It was treason to send our Jewish brothers and sisters in Hungary to their death, whose blood cries out to heaven, said Csaba Latorcai, Parliamentary State Secretary for Regional Development, in his speech at the memorial of the martyrs of World War II in Kőszeg on Thursday.
Remembrance is particularly important today, because the world is once again showing its troubled face; in addition to the terrible war raging in our immediate neighborhood, we are witnessing and suffering from a new age of migration that is increasingly serious, he said.
He added: „Alongside this, we are also witnessing religious intolerance in Western Europe on an increasingly alarming scale in the name of a “new communist culture of abolition,”
which does not spare, and threatens, those who profess either the Jewish or Christian faith.
In his speech, Csaba Latorcai recalled that, according to Hungary’s second Jewish law, Hungarian citizens classified as Jews could only fulfill their national defense obligations by performing auxiliary labor service. In 1944, after the Arrow Cross takeover, thousands of labor conscripts and Jewish civilians — both men and women — were deported to Kőszeg to build the so-called „Reichsschutzstellung” or “Southeastern Wall.”
Some were crammed into freight wagons at Budapest’s Józsefváros railway station, but others were forced to make the trek on foot over several days. Many of them lost their lives on the way; some died from the hard physical labor, hunger, cold, diseases from the lack of sanitation, or the cruelty of the guards,” he listed.
„The Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of not only Hungarian Jewry but of Hungarian society as a whole.
We must keep its memory alive so that future generations, knowing the past, cannot commit the same atrocities that have already happened,” the State Secretary said.
Between November 1944 and March 1945, 2,500 Jewish laborers died in the labor camp established on the outskirts of Kőszeg. Every year, the residents of the small town of Vas County — political parties, civil organizations, churches and representatives of local Jewry — commemorate the victims. This year, they also paid their respects by laying wreaths and flowers at the memorial.