Jobbik MP Advances Blood Libel Claim in Hungarian Parliament

An anti-semitic speech in the Hungarian parliament questioned whether a blood libel case from 1882 had been closed with sufficient finality. Zsolt Baráth, a representative of the Hungarian far-right party Jobbik had the floor of the Hungarian parliament for close to five minutes on April 3 for a speech in which he protested against 130 years of history throughout which “the origins and religious affiliations of the perpetrators could not be named.” Baráth’s intention was to provide a revisionist account of the 1882 death of a 14-year-old servant named Eszter Solymosi in Tiszaeszlár, a small village in north-east Hungary. A subsequent investigation into blood libel claims in relation to her death led to nation-wide anti-semitic hysteria during the prolonged court proceedings against fifteen members of the local Jewish community.

The accusations originated from statements made by a five-year-old child  who had been won over into a confession by candy and some money. The accused were acquitted in 1884 (you can consult the Wikipedia page further details).

But as the case gained notoriety, speculations about the particular details of how the Hungarian Jewry lured the young woman into their quarters and how they conspired to ritualistically draw the blood of a Christian virgin were ubiquitous in the press. Throughout the fifteen months of the trial, the country was seething with anti-semitic rage.

Today, the Tiszaeszlár blood libel case occupies a prominent place in the history of Hungarian anti-semitism. In the minds of most Hungarians, Tiszaeszlár is connected to the predictable consequences of the baseless accusations: Eszter Solymosi’s case was the precipitating moment of widespread violence against the Hungarian Jewish community and catapulted the first organized anti-semitic political force in Hungary, the National Antisemitic Party.

“Our task to pronounce the consequences is more and more urgent,” said Baráth about the case, given “the misconceived notion of solidarity” and “the effort exerted to whitewash the case.” According to Baráth, these only strengthen the suspicion that the local Jewry murdered the young woman.

Or, according to another version, a rich aristocrat used her “as a donor” to cure his deadly disease, Baráth went on to surmise.

“As we can see, there is no clear explanation, we do not know what happened to Eszter. Nevertheless, there is one point common to the known variants: the Jewry and the leadership of the country were severely implicated in the case.” As proof of this, Baráth offered the claim that regardless of “almost a year of investigation, nationwide uproar and a media campaign,” the verdict ended with an acquittal. This was “due to outside pressure,” he went on to say.

Baráth insinuated that the judge presiding over the appeal in 1884 found enough evidence to convict to accused, but he obeyed orders shaped by higher state interests.

“What could have had such an influence on the independent Hungarian judge? Had he not done so, he would have prevented receiving a rente konverzió – a change of the conditions of the repayment of a loan to a longer period of smaller payments – from circles who had already dominated the economy of the world and our homeland at that time. This would have meant Hungary’s bankruptcy and the devaluation of the [Hungarian] forint.”

The rente konverzió version of the Tiszaeszlár case is a particularly fashionable revision of the 19th century blood libel myth among fringe groups of today’s Hungarian extreme right. It has currency in particular with organizations like the Magyarok Nyilai Nemzeti Felszabadító Hadsereg (Arrows of Hungary National Liberation Army), a neo-nazi group currently under investigation for terrorism charges. In 2009, the group was briefly associated with a certain Solymosi Eszter Csapásmérő Alakulat (the Eszter Solymosi Strike-Afflicting Brigade).

Though the brigade never sprung into action, its name nevertheless testifies to the cult status among Hungarian anti-semites of Eszter Solymosi, the young woman at the center of the case. She has proven to be the perfect stand-in for the role of the pure woman of the select race who is unsuspecting enough to become victimized by the murderous desires of the impure and the alien living amongst Hungarians. Jobbik is careful not to make its associations with the ideological adherents of these authors too ostensible; what Baráth’s speech proves, however, is that they do not at all mind representing the views of the Hungarian neo-Nazi movement in the Hungarian parliament.

Preoccupation with the Tiszaeszlár case is not new in contemporary Hungary. On the 120th anniversary of Eszter Solymosi’s death, a new grave memorial was erected to her memory, which has become a veritable place of pilgrimage for Hungary’s avowed anti-semites.

Eszter Solymosi’s grave on a picture of the commemoration held of her death in 2007. The photo is hosted on the website of the Solymosi Eszter National Association, which proclaims to fight for all Hungarian women and children who had been assaulted for their Christianity.

In his speech, Baráth also alluded to the fate of anti-semitic poet József Erdélyi, author of the poem “The Blood of Eszter Solymosi.” Erdélyi is infamous for the anti-semitic poems he had published until the end of the Second World War in various publications of the Hungarian Nazi movement. Baráth reminded the parliament of the two week prison sentence Erdélyi received for religious incitement, arguing that the secrets to be concealed about the case in Tiszaeszlár must have been enormous if it had such severe political reverberations half a century later for Erdélyi.

Baráth concluded his speech by a quote from Lajos Marschalkó, a famed theorist of Hungarian anti-semitism best known for his “Conquerers of the Country,” an anti-semitic treatise on the colonization of Hungary by the Jewry. In 1945, Marschalkó escaped prosecution as a war criminal by moving to Germany, but recently his book has been republished and its text has been made available on the internet for free.

“I think there are people in this room who are familiar with this quote,” said Baráth, who did not name Marschalkó when he admonished his fellow members of parliament that “the power of the conquerors of the world may only be broken by the truth.”

János Fónagy, the representative of the Hungarian government responding to the speech reacted with shock. “Mention of the Tiszaeszlár blood libel opens up wounds of entire centuries,” he stated. The left opposition has called on Baráth to resign.

The presiding chair of the session, Zoltán Balczó, deputy speaker of the Hungarian national assembly, did not interfere with the delivery of the speech. Balczó is also a representative of Jobbik, and he has served as legal counsel for various far-right causes in headline legal disputes. When 130 years ago, two members of parliament who later were to found the National Antisemitic Party first introduced the Hungarian public to the Tiszaeszlár case, their colleagues booed and whistled. You can view the delivery of the speech here (in Hungarian, uploaded to YouTube by Jobbik) to witness the indifference with which Mr. Baráth’s speech is being met, and the subsequent applause from Jobbik.

Baráth also insinuated parallels between Hungarian Jews and Hungarian Roma, by noting that Tiszaeszlár is in the (geographical) proximity of Olaszliszka, the location of a now infamous lynching of a driver by relatives of a Roma child involved in a small traffic accident.

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21 Responses to Jobbik MP Advances Blood Libel Claim in Hungarian Parliament

  1. Karl Pfeifer says:

    Eva Balogh on Hungarian Spectrum:
    It seems that János Fónagy, undersecretary of the Ministry of National Development and a Jew, has the unpleasant task of answering these Jobbik anti-Semitic harangues in the Hungarian parliament. The last time he was called upon was when Előd Novák (Jobbik) during the discussion on the law on religions complained that too many Jewish religious groups were recognized by the state when their numbers don’t justify it. Fónagy on that occasion turned to Novák and said “I don’t know why you are so surprised that there are so few people who can be found in the largest synagogue of Europe when it was your spiritual kin who killed 600,000 of our compatriots.”

    This time Fónagy didn’t manage to be so eloquent. Even his first sentence was somewhat ambiguous because he began by saying that he doesn’t know whether he should answer Baráth in the name of the government or in his own name. In any case, Fónagy stressed that Jobbik is an anti-semitic, neo-Nazi party. Therefore, Jobbik shouldn’t be surprised at its condemnation by the more sober segment of Hungarian society and the world.

    Of course, the condemnation of the world is not directed against Jobbik alone. The fact that Jobbik got into the Hungarian parliament with 17% of the votes cast two years ago reflects badly on Hungary itself. And the world also seems to realize that one Jobbik demand after the other is being satisfied by the government party. Viktor Orbán badly wants to get the Jobbik votes, and to this end he is ready to make compromises with an outright Nazi party.

    A dangerous game, that’s all I can say

    • Daniel says:

      Yeah, I guess introducing the Holocaust-memorial day in schools, passing a series of laws against the magyar garda, opening of the Holocaust Museum and the House of Terror and of course that response from Fónagy was all part of Orban´s great grand secret masterplan to get the far-right votes.

