David Mandler, Ph.D.

Thoughts, feelings, reactions on Hungarian, American, Israeli, Jewish issues

Month: July, 2012

Csatáry’s Denials, Apotheosis of a War Criminal and Radical Schizophrenia

That “the Jews” have essentially invented the Holocaust, exaggerating the numbers of casualties out of proportions and making up unbelievable tales about gas chambers, human bodies turned into soap, and the cruelties associated with the German and Hungarian Nazis in carrying out a plan of planned genocide has become an axiomatic truth for today’s extreme right-wingers in Hungary. The reactions evinced by Hungary’s third largest parliamentary party, Jobbik, to the case of the 97-year-old convicted war Criminal, László Csatáry, thus well illustrates their schizophrenic thinking.

Mr. Csatáry was convicted of war crimes as the commander of the Kassa Ghetto and sentenced to death in absentia in 1948 by a court in Czechoslovakia. In the meantime, Csatáry had made his way to Canada where, under a false name, he lived his life unmolested. His story can be read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/László_Csizsik-Csatáry

On Tuesday, July 31st, Csatáry was interviewed again by the Hungarian authorities. He denied everything. That is, he denied that he was the same Csatáry of whom the survivors have spoken (they must have mistaken him with another person who committed the cruelties the survivors claim Csatáry committed); that he was never the commander of the ghetto; and that he was an anti-Semite. An anti-Semite? Oh no, not that! (http://index.hu/belfold/2012/07/31/csatary_laszlot_ismet_kihallgattak/)

By now, the rhetoric of hatred towards Jews has gotten so heated in Hungary that a sizable number of people believe the Holocaust—perhaps the most well-documented of all recent genocides—is nothing but a big lie invented by the Jews in order to profit from it. If these Holocaust deniers were for real, and they were sane and rational individuals, the statements made by Csatáry to the police station must have been shattering to their worldview. Judging from their reactions, though, quite the opposite is happening. These self-appointed guardians of the Hungarian spirit have denounced “the Jews” for “hounding to death and innocent old man.”

Wait a minute!

Csatáry denied that it was he about whom the survivors testified. Then, Csatáry does not deny that there was such an individual in the Kassa ghetto in 1944. Csatáry denies that he was the commander of the ghetto. Then there was a ghetto with a commander from which 16,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. Previously, Csatáry stated that—incredibly—he was, as it were, the Schindler of Kassa as he refused to send German detectives towards the direction of a mountain on which he knew Jews had been hiding. Incredible! Why would Csatáry say all this if not because he knows for certain that the Jews of Kassa were deported to the death camp we all know Auschwitz was.

And still, the Jobbik Party’s current vice president, Előd Novák, at a small demonstration in support of Csatáry in front of his house, asserted that he found Csatáry innocent and a true Hungarian. Of course he does! According to kuruc.info, an extreme-right internet publication with US servers in order to evade Hungarian laws with sizable daily traffic of readers—the Holocaust is a myth. Thus, nobody is guilty of mass murder that never happened. It is quite logical, isn’t it?

It is an open secret that Novák is one of the editors of this website and, therefore, what he says mirrors kuruc.info. Novák, incidentally, should from now on be seen for what he is: an unapologetic denier of the Holocaust and a real hater of how he sees Jews.

Shouldn’t the likes of Novák now have to turn against Csatáry? Hasn’t Csatáry implied that essential elements of the Holocaust were not invented by the Jews but really happened? Also, hasn’t he just stated that he was not an anti-Semite? (Then again, Novák has done the same multiple times).

Of course, no such repudiation will happen. Csatáry is on his way to becoming the next hero of the neo-Nazi bunch.

The incredible lie the Jobbik Party and its followers would have us believe is that the apotheosis Csatáry is undergoing in their eyes is because he is hounded to death by the Jews, innocent of crimes that were never even committed.

The real reason Csatáry is their hero is that these Hungarian so-called radicals would gladly follow his example even today. The new extreme-right in Hungary hates Jews so much that they have invented the slogan, “There was no Holocaust, but there would be a need for it today.” There you have it: schizophrenia in its purest form.

Even if the mountain of evidence about the Holocaust that reposes scattered around the world in the various archives of multiple governments and countless universities miraculously reconstituted itself into one heap and fell on top of the Hungarian parliamentarian Előd Novák and his ilk at a New Hungarian Guards assembly, they would spit out with their dying breath nothing but bloody venom, hissing that the mountain on top of them was not real dirt but only Jewish fiction.

