Never again can it happen that somebody is excluded, deprived of all properties and murdered because of his or her religion or descent. Never again can it occur that the thousand-year-old Hungarian state cannot protect its citizens – Csaba Hende said at a commemoration held on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Uránia National Cinema.

Speaking at the event organized by the “March of the Living” Foundation, the Minister of Defence stressed that it must be understood what the nation and Europe lost with “our Jewish compatriots”, and what a shame it is that “we were not able to protect them”. That is why we must remember the Holocaust, this great European tragedy, part of which “belongs to us, Hungarians”, he said. This commemoration also shows that “we have the courage to face our history”, and to get to know and learn the lesson that “it teaches us”, the Minister added.

Photo: Mária Krasznai-Nehrebeczky

Csaba Hende pointed out that we must get acquainted with the life of the Jews, who “lived with us”, having been part of the life of the nation, and fought for the Hungarian homeland in the wars. Besides the victims, we have to remember the murderers as well, whose deeds remain forever inexcusable, and the heroes who remained human even in the hardest times, the Minister said. He stressed that the government does its best to make sure that tragedies like the Holocaust can never happen again. For this reason, it set up a memorial committee on the anniversary of the deportations.

Ilan Mor, Israel’s ambassador to Budapest emphasized that we must remember and remind because soon there will not be any living witnesses who could tell us about the Holocaust, which is needed as there are some who have forgotten the horrors while others do not even know what happened. We have to warn people that anti-Semitism is still alive and keeps spreading in the 21st century too, he added. He reminded his audience that the United Nations took a historic step by declaring January 27 a remembrance day upon Israel’s proposal, so that every year the world can remember the tragedy that struck the Jewish people, the six million victims who were murdered out of hatred on the basis of a racist ideology, and those who survived the horrors but cannot blot out their terrible memories to the present day.

Photo: Mária Krasznai-Nehrebeczky

At the end of the commemoration, among others Csaba Hende, Gusztáv Zoltai, the managing director of the Association of Hungarian Jewish Religious Communities and the Budapest Jewish Community (MAZSIHISZ-BZSH) as well as film director and cameraman Lajos Koltai lit candles to pay tribute to the victims. Several members of the diplomatic corps were present at the event.

During the commemoration the song entitled “Rosenberg Dani” by composer Tamás Pajor was premiered. This song tells the story of a friendship between a Hungarian and a Jewish boy and the Hungarian boy’s self-sacrifice for his Jewish friend. Lajos Koltai directed the pictorial accompaniment to the song by using the film “Fateless”. Among others, the performers of the song included Zsuzsa Koncz, Ferenc Demjén, János Bródy, Tamás Somló and László “Cipő” Bódi.

In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau.