
Szekesfehervar’s Mayor Andras Cser-Palkovics, a Fidesz member, on Friday appeared to retreat from his earlier assistance for the statue, saying external stress was so high that the foundation behind the project must “reconsider” its plans.
“If the Balint Homan Foundation decides to erect the planned statue anyway – which it is entitled to in a democracy – then the City Council of Szekesfehervar asks them to repay funds it has received from the city and the state,” he added.
Numerous government members have stated they disagree with the statue and regarded it ill-conceived.
Justice Minister Laszlo Trocsanyi, whose predecessor granted 15 million forints ($ 52,000) towards the statue, mentioned the ministry faced a “technical necessity” to execute an earlier decision. He did not elaborate.
(Editing by Andrew Roche)