HUNGARY: After the Hungarian prime leader spoke out against becoming “people of mixed race,” a member of Viktor Orban’s inner circle quit.
According to the media, Zsuzsa Hegedus, who has known nationalist Orban for 20 years, called the speech a “perfect Nazi text.”
The International Auschwitz Committee of Holocaust survivors called the speech “stupid and dangerous.”
The media had distorted the statements, claimed Orban’s spokesman.
The speech was delivered on Saturday in a Romanian province with a large Hungarian population.
Orban claimed that mixing with Europeans should be permitted, doing so with non-Europeans resulted in a “mixed-race world.”
“We are willing to mix when we do not want to become people of mixed race,” he said.
Despite the well-known anti-immigration sentiments of Orban, Ms. Hegedus felt that his address on Saturday went too far.
“I don’t know how you didn’t notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels,” she wrote in her resignation letter.
Goebbels was the head of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda ministry.
Others in Hungary have passionately defended Orban’s views on race despite fierce criticism from others.
“Only one race inhabits this earth, Homo Sapiens. And it is unique and undivided,” chief rabbi Robert Fröhlich commented.
In the April elections, Orban’s Fidesz party handily defeated opposition politicians, who claimed Orban’s comments were “beyond the pale… unbecoming of a European leader.”
The prime minister has long been vocal on the issues of immigration and assimilation, according to government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs, who sought to quell the mounting chorus of censure.
An article in Magyar Nemzet, the official newspaper, lauded Orban for standing up for nationalism in the face of efforts to mix all nationalities “into a grey, indistinguishable mass.”
Orban seems confused, describing the Hungarians as “the most mixed society” but also appearing to advocate for ethnic purity at other times.
The resignation of Hegedus is unlikely to have any more effects in Hungary. Resignations are extremely rare, and party discipline is strict.
The Hungarian leader appeared to mock the Nazi gas chambers during World War Two when criticising the EU’s aim to reduce gas use by 15% by saying, “The past teaches us German know-how on it.”
The largest Jewish organisation in Hungary denounced the speech and demanded a meeting with Orban. In the last months of World War II, more than 500,000 Hungarian Jews were killed, many of them at Auschwitz.
His statements served as “grist to the mill for all racist and far-right groups in Europe,” according to the International Auschwitz Committee. They served as a reminder of the dark days of the Holocaust survivors’ persecution.
The comments were inappropriate, according to the foreign minister of Romania, and it was regrettable that they were made on Romanian soil.
Responding by letter to his long-standing adviser, Orban defended his words.
“You know better than anyone that in Hungary, my government follows a zero-tolerance policy on both anti-Semitism and racism,” he wrote.
In his speech, Orban discussed the conflict in Ukraine and claimed that sanctions on Russia were ineffective and that a negotiated peace agreement should take precedence.
In April, Viktor Orban was elected to an unprecedented fourth term in power, yet he has taken a positioin Russia’s war that differs from that of every other EU nation.
He has kept up close ties with Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, and is the first EU official to criticise Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine publicly.