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Count Bethlen, Hungarian Premier, Denies Numerus Clausus Law is Aimed Directly at Jews

The numerus clausus laws affecting the Hungarian universities are not directed against the Jews but are general measures that will be abolished when economic conditions improve, declared Count Bethlen, Hungarian premier, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here today. Count Bethlen denied that there were restrictions against the Jews in Hungary regarding their exclusion from the Roll of Honor.

The governing authority of the Honor Roll is an autonomous body which makes its selections independently, Count Bethlen explained. Before it grants memberships it investigates the war records of applicants, their behavior during the Bela Kun Bolshevist period and since that time, the Hungarian premier said. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had complied with a request made in the Hungarian parliament that he intervene with the leader of the Honor Roll Body.

(During the recent debate on the budget in the Hungarian parliament, Deputy Paul Sandor had charged that not a single Jew had been included on the Hungarian Roll of Honor despite the fact that more than 10,000 Hungarian Jews had died on the field of battle and that hundreds of memorials all over the country carry the names of Jewish heroes. Deputy Sandor also called Premier Bethlen’s attention to the many Jewish officers and soldiers who had received government decorations. Count Bethlen replied that no religious considerations carried weight in the choice of names but in view of the fact that the Roll of Honor was already closed further candidates could not be considered.)

Asked why Jewish students were not accepted in the Hungarian students’ homes abroad, Count Bethlen said that the acceptance of Jews depends not on the decision of the government but on a committee consisting of professors and scientists. This committee, he pointed out, is independent and grants scholarships on the basis of merit without regard to religion.

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