All Students Must Study Holocaust at Hungarian University

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The controversial monument to the victims of the Nazi occupation in downtown Budapest.Credit: AP

A Hungarian university has made Holocaust studies mandatory for all students, irrespective of their degree course, according to a BBC report.

From September this year, every student at Peter Pazmany Catholic University near Budapest will have to take the course before graduating.

The university has nearly 10,000 students studying for degrees in humanities, theology, law and teacher training.

The university's rector, Szabolcs Szuromi, announced the move this week in the presence of Israel's ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, who described the initiative as a "milestone" for Hungary. It is apparently unique in Europe.

The class, called The Holocaust and its Remembrance, is the second such mandatory course in the university. The other university-wide course is Introduction to the Catholic Faith.  

Over 400,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to the Nazi death camps, primarily Auschwitz in just two months in 1944. Few survived. Thousands more were murdered in Budapest by the ruling Arrow Cross fascists.

The way in which World War II is remembered is a vexed issue in Hungary, where right-wing sentiment has been growing in recent years. The government was criticized in 2014 for erecting a monument that depicted the country as an innocent victim of Nazism.

Such depictions distort the Hungarian state's role in the Holocaust, in the eyes of many.

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