Outraged by growing displays of anti-Semitism in Hungary, tens of thousands joined the annual “March of the Living” holocaust commemoration in Budapest April 27, the largest in years.
The march took place three weeks after the ultra-rightist Jobbik party won more than 20 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, up from 16 percent in 2010.
In November, Jobbik parliament member Marton Gyongyosi called for registering Jews “especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk.” He later claimed he was only referring to those with Israeli passports.
Leaders of the ruling Fidesz party have also espoused thinly veiled Jew-hatred. “They give us dictates,” Janos Hargitai, a Fidesz legislator, said in March. “In 1848, it was the Rothschilds and now it’s the International Monetary Fund.”
The Fidesz party’s 2009 election slogan “Hungary for Hungarians” was widely seen as directed against immigrants, Jews and Roma, an oppressed people throughout Europe.
More than 500,000 of the country’s Jewish population of 800,000 were executed during World War II by the Nazis with the collaboration of the Hungarian government. Today the Jewish community is estimated at between 35,000 and 120,000, one of the largest in eastern Europe.
“When the economy does not really work and people are poor, somebody has to be blamed,” marcher Miklos Deutsch told Reuters, “and the Jews and the gypsies are blamed.”