Hungary Town Votes Down Contested Statue of anti-Semitic Politician

Former minister Balint Homan was partly responsible for drafting legislation in 1938 and 1939 to restrict the rights of Hungarian Jews and for the 1944 deportation of 420,000 Jews to Auschwitz.

Demonstrators participate in a protest organized by a Jewish group against a planned statue of Balint Homan in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, December 13, 2015.
Demonstrators participate in a protest organized by a Jewish group against a planned statue of Balint Homan in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, December 13, 2015. Reuters

Following an outcry, a municipality in central Hungary cancelled its plan to erect a statue commemorating a statesman who drafted anti-Semitic laws during the Holocaust.

The city council of Szekesfehervar voted down on Friday the plan to erect with public funding a statue in memory of Balint Homan, the Clubradio station reported.

Homan served as minister of education and religion in the 1940s and was partly responsible for drafting legislation in 1938 and 1939 to restrict the rights of Jews in Hungary and for the deportation in 1944 of 420,000 Jews to Auschwitz.

The plan to erect a statue in his honor provoked protests by local and international Jewish groups, including the World Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League.

The private fund that initiated the statue’s erection this week sent a letter to the municipality and to the mayor, informing them that they are withdrawing the Homan statue project. The foundation also repaid authorities the $55,000 paid by them for the project.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also expressed his opposition to the the erection of a statue honoring Homan.