Thousands attended a Budapest commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the occupation of Hungary by the Nazis this week.

Wednesday’s memorial, sponsored by the Hungarian Jewish community, was held in front of the Dohany Street Synagogue.


“This event is the beginning of Holocaust commemorations in Hungary for the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust,” said Andras Heisler, the president of Mazsihisz, the Federations of Hungarian Jewish Communities, in a speech at the event.

“In the name of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Shoah, we raise our voice against those, who are in power, in whom as a minority we cannot trust,” Heisler continued, expressing the Jewish community’s disappointment with the Hungarian government, which it accuses of downplaying national responsibility for the murder of the country’s Jews during WWII.

Though he was invited to the event, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban did not attend. His deputy, Zsolt Semjen, was present instead. The head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Cardinal Peter Erdo, and Gusztav Bölcskei, bishop of the Protestant Church in Hungary, also attended.

“In solidarity with the Hungarian Jews, we are not accepting the relativization of the Holocaust, not accepting the denial of the Holocaust and not accepting the culture of amnesia, of forgetting,” Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, said in his address.