As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of "buying up" the country, railed about the "Jewishness" of the political elite, and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols. Then came a revelation that knocked him off his perch as ultra-nationalist standard-bearer: Szegedi himself is a Jew. Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jews—making him one, too, under Jewish law, even though he doesn't practice the faith.
His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps. Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse. Not helping: A recording has surfaced in which Szegedi offers money to a felon threatening to expose his ancestry. (He says he didn't know until then.) Szegedi resigned last month from all party positions and gave up his Jobbik membership. That wasn't good enough for the party: Last week it asked him to give up his seat in the European Parliament as well.