By BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Hungary’s ruling rightist Fidesz party has condemned the burning of a book written by prominent Hungarian Jewish poet Miklós Radnóti, whose statue was also broken over the weekend amid growing antisemitism in the country.
“Every decent person in Hungary has condemned the book burning that took place in Miskolc on November 9,” said László L. Simon, a Fidesz politician and chair of Parliament’s Cultural and Press Committee.
“The Fidesz parliamentary group does [not] fall for such provocation, but rather focuses on the feelings of those for whom the images of book burning might bring back painful memories,” he said in a statement to BosNewsLife.
Besides burning the book of poems, extremists were also seen burning the books of what they called “Zionist publications” reported the influencial daily newspaper Nepszabadsag.
“The Fidesz faction strongly condemns such and all similar actions and will do everything possible to ensure that amongst others, the legacy of Miklós Radnóti takes its worthy place in the national memory and never ends up on a bonfire lit by extremists,” he added.
His remarks came only after a statue of Radnóti, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis at the end of 1944, was reportedly broken in two parts when hit by a car.
The statue in the western Hungarian village of Abda was either struck on purpose or by a drunken driver on Sunday, a police told local radio.
It is located where the buried body of Radnóti was discovered immediately after the war, reports said. Hungarian police said Monday they found the vehicle — a Mercedes — that had hit the statue but not its owner.
Jewish experts said Radnóti converted to Christianity a year before his death in 1943 and identified himself as a Hungarian.
The Hungarian government and the ruling Fidesz party have come under international pressure to tackle growing antisemitism in Hungary and to distance themselves from the far right Jobbik party, the nation’s third largest political force.
Hundreds of Jobbik activists were seen Sunday, November 17, for a memorial to Hungary’s wartime leader Miklos Horthy, who was a friend and close ally of Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler.
Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, according to historians and Jewish groups.