The Hungarian government, like others in Eastern Europe, is enlisting well-intentioned Western naifs in its plans to mobilize Holocaust commemoration itself as part of the East European revisionist Double Genocide movement. The effort seeks to downgrade the Holocaust, downplay local collaboration and participation, and to cover tracks with sophisticated revisionism. Along the way, memberships in august bodies, prizes, awards and junkets are generously offered to select foreigners. The efforts by the Lithuanian government have been in the forefront of the tendency.
Today the entire process was dealt a powerful blow with the publication of an open letter by Hungarian author Mária Vásárhely to Annette Lantos, widow of Tom Lantos (1928−2008), the only Holocaust survivor to have served a member of the United States Congress.
The letter, published in full by Hungarian Spectrum, includes the following passages:
“The government uses doublespeak. On the one hand, the deputy prime minister at the conference of the Tom Lantos Institute, Hungary’s ambassador at the United Nations, or, most recently, the president of the republic, have used words of humanism and solidarity commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and admitting in unambiguous language that the Hungarian state and public administration bore responsibility for the murder of 600,000 of our Jewish compatriots.
“On the other hand, the government itself and government institutions have made countless gestures to the far right, relativizing the Holocaust, and denying that the Hungarian state apparatus was responsible to any degree.
“Dear Annette Lantos, living thousands of kilometers away from Hungary you may not be aware of all this. That is why I felt it was my duty to inform you of these issues and draw your attention to some aspects of the cause in support of which your late husband’s memory and your own name are being used. I ask you to reconsider whether you want to participate in the Consultative Board’s proceedings.”