Budapest appoints rabid anti-semite to run new theatre (update)

It’s always dangerous for a foreigner to attempt to make sense of Hungarian politics, but the events that follow are widely corroborated. It appears the the Mayor of Budapest, under attack from professionals for appointing an extreme right-wing actor Gyorgy Dorner as director of the New Theatre, has bolstered his position with  a notorious anti-semitic writer, István Csurka,  as artistic director.

A former member of Parliament, Csurka has described the 9/11 attacks as a response to ‘the genocide in Palestine’ and has employed a range of euphemisms to attack Jews and ‘non-Hungarians’ as being responsible for all the country’s economic woes.

The conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi., grandson of a famous Hungarian composer, cancelled two concerts in Budapest, saying he refused to perform “in a city whose mayor entrusted the direction of a theater to two known, extreme right-wing anti-Semites.”

There have also been mass demonstrations, but the Mayor, Istvan Tarlos, is standing by his rabid pair, who will assume office in February. It might be a good year to stay away from Budapest.

Here’s analysis (in German) from Vienna.

UPDATE: And here’s a fuller account in English of the present state of Hungarian racism. These people claim to be the New Europe. The Old Europe has yet to do anything about them.

 

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  • Princeton University Professor Robert George says that people that criticize Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII for signing the Reichskonkordat are only seeking to diminish the cultural influence of the Catholic Church. Additionally, Professor George, as head of the American Principles Project, sent his Communications Director Thomas Peters to a conference hosted in Poland by the viciously anti-Semitic Father Tadeusz Rydsyk.

  • Perhaps even more to the point about Dohnanyi than his Hungarian composer grandfather is that both his father and his maternal uncle (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) were executed by the Nazis when he was in his mid-teens. He also knows a thing or two about the awkward relationship between the state-sponsored arts and the murky world of local politics: his occasionally stormy relations with the Hamburg state authorities during his period as Intendant of the Staatsoper were given added spice by the fact that for part of that time the mayor and head of the state government was one Klaus von Dohnanyi – his own big brother.

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