Hungarian Holocaust survivors demand compensation for government's complacency

Winston Churchill said the Holocaust was “probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the history of the world.”

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May 1, 2019 20:28
1 minute read.
A World War Two memorial of mass killings on the banks of the Danube River is seen in Budapest, Febr

A World War Two memorial of mass killings on the banks of the Danube River is seen in Budapest, February 11, 2014. A main Jewish group in Hungary has recently voted to boycott official Holocaust commemorations this year unless they more clearly show the role of local citizens in the Nazi deportation. (photo credit: REUTERS/BERNADETT SZABO)

Survivors of the Holocaust are seeking compensation from the Hungarian government for the "genocidal taking of their property and businesses by the Hungarian government during World War II."

In 2010, a group of these Hungarian Holocaust survivors initiated a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. - pleading to the courts to hold Hungary accountable for their complacency in Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution," both times being thrown out.

"That case, Simon v. Republic of Hungary, has twice been dismissed by the lower court on technical legal grounds advanced by Hungary’s lawyers relating to Hungary’s 'sovereign immunity,'" according to a press release distributed on behalf of the survivors.

However, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has twice reversed the decision, claiming that the acts of the Hungarian government during World War II could be constituted as genocide and should be treated as such. According to the survivors, "Hungary has evaded responsibility and denied accountability for what it did. It has never been brought to justice for its crimes."

“At a time when violent antisemitism is making a comeback in the United States and in many other parts of the Western world, it is not enough just to remember the Holocaust. The perpetrators must be made to account for their complicity in the genocide of the Jewish people,” said the survivors’ attorney, Charles S. Fax.

The survivors are looking to file a third motion for compensation. The first motion was filed over nine years ago, and within that time, nine of the original fourteen plaintiff survivors have died.

Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated Wednesday evening, May 1, until Thursday, May 2.

Winston Churchill said the Holocaust was “probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the history of the world.”

“We will all commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day in our own ways. But in Simon v. Hungary, a small contingent of survivors is still fighting to get Hungary to give them their most fundamental human right: the right to a palpable acknowledgement that they have been wronged in a way that will make it impossible for the perpetrators to deny responsibility for their heinous deeds," concluded Fax.

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