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Europe's Capital of Anti-Semitism: Budapest Experiences A New Wave of Hate - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Budapest survived fascism and communism and blossomed after the fall of the Iron Curtain. But the Hungarian capital is experiencing a rebirth of anti-Semitism. The far-right Jobbik is now the country's third largest party and Jews are being openly intimidated.

...The New York Times recently dubbed Budapest "Hollywood on the Danube." More international films are produced there than in any other European city...

But there is also news from the real Budapest, and the real Hungary of recent months.

Neo-fascist thugs attacked Roma families, killing six people in a series of murders. The right-wing populists of the Fidesz Party won a two-thirds majority in the parliament, while the anti-Semitic Jobbik party captured 16.7 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Hungary, next to the Socialists. Unknown vandals defiled the Holocaust Memorial with bloody pigs' feet. A new law granted the government direct or indirect control over about 80 percent of the media. The television channel Echo TV showed an image of Nobel laureate and Auschwitz survivor Imre Kertész together with a voiceover about rats. Civil servants can now be fired without cause. Krisztina Morvai, a member of the European Parliament for Jobbik, suggested that "liberal-Bolshevik Zionists" should start thinking about "where to flee and where to hide."

...Now, in the wake of the Fidesz victory in communal elections on Oct. 3, the capital is getting a right-wing mayor for the first time, the 62-year engineer István Tarlós.

What's going on in Budapest?

No they aren't exaggerating, though the rhetorical focus on Budapest (where Jobbik again 'underperformed' and stayed behind the Greens) is off.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 02:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lev Raphael, Author and Son of Holocaust Survivors: 'I Find Myself Defending Germany' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Lev Raphael, a New York-born author and the son of Holocaust survivors, had nothing but instinctive hatred for Germany until he paid a visit several years ago. He has penned a memoir about his change of heart, "My Germany," and this autumn he returns to once-frightening German cities for a book tour.

... Raphael: I grew up with this image of Germany as the ultimate source of evil in the world, so the thought of even crossing the German border was anathema to me. We never bought German products, even something as simple as a Deutsche Grammophon record album. My parents were music lovers, but they would not buy Deutsche Grammophon. The irony is that we lived in a German-Jewish neighborhood -- Washington Heights in New York, which at the time was called Frankfurt on the Hudson. So I heard German around me. But somehow I was able to dissociate that from my parents' own experiences.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did Germany surprise you when you finally crossed the border?

Raphael: What surprised me first was my own reaction -- I felt more like an American than the son of Holocaust survivors. But I also can't imagine anything more wonderful than being an author on tour in Germany. Audiences treat you differently than they treat you in America; you're taken seriously. I also found people very forthcoming about their own struggles with Germany's past, and how it affected them personally. It's a more intellectual culture than the American culture in general, so people discuss things at greater depth.

And my sexual orientation was a non-issue. Compared to puritanical America, that's very nice. E. M. Forster, who was also gay, said Anglo-Saxons have never accepted the realities of human nature.

I think there's still a clichéd belief in the United States that says, "The Germans haven't really faced up to World War II." And I say, "Have you been to Berlin?" Have you seen how many museums and memorials there are? If you want an example of a country that hasn't really faced its past, how about Japan? How about even France, which seems to have had much more difficulty facing its complicity with the Nazis? So I find myself in the strange position of defending Germany against people who say, "Oh, they haven't changed." It's a very different culture now. The militarism that really didn't die in 1918 is long gone.

And, apparently, how about Fidesz-Hungary?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 02:35:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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