NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress is disappointed by the contemplated narrative for a Holocaust museum in Budapest that ignores the role played by Hungarian society and its authorities in the annihilation of Hungarian Jewry, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said.
“As someone who has been strongly engaged on every level in the revival of Hungary after the collapse of Communism, and who has deep roots in the country, it is especially upsetting for me to see what appears to be a whitewash,” said Lauder.
“It is particularly troubling that in the so-called ‘House of Fates,’ a museum ostensibly dedicated to the victims of the Shoah in Hungary, the identity of the perpetrators is blurred and Hungarian complicity, beginning with the enactment of anti-Jewish legislation in 1938, is ignored.
“Over the years, I have built a constructive relationship with Prime Minister Victor Orban and am saddened by the fact that this distortion of history continues despite his demonstrated commitment to the well-being of the Jewish community in Hungary.
“The Hungarian government, which has demonstrated unwavering friendship with the State of Israel, deserves credit for constructive steps, often undertaken in cooperation with the WJC, including taking the lead on delivering a joint statement denouncing antisemitism at the UN Human Rights Council, taking part in an unprecedented tribute to a Holocaust-era hero ahead of the UEFA Europa League Qualifier Match, and supporting the renovation of the Rumbach St. Synagogue. When I built the Lauder-Javne School in Budapest and the Lauder-Szarvas summer camp, I found strong support from the government in promoting the interests of the local Jewish community.
“It is our strong recommendation that the House of Fates be placed under the supervision of an international body, including Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Museum, and perhaps most importantly, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities MAZSIHISZ, whose role in the creation of the museum has been sidelined despite assurances to the contrary.
“The WJC stands ready to work with the Hungarian government and MAZSIHISZ, our affiliated community, in ensuring that the House of Fates reflects the authentic history of the Holocaust in Hungary,” Lauder said.