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Hungary Jews slam 'whitewashing' of Holocaust in memorial year

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Jewish leaders in Hungary threatened Tuesday to boycott official Holocaust memorial events this year claiming the government was whitewashing the country's role in the deportations of Jews to Nazi camps.

Last year the government announced a series of events in 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of the deportations which led to the deaths of around 450,000 Hungarian Jews.

Local Jewish organisations however have complained that they haven't been properly consulted and that some of the events are misguided.

"There is a limit, which if overstepped by the official memorial events, will force us to withdraw our participation," Andras Heisler, leader of Hungary's largest Jewish group Mazsihisz, told journalists.

Mazsihisz has called a planned monument in Budapest marking the country's occupation by Nazi Germany in 1944 an effort to whitewash the state's own role in the deportations.

The government says the monument, due to be unveiled in the capital on March 19, is intended to commemorate all the lives lost during Nazi Germany's occupation of Hungary -- which lasted from March 19, 1944 to the spring of 1945 -- including the Jewish victims.

"We remain optimists," Heisler said, calling for more dialogue with the government, and for the plan to be scrapped.

Since Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government came to power in 2010, it has often been accused of tacitly encouraging a rehabilitation of Hungary's controversial wartime leader Miklos Horthy, seen by many Jews as complicit in the 1944 deportations.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140121/hungary-jews-slam-whitewashing-holocaust-memorial-year