Gulyás said that Antisemitism had reached Hungary in the 1930s and led to an “unacceptable curtailing of the rights of the Jews”. He added that Hungary had learned from its mistakes and the government is proud that in present-day Hungary Jews and non-Jews can live alongside each other in a blooming cultural and religious life and in full security.
The Hungarian Holocaust center estimates that of the six million Jewish victims some 500,000 were Hungarian Jews while another estimate says only 29.6 percent of the pre-war Jewish population of Hungary of about 861,000 survived.
Historians say that the first Jews arrived to what is now Hungary’s territory to the Roman province of Pannonia during the rule of Emperor Marcus Aurelius when he transferred some of the rebellious legions from Syria in 175 CE. The number of the Jewish population in Hungary was at its peak just prior to WWI, when – according to the 1910 census – their number was 911,227 or 4.99 percent of the total population.
Hungary currently has a Jewish population of about 100,000.
Title image: The Jewish cemetery in Tokaj, northern Hungary (MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi)