Hungary and the Distortion of Holocaust History: The Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year 2014

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This paper deals with the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year 2014 and the ongoing debate about how to assess Hungary’s involvement in the Holocaust. By introducing the Holocaust Memorial Year 2014, erecting the Monument on the German Occupation and initiating a Memorial to Child Victims of the Holocaust (the House of Fates), the Hungarian government tried to establish a common narrative about the Holocaust in Hungary. For various reasons, however, this attempt failed. Instead, it turned out that the anniversary year 2014 fostered the emergence of diverse new cultures of commemoration at different levels of society. This study discusses the reasons for these developments and provides an overview of the (public) events surrounding commemorations in the Holocaust Memorial Year, thus exploring Hungary’s process of coming to terms with its past. The events in 2014 were accompanied by disputes at multiple levels that were held in the public domain and involved all types of traditional and modern media. This study highlights the reactions to several statements and explains how they came about. Our aim is to engender interest in further scholarly examination.

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