Schizophrenia: thy name is Holocaust denial. Thy name is Jobbik!

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A Quiet Exit? Csanád Szegedi Resigns

The inevitable has finally occurred: Csanád Szegedi was forced to resign from the party he helped to create in 2003. In a letter published today, Mr. Szegedi informs us that he intends to keep his position as a member of the European Parliament even as he withdraws from all political functions from his party. Is this really going to fly with his now former party? I highly doubt it.

The salary commanded by such a politician will surely strike his former comrades and their followers as unearned by a non-Jobbik representative.

Előd Novák has already reacted to this announcement with vitriolic hatred towards his former colleague. Of course, Novák wants to position himself as the voice of the party, that is, the voice of morality. Even as Szegedi reminds the Jobbik camp of his illustrious activities in the party, namely, all of the things that have led outside observers to conclude that Hungary was becoming a less tolerant country–making Jews especially fearful in an atmosphere of palpable hatred. Szegedi exhorts his followers to recall him as the person responsible for “the mission” of resurrecting the Árpád-streamed flags (last used by the Nyilas Party in 1944 as Jews were deported and killed en masse in Hungary), the inaugurations of signs written in ancient Hungarian cuneiform, the creation of the (since banned and transformed) Hungarian Guards, the protests, and the person who “in the hardest moments, was able to fire up and give enthusiasm to the nationalistic radical camp” [Emlékezzenek arra is, amit tettem, emlékezzenek az Árpád-sávos zászlóátadási misszióra, a rovástábla avatásokra, a megannyi lakossági fórumra, a Magyar Gárda megalapítására, a tüntetésekre, és arra a Szegedi Csanádra, aki a legnehezebb pillanatokban is képes volt tüzet és lelkesedést adni a nemzeti radikális tábornak.] (http://kuruc.info/r/2/99252/#ixzz21rMhiUZU)

We’ll have to wait and see how much longer it is going to take before the Jobbik Party turns completely against Mr. Szegedi. It won’t be a pretty sight for those who wish to see a unified following of this party. But that is their problem. Szegedi is most likely going to be forced to resign from his position at an MP in the European Parliament. Perhaps it will take a complete write-off from his beloved party for Szegedi to break down and rebuild himself along a more humanistic line. One can only hope.

Perhaps it will take a total breakdown for Szegedi to experience a personal renewal. Many of his followers–judging by the comments on his Facebook page–have accepted that there is no such thing as a pure Hungarian (with so many ethnic groups making up what Hungarians call “Hungarian”). Whether or not Jews–the ultimate Other in Hungarian otherizing–can also be finally accepted into the body of the nation by Jobbik followers is still not clear. I would not hold my breath, though.

I can only pray that Szegedi himself finally recognizes that he has traveled down the wrong path, sees  the huge errors of his ways, and turns away from the discredited, wrong-headed, and disastrous ways of the traditional so-called Hungarianists whose policies led to sadistic murder and the decimation of Hungary in 1945.

May he inspire others to do so as well.

Jewish by Blood: Anti-Semitic by Culture

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when 29-year-old Csanád Szegedi supposedly first had a conversation with his beloved 93-year-old grandmother about granny’s “tragic family history” as Mr. Szegedi calls it euphemistically in a letter published yesterday on kuruc.info.

Szegedi was forced to react to Előd Novák, an influential leader of the Jobbik Party whose own forceful letter denounced Szegedi as a liar two days ago. Why? Because an enemy of Szegedi released an audio recording of a meeting between Szegedi and a certain Zoltán Ambrus in 2010 when Szegedi seems to be offering monetary help stemming from his EU position and supportive articles in the media in exchange for Ambrus keeping quiet about the results of his “research” into Szegedi’s maternal ancestry. (Ambrus had apparently discovered that Szegedi’s grandmother was deported to Auschwitz and even claims to have had her tattoo number in his possession). It was to this recording that Novák, the Slavic-named MP in the Hungarian parliament known as the Goebbels of the Jobbik Party, reacted so vehemently. (Interestingly, both Novák’s letter and Szegedi’s response to it are gone from kuruc.info although the original posting is still on Facebook with plenty of reader response–all in Hungarian, of course).

What I want to know is what granny told her grandson and how. Here’s how I see the conversation.

