"I lived upon this earth in such an age
when man was so debased he sought to murder
for pleasure, not just to comply with orders,
his faith in falsehoods drove him to corruption,
his life was ruled by raving self-deception"
(Miklós Radnóti: Fragment)
The basis of human existence and culture is memory. Those without memories are not alive, because life is memory itself. Life. This is what provides individuals with the uplifting and sometimes tragic feelings of conscious identity and self-consciousness, and for communities of being part of a religion, ethnic group or nation, of belonging somewhere, the feeling of "we". Those without memory live in a loss of existence, forgetting what they have experienced, where they come from and where they are going. They do not live, but instead only wonder, swept by the eternal passing of fleeting moments.
The Holocaust Memorial Year wishes to act against forgetting and indifference. By naming unforgivable and irredeemable crimes and those responsible for them, and bowing its head in respect to the martyrdom of the innocent victims. If possible by collecting, reviewing, documenting, publishing, reading out and uttering the names of every single victim in Hungary from the smallest village to the largest city, from the ghettos, brick factories and railway stations to the gas chambers and mass graves. The wonderful potential of the 21st century, the Internet, is also used as a place of remembrance for the most terrible events of the 20th century. As an eternal and cautionary electronic memento. The Holocaust Memorial Year will be worthy of the grandeur of the losses suffered by the nation, if its message reaches everyone, if every settlement and community awakens the memories of the past in its own way and according to its own means. If it examines and admits the relationship it and its community has with its own past, and with the "Shoah". It is only in this way that remembering death can become the march of life.
The Holocaust is a tragedy of man, a series of atrocious crimes committed against mankind and humanity, because everyone is equal in their humanity. Human. And as such, they are equal to other men. It is no accident that the wild ideas of racial theory attacked precisely this fundamental truth to find an excuse for its terrible actions. "An ancient rat spreads disease among us, / the thought that is considered unthought, / it sticks its snout into what we have cooked up, / it runs from one human to another. / (…) Faith and gratitude burrow deep inside us, / and our tears are dropping into flames – / We are caught in an alternating dance, / of craving for revenge, and conscience." (Attila József: An Ancient Rat)
The Holocaust is a tragedy of the Hungarian people, of the whole Hungarian nation. Irrespective of what community people professed to belong to, because such belonging can extremely diverse and many-folded. From the desire for assimilation and total identification, to separation. The limit to the freedom of cultural, religious, national or ethnic self-identity is the existence of the other party. If someone attempts to destroy this, they are committing a crime. Every individual, every life is in itself a treasure and a wonder, the wonder of existence. Questioning this fact is a fundamental attack on human life.
Only the righteous can be true patriots, who protect all eight and people according to the eternal laws of nature. The rescuers of Jews rescued people; this is why they are Righteous Among the Nations. Those who rescue people, rescue life, past, present and memory; this is what they stand for. The truth lies in not suppressing, recognising and admitting the fact that the utmost treasure is human life, existence itself. Which upright men of character and ethos will protect under all circumstances, even at the risk of their own lives. "(…) for, silent amongst rogues, I share their vice. / Kin will be made responsible for kin / each man must go the way Thou sendest him. / But the wicked will sneer at what is good. / See how they mocked me, oh Heavenly God! / They pilloried Thy servant, yes, it happened! / For truth and sermons are too weak as weapons, / fine words and prayers here do not much avail, / while battles and Power's arrows never fail. " (Mihály Babits: The Book of Jonas) Truly moral actions always choose the more difficult path. This requires resolve, will, strength and courage, which not all people possess to the same extent. How much easier it is to let it be, to appear uninterested, to withdraw and hide from responsibility, than to take the risk.
Extreme nationalists and internationalists, fascists and communists, nazis and chauvinists violate the order of nature to an equal extent because they mean to increase their own power at the expense of others. True nationals, internationals and free thinkers, however, regard all people as equal from the perspective of law and morals, respecting and viewing all nations, ethnic groups and religions with a feeling of special understanding and association. The Hungarian Jewry, whatever they may have professed to be, converted to Christianity or Zionist, believer or unbeliever, religious or unreligious, was a Hungarian citizen and part of the nation as a Jewish Hungarian or Hungarian Jew, or as someone of Jewish descent. The tragic message of the Hungarian Holocaust, which should heeded, is that every Hungarian citizen is responsible for every other Hungarian citizen, be they Jewish, Roma or regard themselves as belonging party or to a mixed extent to any group.
The Hungarian Holocaust is a tragedy for the whole Hungarian nation, the tragedy of the ancient Hungarian peoples. We became fewer and less valuable with every forcefully deported individual, no matter how we calculate the victims, because the extermination of human life is in itself too much. The loss is immeasurably irreplaceable. "Profit all of you from this example. This is what man is like, a singular sample. No copy existed before, nor does one at present. As on a living branch each leaf is different, so time itself will breed no simulacrum." (Dezső Kosztolányi: Funeral Oration) It is when we refer this to ourselves, to our own bodies, our health and to our whole existence that we can truly comprehend the full extent of this loss. The Hungarian Holocaust cut from within us our own, Jewish part, because in cohabitation, even if in a contradictory way, but we became part of each other. It is a great torment and outrage that we let it happen. That indifference and various levels of cooperation gave ground for destruction. We rescued people, but not enough of us and not enough of them. Christian communities, foreign and Hungarian civil organisations objected and rescued; sometimes even neighbours and acquaintances, the intelligentsia and fellow writers helped to hide the persecuted. The majority of the Jewry in Budapest survived, but the majority of those living in rural areas were lost, including a painfully large number of children. True remembrance and the experiencing of the past is our remembering in the present. Although there are of course ever fewer survivors and the guilty living amongst us, because two generations, seventy years have now passed. But facing and embracing solidarity with history and our own past obliges us, those who are alive today, who are here because we are able to be here, to remember our past now in the present. The absence of those who cold not be born is the silent scream of our living history. Their unbearable silence penetrates our souls.
"I tumble near his body, already taunt as a string about to break. Shot through the nape. You will end up like that, I mutter to myself. Lie still. Be patient. The flower of death unfolds in fear. I wait. Blood mixed with grows clotted on my ear. I hear a soldier quip: He'll get away yet." (Miklós Radnóti, Picture Postcards, 4)