Hungary has enacted a Holocaust denial law
Hungary has enacted a Holocaust denial lawIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Hungarian lawmakers have passed legislation to punish those who deny the history of the Holocaust. Along with the Hungarian Social Party, which sponsored the bill, a wide Christian-Jewish coalition helped push the law through.

The bill passed by a vote of 197-1; however, there were 142 abstentions, signaling the lingering ambivalence of many Hungarian lawmakers over the issue.

“Those who publicly hurt the dignity of a victim of the Holocaust by denying or questioning the Holocaust itself, or claim it insignificant, infringe the law and can be punished by a prison sentence of up to three years,” according to the new legislation.

The main opposition party, Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union, was among those who abstained. A party spokesman, MP Robert Repassy, said the party “intended to draw up legislation after the general election which penalizes sympathy expressed for the Nazi- and Communist-era crimes on equal terms.” Elections are set for April 11.

The law, which takes effect in early April, brings Hungary into line with numerous other European nations who have enacted similar measures, Germany among them.