The government says no to anti-Semitism, and condemns all anti-Semitic acts, the Justice Minister said at the central commemoration held on Tuesday in Budapest on the occasion of the memorial day for victims of the Holocaust in Hungary.

László Trócsányi highlighted that the Holocaust had affected the whole of Hungarian society. Remembrance is for the present, and even more for the future. We must remember so that humanity should never again commit this sin, he added.

The Holocaust is painful for every people of good will, it would not have happened if everyone had resisted, the Minister stressed, observing that “it did not begin with the gas chambers”.

He stressed that the freedom of speech is a fundamental human right, but the protection of human dignity must set limits for the freedom of opinion. Mr Trócsányi described the presence of hate speech on the Internet as a global problem. He said legal systems are at a disadvantage in the fight against fake news and trolls; states, the EU and the international community are all responsible for this.

The Minister highlighted that the Hungarian Civil Code allows members of the community to take action against statements inciting hatred, while Holocaust denial is punishable under the provisions of the Penal Code. He added at the same time that the law is a necessary, but insufficient means: it is not enough to say no, we must say yes to a culture that is based on appreciating, respecting and getting to know one another. We need the participation of every well-meaning person, Mr Trócsányi said.

In his address Andor Grósz, President of the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Documentation Centre and Memorial Collection Public Foundation highlighted that we must remember even if it opens up old wounds.

He recalled that in the spring of 1944 Jews in Hungary were hoping that “the governor will not allow” that which had already happened in Slovakia, Austria and several other countries, despite the fact that the first anti-Jewish laws had entered into force in Hungary six years before, Jews were no longer allowed to work in state administration, to serve in the armed forces or to teach. On 19 March 1944 ally German troops occupied Hungary, and in the next few days decrees were issued ordering Jews to wear yellow badges, banning them from using local and regional transport, and seizing their property.

Anti-Semitism, elevated to the level of state politics, which pervaded society and state administration greatly contributed to the deaths of the victims, the President of the foundation’s board of trustees said. Today the Hungarian government declares zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism, Mr Grósz said at the central commemoration held at the Páva utca Holocaust Documentation Centre and Memorial Site.

Every year since 2001 the memorial day for victims of the Holocaust in Hungary has been held on 16 April, remembering that the isolation of local Jews into ghettos started on this day in 1944.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)