Szegedi (Sz.): Granny, I’ve just learned that you may have been to Auschwitz. Is this true?
Granny (G.): Yes, my dear.
Sz: As a Jew or as a guard?
G: A Jew.
Sz:Ah…
G: I’m sorry I never told you about this but I thought it best to forget.
Sz: But granny, you know that I’m supposed to hate the Jews. Jews have done nothing for Hungary. How could you be one of them?
G: I was born a Jew, my parents were born Jewish, and my great-grandparents were Jewish. Still, I have always loved my country, Hungary, and could recite Horthy’s credo were I violently awakened even at 2:00 in the morning as you mentioned in your wonderfully stomach-churning speech in Kiskunhalas. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want a better future for my grandson. That’s why I decided to keep your ancestry from you. A BETTER FUTURE!
Sz: Jesus Christ. It’s true, then. I have Jewish blood in me. All the taunting back in school my brother suffered because of his Jewish look that made me mad with anger had a basis then.
G: Yes. I was deported to Auschwitz. Most of my–our family–was killed there.

Sz: Killed? While at work, of course. There were no gas chambers there. It’s all a fable. You can read all about it on my buddies’ website. It’s all a Jewish lie intended to make the world feel sorry for them, so they can exploit the world even more.
G: It was a concentration camp with gas chambers. We were taken there by the very gendarmes you’d love to see back in the streets today. Of course, you’d only use them against the gypsies, wouldn’t you?
Sz: Mostly, yes. And all the enemies of the Hungarians.
G: Such as? The Jews? Would you deport me to Auschwitz, my dear grandson? Would you deport yourself there, too, as a half-Jew?
Sz: It’s not the blood that counts but what a person puts down on the table for his country.
G: What party did you say you were leading, Csanád? The socialists?
Sz: Jesus forbid (I know it’s God forbid, but now I will have to use Jesus in every second sentence. I’d hate for people to think that I was a Jew).
G: Good. I hate socialists. I love you, though. You’re my grandson.
Sz: And I love you, too, granny, even though you’re a…a…Jew.

If the above conversation seems unrealistic, perhaps it is because it IS so. How credible is it that little Csanád NEVER saw his grandmother’s tattoo from Auschwitz. That he never asked what it was? That granny lied about the tattoo?

Either Csanád is lying now about when he learned of his Jewish maternal lineage (in which case he’s an even bigger scoundrel than previously supposed) or he is telling the truth that he only was informed of the truth in December, 2011. In either case, his days as an influential Jobbik Party member must be numbered. For every time he is to appear at a popular rally, his face will immediately evoke a strong reaction from the not-so-genteel crowd of the Goy Bikers and the New Hungarian Guards.

And it won’t be the line Csanád wants them to think, namely, that it’s not blood that counts.

The face of Csanád Szegedi, no matter what he does from now on to prove that he is a wonderful Christian, a radical Hungarian patriot, a gypsy-hater, a fighter for Greater, pre-Trianon Hungary, an enthusiastic expert of shamanism, the Turul bird and a proud wearer of the Hungarian Guard’s vest, the crowds of Goy Bikers and New Hungarian Guards will see nothing other than the lying face of a Jew.

Perhaps it is time for Csanád for some introspection. He is in a unique position to effect some very positive changes in the average anti-Semitic Hungarian whose image of the Jew is that of a foreigner with a hooked nose, holding a bag of money on his way out of the country with a Satanic laughter (i.e. the IMF, for example). Maybe, just maybe, a more careful look into this story would reveal at least three cardinal truths about Hungarians and Jews.

1. Hungarians with Jewish ancestry have been–and, therefore, can be–genuinely good Hungarians.
2. Some Jews who have been born or raised in Hungary (whether for generations or not) can, and often do consider themselves as only Hungarians and should be accepted as such.
3. Jews who consider themselves to be Jews and Hungarians at the same time are legitimately both. Being a religiously observant Jew does not exclude also being a patriotic Hungarian at the same time–unless the definition of the latter includes an aversion to all things Jewish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Rabid Anti-Semite Who Learns He’s a Jew

Csanád Szegedi, the 29-year-old vice president of the Hungarian JOBBIK Party–a rabidly anti-Semitic, homophobic, and ultranationalist party, has had to deal with the fact that his grandmother and mother are both Jewish, making him eligible to make aliyah to Israel. What a horrible day it must have been for poor Csanád Szegedi who claims to have discovered his Jewish roots only in December of 2011.

