This is a rather lengthy posting, divided into three parts, as there seem to be
no less than three past-centered debates on Hungary at the moment, about Csoo1r
(1990), about 1956, and about Ba1rdossy (1941-42). Altogether, Andra1s
Pellionisz a.k.a. "Andra1s Szu3cs" a.k.a. "Ja1nos Kiss" largely succeeded in
importing his own agenda to HUNGARY.
First we had large numbers of postings from him about the World Bank and the
IMF, two favorite targets of "Szent Korona" which, together with "Hunnia",
"Ring", and "Magyar Fo1rum" were the leading ultraright periodicals in Hungary
at the peak of the ultraright expansion in 1990-1991.
Second, a debate on 56, which serves no purpose whatsover in clarifying the
current Hungarian situation. Even Horn, who was part of the small minority
acting against the revolution, has been accepted in the mainstream, so my own
views (which boil down to the revolution having been a Good Thing, in spite of
it having lacked sufficient follow-up) are unlikely to scandalize most people i
Hungary (56-ers building their own myth are more likely to be scandalized, but
they are not a significant factor in what's happening in Hungary today).
Third, an antisemitic provocation, which soon blossomed into the usual debate
revolving around old racists like Ba1rdossy and new ones like Csoo1ri. Frankly,
I couldn't care less. I hate the idea of letting Pellionisz/Szu3cs/Kiss set the
agenda, but on the other hand it is very educational to watch him, Csaba
Zolta1ni, and Joe Pannon attempting to defend the indefensible. So I'm punting
on Csoo1ri (part 1), endorsing most (but not all) that Pe1ter Hidas says about
56 (part 2) and E1va Balogh says about 41-42, and confront the ugly nazi past o
Hungary and the lively ultraright present of HUNGARY in part 3. Enjoy.
--------- (1) -----------
> Felado : [Canada]
> What statement and/or action make Csoori a fascist? Is he really a racist?
> How about providing us with a few quotes?
Csoo1ri's original article "Nappali hold" (Daytime moon) appeared in the
periodical Hitel in September 1990. A lively debate ensued. The final word, as
far as I'm concerned, was said by Pe1ter Esterha1zy, also in Hitel, October 199
(since reprinted in his collection of essays "Az elefa1ntcsonttoronybo1l").
> Felado : Karoly Sandor Juhasz
> Ha valaki fasiszta vagy rasiszta, es a tobbseg beleegyezik, akkor mer
> kell tekergetni? Rasiszta es kesz. Akki elhisszi Csoori mondokajat az hulye e
> en nem fogok agodni rajta!
With "20/20 hindsight" I think this is right. Please remember that this was
written at a time when Csurka was still a major figure within the governing
party, and when it looked that the ultraright was unstoppable. In retrospect,
the person Csoo1ri harmed most was himself, as he lost all credibility outside
--------- (2) -----------
> Felado : [Canada]
> Consider the following historical scheme:
> 1. Between October 23 and 26 Hungary experienced a revolt against the
> Stalinist communist regime. The street-fighters had a programme (...)
> (nepfelkeles) instantly became a revolution.
> 2. The communist party and the government of Hungary, both agents of the
> Soviet Union, invited the Red Army to prop up the regime and maintain (...)
> not only a revolution but a war of independence. To borrow Bela Kiraly's
> expression, the first war between socialist countries broke out.
The facts are correct, but the interpretation is more questionable. I don't
think this was a war (of independence or of anything else).
> 3. The period between October 26 an November 4 forced the communists to
> give up their monopoly of power. Democracy was established. This was,
> therefore, still a revolutionary phase of the October events in Hungary.
I think this is correct: it was still a revolutionary phase (implying that
a war of independence phase follows, not precedes).
> 4. On November 4th the Soviet armed forces re-invaded Budapest, the centre
> of revolutionary acitvities and the seat of the new revolutionary coalition
> government. In short order the armed defenders of both the revolution and
> of the newly gained, and not nominal, de jure, but de facto, independence
> were defeated. There was enough resistance that qualify that phase not just
> a symbolic war of independence but a short and true one.
OK, this is what the debate was about. I don't think there was enough
> 5. After November 4 Hungary experienced a dual power phase in its history.
> (...) Soviet rule was re-established in 1957.
Yes. So it's this dual power phase that we talk about. There was plenty of
resistance, but very little armed resistance. In fact, the steady outflux of
potential fighters drained the country of every hope of actual military or
paramilitary resistance. No significant damage was inflicted on the Soviet
Army, not even psychologically significant damage.
