Hungarian Police Remove Holocaust Survivors From Monument Protest (PHOTOS)
Police in Hungary forcibly removed 20 sitting-down protesters, including several Holocaust survivors, on Tuesday from the site of a planned World War II monument that many Jews say glosses over Budapest’s role in the Holocaust.
“If the government really wants to build it, and it seems they do, then the most we can do is somehow delay its construction,” protest organizer Gabor Popper told AFP.
Earlier on Tuesday, former prime minister and opposition politician Gordon Bajnai sent an open letter to Hungarian president Janos Ader asking him to “do everything he can” to stop the monument being built.
Hungary’s largest Jewish organization, Mazsihisz, has criticized Prime Minister Viktor Orban for breaking a pledge to discuss the monument with them.
AFP reported on Thursday, “The government says the structure – which will depict Hungary as an angel being attacked by a German eagle – will commemorate all the victims of the country’s occupation by Nazi Germany. But several Jewish organizations and historians say the memorial absolves Hungarians of their active role in carrying out the deportations of Jews to Nazi death camps.”
About 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, almost all after the German occupation began on March 19, 1944.
Protesters have been trying to block construction since work began on April 8, two days after Orban won a second, landslide election as prime minister. The memorial was due to be completed by May 31.
See pictures of the protest below: