A few weeks later 90-year-old Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer was
verbally assaulted on the street when a stranger came up to him
and said "I hate all Jews!"
In March Akos Kertesz, an 80-year-old prize-winning Jewish
Hungarian writer, applied for political asylum in Canada.
"I hope that one day I will be able to return to a democratic,
tolerant, humane Hungary," Kertesz wrote in a letter to the
The government publicly condemned the incidents and has taken
concrete steps in the past to combat extremism.
In 2010 it banned the paramilitary organization Magyar Garda and
earlier in the month a young man in Nagykanizsa received an
18-month suspended sentence for Holocaust denial.
Yet no public condemnation was heard when two deputies from the
ruling Fidesz party attended a ball last month to raise money for
another statue in Budapest.
Peter Feldmajer, head of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish
Communities, said that there were "hundreds of incidents of
verbal and sometimes physical abuse every week against members of
our community because of their ethnic background".
"The problem is with the law. There are no laws against public
hate speech," he told AFP. "The emphasis is now on freedom of the
speech and not on protecting the dignity of people."