BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — Thousands attended a commemoration in Budapest of the 70th anniversary of the occupation of Hungary by the Nazi-led German army.
Wednesday’s memorial sponsored by the the Hungarian Jewish community was held in front of the downtown Dohany Street Synagogue.
“In the name of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Shoah, we raise our voice against those, who are in power, in whom as a minority we cannot trust,” said Andras Heisler, president of Mazsihisz, the Federations of Hungarian Jewish Communities, in his opening remarks.
Heisler was expressing the community’s disappointment with the government, which it accuses of shifting away national responsibility for the murder of the country’s Jews during the Holocaust. Mazsihisz voted to boycott state-sponsored Holocaust memorial programs.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban was invited to the event but did not attend. His deputy, Zsolt Semjen, was present. The head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Cardinal Peter Erdo, and Gusztav Bölcskei, bishop of the Protestant Church in Hungary, also attended the program.
“In solidarity with the Hungarian Jews, we are not accepting the relativization of the Holocaust, not accepting the denial of the Holocaust and not accepting the culture of amnesia, of forgetting,” Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, said in his address.