      He is, in fact a master of disguise. Lucky for us we have all of these “experts”, who can see all through this…

      I mean eva s. balogh? really? that is your source? That is your level?

  2. laszlo szujo says:

    These idiots just don’t stop hating……….

  3. Karl Pfeifer says:

    Hatred is part and parcel of their “idea”

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hate is a very bad thing. Unfortunately, hate runs on both sides of the political spectrum 😦

  5. Karl Pfeifer says:

    Jennifer, the Tiszaeszlár Bloodlibel was propagated by the Hungarian antisemites. Under the government installed by Horthy about half a million Hungarian citizens were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The majority of it was killed in the gas-chambers. After the war there were pogroms in Hungary, Kiskunmadaras, Miskolc and elsewhere.
    So when a Jobbik Neonazi is propagating his “ideas” about the Ritual murder that is for you just hate on one side which runs also on the other side of the political spectrum?

    • Daniel says:

      I´m not Jennifer, but…


      I think I have already told you: the far-right and the far-left in Hungary are in the sore need of each other. Unfortunately in Hungary after the change in 1990 the left instead of coming up with a democratic and civilized new party, politicians and opinion-leaders, decided to stay with the communist ideology, personal and culture, that has ruled and oppressed Hungary for decades. Here is very good article about how the very first freely elected prime minister of Hungary was attacked exactly the same way, as the Orban-government is. The people, who were attacking him were the very same people, who were running the censored party-media during communism.

      So if you are asking yourself why even the strongest attack (coming dictatorship, support of far-right, antisemitism, abolishment of free-press and so on…) don´t help the far-left, a the answer is simple: we have heard that already. Lucky for us, unlike 20 years ago most Hungarians now have access to information not filtered by contrarianhungarians…

  6. Karl Pfeifer says:

    The facts are on the table. A neonazi hatepreacher can voice his “opinion” in parliament and only one person, (János Fónagy) is telling him in a very moderate way that he is wrong.
    I have written my opinion on subject matter quoting Contrarian Hungarian as an excellent source.
    And do you seriously imply that I want to help a non existing far left in Hungary?

    • Daniel says:

      “only one person, (János Fónagy) is telling him in a very moderate way that he is wrong.”

      Yeah. That´s the problem. These are your “facts”.

      I don´t know, if you do it intentionally or not, but the information you quote are one-sided and far-left biased. Or simply just insane.

      Non-existing far-left in Hungary? What would you call the mszp, the post-communist party, which never faced it´s crimes, never broke up with the old partys legacy and a party, which had a communist censor as a chairwomen, a communist pribék and an conterspionage agent and a guy, who as a communist youth leader suggested in the middle of the ´80 to the communist power to crash down on such organisations, as the newly founded Fidesz as a prime minister just a couple of years back? How would you call the opinions of those, who were committed helper of the communists and are now attacking each and every right-wing government with the same arguments, they attacked the revolution in 1956? How would you call a political power that let 2006 september-october happen?

      Democrats? Centre-left? Social-democrats? Communists?

  7. Karl Pfeifer says:

    Daniel what is your opinion about Mr. Liptak who asked V.Orban to speak about the Nazi abomination in Hungarian parliament? Is he also an extreme left wing man?

    • Daniel says:

      you see… Fónagy made it clear in the name of the government, and Fidesz made it clear in a statement, what they think about it.

      You and Lipták also would need a personal statement from Viktor Orban. Contrarianhungarian would like to have one from László Kövér.

      Why? Should Viktor Orbán always make a statement, if somebody from an OTHER party says something he doesn´t agree with?

      The question doesn´t only apply to this issue. Since this has been the stupidest game of all in Hungarian politics, someone could explain it to me.

      I am a member of Fidesz. If one of the official Fidesz representatives would have said that it would be fair to expect from me that I distance myself from such remarks. But why should I, why should anybody from Fidesz distance itself from something, that was said/done by another party and where the party has already made it´s opposing standpoint clear?

      BTW: why is it enough for other parties to issue a statement (like Fidesz did), but not for Fidesz?

