A local council official reported to the Budapest city council and police on Tuesday that pig legs had been tied around the statue the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, a former Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Hungary during WW2.The 2nd district council of Budapest and the foreign ministry condemned the statue’s desecration in separate statements. The Human Resources Ministry also condemned the “nasty act”.
“Those desecrating the memorial of a man who risked his life to save tens of thousands of people during the Holocaust acted against European traditions, culture and order of values,” the ministry said.
Wallenberg, who rescued tens of thousands of Jews and a Righteous among the Nations, has become a symbol of humanity in Hungary and around the world, it added. The Hungarian government has declared 2012 Wallenberg year to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, the ministry noted.
The main opposition Socialists also expressed condemnation of the “lowly act”, adding that it revealed extremist views were spreading in Hungary. Party leader Attila Mesterházy said he would personally initiate the sanctioning of hate speech and certain actions inciting hatred.
Budapest police spokeswoman Judit Pap told MTI that proceedings had been initiated in connection with the case. Arrangements have been made to clean the memorial, the work of sculptor Imre Varga.
Inrelating to another anti-semitic incident, the city council of Eger (NE) has decided to dismiss from her post the head of the local council’s cultural committee, Mrs Laszlo Orosz, who was accused of involvement in racial discrimination targeting a Hungarian actor. The council acted on the advice of Laszlo Habis, the local mayor.
Orosz, a delegate of the ruling Fidesz party, will have her committee membership withdrawn, too.
In early May, Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor cancelled a planned visit to Eger after he listened to a tape recording which allegedly showed that actor Jozsef Szekhelyi had been prevented from appearing on stage in the city because he was Jewish.
According to earlier reports of online news portal stop.hu, a recording made at the September 21 meeting of the Eger local council’s cultural and tourism committee included a remark according to which Szekhelyi had been called “a stinky Jew who belonged to the Alliance of Free Democrats” and therefore he was an unwelcome person in Eger.
According to the minutes of the meeting also acquired by stop.hu, Orosz said that many local residents had criticised a planned performance by Szekhelyi. In reaction to this, the director of the organiser House of Arts asked another Fidesz-Christian Democrat representative, Antal Csakvari, to prepare a list of unwelcome performance artists in Eger, the portal said.
Habis has apologised to Szekhelyi in person and met the Israeli ambassador over the matter. Read more on the topic on Freehungary.