Hungarian Jews seek removal of anti-Semitic writers from curriculum


(JTA) — Hungarian Jews urged the government to take four anti-Semitic authors off the national high school curriculum.

Hungary’s opposition Socialist Party, meanwhile, pleaded with the prime minister to curb the "revival" of anti-Semitism in the country.

The authors — Istvan Sinka, Dezso Szabo, Albert Wass and Jozsef Nyiro — “spread hatred and anti-Semitism during their lives,” the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary wrote in an open letter to the Ministry of Culture.

“It is unacceptable that their writings be taught to the young Hungarian people,” the federation added.

In May, members of the Hungarian parliament planned to attend a reburial ceremony in Nyiro’s honor in Romania, but the Romanian government blocked the plan. A priest and writer, Nyiro was an outspoken anti-Semite.

The Hungarian Socialist Party focused on the commemoration of pro-Nazi figures in a separate open letter sent June 22 to the prime minster, Victor Orban.

Socialist Party chairman Attila Mesterhazy wrote that Hungary was experiencing a “serious moral crisis” triggered by the government’s “revitalizing of the historic crimes of the Horthy era.”

Over the past year, several municipalities have named streets after Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Quisling, or Nazi collaborator. Elsewhere, statues were erected in his honor. Under Horthy, some 450,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their deaths in Nazi death camps.

The Socialist Party called on Orban to “stop the strengthening hatred and the revival of the cult of anti-Semitism.” The letter urged Orban to prevent the Budapest municipal assembly from going ahead with a plan to erect a statue honoring the anti-Semitic Catholic bishop Ottokar Prohaszka.

Last Friday, 50 U.S. congressmen wrote to Orban to express concern over anti-Semitism in Hungary. The past months have seen a succession of anti-Semitic incidents there.

On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin canceled a planned visit by his Hungarian counterpart because of his participation in the ceremony honoring Nyiro.


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