  8. Daniel: I cannot possibly imagine what leads you from a post about a blatant expression of anti-Semitism to holding a tribunal over the Socialist party, though your processes would be worthwhile of studying, because the fact that you’d prefer to talk about the prosecution of Fidesz by the Socialist party instead has a lot to do with why sentiments like those expressed in this speech are rampant in Hungary.
    As far as this most offensive speeches ever delivered in the parliament of the nation is concerned, we are still awaiting Hungary’s governing party Fidesz to make a public statement to the effect that it wishes to distance itself from the use of the parliament’s floor for hate speech. Also, as any censoring of the Jobbik MP is the prerogative of László Kövér, we are also anxiously awaiting to hear from him regarding this matter. Afterwards, I’m all game for discussing the past of various Fidesz cadres and their activities during communism (as well as of the Socialists).
    If I discern your argument correctly (with all the interpretive charity to what is far from an act of reason and is really just a seething emotional rant), you are making a logical fallacy known as the “False Dilemma.” You have reduced the world to the evil past that is communism and the promise land that is Fidesz. No, just because one does not support Fidesz one does not automatically become an evil Communist. It’s a reasoning mistake taught in elementary school – why exactly does this even require pointing out?

    • Karl Pfeifer says:

      Excellent reply to Daniel. Will he answer my simple question about Mr. Lipták?
      On Mandiner I’ve just discovered the declaration of the catholic priest Zoltán Osztie, who accuses Sote and the Semmelweis University insitution to be led by anarchists.
      It is the usual coded antisemitism. The world can be explained in simple terms by simpletons like Osztie, behind everything there is a foreign heart, (the Jew).

      • Daniel says:

        of course, I will. I did.

        I´m not the one who ignores points, I don´t like…

      • Daniel says:

        Dudeeee, that is not coded antisemitism….

        that´s uncoded hate against communists and the ones, who called themselves “liberals”.

        all of these phrases (“sold out the country”, “moral relativism”, “disrupts the nation from inside”, “left-liberal attacks from abroad”) have been used against the left-liberal government for years. And if you should still have doubts, here is the kicker:

        “Hiteltelen minden szavuk, ki kellene tiltani őket minden közszereplésből! Ha valami szégyennel kell, hogy eltöltsön bennünket az éppen az, hogy még mindig részt vehetnek a politikai életben.”

        These are standard right-wing sentences concerning the post-communists (or the right-wing version “crypto-communists”), who are still active in the political life of the country. The fact, that the communists leaders got away without any punishment and a lot of them could stay in politics is in fact for a huge part of the centre-right supporters a shame.

    • Daniel says:

      That was just stupid. you are way better than that.

      first of all: the socialists came up as a topic, when Karl asked if for Jennifer this kind of hate speech would be the same, as the hatred of the far-left. I just answered that question. As I have already pointed out a couple of times for me both extremists are the same. That information was easy to see for everyone, who read the comments.

      secondly: “we are still awaiting”. No, my very dear information filtering contrarianhungarian friend. WE are NOT still waiting. YOU are still waiting. And no, I´m am NOT going to link the statement of Fidesz about this topic issued by someone, who was on death row of the nazis, was an elected member of the parliament until the communists takeover, who spent years in the labour camps of the communists. Fidesz made VERY clear TO EVERYONE on the spot and also later it´s opinion on that matter. Besides that László Kövér not once turned off the microfone of Jobbik´s MP´s when they included anti-semitism or hate in their speeches. You are trying to pin this whole issue on Fidesz and Viktor Orban. Although it must clear to you as it is to everyone, that this is something noone in Fidesz would ever agree with or support. Shame on you.

      About my so called emotional rants. The problem here is, my dear information filtering contrarianhungarian friend is, that you show always one side of the story. The side, that supports the idea, you have in your head and you ignore/twist/lie about (pick your favorite) the facts, that doesn´t. You don´t need reason, because you are an academic, so you obviously are not stupid and you have access to all the information you need. If you still manage NOT to see the statement of Fidesz or if you still manage to think, that with the new election law Fidesz would have won all elections since 1990 than you don´t need reason. You need someone, to tell you, what an idiot you are. Maybe then you will try harder next time.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The once respected Magyar nation has a chip on its shoulder and is moving towards irrelevancy.

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