Significant segments of Hungarian society are in denial of complicity in war
crimes, a well known Nazi hunter said Monday. The statement was in response to
fans of Hungary’s Ferencvaros soccer team holding up a sign commemorating
alleged war criminal László Csatáry during a match on Saturday.
anyone needed any proof why it was important to prosecute Csatáry for his crimes
during the Holocaust in a Hungarian court, the Ferencvaros fans provided it this
past Saturday,” Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s
Jerusalem office told The Jerusalem Post.
Csatáry died earlier this month
while awaiting trial for torturing Jews and deporting thousands of them to their
deaths during World War II. A former police commander of the Kassa internment
camp in Slovakia, he was sentenced to death in absentia for his crimes in 1948
by a Czechoslovakian court after he fled to Canada.
He was deported back
to Hungary in 1997 and arrested last year in Budapest, the capital, after the
Sun daily newspaper in London published his picture and whereabouts.
sign, which read “In memoriam László Csatáry,” was flown during the annual bout
between Ferencvaros and MTK Budapest FC, a team popularly identified as Jewish
due to its historic ties to members of the Hungarian Jewish
According to Zuroff, Saturday’s game marked the third year in
a row in which an anti- Semitic banner was flown at a match between the two
It happens “every time they face MTK,” he said.
before, the banner said ‘Efraim Zuroff, your mother is a whore’” and in 2011
“they commemorated a famous blood libel.”
The Hungarian Football
Federation (MLSZ), he accused, “has never said a word to stop them or force them
to take them down and this is a real outrage.”
The MLSZ posted a
statement on its website condemning the banner on Sunday, stating that such a
message “has no place” at a sporting event.
The Mazsihisz, an
organization representing the Jewish community of Hungary, has not yet responded
to the incident due to a long weekend, Robert Frolich, Rabbi of Budapest’s Great
Synagogue, told the Post.
Anti-Semitism is a grave concern in Hungary,
which has one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe and is facing a rapid
rise in the fortunes of the far right.
Jobbik, which has accused Israelis
of “buying” up Hungarian land and which has called for the compilation of a list
of Jews serving in government due to concerns over disloyalty, is the country’s
third-largest party.JTA contributed to this report.