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President of Hungary apologizes for father’s Nazi collaboration, 'Kadish' prayer recited in parliament

Ceremony was held where Hungarian Parliament decided anti-Jewish laws 80 years ago

Tamas Sulyok, the President of Hungary, is attending his inauguration ceremony in Budapest, Hungary, on March 10, 2024 (Photo: Balint Szentgallay/NurPhoto/ VIA REUTERS).

Hungarian President Tamas Sulyok expressed remorse for his father's involvement in the Holocaust during a ceremony held in the Budapest parliament, marking the 80th anniversary of the Holocaust of Hungarian Jews.

Following the adoption of anti-Jewish legislation by the Hungarian Parliament, the systematic killing of approximately 600,000 Hungarian Jews began in May 1944, during the Holocaust. Some of those murdered were tied together and thrown into the Danube River to drown.

As part of the ceremony, Rabbi Shlomo Kobush recited the Jewish Kadish prayer in memory of the murdered Jews, before reciting El male rachamim (merciful God), a prayer for the soul of a dead person.

Sulyok’s father, Laszlo Sulyok, had led the Hungarian National Socialist Party that was allied with the German Nazi party during the final years of World War II, Ynet News reported.

He said he hadn’t been aware of his father’s past and was shocked when it came to light. The Hungarian president also invited his Israeli colleague, President Isaac Herzog to take part in the ceremony, however, he declined due to the current situation in Israel.

In a recorded speech played during the ceremony, Herzog noted that the extermination of Hungarian Jews stood out for having taken place so rapidly and with little resistance from the larger population.

He also thanked Hungary for taking responsibility for the nation's past and for participating in international Holocaust-related organizations.

Sulyok concurred, saying paying tribute to the victims was also “an expression of responsibility for the future.”

“Taking responsibility for the past, including my personal history, I pay tribute to all victims of the Holocaust,” he added.

Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Yaakov Hadas, also spoke at the ceremony and noted that Hungary was dealing with its past in an exemplary way.

“Hungary takes responsibility for the behavior of the governments at that time towards our fellow citizens of Jewish origin,” he said.

This was also evident when looking at the situation of Jews in the country today, according to Hadas.

“Hungary implements a policy of zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism, the Jewish community flourishes, and people are not afraid to identify themselves as Jews,” the ambassador said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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