Mazsihisz wants the government to abandon the memorial to Germany’s 1944 invasion of Hungary. The leaders of the organization also want to stop the erection of a new center devoted to the memory of child victims of the Holocaust.
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A Hungarian museum director visited Yad Vashem last week to get inspiration for the creation of a Holocaust memorial museum in Budapest.
“It made such an impact on me,” said Maria Schmidt, who visited Israel on Thursday.
“It’s such a great responsibility [creating the Budapest museum], so I am a little bit afraid.”
How much may anyone ask of yesterday when it comes to justice today?
How live an issue, for example, is the “Armenian Genocide” that appears to have taken place 99 years ago?
For the targets, it would appear to never go away; for the Turks, the claim of it remains met with denial.
What if the event had taken place 999 years ago?
Would the descendants, if still cohered as an ethnic group, continue to press their claim?
The role that time plays in the experience of injustice and the want of remediation or revenge poses a puzzle: when is it too late to reasonably do something about the experience of evil in a near or far away yesterday.
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The Arab states of the middle east have hung on to the notion of “Arab Lands” and post-WWII Zionism, itself a part of their narrative libel, for a stretch going on 70 years. Their abuse, callousness, and carelessness extended to keeping for generations the descendants of refugees of their failed wars of annihilation against Israel and the Jews has been well illustrated by twists and reversals in the laws of hosting states and, most recently, by the neglect of the agony experienced by the refugees settled in Syria’s Yarmouk Camp.
Is 70 years too soon for grumbling about it but getting along with complete acceptance of the Jewish state — or is it too late?
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So it goes with the truth about Hungary’s role in the Holocaust — the genocide of the Jews during World War II — and how close in time, or far, the matter remains for redress.
Hungary’s main Jewish umbrella organization voted on Sunday to boycott official Holocaust commemorations this year unless the role of locals in the Nazi deportation and killing of Hungarian Jews is made clear. The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) decided to stay away from events marking the 70th anniversary of the deportation of 437,000 Jews from Hungary to the Nazi death camps.
Jobbik’s rise and Orban’s government have added their nationalist heat to the counter-cause of contemporary inclusion and tolerance. It’s easy to hear in the head the call to vigilance, “Never again!” when the smoke of the Nazi yesterday starts appearing in familiar black wisps around the neighborhood.
Still, what is wanted?
A coming out in shame?
And would that be for conspiring in the murder of the Jews as a class, the Roma too, and others?
Or for losing that terrible wrong-headed fight?
Or engaging with it in the first place?
What is wanted — the names of octogenarians who facilitated the crime (and God alone knows what was going through their minds when they did it)? General reparations? To whom? For how long?
When does it end?
When does any war end?
To this day, the “War Between the States” remains an uncomfortable subject in many homes of the American South.
We are almost 160 years beyond that blood mired wound in American history. Atlanta has boomed in a good way; the south has made itself into a business center and traveler’s paradise; and the slaves of its antebellum years have integrated in every way imaginable with the American Dream except where choice otherwise has swayed the heart, and yet for those in whom that heart has been swayed, reparations may still be demanded — and on the honky side, deep grievance about Big Government and “states rights” remain.
If a person: how long do you hold a grudge?
If a culture: how many generations?
Given what my people think about Pharaoh and Haman, should be peace now be impossible between Israelis, Egyptians, and Persians?
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The organization again called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government to cancel the unveiling of a statue on Szabadsag tér commemorating the Nazi “occupation” of Hungary, maintaining its position that such a moment absolves Hungarians of complicity in the exportation of Jews to concentration camps.
The machine-translated English leaves much to be desired on this piece — http://www.mazsihisz.hu/2012/02/08/neonaci-bujocska-%E2%80%93-nagyon-keszulnek-a–becsulet-napjara–4863.html — but one may glean from it how the presence of a resurgent nationalism in Hungary has infected the assessment of memorial plans associated with WWII and the Holocaust.
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On November 3rd, much to the shock of many Hungarians, the far-right Jobbik party unveiled a statue of Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Governor who ruled after the first World War and allied Hungary with Nazi Germany during the second World War. Despite the efforts of numerous individuals who have fought tirelessly to stamp out radicalism and racism, evil is still out there.
It would seem Hungarians have some difficult navigation ahead as regards their national self-concept and identity.
However, the Jews, not alone, have these still troubled and dangerous waters to navigate as well.
No one should want a drifted return to investment in the myths of nationalist socialism, blood and honor, superiority in blood. Those things exist in the poetry attending and healing “narcissistic mortification” but also at times compelling “malignant narcissism”. The response in the head is to the damage of self-concept and image, which may need enough to stand but, perhaps, not so much as to loom as a dark shadow across the landscape, a phantom energized by old wounds.
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