Hungarian Jews to Country: Own Up to Holocaust Role
Group will go through with boycott if demands not met
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2014 12:02 PM CST
A woman lights a candle to commemorate victims among cast iron shoes, a memorial of Holocaust victims on the bank of River Danube, in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, April 16, 2013.   (AP Photo/MTI, Noemi Bruzak)

(Newser) – Hungary's Jews aren't happy with the way the country plans to commemorate the Holocaust this year—and the country's main Jewish group will boycott the 70th anniversary events entirely if certain conditions aren't met. At issue is how Hungary (initially a Hitler ally) is depicting its role in the Holocaust. What the Hungarian Jewish Congregations' Association (Mazsihisz) is insisting upon, per Reuters: The government must ditch plans to build a monument in Budapest that would portray Hungary as "a victim of German aggression," must stop downplaying its wartime government's role, and must acknowledge that local citizens helped the Nazis deport and kill Hungarian Jews.

The monument's "symbolism would significantly contribute to averting the national responsibility," reads a Mazsihisz statement. Mazsihisz also has a problem with a memorial center being built in Budapest near a train station that was used to deport Jews, and with the newly appointed director of a history institute who called the 1941 deportation of foreign Jews who sought shelter in Hungary "a policy procedure for foreign nationals," the AP reports. The group has voted to boycott the memorial events—focused on the June 1944 deportation of more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews to Nazi death camps—if no changes are made.