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Jews call on Hungary to combat far-right extremists in the mold of Nazi fascists


(RNS) — The World Jewish Congress has called on Hungary to do more to fight the rise of far-right extremist groups that they say are eerily reminiscent of Nazi fascists.

In a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany Nov. 26 in Budapest, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the Washington-based Jewish advocacy organization, said he was disturbed by the formation earlier this year of a paramilitary-like citizen’s group accused of fascist views.

“It is alarming that only 60 years after the Holocaust, people in uniforms closely resembling those of Hungarian fascists during World War II are parading again in the streets of Budapest,” Lauder said.

Lauder was referring to the Hungarian Guard, or “Magyar Garda,” a group of private citizens who say they want to protect Hungary’s traditional values. While its leaders deny supporting anti-Semitism or fascism, members wear white-and-black uniforms with an insignia that is associated with a pro-Nazi party that ruled Hungary during World War II.

The Guard, which is an offshoot of the conservative Jobbik political party, has organized several anti-government protests and public initiative ceremonies for members.