International Auschwitz Committee Puts Pressure on Austrian Chancellor Ahead of His Meeting With Viktor Orban

PoliticsInternational ♦ Published: July 27, 2022; 09:54 ♦ (Vindobona)

The International Ausschwitz Committee expressed its horror after racist statements and a Holocaust joke by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Committee Vice-President Christoph Heubner then called on Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer to confront Orban during his upcoming visit to Vienna.

Viktor Orbán caused a stir with his statements. / Picture: © European People's Party - EPP / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is known for his scathing manner and his iron will to get his point across. But now he made a verbal slip that caused an international stir.

Last weekend, the Hungarian Prime Minister gave his annual speech to supporters in the Romanian spa town of Baile Tusnad. In it, he declared: "There is, after all, that world in which the European peoples mix with the arrivals from outside Europe. That is a mixed-race world."

In contrast, he said, there is the Carpathian Basin, where European peoples such as Hungarians, Romanians, Slovaks and others intermingle. "We are ready to mix with each other, but we do not want to become mixed-race," he had stressed.

With such statements, Orbán is treading on very thin ice, since it was the German National Socialists who went down in the history books with their fanatical racial thinking.

This statement, which was both racist and inappropriate, was further underlined by a tasteless joke in which he commented on the EU gas emergency plan. "For example, there's the latest proposal from the EU Commission, which says that everyone should compulsorily reduce their gas consumption by 15 per cent. I don't see how that can be enforced, although there is German know-how for that, from the past, I mean," he quipped, clearly alluding to the systematic murder of Jews and other minorities under the Nazi regime.

The International Auschwitz Committee reacted with horror and condemned the words of the Hungarian Prime Minister: "It is not only Auschwitz survivors in Hungary who are alarmed and horrified by the recent statements of Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán. For them, the fact that Viktor Orbán is now adding a racist underpinning to his right-wing populist and anti-European policies is further proof that Orbán now deliberately wants to erase any reference to the values of the European Union. This is precisely why Holocaust survivors find Orbán's phrases dull, stupid and dangerous."

The Auschwitz Committee stressed that Orbán's words were reminiscent of dark times when exclusion and persecution prevailed.

Committee Vice-President Christoph Heubner also took Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer to task. He will be the first European counterpart to meet Orban in Vienna on Thursday.

Heubner called on Nehammer to tell Orbán how his "racist excursions into the past" are assessed in the European Union. So far, the Austrian chancellor has not responded to the demands and has remained silent. On his Twitter channel, he merely announced that Hungary was an "important partner" and that he was looking forward to welcoming Viktor Orbán in Vienna.

International Auschwitz Committee