BUDAPEST (JTA) — Thousands of Hungarians have paid their respects to Holocaust victims whose memorial was desecrated with pigs’ feet.
In the largest rally, thousands came Thursday to the banks of the Danube River to show that the forces of democracy will not be intimidated by the rise of neo-Nazism.
Leaders of all the parliamentary political parties joined many prominent writers and artists at the rally, which took place two days after the desecration. A government spokesman said Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai was outraged but could not attend because of a mandatory heads of government meeting in Brussels, but earlier he placed a flower at the memorial.
Fidesz, the dominant parliamentary opposition, formally condemned the attack.
The memorial for thousands of Jews executed and thrown into the Danube during World War II is made up of 60 pairs of abandoned shoes fashioned of steel. The vandals put pigs’ feet into some of the shoes.
Several human rights organizations called mass meetings at the memorial Thursday. The largest was organized by a Socialist parliamentary deputy and supported by the Association of Hungarian Jewish Religious Communities, which used the opportunity to gather support for draft legislation by the government to outlaw Holocaust denial and public incitement to racial hatred.