World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder and European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor have called the planned formation of an armed guard replete with pro-Nazi symbols within the extreme-right Hungarian movement ‘Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom’ [Movement for the Better Hungary] an “extremely alarming development.”
In a joint letter to Hungary’s prime minister Ferenc Gyurscany, Lauder and Kantor wrote that the “impending creation of an armed guard, under the false guise of ’sporting and shooting clubs’, with uniforms resembling those worn by fascists in World War II,” was a danger to democracy and had to be stopped.
They urged Gyurscany to do his “urgent utmost to see to it that any political party which manifests expressions of hatred and bigotry, whether by speech, threats to arm, and other incitements to racial violence, is stopped.”
The Magyar Garda (Hungarian Guard) will apparently be formed at a swearing-in ceremony at Buda Castle on 25 August by party leaders. The guard’s founder, Gabor Vona, has claimed that 300 people have applied to join the group, but numbers would increase to at least 1,000 by the end of the year.
The uniforms of the guards will reportedly carry the red and white Arpad stripes used by the pro-Nazi ‘Arrow Cross’ movement during World War II, whose members murdered thousands of Jews and were involved in the deportation of hundreds of thousands to the Nazi death camps.
Lauder and Kantor wrote that as a member of the European Union and the Council of Europe, the Hungarian government should “immediately take all the necessary steps to ban this threat.”
Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom is not represented in the national parliament but has representatives on several local councils.