Revisionist historian to join the far-right on emotionally charged national holiday
Holocaust denier guest of honour
Robert Hodgson, March 12, 2007
David Irving in Budapest - his address
Notorious revisionist historian David Irving, who was released last December from an Austrian jail after serving 13 months for breaking that country’s laws on Holocaust denial, is to speak in Budapest on Monday, 12 March. He is here at the invitation of his Hungarian publishers, Gede Brothers, to promote the Hungarian version of his latest work Nuremberg - The Last Battle. Sándor Gede told news agency MTI last Thursday that Irving plans to attend book signings in several towns around Hungary.
MIÉP’s guest of honour
The extreme nationalist Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP) said on its website that Irving will be guest of honour at its rally on Hősök tere on 15 March.
Irving famously published the first major work by a western historian on the 1956 Hungarian Uprising that included interviews with many protagonists. Although his work, Uprising - One Nation’s Tragedy was well received in some quarters upon publication in 1981, it has since drawn criticism for its one-sided portrayal of events. In particular, it presents the revolution as an anti-Jewish reaction by the population.
He precipitated a scandal during a previous visit to Budapest in October 2003 when he came to promote the new Hungarian language edition of the book. At the invitation of party leader István Csurka, he spoke at a rally on Hősök tere organised by MIÉP. Another notable speaker at the event was leader of the extreme right-wing French National Front, Jean Marie Le Pen.
A subsequent edition of panel discussion programme Éjjeli Menedék (Night Shelter) on Hungarian Television (MTV) aired an interview with Irving at the MIÉP rally in which he characterised the first two days of the 1956 revolution as a popular anti-Jewish pogrom. This Irving broadcast was cited as the last straw that led to the right-leaning programme being taken permanently off the air.
MIÉP-led demonstrators took to the streets in support of the Night Shelter programme. Viktor Orbán, leader of centre-right opposition party FIDESZ commented “I find it worrying that this is not the first occasion upon which programmes supporting national civic or Christian values have been attacked in this atrocious way.”
Irving’s return to Budapest, where he will give a talk in the Szabó Dezső Színház on Szabadság tér at 6pm on 12 March, comes at a time when issues of anti-Semitism and xenophobia are once again colouring Hungarian politics and the media.
Jews advised to stay at home
Reuters reported last Thursday that Péter Feldmájer, head of Hungarian Jewish organisation Mazsihisz, is warning Jews to stay away from 15 March celebrations. “We are advising people, especially if they are elderly not to go out,” Feldmájer told Reuters. “If you followed the events, they constantly blamed Jews for all Hungary’s problems with the harshest words,” he added, referring to the violent anti-government demonstrations last year, in which contingents of extreme right-wing organisations were highly visible.
Also: David Irving: controversial historian in Hungary for book signing, speeches
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