BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — Hungary’s caretaker government has introduced legislation to make Holocaust denial punishable by three years’ imprisonment.
Passage of the long-delayed proposal could take place before the April 11 parliamentary elections, said Attila Mesterhazy, the prime ministerial candidate of the ruling Socialists, if the opposition parties agree.
Political observers here believe that is unlikely to happen, but the proposal may well pave the way for such law reform by the next Parliament following April’s elections.
The government’s latest of several attempts to make Holocaust denial illegal was introduced on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
At ceremonies in Budapest last week to honor the Holocaust dead, who included some 600,000 Hungarian Jews, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the most effective approach to counter the aggressive rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary would be through the legislative process.
Meanwhile, some neo-Nazi movements in Europe are organizing their annual “Day of Honor” in Hungary to mark the last stand of the Nazis and their Hungarian supporters against the Soviet Army at Buda Castle on Feb. 11, 1945.
The organizers, including the Hungarian National Front, have neither sought nor received official permission to hold the event this year, but reportedly they have said they assume the rally will take place as usual at Heroes’ Square in this capital city.