Fascists openly praise Hitler in Budapest

By Searchlight Team
By Martin Smith

Fascists gather in Budapest to mark so-called ‘Day of honour’

Each February hundreds of fascists, and neo-nazis from across Europe gather in Budapest in Hungary to commemorate the attempted breakout of German Nazi and Hungarian Arrow Cross troops from the Soviet Army’s siege of the Hungarian capital in 1945 (see panel).

The nazis call this march the “Day of honour”. Their publicity called this year’s protest “Eruption: A celebration of Nazism.”

Around 600 assorted nazis attended: they included international groups from Bulgaria, France, Germany and Poland, as well as members of the notorious international neo-nazi group, Blood and Honour.

The march was awash with thugs carrying Nazi flags and wearing fascist insignia. The wearing of fascist insignia is a breach of Hungarian law, however, the police failed to arrest a single nazi.

Speakers at the protest openly praised Hitler and used anti-Semitism to whip up the crowd. One masked Hungarian speaker said: “Today, we remember our forefathers who fought to ensure Hungary was Jew free.” On a previous “Day of honour” protest, Matthias Deyda, from the German far right group Die Rechte told the crowd: “We have the same enemies today, like we did 75 years ago, the enemy isn’t named Muller or Mayer. No, our enemy is named Rothschild, Goldman, and Sachs.”

The “Day of honour” commemoration protest was followed by an overnight march (37 miles long) when several thousand people followed the route of the 1945 attempted Nazi breakout. Worryingly, this night march attracted significant numbers from outside the hard-core nazi ranks.

A European Parliamentary question (21/2/2024) noted: “The organisers of the demonstration, Homecoming Homeland Knowledge and Tourist Association (HHKTA) asked participants to wear black uniforms to ensure ‘a dignified appearance’ but, to respect the law, are banned from wearing masks, military uniforms, or symbols such as the Nazi swastika, and no Communist hammer and sickles.”

The HHKTA is a front for Légió Hungária (LH), a Hungarian far-right group. LH was founded in 2018, receiving international publicity when its supporters vandalised a Jewish community centre in Budapest after a protest commemorating the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

The group’s leader, Bela Incze, has been a key figure in the Hungarian far right since 2010. He was leader of the Hungarian section of Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement (HVIM), a paramilitary organisation, several members of which have been found guilty of carrying out acts of terrorism. In 2015, he worked as a parliamentary assistant to a member of the far-right Jobbik party, but his contract was terminated because of an assault he allegedly carried out against a police officer.

It was also revealed by the European Parliament that HHKTA had received national grants worth 70 million Hungarian forints.

This raises serious questions about Hungarian public funds being used to support nazi demonstrations. Coupled with the fact that Viktor Orbán’s right-wing populist Fidesz government refuses to ban this annual protest, this is further evidence that the Hungarian state is prepared to support the extreme right for its own ends.

Anti-fascist Ilaria Salis jailed

Shoes on the Danube Bank (left), Ilaria Salis (middle bottom) and fascist graffiti depicting her on a gibbet (top right)

The far-right celebration is opposed by anti-fascists such as Italian Ilaria Salis (below), currently held in a Hungarian jail. Fascist graffiti depicts her on a gibbet and calls for her death

The so-called “Day of honour” march on 10 February 2024 was opposed by over 300 anti-fascists who assembled close to the fascists and used drums, whistles and sirens to drown out the rally. The fascists responded by attacking the protestors and passers-by, two suffered minor injuries.

One of the main slogans on the counter protest was, “freedom for every anti-fascist” – it was a call to support a jailed Italian anti-fascist, Ilaria Salis.

The Hungarian police claim that a group of up to 15 members of Antifa had carried out attacks on two people believed to have attended the “Day of honour” march in February 2023. One German anti-fascist has been jailed by the Hungarian courts for three years after pleading guilty to the charges. A second defendant, Gabriele Marchesi, who had been detained in Italy under house arrest, was freed in Milan last month after an Italian appeals court rejected Hungary’s request to hand him over.

Ilaria Salis, a 39-year-old teacher, was arrested in Budapest in the aftermath of the demonstration and accused of being involved in the attack. She has been charged with three accounts of assault and belonging to an extreme left-wing organisation and has been in prison ever since. If found guilty, she could face up to 24 years in prison. There was an international outcry when she was led into court, handcuffed and her legs in chains, to attend her hearing in February 2024. The inference was clear to all, the Hungarian judiciary was presenting her as a danger to the public.

In a public statement Ilaria’s father, Roberto, stated: “My daughter has been detained by the Hungarian authorities for 13 months. She is innocent and completely rejects these charges. My daughter is being held in inhumane conditions and we are calling on the Hungarian government to put Ilaria under house arrest until her trial.”

Her lawyers have released a document that outlines the harsh conditions she faces. Her cell is infested with cockroaches, rats, and bugs. She has not been allowed to wash for days on end and there has been a lack of medical care. The human rights Hungarian Helsinki Committee said her case has “brought the state of Hungarian prisons to international attention” and noted that it was against European Union (EU) law and legal standards to regularly use restraints on defendants in court.

Roberto Salis’s call to allow his daughter to be put under house arrest, and in the event of being found guilty to serve her sentence in Italy, should be supported by all anti-fascists.

Some far-right groups on the social media site Telegram, are calling on their supporters to attack her. In Budapest. murals have gone up depicting her being lynched.

If that were not bad enough, the Hungarian government is using the Ilaria case as a bargaining chip with the Italian government. Ironically, it wants Giorgia Meloni, the fascist Italian Prime Minister, to oppose the EU’s attempts to further politically isolate Hungary.

Second, far-right Hungarian government officials and their supporters in the media are turning the case into a political show trial, one in which European anti-fascism is in the dock. The nazis are being normalised and portrayed as defenders of free speech, whereas anti-fascists are being labelled as the terrorists and extremists.

Ilaria’s fight for justice is every anti fascist’s fight.

For more information about the Free Ilaria Salis campaign go to: https://www.comitatoilariasalis.it/events

Slaughter of Jewish citizens in Budapest by Nazi collaborators

The “Day of honour” marchers celebrate the attempted Nazi break out of the “Siege of Budapest” in the last months of the Second World War.

The 50-day siege saw Soviet and Romanian troops encircle the city on 29 December 1944. Hitler was unable to resupply his forces trapped in Budapest and ordered the Nazis to fight to the last man.

Despite Hitler’s orders, over 28,000 German and Hungarian troops attempted a mass break out from the city on the night of 11 February. Only 600–700 German and Hungarian soldiers reached the main German lines.

When the city was liberated by the Soviet Army, it was discovered that, before they fled the city, the Nazi collaborators, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, had murdered over 15,000 Jewish people.

This is the “Day of honour” those nazis that march in Budapest every year wish to celebrate.

This article was first published in the Spring 2024 issue of Searchlight magazine

One response on “Fascists openly praise Hitler in Budapest

  1. Furubotnik

    «The hungarian police claim…»

    This is a stupid statement as the attack was filmed by CCTV and millions have seen the video by now, and anyway: the very next sentence tells us that a german is in jail after pleading guilty.

    Also: Meloni is not a fascist but a typically sleazy politician using right wing rhetoric to gain power…and after election day it is business as usual.

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