- A Hungarian government commissioner has been condemned after comparing billionaire George Soros, who is a Holocaust survivor, to Adolf Hitler.
- In an opinion article published on a pro-government news website, ministerial commissioner Szilard Demeter wrote that Soros was “the liberal Führer” and that Europe was his “gas chamber.”
- Demeter was writing the article in defense of Hungary and Poland who are currently in an ongoing dispute with Brussels over the planned European Union €1.8 trillion budget.
- His comments have been condemned by the Jewish community in Hungary, the former Hungarian prime minster, and also the Israeli government.
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A Hungarian ministerial commissioner has been condemned after comparing billionaire George Soros, who is a Holocaust survivor, to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Szilard Demeter, who is the head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, wrote in an opinion piece for pro-government outlet Origo that Soros was “the liberal Führer” and that Europe was his “gas chamber,” according to the Associated Press.
“Europe is George Soros’ gas chamber,” Demeter wrote, according to the AP. “Poison gas flows from the capsule of a multicultural, open society, which is deadly to the European way of life.”
Demeter was writing the article, which was published on Saturday, in defense of Hungary and Poland, who are currently in an ongoing dispute with Brussels over the planned European Union €1.8 trillion budget, linked to standards of democracy in member states.
Hungary and Poland are accused of undermining judicial independence and media freedom and under EU investigation. They are threatening to veto the EU budget over provisions that could block payments to countries that do not uphold democratic standards, Politico reported this week.
In the article, Demeter, appointed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to oversee cultural production, referred to Hungary and Poland as the “new Jews.”
Orban frequently targets Soros over his philanthropic activities, which usually favor liberal causes, and has previously accused him of diluting citizens’ national identity in European countries.
The commissioner’s comments sparked outrage from the Jewish community in Hungary as well as other government officials.
Gordon Bajnai, who was Hungary’s prime minister between 2009 and 2010, said on Sunday that if Demeter isn’t removed from his post by Monday, “Hungarians and the rest of the world will obviously consider (his) statement as the position of the Hungarian government,” AP reported.
The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregatio called the article “tasteless” and “unforgivable” and said in a statement that it was “a textbook case of the relativization of the Holocaust, and is therefore incompatible with the government’s claim of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism,” according to the Associated Press.
The government of Israel, a close ally of Hungary, also chimed, tweeting on Saturday: “There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate.”
Soros, who was born into a Jewish family in Hungary and is a Holocaust survivor, has long been a campaigner for human rights.
According to his personal website, the 90-year-old is well known for his philanthropy, having given away more than $32 billion.
According to Investopedia, Soros currently has a net worth of about $8.3 billion.
More than 800,000 Jews lived in Hungary in May 1944. In just eight weeks, some 424,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Thousands more were murdered and thrown into the Danube in Budapest by Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists. In all, some 565,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered, according to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem.
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