Budapest 5th district gives approval for memorial
Budapest, January 22 (MTI) – The council of the 5th district of Budapest on Wednesday voted to allow the erection of a memorial commemorating the 70th anniversary of the German occupation of Hungary.
At the extraordinary meeting, held after the opposition appealed to the district’s mayor, Antal Rogan, to withhold his support for the memorial’s establishment, the council voted 11 in favour and three against to allow the statue featuring the Archangel Gabriel and imperial eagle to be erected in Szabadsag Square.
Rogan (Fidesz) said the memorial would immortalise the moment when Hungary lost its sovereignty, as well as commemorating everyone who was murdered, deported, abused, including several hundred thousand Holocaust victims and several tens of thousands of other victims.
Deputy leader of the main opposition Socialists told a press conference on Wednesday that the planned memorial for Hungary’s 1944 German occupation in reality commemorates the country’s occupation by the Nazis and the Nazi occupiers’ Hungarian partners.
The memorial puts the victims and perpetrators “under one roof”, thereby hurting the cause of national remembrance, said Csaba Horvath, ahead of the meeting of the council.
Horvath said that the government had not even tried to seek national unity over the memorial, and he criticised the lack of preliminary professional consultations or a public debate.
The planned memorial “fakes history and will serve as a gathering point for Nazis,” he said, adding that “during the occupation Hungary became a Nazi country with Hungarians among the Nazi ranks.”
He said the monument would also malign the German nation, too, since it gave the impression that the German people as a whole had reviled Hungary, whereas in fact German and Hungarian Nazis acted hand in hand. Further, the imperial eagle is a symbol of the German people and not of the Nazis, adding further insult to injury, he added.
Fidesz spokesman Peter Hoppal told the press on Wednesday afternoon that the opposition criticised the planned monument “to incite hysteria” prior to the election campaign period.
“Playing the anti-Semitic card is obviously not an alien concept to the Gyurcsany coalition,” he added.