Delivered by Nicholas Dean, U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues
Statement at the IHRA Plenary meeting on 5 November 2015
We congratulate and commend Hungary and in particular State Secretary Szabolcs Takács for the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) during 2015.
We applaud the large number of initiatives introduced by Hungary prior to and during this chairmanship. These have served to demonstrate Hungary’s commitment to Holocaust education and commemoration.
In particular we commend:
- The exemplary hosting of two plenary sessions,
- Your frank recognition of antisemitism in Hungary and the Government’s robust approach to tackling it, including
- Organising the special conference on the Holocaust and Public Discourse,
- The decision of the Government to reassess the House of Fates project by ensuring that Hungarian communities and international experts have the chance to contribute,
- The commitment shown to the Jewish population of Hungary demonstrated by state support for the preservation and restoration of a number of synagogues and cemeteries across the country, and,
- The support for cultural projects to draw attention to the topic of the Holocaust, for example the funding to produce the award-winning Son of Saul.
We also welcome and support the sentiments expressed by senior Ministers in the Hungarian government opposing the construction of a monument to Hóman Bálint in the town of Székesfehérvár, and call upon the IHRA Chair to remind relevant authorities of these deep concerns. This individual, regardless of any civic or academic achievements, is linked to the racial legislation that introduced state discrimination against Hungary’s own Jewish communities, and cooperated with the Arrow Cross party.