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November 09, 2018

Why is the Hungarian Government Promoting a New, Ahistorical Holocaust Museum Designed by a Holocaust Distorter?

The history of the Holocaust is a painful and tragic story in all the countries of occupied Europe. Hungary is no exception. Yet the current Hungarian government seeks to rewrite history, and appears determined to ignore any substantial Hungarian responsibility for the treatment of its Jewish residents in the 1930s and 1940s.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced in 2014 that it wished to build a new museum dedicated to the Holocaust, despite having implemented a policy of depriving the country’s preeminent, existing Holocaust museum of funding.  In 2015, it committed to representatives of the Hungarian Jewish community, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Yad Vashem that it would not proceed with any new project without the involvement of the representative organization of the Jewish community in Hungary, known as Mazsihisz, as well as the engagement of an international advisory committee of recognized Holocaust experts.

Yet in September 2018 it announced that it was going ahead with a museum named the “House of Fates,” to be designed by an Orbán associate with a documented history of distorting the story of the Hungarian Holocaust, over Mazsihisz’s objections.  The associate, Mária Schmidt, also has a record of defending current and historical Hungarian anti-Semites, minimizing the importance of the Holocaust, and vigorously asserting that the WWII-era government of Hungary had little or nothing to do with the mass murder of the majority of the country’s Jewish population. 

This factsheet provides background on the proposed “House of Fates,” details Mária Schmidt’s history as a Holocaust distorter and defender of anti-Semitic public figures, and documents the views of Hungarian Jewish leaders and international Holocaust experts who oppose a museum intended to whitewash Hungary’s historical role in the Shoah.    

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