--------- (3) -----------
> Felado : Eva S. Balogh
> I think it is time to have a discussion on Laszlo Bardossy because I have the
> suspicion that whatever was going on in the Forum it was not exactly a
> cool-headed, rational dialogue.
More true than you can imagine.
> First of all, Bardossy was prime minister for less than a year--between April
> 3, 1941 and March 7, 1942--replacing Pal Teleki who had committed suicide.
> All three or four historical accounts I consulted agree that as far as
> Hungary's foreign affairs were concerned Bardossy inherited a fait accompli
> as far as Yugoslavia was concerned.
But not as far as the massacres were concerned. These happened in June.
> On the other hand, Bardossy did not inform Horthy about a message he received
> from the Hungarian ambassador in Moscow which informed the Hungarian
> that the Soviet Union would be favorable inclined toward Hungary vis a vis
> Romania, if Hungary did not enter the war at this junction.
Hmm, interesting. So he was in fact more instrumental in these stupid
declarations of war than I thought. But this is tangential to his status as a
> League, an umbrella organization of diverse far-right organizations. In May
> 1944 he became member of parliament representing his hometown, Szombathely.
> Instead of giving up his post in October 1944 when Szalasi's puppet
> government was installed by the Germans, he remained a parliamentary delegate
> in that nazi body.
You are not exactly making the case for his innocence...
> As for his trial and death sentence I must say that those trials bore a
> suspicious resemblance to the Stalinist trials before and after. Most history
> books call them "koncepcios perekre emlekezteto eljarasok."
Yes. Quite true. They got Al Capone on tax evasion and they got Ba1rdossy on th
declarations of war. (Al Capone was just a small-time gangster compared to
Ba1rdossy, by the way.) A more objective trial would have served better in the
long run, inasmuch as the revisionists would have less to latch onto. But he
would have been sentenced to death just the same.
> So, Bardossy was not condemned to death because of the third Jewish laws but
> because he allegedly declared war on the Soviet Union.
Yes. Not exactly trumped-up charges (I think Al Capone also genuinely cheated
on taxes) but quite tangential to the main issues.
> Thus, it was the Teleki government which began the preparation of the law but
> it fell to the Bardossy government to actually submit it to parliament.
What do you mean "fell"? It "fell" on Teleki to dishonor a treaty and he took
his own life. Ba1rdossy had plenty of honorable (and less extreme) ways out, ha
he wanted to resist submitting such a law.
> Felado : [United States]
> With 20/20 hindsight we know that Bardossy's policies were morally
> flawed, ill-advised and in the final analysis disastrous for Hungary.
Hindsight helps, but there were plenty of people at the time, even within the
ruling circles (Teleki and Ka1llay for instance) who knew the policies in
question will be disastrous.
> But, at the same time facts need to be kept straight. Contrary to
> Andras Kornai's assertion, those who were handed over to the Germans and
> subsequently deported to Kamenec-Podolsk, were not Hungarian citizens
> but refugees from Galicia, fascist Slovakia and elsewhere.
Yep, let's keep them straight. A good number of them were Hungarian citizens.
well-documented case is the entire Jewish population of the village Putnok,
whose papers were collected by the Hungarian authorities before they deported
> interesting historical footnote is that according to sources cited by
> Randolph Braham, Hungarian Jewry distanced itself from the new arrivals,
> indeed, did not favor their presence on Hungarian soil.
I love this blaming the victim stuff. To some extent urban Jewry distanced
themselves, but they didn't hand the other Jews over to the Gestapo. That kind
of "distancing" was performed by the government apparatus.
> The massacres of civilians in Bacska which claimed 3309 victims
> according to Braham, was in retribution to the murder by partisans of
> members of the Hungarian armed forces.
What kind of "retribution" is that, killing men, women, the elderly, and
children? You are also quoting Braham quite selectively, so let me jog your
memory a bit (p 176-177 of the Hungarian edition):
"Az antiszemitizmussal ma1r amu1gy is megme1rgezett katona1kat azzal
bujtogatta1k Zo2ldie1k, hogy nagy zsa1kma1nyra van kila1ta1s, ku2lo2n adag rumo
osztottak nekik, e1s azzal korba1csolta1k fel a harciassa1gukat, hogy
elhitette1k velu2k: a helybeliek ra1lo3ttek magyar fegyveresekre. Zo2ldy maga
szervezte meg az a1lli1to1lagos "ta1mada1st" (...) Szu2kse1ge volt u2ru2gyre
(...) mivel Feketehalmy-Czeydner (...) me1g to2bb hulla1t akart".
