Hungarian Anti-Semitism

According to the Jewish Agency, Hungary today has a population of approximately 50,000 Jews. In 1910, one hundred years ago, there were nearly one million Jews living there. The Nazis killed many, some emigrated to America, some to Israel, and others assimilated during the Soviet regime.

Hungary has a total population of just over 9 million. So with Jews totalling 1/2 percent of the population, you wouldn’t figure for them to a major force in that country.  Therefore, I found it odd to see today’s headline in Haaretz:  “Proud Hungarians must prepare for war against the Jews.”

This is not a headline from some blogger world or an offbeat political commentator. This is a headline taken from Hungary’s leading Police union newspaper. Here’s another example:

After the recent resignation of prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, one of the candidates for the post was Gyorgy Suranyi, formerly the governor of the Hungarian Central Bank, a brilliant economist, and a Jew.

The center-right party Democratic Hungarian Forum published on the front page of its newsletter a picture of Suranyi’s face inside a yellow star of David (reminiscent of the yellow patch from the days of Fascism) with the following caption: “Suranyi is actually the candidate backed by the elderly [Israeli President] Shimon Peres.”

The frightening and chilling tones of pre-WWII Eastern Europe are rearing their ugly heads yet again.  This time, there are practically little Jews left there, and yet they still pipe the same headlines – “Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.”

Jews of the diaspora today should pop open the history books and read what are the warning signs of anti-semitism so they can draw their own conclusions on appropriate action plans to keep their families safe from the ordeals our recent and past ancestors endured.  One book that I can specifically recommend is The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz.