Protest against statue of Balint Homan in Szekesfehervar
Protest against statue of Balint Homan in SzekesfehervarReuters

The planned statue of a key architect of anti-Semitic laws in the run-up to the Holocaust in 1930s Hungary was scrapped on Friday after an outcry from Jewish groups and others, AFP reported.

The foundation behind the planned memorial to Balint Homan said it has "reversed its decision to erect the statue and has informed the city hall of Szekesfehervar" in central Hungary.

The life-sized statue of Homan, a minister in the Nazi-allied Hungarian government before the 1944 German occupation, had been scheduled to be unveiled on December 29 for the 130th anniversary of his birth.

But the planned event drew several hundred protesters -- including Washington's special envoy on anti-Semitism Ira Forman -- to the monument's building site on Sunday, and on Tuesday the unveiling was postponed.

The Homan foundation, some of whose members are linked to the radical far-right Jobbik party, has received both state and municipal funding for the project. The foundation wanted to honor Homan for his contributions to the city.

Homan supported calls for the deportation of Jews from Hungary in 1944 after the Nazi takeover. Around 600,000 Hungarian Jews were later transported to Nazi death camps and murdered.

After World War II, Homan was handed a life sentence for his role in approving Hungary joining Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. He died in prison in 1951.

The right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who denounced the planned statue, has sometimes been accused of cozying up to Jobbik and glossing over Hungary's role in the deportation of Jews, despite vows of "zero tolerance" for anti-Semitism.

Jobbik has been behind most of the incidents of anti-Semitism in Hungary over the past several years.

In November of 2012, one of Jobbik’s members released a statement saying that a list should be compiled of all of the Jewish members of government.

He was followed by another Jobbik member who called publicly for the resignation of a fellow MP who claimed to have Israeli citizenship.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)