The Holocaust was one of the most pointless and brutal acts of destruction in world history
Every year since 2001 the memorial day for victims of the Holocaust in Hungary has been held on 16 April, remembering that the isolation of local Jews into ghettos started on this day in 1944. The Minister of Human Capacities called the Holocaust one of the most pointless and brutal acts of destruction in the history of the world at a commemoration to mark the Day of Remembrance for the Hungarian Victims of the Holocaust in front of the House of Terror Museum in Budapest.
“The darkest eras in our history occurred when a part of humanity forgot about its own past, its thousand-year traditions, its fundamental values and its faith in God, and thought that, based on its own, selfish interests, it could take over control of the world itself”, Miklós Kásler said.
The Minister said two dictatorships has come about during the bloody twentieth century, in which tens of millions of people were maimed and murdered: internationalism and national socialism.
“In addition to the victims, we must also remember those who preserved their humanity amidst the inhumanity, and helped and rescued the persecuted, becoming examples for all of us”, he stressed.
“Their fate proves that if humanity preserves its values and its actions are driven by love, then we are capable of performing miracles even in the most terrible times”, he declared.
“We must make the upcoming generations aware of the actions of these heroes, because it is only in this way that we can assure that humanity doesn’t stray from the true path, that inhumane and ungodly ideals do not take control once again, and that the great tragedies of the twentieth century are not repeated”, Mr. Kásler highlighted.
Executive Rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) Shlomó Köves spoke about the fact that the obligation to maintain historic memory is a fundamental value in Jewish traditions and the Jewish faith, and through this also in Judeo-Christian civilisation.
He also mentioned that according to a 2006 opinion poll by Medián on anti-Semitic attitudes, 14 percent of people asked believed the gas chambers hadn’t existed and 9 percent thought the horrors of the Holocaust had been invented by Jews. “Eleven years later, in 2017, 22 percent of people thought the gas chambers hadn’t existed and 17 percent of people believed that these horrors had been invented by the Jews”, he said.
“If it is just a burden, remembering the horrors of history often achieves the opposite effect”, the Rabbi pointed out. He explained that in his opinion it is worth remembering these “when in the thick darkness we are able to find those small flames” that can also provide an example, strength, and moral teaching in our own personal lives.
As an example, he cited Hungarian sculptor Béni Ferenczy and his wife, who risked their lives to hide three teenage Hungarian Jewish boys in Budapest, saving their lives.
In a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI, Programme Director of the House of Terror Museum Gábor Tallai said: We have been remembering the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust and the rescuers who “transferred our consciences to the twenty-first century” with a commemorative concert since 2007. In recent years, amongst others, the examples of Raoul Wallenberg, József Mindszenty, Margit Slachta, Sára Salkaházi and Katalin Karády were placed at the focus of attention.
The government says no to anti-Semitism, and condemns all anti-Semitic acts, the Justice Minister said in his speech
at the central commemoration held on Tuesday in Budapest on the occasion of the memorial day for victims of the Holocaust in Hungary.
László Trócsányi highlighted that the Holocaust had affected the whole of Hungarian society. Remembrance is for the present, and even more for the future. We must remember so that humanity should never again commit this sin, he added.
The Holocaust is painful for every well-meaning person, it would not have happened if everyone had resisted, the Minister stressed, observing that “it did not begin with the gas chambers”.
He stressed that the freedom of speech is a fundamental human right, but the protection of human dignity must set limits for the freedom of opinion.
Mr Trócsányi described the presence of hate speech on the Internet as a global problem. He said legal systems are at a disadvantage in the fight against fake news and trolls; states, the EU and the international community are all responsible for this.
The Minister highlighted that the Hungarian Civil Code allows members of the community to take action against statements inciting hatred, while Holocaust denial is punishable under the provisions of the Penal Code. He added at the same time that the law is a necessary, but insufficient means: it is not enough to say no, we must say yes to a culture that is based on appreciating, respecting and getting to know one another.
We need the participation of every well-meaning person, Mr Trócsányi said.