Dohány synagogue 370.
(photo credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)
KRAKOW – Istvan Tarlos, the mayor of Budapest, ordered on Thursday a review of
the city council’s decision to name one of the streets after a Hungarian author
known for her anti-Semitic views.
Budapest’s city council voted on
Wednesday to name one of the city streets after Cecile Tormay, a Hungarian
novelist who died in 1937, known for incorporating in her work her political
The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, known as
Mazsihisz, expressed its outrage about the decision and asked Budapest’s mayor
to overturn it. In a statement to the local newswire service MTI the Hungarian
Jewish Community leaders wrote: “The Federation of Hungary’s Jewish Communities
is shocked to learn that a street in Budapest will be named after Cecile Tormay
who was openly anti- Semitic. Her ideas and thoughts were taken as guidelines by
leading anti-Semitic figures in Hungarian politics.
She was Miklos
Horthy’s favorite. We call on you not to name public places in the city after
persons whose life and works raise doubts about the government’s commitment to
Horthy was Hungary’s wartime leader and a close
ally of Adolf Hitler.
The proposal to name a street in the Hungarian
capital after Tormay came from the Hungarian right-wing party Jobbik. It came at
a sensitive time of increasing anti- Semitism in Hungary. Only a few weeks ago,
during the World Jewish Congress held in Budapest, Hungary’s Prime Minister
Viktor Orban vowed to fight anti-Semitism in his country. Ronald S. Lauder,
president of the WJC, called Orban to urge the mayor, who is a member of the
prime minister’s political party, to annul the decision. Lauder also condemned
Budapest’s city council decision.
“This decision by the Budapest city
government, which is headed by a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz
party, puts into question the pledge given to the Jewish community that
anti-Semitism will be fought vigorously by the Hungarian authorities. It seems
that they need to be reminded that Cecile Tormay was not only one of Miklos
Horthy’s favorite writers but also a notorious anti-Semite,” Lauder’s statement
The naming of a park a few weeks ago after Horthy in the city of
Gyomro, located on the outskirts of Budapest, caused an international outrage
and drew criticism among many world Jewish organizations leaders.
Thursday, a day after the city council approved the proposal, Budapest’s mayor
announced that he ordered a review of the proposal and asked the Hungarian
Academy of Science to take an official position regarding Tormay before he would
make a decision.