The cultural functionary in Hungary sees Poland and Hungary as “new Jews” and George Soros as “poisoners” of Europe.
Budapest. A high-ranking official of the cultural sector in Hungary, close to the government, caused horror with a comment on an internet portal at the weekend. The head of the Budapest Petofi Literature Museum, Szilárd Demeter, accused the Hungarian-born US investor George Soros of having made Europe “his gas chamber”. “The poison gas that is deadly for the European way of life flows out of the barrels of the multicultural open society,” wrote the 44-year-old in the medium that is also close to the government.
Hungary and Poland are “the new Jews”. Demeter, who was born in Romania, spoke about the EU budget dispute, where Warsaw and Budapest block budget decisions over 1.8 trillion euros. This is supposed to stop a “rule of law mechanism” by which states, where the independence of the judiciary suffers, lose EU money.
Demeter has headed the Petöfi Museum since 2018. For critical sources he is considered a “nobody” who was active in literature and music with moderate success and who worked his way up in the field of culture in the ruling party Fidesz. However, he has little knowledge of literature, is extremely right-wing and cultivates a rude tone including threats of violence. The eminent Hungarian poet Lajos Parti Nagy (67) is said to refuse to enter the museum as long as Demeter is running it.
Withdrawal from opinion after protest
After violent protests by domestic and foreign politicians, diplomats, Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, Demeter withdrew the comment on Sunday.
“I agree with my critics insofar as that Nazi ascriptions nowadays mean a relativization and that Nazi comparisons themselves involuntarily injure the memory of the victims,” he wrote in a statement published by the government-affiliated portal “Index.hu”. The literary functionary enjoys the unreserved trust of the right-wing national prime minister Viktor Orbán in matters of cultural policy.
Protest against Orbán’s friend
Hungary’s prime minister campaigned against Holocaust survivor Soros (90) several times. For example, he wants to “flood” Europe with Muslims in order to erase Europe’s identity. Demeter calls himself a “fanatical Orbánist” and is a confidante of the prime minister.
The Union of Hungarian Jews and the International Auschwitz Committee protested: Calling Europe “gas chamber” was “tasteless”; Jews and Holocaust survivors are “disgusted by the bizarre agitation”. In Austria, the Neos demanded a conviction from the federal government. In the “Orbán regime” an official would never say such a thing without his sanctuary. (ag./red.)
(“Die Presse”, print edition, November 30th, 2020)