August 14, 2012
Leader of anti-Semitic party in Hungary plans Auschwitz trip after learning he’s Jewish
Following recent revelations that he has Jewish ancestors, a far-right Hungarian politician reportedly will visit Auschwitz.
Rabbi Shlomo Koves told JTA that he had met with Csanad Szegedi, in Budapest on Aug. 3, and that the Jobbik Party member had said he would take the trip.
Szegedi apologized for any comments he had made against the Jewish community, according to the Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag. The paper also reported Szegedi is planning to set up his own political party.
Szegedi could not be reached for comment.
The Anti-Defamation League and other groups consider Jobbik an anti-Semitic party.
Szegedi wanted to go to Auschwitz—where he has said his grandmother had been imprisoned—to “pay his respects to the Holocaust martyrs,” Koves added.
Szegedi resigned most of his positions within Jobbik on July 28, although he remains a party representative at the European Parliament.
Jobbik officials said they asked for Szegedi’s resignation because in 2010 he allegedly had tried to bribe a person not to reveal his Jewish identity. Szegedi denies this.
Koves, executive rabbi of the Chabad-affiliated Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, said he was “stunned” when Szegedi asked to meet him. “As a rabbi, it is my duty to receive anybody requesting spiritual advice or seeking information about Judaism,” he added.
After the meeting, Koves said that both of Szegedi’s maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors who had an Orthodox Jewish wedding after the war.
“Afterwards they decided to keep it all a secret from their children and grandchildren. Their attempt was successful for over six decades and their descendants have just recently discovered their Jewish roots,” Koves told JTA.