AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dozens of Hungarians wearing paper yellow stars with the word "Jude" protested recent anti-Semitic and racist incidents in Hungary.
On June 7, four days after an attack on a Jewish cemetery near Budapest, some 120 Hungarians lined up in protest on the bank of the Danube in downtown Budapest wearing the German word for “Jew.” During the Nazi era, Jews were forced to wear the yellow-colored stars as a means of identification.
The Budapest demonstration was reacting to the desecration of the Szekesfehervar cemetery, located southwest of the capital, as well as an attack on Jozsef Schweitzer, a former chief rabbi in Hungary.
In a letter to the country’s Jewish leaders, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, expressed his “indignation” at the cemetery attack and ordered the Interior Ministry to track down the perpetrators as soon as possible.
Stars of David were spray-painted on walls and tombstones of the cemetery and crossed out. Profanities and anti-Jewish slogans also were spray-painted.
“I have learned with distress and indignation about the news that in Hungary, in the city of my beloved alma mater, the cemetery of your community was desecrated,” the prime minister wrote, according to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry.
“Beyond expressing my condolences and solidarity, I would like to inform you that I have instructed the Minister of Interior to proceed with the investigation as quickly and as directly as possible. At the same time, I would like to assure you that the Government of Hungary guarantees your safety, and life without fear.”