July 20th, 2014

Government makes midnight move to finish controversial WWII memorial following court decision

statue

Workers moved early Sunday morning to complete a World War II memorial that for months had been a focus of controversy.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. trucks reportedly brought in the remaining pieces of the monument, which sits in Budapest’s Szabadság tér (“Freedom Square”), and is designed to memorialize the 1944 German occupation of Hungary. Since the government announced its intention to install the monument it has been the object of fierce criticism – and regular demonstrations – from those who say it aims to whitewash the role of the Hungarian state and individuals in the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews.

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According to portal Index.hu, 100 police officers converged on the square at around midnight and secured the site while the statues that stand at the center of the monument were “smuggled” in. Photos of the final pieces being trucked in were published by an anonymous Tumblr user some hours later (left in top image).

As of noon Sunday, a large crowd was gathered around the monument, which was being protected by a metal fence and dozens of policemen.

Court Ruling

The sudden move to finish the memorial came hours after a Budapest court made a final ruling against a legal attempt to call a referendum on the memorial.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Pál Steiner, the former Socialist mayor of Budapest’s District V – where the monument sits – was thrown out on the grounds that the government had decreed the memorial a project of crucial economic importance to the country. Steiner called the decision “shocking.”

At their Saturday congress the Socialists adopted a declaration calling on the government to stop construction of the monument, which it said “divides and offends Hungarian people,” and commended the demonstrators who for more than three months picketed the construction site.

Erik D'Amato (@erikdamato) is publisher and editor-in-chief of the All Hungary Media Group.
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  • Damien Dae

    In what country do the authorities erect a monument in the middle of the night and have policemen guarding it, out of fear of protests from its citizens?

    What a kitsch design by the way, it looks a bit like a Greek restaurant. That’d be without the eagle and a Greek god of some sort…

    • Freedom

      I don’t think it was fear of protest, but fear of random attacks on the workers putting the monument together. There was the fear that an angry but vocal minority of “protesters” would show up and throw paint or harass the workers.

    • Dave

      One in which a small group of radicals want to force their narrow, blinkered view of Hungarian history onto an entire nation.

      Kind of agree on the greek restaurant quip, tho.

    • You should see it in person. It’s astounding.

    • Havelaar

      How about we impose real fear on your minority noisy slimy asses?

      • Hungarian

        How about we have you arrested and banned for making threats.

  • imri

    Government defends absurd “crucial economic importance to the country” claim in court to prevent the voice of local people being heard, yet wins its case. Then it uses brute police force together with the cover of darkness to implement its mandate.
    A fitting beginning for this surreal, historically inaccurate and hideously ugly monument.

  • Magyar Ember Európában

    A poor and ignorant Eastern-European dictatorship; prisoner of its “Hungarian values” and still afraid to face its past.

    What a disappointment: Hungary could have been so much more!

    • FGH

      You are NOT Hungarian.
      Whom are you kidding?
      You are just Slime for attempting to trick people.
      And what is this Europe garbage on your sign in name???
      Hungary is in the European Continent, but it does not mean that it needs to be in this disgraced, embarrassing Union full of the brainwashed.

      • Magyar Ember Európában

        “Union full of the brainwashed”?
        I am sure you know one or two things about that, since you have just described your own situation.

  • Freedom

    Nobody is offended by the monument, except those looking to make a political issue out of it.

    It is time that the Socialist pursue real issues, that people are really concerned about, that effect the everyday lives of people.

    • nimh

      ” real issues, that people are really concerned about, that effect the everyday lives of people” … You mean, like, issues “of crucial economic importance to the country”?

    • Hungarian

      The current government is dealing with crucial economic issues by erecting this monument. Said no one.

      • ViktorZoroban

        Said no one. Ever. There are no economic issues in Hungary, the economy is booming and soon every Hungarian will be a euro millionaire.

        • Damien Dae

          If they save enough, a very few can already be millionaire in Forints.

    • susanbrouillette

      It is a political issue. Celebrating Nazi occupation isn’t political? This insult to the world is a reflection of the current Hungarian leadership. Shame on anyone who is silent. It isn’t the tyrants that ruin civil society, it is the ones who remain silent – that complicity is shameful.

      • Havelaar

        And who is celebrating nazi occupation?

        • just saying

          Orbán is, because he gets to say that after it happened, Hungary was absolved of all blame for everything. In fact, it’s right there in the constitution. Of course he is celebrating it! Why would he put up a huge statue on Szabadság tér if he weren’t celebrating it? He pretends it’s to remember the event solemnly, but we all know he’s celebrating it.

