The Orban government in Hungary has removed the statue of Imre Nagy in Budapest in a overnight secret operation.
Nagy was the liberalising Stalinist who was returned to power by the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was overthrown by the Russian invasion which put down the revolution, and then executed in 1958. Nagy is not our hero. For most of his career he was a Stalinist apparatchik. But for many Hungarians he is a symbolic martyr of the Hungarian revolution.
In 1989, he was rehabilitated under popular pressure and 200,000 people turned out for his reburial. That was a key event in the overthrow of Stalinism in Hungry. His statue was put in Martyrs’ Square. The removal of the statue goes together with Orban rehabilitating and promoting the antisemitic authoritarian regime of Admiral Horthy (1920¬44), a regime that was allied with Hitler and participated in the Holocaust.
A myth is being peddled by Orban that the holocaust of Hungarian Jews was entirely in the period after Horthy was overthrow by the Germans in August 1944. In fact hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews had already been sent to the death camps before that.