Jews in Hungary
Jews in HungaryYoni Kempinski

Municipal leaders in the Hungarian city of Székesfehérvár have plans to erect a statue honoring a well-known anti-Semitic minister in power during World War II.

Funding for the life-size bronze statue of Bálint Homan, who served as Minister of Religion and Education between both 1932-1938 and 1939-1942, is being provided in a large part through a grant from the Hungarian Justice Ministry. 

Homan, a noted historian before coming to politics in the 1930s, took part in legislation against Jews after the German occupation of Hungary in 1944. He died in prison in 1951, serving time for war crimes charges. 

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has strongly condemned the statue, urging authorities in Székesfehérvár to abandon the project. 

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder personally called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to block plans from moving forward. 

“Seventy years after the end of World War II, it is inconceivable and wrong for a city to erect a statue in honor of a known anti-Semite and a key figure in the persecution of Hungarian Jews before and during World War II. Homan was an outspoken supporter of Nazi Germany and the fascist Arrow Cross regime in 1944, and he remained unrepentant until his death,” Lauder stated. 

WJC Vice-President Andras Heisler, who also serves as president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, condemned plans for the statue of the anti-Semitic minister as well. 

“Bálint Homan was an emblematic figure in the humiliation and deportation of Hungarian Jews. He was an anti-Semite who does not deserve to be honored, and doing so would insult the victims of the Holocaust,” Heisler declared. 

In a letter to Székesfehérvár's mayor, András Cser-Palkovics, Heisler stressed that no Hungarian citizen could or should be proud of a figure like Homan.