Budapest mayor ‘backtracks’ on honour for antisemite

By Elliot Miller, June 3, 2013

The Mayor of Budapest, Istvan Tarlos, is reportedly rethinking his decision to name a street in the Hungarian capital after an antisemite.

The city council had planned to name the street after Cecile Tormay, a writer who died in 1937. She is regarded as having inspired Milkos Horthy, the pro-Nazi Hungarian wartime leader.

According to Haaretz, Ronald Lauder, the WJC president, said that the decision to honour Tormay “puts into question the pledge given to the Jewish community that antisemitism will be fought vigorously by the Hungarian authorities”.

The news comes amid increasing anxiety about the rise of antisemitism in Hungary, and the role played by the right-wing party Jobbik, which had tabled the idea of naming the street after Tormay.

There has been growing attention on Hungarian politics since demonstrations against the World Jewish Congress took place in Budapest last month. There has been a particular focus on the role of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in tackling antisemitism after he pledged – and failed – to block the demonstrations.

Last updated: 12:35pm, June 3 2013