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Hungary’s main Jewish organisation has voted to stay away from official Holocaust commemorations this year unless they more clearly show the role of Hungarians in deporting Jews.
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, (Mazsihisz), says a planned statue and memorial centre in Budapest play down Hungarian collaboration with the Nazis.
Mazsihisz leader Gusztáv Zoltai was deported to a concentration camp by Hungarian soldiers when he was 8.
“Neither my mother nor my father were put on the wagons by Germans, but by Hungarians who passed them over to the Germans. Of course it is not only about taking responsiblity, but people need to acknowledge that it happened this way, “Zoltai said.
The planned statue would depict Hungary as a victim of German aggression when in fact the country’s wartime fascist government was an ally of Hitler.
Mazsihisz also wants the government to remove the director of a new history institute because he called a 1941 deportation of tens of thousands of Jews “a policy procedure for foreign nationals.”
It will be 70 years since June 1944 when the Nazis occupied Hungary. 437,000 Jews were sent to Nazi death camps within weeks.
The Jewish group is waiting for a promised response from the prime minister this week.
Euronews correspondent in Budapest, Andrea Hajagos, says the issue of the statue has became quite unpleasant for the government, especially now, less than 2 months before the election, as the question of this monument has become one of the main topics in this campaign.