Hungary Introduces Drastic New Anti-jewish Bill Amid Stormy Scenes

Introduction of the drastic new anti-Jewish bill in Parliament today was marked by stormy scenes in the Lower House. Angry shouts of “Barbarism!”, “This is the German spirit!”, and “Long live equality!” came from the Social Democratic and Liberal deputies when the bill was presented by Justice Minister Andreas Tasnadi-Nagy. Government supporters countered with loud applause for the bill. After a brief session the House adjourned until Jan. 1, without having taken action.

The new “Jew Law” contains drastic restrictions on the Jews’ right to earn a living, vote, hold public office and participate in the nation’s cultural life. The far-reaching bill would limit Jews to six per cent in professions and cultural pursuits, bar them altogether from responsible positions in the press, theater and cinema, ban them from all civil service posts and limit them to twelve per cent in private enterprises. The present law limits Jews to 20 per cent in most economic and cultural fields.

Foreshadowing a campaign of denationalization and enforced emigration, the bill would empower the Minister of Interior to deprive of Hungarian citizenship all persons nationalized after July 1, 1914, and would authorize the Government to regulate the question of Jewish emigration and the transfer of Jewish capital from the country.

A “Jew” is defined as a person with one or two Jewish parents, but excluded from the definition are quarter-Jews as well as half Jews who were converted to Christianity before Jan. 1, 1938, and also war veterans decorated for exceptional bravery and invalids at least 50 per cent incapacitated. Less inclusive than Germany’s Nuremberg Laws in the definition of Jew, the bill has already drawn the fire of Hungarian Nazis.

The bill provides that Jews register their votes 30 days after Parliamentary and municipal elections. Their deputies in the Lower House will be limited to six per cent of the total and they will be barred from the Upper House entirely. Jews will be barred from positions as State, municipal or other public employees, public notaries, trustees, patent agents and official translators.

Jewish membership in the medical, legal, engineering, press, theater and cinema chambers will be restricted to six per cent. War veterans will be admitted above this percentage, provided that their number does not exceed three per cent of the membership. There will be no new admissions of Jews to the professions until the six per cent ratio is reached.

Jews will be barred from being editors, publishers or holding other responsible positions in the press, except in Jewish and other non-Hungarian publications. They will also be barred from directorships and secretaryships and other leading positions in the theater and cinema.

Drastic restrictions are provided on Jewish participation in State monopolies and in State and municipal contracts. These curbs will be effected by stages. The Jewish ration will be reduced to 20 per cent in 1939-40, to 10 per cent in 1941-42 and to six per cent in 1943. State contracts will be given to Jews only if Christian firms do not bid or if the Jewish bids are considerably lower.

The proportion of Jewish manual and intellectual workers in private enterprises must not exceed 12 per cent of the total, with an additional three percent of Jewish war veterans permitted. Enterprises with no more than ten workers will be able to employ a maximum of two Jews and those with no more than five will be allowed to hire only one Jew. The reduction of the number of Jewish workers will be enforced by stages, to be completed not later than January, 1943.

Jewish workers will be forbidden to be members of trade unions and labor exchanges, except Jewish workers’ organizations.

Dismissed Jewish employees will be entitled to one year’s pay. The Government will be empowered to reduce Jews’ pensions. Further applications will be issued regarding application of the law to the territories recently acquired from Czechoslovakia and regarding Jewish ownership of land.

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