The Holocaust, an unheard example of industrially executed terror, was the tragedy of mankind, Hungarians and Jews as well”, said Deputy PM Tibor Navracsics, Minister of Public Administration and Justice in Budapest during the commemoration of the Holocaust organized at the House of Terror Museum last Sunday.

As Tibor Navracsics phrased it, “the Hungary of the 20th Century was a country of wrong answers given in wrong situations”. As he said, the debates running in the present are on whether all this was due to that Hungarians gave otherwise wrong answers to questions raised or the questions themselves were such of a kind, to which no good answer existed. He added that political communities today are based partially through remembrance on such debates. However, according to Tibor Navracsics it is necessary and of vital importance in regard to the future that a sense of agreement is directing the opinions lying behind these arguments.

Photo: Zsolt Burger

He said that “we could argue on political situations and on answers; we could dispute on whether there were other possibilities”, but he pointed that “one thing is out of question: that every member of this nation looks for public good and the well-being of the country, even while arguing”. The Deputy PM emphasized that a political community could not live solely being “enclosed in the past and entangled in a web of analyses of 20th -century tragedies”. As he said: “When other nations of Europe are living in the 21st Century, we cannot afford ourselves to always re-interpret the tragedies of the last century, again and again.”

He stressed it too that victims should be mourned and buried, perpetrators should be found and punished, but we should proceed forward to the 21st Century. As the Deputy PM put it, “we should move on to the next century through getting over and learning from the tragedy of the 20th Century” and that the children of the last century must start the debates of the next one. The closing remarks of Tibor Navracsics were that “we should hold each other’s hands and get on with the political debates and tragedies of the last century. We shall start the building of future of Hungarians in the 21st Century.”

Photo: Zsolt Burger

Mária Schmidt, Director-General of the House of Terror Museum said in her speech that there is no excuse for what happened during the World War II with European Jews and in the perilous months of 1944, with Hungarian Jews. She said that it is not only the tragedy of Jewish people, but the tragedy of Europe, while adding that shame wedged between Hungarians and Jews during the black spring of 1944. The shame of the outcast was the disgrace of humiliation and majority was ashamed out of its impotence. These ‘versions’ of shame are still here among us, as Mária Schmidt said and her opinion is that not only grief, but also shame should be worked out.

She emphasized that when we remember, we must remember both victims and perpetrators, but those should not be forgotten, who had not lost their humanity during inhumane times. The Director-General highlighted in this regard the example of József Antall, Sr. (1896-1974), father of József Antall, the first prime minister after the transition.

(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)