The story raises many issues and questions. For Szegedi, the question will be clear: whether to continue to embrace the vile racist worldview of the JOBBIK party in which human beings are deemed as ontologically evil (Satanic, money-hungry, exploitative by nature) no matter their cultural orientation or to repudiate this patently false ideology as a result of his own experience.

In the decades following the greatest trauma of Hungarian Jewry in 1944-45 when more than half a million Hungarian Jews were murdered, many survivors decided to suppress the fact that they were Jewish in a misguided attempt to shield their children from adverse discrimination. In many cases, the children and grandchildren of these survivors assumed the overwhelmingly negative attitudes “average” Hungarians entertained towards Jews. When things progressed to this level, the Jewish parents or grandparents would be shocked into making the painful confession to their initially traumatized offsprings. Thankfully, many of these crypto-Jews quickly embraced their Jewish reality to some extent–at least to the extent that they stopped calling Jews “dirty,” and became more tolerant.

Csanád Szegedi, the vice president of the Jobbik Movement and MP in the European Parliament, is in an especially tough spot. His entire political life is based on the rabid, race-based (and entirely discredited) ideology of “pure Hungarians” vs. “new intruders” who want to colonize Hungary (i.e. the Jews). Yes, in this totally warped and distorted view, “the Jews are coming” to “take away our land.” The Jews–who are blamed for Communism and Capitalism as well–are the great enemy group when they bring capital into Hungary just as they are blamed when they decide to move their capital elsewhere. The Jews, who have lived in Hungary since the Romans made Pannonia into a province, are all of a sudden a new group of outsiders who both refuse to integrate and have integrated so thoroughly that one cannot tell them apart from “genuine” Hungarians. The Jews have not done anything positive for Hungary (never mind the almost endless list of artists, actors, musicians, industrialists, intellectuals, Nobel Prize winners, butchers, plumbers, and small scale merchants). The Jews should go back to Palestine–and the Jews should get out of Palestine, which they have shamelessly conquered. The list of accusations against the Jews is almost endless. Csanád Szegedi has affiliated himself with this party and united his political aspirations with those of this party. His speeches–which you can find on youtube and of which I post one as a primary example of the nationalist rhetoric in which he uses his father’s side of the family to show kinship with the Kuns in the small village of Kunmadaras indict him more thoroughly than any prosecutor could of the kind of rabid Xenophobia his party has championed since its inception http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8TFbHzVcGg). In this video, Csanadi explicitly states that Hungary needs a second Horthy era in order to restore its greatness. He proudly points to his 92-year-old grandmother (although he doesn’t say from which side) who could recite the Horthy-era credo even at two o’clock in the morning (“I believe in God, I believe in my country, I believe in God’s justice, I believe in Hungary’s resurrection”).  I’ll have to discuss the incredible parallels Hungarian nationalists have developed in their origin myths with those of the hated Jews (chosenness, perfect land that is the microcosm of the world within the Carpathians, an ancient people with a great history etc.) some other time.

It is all of this that the unpleasant news regarding Szegedi’s Jewish mother published by the popular Hungarian Nazi website allied to the Jobbik Party called kuruc.info disrupted forever.

Forever? Hardly. Szegedi’s first reaction to the news was to say some incredible things from a purely Jobbik Party perspective. Yet, cognitive dissonance is hardly a new phenomenon in the followers of this party. After all, who could believe at the same time that there was no Holocaust at all but that there would be a necessity for it now. That there was no systematic process of shooting Jews into the Danube river in 1944 and no deportations to concentration camps with gas chambers and hard labor while at the same time shouting at soccer matches the now familiar slogans alluding to shooting Jews into the Danube River and sending Jews to the gas chambers? Poor Mr. Szegedi. He’s now forced to say things like, “My father is a national woodcarver artisan who has carved a lot of headstones, memorials, and tulip-ornamented chests. I have been familiar with Hungarian national motifs.” (all translations are mine, kuruc.info) Does Mr. Szegedi really think that diehard Jobbik fans, who have adopted ontological anti-Semitism practiced by the Nazis, will care at all what “a Jew’s” non-Jewish father does? How would that impact on anything that “the Jew” Szegedi has done? And even if Szegedi were a second Hitler, it would not appease those race-based Jew-haters according to whom the very nature and being of a Jew is irredeemably evil. To make his story sound even less Jewish, Szegedi continues: “I was put into a Protestant high school at the first opportunity after the so-called change of systems [the fall of Communist Hungary and its transition into a parliamentary democracy in 1990, which the right has questioned recently], and my I obtained my diploma from a Protestant college as well. In other words, I would not believe that anyone could justifiably call into question the honest commitment I have made in my political activities towards the Hungarian people.” Then, poor Csanad is forced to take a detour from the often-used political playbook of the anti-Semite and state the obvious, namely, that in an ethnic group such as the Hungarian in which the blood of so many other ethnic groups circulates, what matters is not “pure blood” since–and here, Mr. Szegedi expects us to take a leap of faith and believe him, “pure Hungarian ethnicity never mattered in the Carpathian basin” but rather “how individuals relate to the Hungarian cause.”

