Justice Minister: "Govt Welcomes Renaissance Of Jewish Life In Hungary"

  • 4 Sep 2015 9:26 AM
Justice Minister: "Govt Welcomes Renaissance Of Jewish Life In Hungary"
There is no excuse for discrimination and persecution; to repeat this over and over again is not some sort of mania or an act of self-scolding but merely the act of facing up to our responsibility, Minister of Justice László Trócsányi said on 2 September 2015 in Szeged at the opening ceremony of the 9th Szeged Autumn Jewish Cultural Festival which was also attended by Mór Ilan, Israel’s Ambassador to Hungary.

The people of today are not responsible for what happened at the time; we who live today are responsible for ensuring that this should never happen again, the Minister of Justice said in reference to the discrimination manifested against the Jews in Hungary after World War I and the responsibility of those who live today in his speech delivered before the audience who filled the New Synagogue built 112 years ago.

In his speech, the Minister reiterated that the numerus clausus utterly ruined the achievement of equality before the law which was so hard fought for in the 19th century. Mr Trócsányi stressed that, for him as Minister of Justice, it is “particularly painful” that the main targets included lawyers, law academies and the corps of legal experts which had a number of Jewish members and members of Jewish origin.

Hungarian constitutionality sustained a seriously infected wound, he added. Mr Trócsányi paid tribute to Immánuel Lőw, the internationally renowned academic and Szeged rabbi, who was deported by the Hungarian authorities at the age of ninety, and while he was released at the intervention of some of his well-intentioned fellow-patriots in Budapest, he was unable to endure the trials of deportation and died. But what a patriot he was, as was his entire family, the Minister said. Mr Trócsányi mentioned the second half of the last century when „one was expected and required to only talk about victims of Fascism, while the Shoah itself was surrounded by almost complete silence”.

In his words, „the fall of communism made the healing possible” when „the desire for the identity which had been foiled for so long" was revived. One of the most prominent signs of this process of healing was the almost immediate revival of Jewish culture in Hungary, he said, adding that this in itself was less than evident.

In the Justice Minister’s view, the Hungarian Jewry could have opted for the path of emigration or complete assimilation; by contrast, the answer was „a Jewish cultural Renaissance”. It was perhaps the bravest answer in a world in which anti-Semitism continues to remain present, he said, adding that culture, education, the arts and science may represent the most effective remedy against anti-Semitism.

Mr Trócsányi expressed his view: the fact that he is present in the capacity of minister is a signal, a message, which means that „the Hungarian Government welcomes the Renaissance of Jewish life in Hungary". He pointed out: he is seeking to represent a justice policy to the best of his abilities which reflects the spirit of the Fundamental Law.

Or if you like, a justice policy which promotes the elevation of the Fundamental Law to a culture, he stressed, adding that law and constitutionality, too, are part of our culture. He drew attention to the fact that culture is diverse, „Jewish culture is also a part of it, as Hungarian culture is likewise present in Jewish culture”.

In his view, „a non-diverse culture is no culture but a sub-culture at best, such as anti-Semitism which is the very denial of diversity”.

And diversity is afforded constitutional protection under the Fundamental Law, the Minister added. Mr Trócsányi said: we can be Hungarian and Jewish or Christian, patriot and European all at once.

"There is one thing I am certain of, and this is also the conviction of the Hungarian Government: Jewish culture – as the festival about to begin will testify – represents an enormous wealth for Hungary and Hungarian culture”, the Justice Minister said.

András Lednitzky, President of the Szeged Jewish Religious Community, Honorary Consul of Israel, stressed in his festival opening speech: the diverse Jewish culture forms part and is a constituent element of Hungarian and universal culture.

Mór Ilan, Israeli Ambassador to Hungary highlighted in his speech that there is nothing better than Hungarian and Jewish culture combined, and the meeting of the Hungarian and Jewish peoples.

He welcomed the initiative that the Hungarian Government has agreed to renovate the Szeged synagogue. The Hungarian Jewry are undergoing a phase of revival, he stressed.

The festival which will last until 8 November will feature artists including organist Xaver Varnus, actress Mari Törőcsik, singer and violinist Katica Illényi with the Israeli ensemble Gitanes, organist Miklós Teleki accompanied by opera singer Klára Kolonits, actor János Kulka, Zoltán Mága and his friends, Andrea Malek, Ilona Tokody, Boldizsár László and Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Magdi Rúzsa and Gábor Presser, Kriszta Kováts and companions, and Andrea Szulák and her band, but there will also be a concert showcasing the compositions of Jewish-Roma musician Poldi Fehér.

There will be photo and painting exhibitions, and contemporary Jewish and Szeged authors will also introduce their books during the festival.

Source: Ministry of Interior/MTI

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