Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics spoke at the opening of the conference entitled "Jewish Life and Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Europe" organised by the Tom Lantos Institute in the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest. Speakers of the event also include Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, widow of the late Congressman Tom Lantos Mrs Annette Lantos and Minister of State Zsolt Németh from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Minister of Public Administration and Justice pointed out that he would like to see Hungary as the republic of good-willed people in 2013 and this is why it is important for citizens and leaders to collide their views and increase public discourse.

He mentioned the fact that 1990 was the first year after the fall of socialism in which people could talk freely about the Holocaust, which shocked the population as they realised that not a distant, secluded group of people were responsible for the killings, but rather the Hungarian state itself.

Photo: Zsolt Burger

The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted: every Hungarian is bound to face the responsibility, as 70 years ago it was Hungarians who killed Hungarians. The last survivors should be sought out and compensated, while the surviving memories should be kept alive, as this is also our responsibility, he added. The Government has made great efforts to this effect, yet much still remains to be done. He mentioned the introduction of the Hungarian Memorial Day for the Victims of the Holocaust on the 16th of April, the Government’s decision to set up the Holocaust Museum in 1999 and the opening of the House of Terror in 2002. He continued with the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Year organized by the Governments of Sweden and Hungary in 2012 and the latest decision of the Hungarian Government, which raised the Holocaust survivors’ pension supplement by 50%.

As for the future, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the main priority of the 2014 Holocaust Memorial Year will be education, as the generation of the future must be taught and informed of the fruitful Hungarian-Jewish cohabitation that will eventually starve out hatred and racism. The Deputy Prime Minister also spoke of the inciters of hatred, underlining the importance of the legal framework in this matter, which also poses crucial questions. Where should we draw the line between acceptable and intolerable? What counts as hatred and what is just an opinion? He mentioned the opportunity to take action against hate speech that has been incorporated into the Constitution and the tightened code of conduct in Parliament designed to put an end to similar statements.

Our goal is a democracy that protects itself and all of its citizens, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed, adding that the Government is committed to making Hungary a republic of good-willed people.

(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)