Really?

The Hungarian extremists never embraced the Hungarian “race” as a pure and almost mythologically significant one? Clearly, Szegedi would like that to be the case even though a basic youtube search would yield dozens of clips that would belie his statement.

Then, Mr. Szegedi makes another commonplace statement regarding ethnic Hungarians–at least, a commonplace statement from outside the fold of the Hungarian extremists whose colors Szegedi represents. He says, “Relatively speaking, there are few people in Hungary whose ancestors do not include Romanian, Slovak, Serbian, German, Russian, Jewish, Bunyevac, Bolgar, Polish etc. people.”

Great to know. Armin Vambery asserted as much in his 1895 book (A magyarsag keletkezese es gyarapodasa) [The Origins and Proliferation of the Hungarian] for which he was excoriated back then by Mr. Szegedi’s intellectual forefathers.

Even better to hear the following from Mr. Szegedi as he discusses his, as he calls them “respectable” Jewish ancestors: “They included shoemakers, bailiffs, millers, in other words, they were totally average people who had, for the most part, became assimilated. This was not rare at all. A hundred years ago, one million Jews lived in Hungary who had considered themselves Hungarians, and one cannot say that all of them were problematic.” (A többi felmenőimhez hasonlóan nekik is tisztes állásuk volt. Volt köztük cipész, gazdatiszt, molnár, tehát teljesen átlagos emberek voltak, akik nagyrészt asszimilálódtak. Ez egyáltalán nem volt ritka, 100 évvel ezelőtt Magyarországon egymillió zsidó élt, akik magyarnak vallották magukat, és nem lehet azt mondani, hogy mindegyikőjükkel gond lett volna. http://kuruc.info/r/6/97961/#ixzz21NbuKlP5)

What a diplomat Mr. Szegedi is. Jews as totally assimilated? Jews as people who considered themselves Hungarians? Jews as regular people? Not all of them were problematic? Wow! Fantastic. Huge posters should be made with Csanadi’s picture and these words emblazoned on them and be displayed at the next New Hungarian Guards meeting or the gathering of the Goy Bikers (yes, in today’s Hungary, there is actually such a group of largely middle-aged men with mostly Harley Davidsons whose attraction to one another is limited to their boundless Jew-hatred).

Surely, it will take some time for Mr. Szegedi to reconcile the image he has created of himself as a genuine Hungarian of the most extreme sort (as a vocal supporter of Horthy’s Csendőrség [Gendarmes who were instrumental in implementing the deportation of Hungarian Jewry to the death camps in 1944], the rabidly anti-Jewish ideology of his Jobbik Party that paints Hungarians Jews as a foreign entity that can never become good Hungarians even with complete assimilation) and the son of a woman whose mother had survived Auschwitz.

This personal dilemma would be but a quaint anomaly if not for the fact that in today’s Hungary, the Jobbik Party is the spiritual successor of the Nyilas Party [Arrow Cross Party] with such a well-documented rabid aversion to Jews.

Mr. Szegedi should begin to pray that his own party, Jobbik, never get full power in Hungary. For on the day it does, Szegedi (and many others like him) would also have to live in fear of, first, being systematically excluded from public life, then, from life in general. If he doesn’t believe what happened in his beloved Horthy era to the Jews living in Hungary, all he has to do is to ask his grandmother.

She surely could tell her not-so-little grandson eloquently about what happened in the 1930s and 1940s to the Jews of Hungary and, more specifically, how she ended up in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

És beszéld el fiaidnak…[And tell your sons…”]

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