Budapest, February 23 (MTI) – The memorial year for political prisoners and forced labourers who were taken to the Soviet Union has been launched with the aim of “healing wounds”, the minister for human resources said on Monday.
Hungarians have not been able to talk about the injustices, legal abuses or harm done for four decades, Zoltan Balog told the inaugural session of the Gulag Memorial Committee, of which he is the head. In many cases the victims were criminalised, he added.
The government wants to provide a solution through the committee’s work by recommending memorial events, materials and scientific endeavours throughout the year, which marks the 70th anniversary of a series of deportations to forced labour camps from Hungary.
An estimated 200,000-230,000 people were taken into forced labour camps for malenkiy robot — “a little work” — from the territory of what is today’s Hungary. This included 150,000-170,000 male war prisoners, and 50,000 men and women internees with an ethnic German background. Up to 40 percent of the prisoners died in the camps and many of them are buried in unmarked graves.