The following statement was sent by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev regarding the plans of the Hungarian Government to erect in the city of Székesfehérvár a monument to the late Bálint Hóman, a leading Hungarian facist and Nazi sympathizer during the World War II period. Yad Vashem expresses its strenuous opposition to the plans, and its expectations the monument project be cancelled.
"I would like to express once again Yad Vashem's deep concern, following successive reports of imminent Hungarian Government funding for and unveiling of a monument honoring Bálint Hóman in the city of Székesfehérvár. We have repeatedly expressed our strong opposition to these plans and measures which stand in stark, painful contradiction to accurate Holocaust remembrance.
It would be most regrettable that honoring a known Nazi sympathizer and member of the Arrow Cross regime, who was a central figure in Hungarian Fascist policies of systematic racist anti-Jewish legislation, should even be considered, in any form or context, in contemporary Hungary. This is so at any time, and particularly during the year of Hungary's Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
We believe that failing to cancel this misguided initiative would be fundamentally contradictory to the ideals and policies that the Hungarian Government has proclaimed repeatedly, in various contexts. Accordingly, we urge the Hungarian Government to take forthright and unequivocal steps to halt this project and to publicize these steps. Certainly, the standards of good governance and civic transparency – to which Hungary publicly aspires - require a clear, decisive and moral policy on this matter.
Furthermore, the Balint monument project is of ongoing concern to the Hungarian Jewish community, whose leaders have voiced their opposition to its implementation. Surely, the Hungarian Government should rather implement its often expressed intentions to maintain dialogue with its Jewish citizens and thus respect their convictions and perspective on this matter. In summary, we look forward to firm, steadfast assurances from the senior leadership of Hungary's national Government that plans for the Bálint Hóman monument have been permanently suspended."
The statement was read by Israeli Ambassador HE Mr. Ilan Mor at a special day- seminar in Budapest on December 15th, held under the auspices of the United States Embassy in Budapest together with US Special Envoys Ira Forman (Antisemitism) and Nicholas Dean (Holocaust Issues).