      • Alex

        HAHAHA “insult to the world” if you had a member of your family who lived in germany in that time you will understand my grandfather sai it was a paradise social programs for everyone, you could afford a car no crime on the streets it was a paradise so stop watching history channel and go read books

  • Viktor Orban’s Midnight Erection

    A mendacious monument glorifying Magyar self-pity and concealing Hungarian complicity — but in the long run (and the wide world) it will have the opposite effect.

    • Magyar Ember Európában

      Sad.

      • Havelaar

        Very happy thing!

    • Dave

      Harnad, you’re self-righteous, stuck up prick

    • common sense 019

      “Viktor Orban’s Midnight Erection”

      As opposed to you never getting one? 🙂 I know jealousy is a serious emotional and cognitive issue.

      Your pathological bigotry is remarkable. It would be worth subjecting it to detailed study.

      • just saying

        “As opposed to you never getting one?”

        I think the issue is that Steven doesn’t publicly display his on Szabadság tér, while Orban does.

        • common sense 019

          The issue is that Stevan Harnad does not get en erection, period. So, he is a tad bit angry … poor bigoted loser…

  • Hungarian

    A few weeks ago the Hungarian Academy of Sciences unanimously declared at a conference that the monument Orbán is erecting, which is supposed to make Germany alone responsible for the destruction of Hungarian Jewry, is a falsification of history.

    http://resources.ushmm.org/film/display/detail.php?file_num=0308

    • Havelaar

      Time to change some Jews up there.

      • Hungarian

        Time for Havicka to growup and leave his antisemitism behind.

    • FGH

      Science now involved in History.

      By the way, any statement made by anyone is only as good as it is supported.
      We all put our pants on the same way in the morning.
      Hence, it is irrevelant what a ‘title’ states.

      It has been stated that it is to represent the German invasion and all the lives lost.

      There were a lot of lives lost beyond the Jewish.

      Why is always the Jew, who one should care about?

      It is Hungary, and a lot of lives have been lost.
      A lot of Hungarian lives!
      This monument is to represent ALL lives lost.

      In the war itself more non Jewish then Jewish lives were lost.

      Don’t even dare telling me that one is more important then the other.

      It is the Jewish who is racist, by claiming oneself chosen and by always attemting to put onself above the rest.

      Time to look at Palestine.

  • plastic_bag

    Pretty impressive entrance that should really get the punters through the door. But I have to ask, when do they plan to finish the rest of the casino?

    • Vidra

      It fits with having tobacconists that look like sex shops. Nothing is what it seems, only what Orban says it is.

      • ViktorZoroban

        Turuls still look like turuls, and you never can have enough of those!

        • common sense 019

          But we sure have enough of bigoted idiots like you :)))

          • just saying

            Why are you attacking him for saying that we can never have enough turuls? What do you have against the turul?

          • just saying

            Darn, I didn’t get to see your other comment on this thread before it was deleted. Could you write it again?

  • just saying

    Why is the government so afraid of a referendum? It consistently says that the vast majority of Hungarians support it and everything it does. If that’s not true about this monument, then why erect it? Doesn’t the government always say that it wants to “unite” Hungarians? They should welcome a referendum, to show how much support the “monument” has.

    Also, how in the world is this thing “a project of crucial economic importance to the country”? If anything, it’s getting a lot of press in Germany, and will probably cause some Germans to cancel their plans to visit Hungary.

    • common sense 019

      Hitler and Stalin decided on historical facts by referenda as well. Hell, the whole 20th century Hungarian history has been re-written by such referenda, called the revolution of the proletariat. You masters thought you well ..

      • just saying

        “Your masters thought you well ..”

        Ah, so you insinuate that I am not able to think for myself, and your evidence is that other dictators “decided on historical facts by referenda”. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about, but please, give me an example of that happening.

        Meanwhile, using your twisted logic, since referenda have been used by dictators to falsify history, and elections have also been used by dictators to justify their rule, we should just do away with elections entirely. Along the same lines, I saw a picture of Hitler in a car, so your argument says we should not use cars. What about that picture of Hitler with a dog? Yup, that means all dogs should immediately be killed, they are instruments of the devil. Wait, did Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan and Mussolini breath? By your argument, we should all stop breathing, lest we all become evil! Since it’s your argument, you should go first.

  • Alex

    Nice monument. Remember people when the soviets take over hungry it was much much worse.

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