No crime can be compensated for with another crime and this is all the more true in the case of collective punishment for assumed crimes, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said on Saturday addressing a commemoration in Solymar, outside Budapest, to remember Hungary’s ethnic Germans who were expelled from the country after the second world war.
“Politicians, politics or even certain individuals may be responsible, but nations as a whole should never be accused” he said.
“There are some even today who still insist on condemning people and ethnic groups collectively,” Balog said, adding that it is wrong to expel any individual from a nation.
Hungary’s parliament decided in December last year to mark January 19 as a day of national remembrance, commemorating the departure of the first train with ethnic German deportees on the same day in 1946.
Participants at the Potsdam Conference concluding the war agreed that ethnic Germans in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, should wholly or partly be resettled in Germany.
The Hungarian government in December 1945 issued a deportation decree concerning ethnic Germans, based on the principle of collective guilt. Under the decree, all residents that had declared themselves ethnic Germans, or said that their mother tongue was German, were supposed to leave the country. Members of the Volksbund or any others who had “supported Hitler’s organisations in any way” were to be deported, too.
Between January 1946 and June 1948 between 220,000 and 250,000 ethnic Germans were sent to Germany, while between 40,000 and 70,000 others were taken to forced labour camps in the Soviet Union.