Freedom rights and equality between people, and protection ensured by law must never be given up to any degree, the justice ministry's parliamentary state secretary told a commemoration marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Budapest on Monday.

Addressing the event at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Pava Street, Bence Rétvári called it a tragic event that "Hungarians had been shooting fellow Hungarians," an act he said was "beyond comprehension." He said Remembrance Day was an occasion to commemorate not only the Jewish victims but all Hungarians, because "the death camps where hundreds of thousands of our fellow Hungarians were sent are part of Hungary's history."

Photo: Tamás Kovács, MTI

Retvari said that during the Holocaust the Hungarian state could not protect its citizens and must bear responsibility in connection with the horrid acts that had been carried out on its behalf.

Mr Retvári recalled the heroes who were brave enough to save lives: József Antall Sr., Cardinal József Mindszenty, Sára Salkaházi, Margit Slachta and Gabor Sztehlo for the Church. As he pointed out, “they saved Jews and they saved Hungarians; these notions could and should not be separated”. Regarding the matter he emphasized the importance of the Raul Wallenberg Memorial Year, being in 2013.

The UN General Assembly declared the 27th of January as the International Memorial Day for Holocaust on 1 November 2005. The unanimously accepted resolution emphasizes the “duty of remembrance and teaching” so that the generations of future will know the history of Nazi mass murders claiming a body count of six million people, who were predominantly Jews.

(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)