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Jewish Hungarian Writer Seeks Asylum in Canada

Akos Kertesz: Hungary failed to repent for its crimes during the Holocaust and, therefore, "it will not receive absolution."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/7/2012, 7:50 PM

Yad VaShem
Yad VaShem
Flash 90

Hungarian Jewish writer Akos Kertesz, who published an article last August condemning Hungary’s role in abetting the Nazi’s efforts to exterminate the Jews during the Holocaust, is seeking asylum in Canada due to a political campaign being waged against him.

Kertesz, 80, winner of the Kossuth, Hungary's most prestigious literary award, left the country last Wednesday, due to the constant harassment and threats to which he had been subjected and fears that his life was in jeopardy.

His press service issued a statement, on Sunday, saying, "A political campaign was mounted against him, not only by the Budapest city hall, but also from within the government and parliament."

"Following the political campaign by the pro-government press, Mr Kertesz suffered threats and harassment, he felt his life was in danger," the statement added.    

"I did not make my decision against Hungary or the Hungarian people but against the current government. I hope to be able to return again to a humane and democratic Hungary," Kertesz affirmed.

The article, published by Amerikai Nepszava, a Hungarian-language newspaper in the United States, described wartime Hungarians as "genetically inferior" for their role in the Holocaust and slams them for failing to admit responsibility for the deaths of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews, the European Jewish Press reported.

Kertesz wrote that because Hungary fails to admit or repent for its crimes,  "it will not receive absolution."

He also compared Hungarians to pigs who "like to wallow in the mud without worrying about the butcher who will soon slit their throats."   

Kertesz revised the article in September, excluding the mention of genetic inferiority.

Critics say that Hungary’s recent judicial and constitutional reforms undermine democracy by removing vital checks and balances on the government's power, noted the European Jewish Press.