Hungarian Nazis in the NewsAug 7, 2012 at 10:51:14 PM
The story of Hungarian Jewry during World War Two is one of the most tragic elements of the Holocaust.
The community of approximately 850,000 Hungarian Jews avoided deportation during much of the war, but in May 1944 sweeping transports were begun to Auschwitz. On a typical day, 12,000 Hungarian Jews were being unloaded from cattle cars and directed straight to the gas chambers.
Over 70% of Hungarian Jewry was wiped out in a span of months – what Winston Churchill would later call "the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world."
And now Hungarian Nazis are back in the news.
Laszlo Csatary, the world's most-wanted Nazi war criminal who was a Hungarian police commander, has now been arrested in Hungary. The 97-year-old Csatary was in charge of the Jewish ghetto in Kassa, Hungary, where in April 1944 he supervised the loading of 16,000 Jews onto trains headed for the crematoria at Auschwitz.
Csatary was convicted in absentia for war crimes and sentenced to death by a court in Czechoslovakia in 1948. He escaped to Canada where he lived under a fake identity for nearly 50 years. He escaped again, before being tracked down in Budapest.
Another "Hungarian Nazi" was in the news this week when it was revealed that Hungarian politician Csanad Szegedi, a member of European Parliament, discovered that his maternal grandmother was Jewish and had been imprisoned in Auschwitz.
The irony is that Szegedi is a member of Jobbik, a radical neo-Nazi party which has proclaimed it the "duty" of all Hungarians to "prepare for armed battle against the Jews."
Szegedi, who now says he is proud of his Jewish heritage, recently met with the Chief Rabbi of Hungary. In response, the Jobbik party is pressuring him to resign his seat in European Parliament.
Nearly 70 years after the war, remnants of Nazism are alive and well in Hungary.