Menu JTA Search

Hungarian Bishop Sees No Hope for Jews of Hungary in Near Future

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

“The condition of the Jews in Hungary is very sad and there is no hope of a change for the better in the near future,” Lord Bishop Baltazar told a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday at the St. Regis Hotel.

The Right Rev. Lord Bishop Dr. Desider Baltazar of the Trans-Tibiscan Reformed Church of Hungary is in this country in the interests of the College of Lebreczen, of which he is president. His object in coming here is to secure funds for this college and he is going to make a special appeal to the Jeading Protestants, Jews and liberal-minded people in general to contribute the total of $200,000. which is needed to keep the college going.

“My appeal to the Jews”, said the Bishop. “is based particularly on the fact that the College of Lebreczen is the only institution of higher learning in Hungary which does not place any restrictions in the way of Jewish students. All other colleges in Hungary have the ‘numerus clausus’ which limits the number of their Jewish students to not more than 5 per cent. In reality there are practically no Jews in any of Hungary’s colleges because those who succeed in being accepted are persecuted by their gentile fellow students to such an extent that they are obliged to leave before long.

“The College of Lebreczen is 400 years old and. during the entire course of its existence has served as a bulwark of enlightenment and culture, always fighting the forces of reaction. We welcome Jewish students, who today form one-sixth of the total body of 4,000. In one class, in the girls’ department, 90% of the students are Jewish.”

Bishop Baltazar explained that since Horthy has come into power the government, unable to toler-are a liberal institution, has withdrawn its support from the college, so that it depends entirely on the members of the Diocese over which the Bishop presides.

“As for the liberal minded gentiles in Hungary”, said Bishop Baltazar, in reply to a question of the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “we are organized to fight the reaction of the government and the so-called ‘rising Magyars’. Our men write and preach in defense of the Jews. But I must say”, he added, “that there are no liberal minded men among the Catholics in Hungary.

“I personally.” continued the Bishop, “have all my life fought every injustice against the Jews. I have always been first in defending the Jews against the foolish blood-ritual tales.”

The Bishop related how once, ten years ago, he saved several thousand Jews from extermination at the hands of a mass of hooligans by appearing before the crowd and defying them with a cross in his hand. Later the government sentenced him to death for his friendship to the Jews but the decree was never carried out because if was well known that the Bishop has a great following and his execution would have precipitated a revolution in Hungary.

“But please understand,” he hastened to add, “that I do not ask for praise. On the contrary I did my duty and I feel highly proud of it.”

There are many in Hungary who are convinced, he said that Henry Ford is subsidizing a number of anti-Semitic papers and that he is squandering tremendous sums of money to spread Jew-hatred among the Magyars.

NEXT STORY