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article imageHungarian politician warns of relativising Communist crimes

By Christopher Szabo     Feb 26, 2015 in World
Budapest - A senior Hungarian politician has criticised the West for relativising the crimes committed by Communist regimes during Hungary’s Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism.
His criticism was echoed by others during yesterday’s memorial day. Many Hungarian, Polish, Czech and other victims of Communism find it difficult to accept Western Europeans having Communist parties and considering this acceptable. They feel Communism should be seen as every bit as evil as Nazism and treated accordingly.
Politics.hu reports House of Terror Museum Director Mária Schmidt saying the concepts of “collective guilt, ethnic cleansing and forced labour camps were part and parcel of the Soviet regime.”
Schmidt has often been attacked for researching the impact Communism had on people over 45 years. When the House of Terror Museum, which documents both the Hungarian Nazi and Hungarian Communist secret police, was first opened, left-wing parties tried to close it down, especially those whose parents’ photos were shown on the walls as agents of the “State Defence Authoritiy, the Államvédelmi Hatóság (the dreaded ÁVÓ), the organisation responsible for thousands of murders, tortures and disappearances.
Clearly, Hungary’s ex-Communists have not adopted the path taken in South Africa by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where Apartheid security police admitted to their crimes while facing their victims.
Hungary Today said the country’s Justice Minister, László Trócsányi urged Hungarians to “say no to totalitarian ideology and regimes (that) operated under it.”
He was speaking at Budapest’s scenic Chain Bridge, where members of the 1919 Communist Red Guard shot two officials, officials, Sándor Hollán and his son of the same name and threw their bodies into the Danube River.
(Hungary has had three Communist and one Nazi regimes, a brief Communist one in 1919, partial Nazi rule from March 19, 1944 to October 15 of the same year and full Nazi rule from that date to the end of WWII. This was followed by a Stalinist system from 1945 to 1956, then a less obviously brutal, but still oppressive Communist system until 1989.)
Trócsányi said:
“Totalitarian regimes not only suppress humans in their physical existence but attempt to either silence or deceive human conscience. But with remembrance we can prevent apathy”.
This apathy is a very serious problem in Hungary, due partly to Communist propaganda for 45 years, but also due to Western excuses for Communism. One example would be the title for Black Ribbon Day, proclaimed in the EU to remember victims of Nazi and Communist rule, but changed at the last minute to: the ”European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism”.
This lets Lenin’s mass murders, as well as those of Kruschev, Brezhnev and Andropov off the hook and allows European Communist parties to pretend they have some acceptable ”humanitarian” ideology to follow.
It is praiseworthy that in Canada, they call a spade a spade and wish to remember Lenin’s victims, as well as other, lesser Communist leader’s victims, from Ho Chi Minh to Fidel Castro.
Another example of Western apathy would be a Google search for English-language articles on the memorial day. There are no more than three, including this one.
Mária Schmidt, in an interview with Hír TV (News TV) said that many Western intellectuals refused to see the reality of Communism when it existed behind the Iron Curtain, and to this day tried to tell people like her whose lives had been destroyed or damaged by it how things really were. She also criticised Western intellectuals for deliberately overlooking Communism’s crimes because of their alliance with the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945. She said in Western Europe, they were not prepared to see Communism as just as much a totalitarian dictatorship as Nazism and continued to belittle the Crimes of the Soviet Union.
Hungary chose February 25 as the day of remembrance, because, as a government website puts it:
On this day in 1947 occupying Soviet authorities unlawfully arrested Béla Kovács, general secretary of the Independent Smallholders’ Party, who was later deported to the USSR. The parliamentary representative, who was stripped of his immunity, spent eight years in prison and labour camps.
Since 1990, attempts to bring Communists who committed heinous acts to justice have generally been stymied by Communist or pro-Communist judges, notably in Constitutional Court verdicts.
When Prime Minister Viktor Orbán tried to retire these judges, he was criticised by the same West for “interfering in the independence of the judiciary”. No doubt had the judges been pro-Nazi, the Western critics would have been more understanding.
So the road to be allowed to remember the Gulag victims, who make up almost 10 per cent of Hungary’s total population, has been a long and rocky one and it is to be hoped that not only the Nazi crimes will be reported by Western news media, but eventually, even Communist ones, based on the idea that all human beings have the right to life and the right to be remembered if that life has been taken from them.
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