> But the story doesn't end there.
> Kornai fails to mention that the Hungarian government, under Horthy,
> brought the perpetrators of the massacre, including 15 high ranking
> officers, to justice in 1943. Indeed, it was the first instance of a war
> crimes trial during(!) the Second World War.
Yes, and I also failed to mention that this trial was not under the Ba1rdossy
but under the Ka1llay government, and that the perpetrators actually never saw
the inside of a prison in that period, since they fled to Vienna and were helpe
by the Gestapo. (Feketehalmy-Czeydner actually became assistant secretary of
defense in the Szto1jay puppet government). So what has all this got to do with
Ba1rdossy? He tried to cover up for Feketehalmy-Czeydner, Zo2ldy, and the
> As far as racist legislation is concerned (Kornai's first point),
> before passing judgement on laws in effect in another country some fifty
> years ago, regardless how reprehensible they were, we, as Americans need
> to recall our own past. (...) Even today, people
> of color are refused residency in many "liberal" democracies.
This is the old "we were all nazis to varying degrees" argument. I don't buy it
> It is hypocritical to judge others by standards which we too were unwilling t
What do you mean by that exactly? The liberal democracies (such as the US)
also put some of their own citizens (such as the ethnic Japanese) to camps, but
refrained from massacring them. Perhaps a small difference, but for those
concerned it was the difference between life and death.
> The "moral abyss", to which Kornai rightly refers, was shared by many in
> 1942. Looking at Bosnia, things are not much different today.
Indeed it was shared by some, and indeed it's still around. But one act of pure
evil can hardly serve as a moral justification of another. Seems like the best
you can offer in Ba1rdossy's defense is comparing him to current war
> Felado : Pannon Jozsef
> BTW, Kamenetsk-Podolsk ...
> Was it really Hungarians soldiers doing the massacre? If I recall it was
> not them, though the victims were the illegal alien Jews the Hungarian
> authorities deported back to Galicia. I don't see how this should count
> against Bardossy unless it can be proven that the massacre was in line
> with the government's policy. Have you done any research on this
> particular episode, Eva?
Well, your recollection is faulty. Hungarian citizens were deported along with
the illegal aliens in large numbers. As for official policy, atrocities were
encouraged at all level of local government, and certainly nobody was
reprimanded for overzealous prosecution of Jews. This was in spite of repeated
warnings reaching the highest levels of the Hungarian government. I already
quoted in HUNGARY form a letter by Margit Slachta to Mrs. Horthy:
"I'm bringing this matter to the attention of Your Highness (Fo3me1lto1sa1god)
from the standpoint of law, justice, and Christianity, but I also have a
practical consideration. No man can know how the war will end. What will
happen, if the German side doesn't win. In that case every act committed under
German influence or pressure by official Hungarian factors will show up in
statistics and will be proven. In that case every unjustice and inhumanity
will be held against us, and we will always be a small country whose justice
is handed out in small measure. And what will happen to us if they can accuse
us with things which we have to admit to be reprehensible. (Ha1t me1g akkor mi
lesz oszta1lyre1szu2nk ha olyan tartalmu1 va1dakat hozhatnak fel ellenu2nk,
melyeknek elmarasztalo1 volta1t magunknak is el kell fogadnunk.)"
Slachta specifically described many atrocities and the general inhumanity of
these deportations. It is likely she didn't know all these people were sent
directly to their death by the Gestapo on the other side, and we can generously
assume Ba1rdossy didn't know either. But he made the country "slide off of the
foundation of legal principles" (az orsza1g lecsu1szik a jogelvek alapja1ro1l).
to use Slachta's (contemporary) words. He was aware of atrocities, but did
nothing to punish the guilty. In fact he covered up for the guilty, and looked
the other way when thousands and thousands of innocents were killed. He laid th
legal infrastructure for Hungary to become an accessory to the single largest
mass-murder ever committed. He was tried in a kangaroo court and executed for
the wrong reason. But he (and Endre, and Baky, and the other princes of
darkness) brought that incredible animosity on themselves -- they created a
country that couldn't give them a fair trial.
Happy Thanksgiving to all readers,