Budapest, December 18 (MTI) – The Homan Balint Foundation has dropped plans to erect a statue to its namesake, the Horthy-era politician, in Szekesfehervar, central Hungary.
The foundation notified the mayor of the city, Andras Cser-Palkovics, in a letter. In response the mayor motioned to withdraw support of 2 million forints (EUR 6,300) approved for the statue by the local council in June this year. The assembly voted to approve the motion on Friday.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier said he did not support plans for the Homan statue. Gabor Kovats, the Homan foundation’s head, insisted earlier that Homan’s “contributions to the nation and the city” justified a statue in his honour.
Plans for the Homan monument have elicited sharp protest both in Hungary and abroad. Jewish organisations, US congressmen and diplomats have also voiced protest. The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) said “in a democratic country there is no place for a statue for an anti-Semite”.
Mazsihisz on Friday welcomed the Szekesfehervar assembly’s decision in a statement. The federation “hopes that with this move the idea to rehabilitate the politician with a bad past in public life can be off the agenda for good,” it said.
Homan, a historian, took part in the drafting and implementation of anti-Jewish legislation in the late 1930s. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the People’s Court in 1946 for voting to declare war on the Soviet Union in 1941, which the court said was a war crime. He died in prison in 1951. Last year, the Budapest Court ordered a retrial in his case, and earlier this year, Homan was acquitted of the charge.
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) welcomed the decision but insisted that Szekesfehevar council had only withdrawn its funding after the Homan foundation’s decision to scrap its plan. More importantly, however, the collapse of the project means no public space will given over to anti-Semitism, it added.
Radical nationalist Jobbik lawmaker Dora Duro said in a statement Szekesfehervar council had rightly supported erecting the statue and the justice ministry had donated 15 million forints. Since Fidesz politicians had not learnt anything new about Homan in the meantime, it could only be assumed that they had caved in to pressure by the US, Israel and Germany, she added.