Case 345 - Whitewashing and Confronting Hungary’s Antisemitic Past: The Bálint Hóman Statue in Székesfehérvár

by Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University
$ 3.50

Forman, Ira

In 2015 the Hungarian government announced it would fund a statue in the city of Székesfehérvár to honor Bálint Hóman, a historian and government minister who had advocated for the deportation of Hungarian Jews. Hóman had a long history as an antisemite, and had co-authored legislation to undermine Jewish citizenship in Hungary in the inter-war period. This case study examines the local and foreign opposition to the Hóman statue, and the US government decision to lead a coalition to oppose the statue project. The case will challenge students to consider the issue from various perspectives. Why did Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government feel it was necessary to honor such a controversial figure? Why was the Hungarian Jewish community so opposed to the statue—and what was the broader global reaction? And what diplomacy tools did the US government employ?