By Peter Dan.
I was born in Budapest Hungary in 1945 right at the end of WW II. My parents were Holocaust survivors and lost friends and relatives too numerous to mention. Like most survivors, they were stunned by those events as much as by their chance survival .
In Communist Hungary we were persecuted for being practicing Jews, persecuted as well for being members of the “Petit Bourgeoisie Middle Class” . I witnessed the ravages of war in the 1956 uprising against Communism. After it, I saw the Anti-Semitism growing in Communist Hungary, as it turned against the newly created “Zionist State”. I left Hungary in 1960.
In school in Hungary some of my classmates were “Roma” and I was aware of the contempt commonly felt towards them in society.
Members of the “Roma” community here in Canada are reporting today a rise in Neo-Nazism in Hungary directed against them, and against Jews. This has made many of them seek refuge here in Canada. Having come here, they are finding prejudice directed against them here as well. They claim its manifestation both in the adjudication of their status as legitimate refugees, and in the delivery of social services to those whose status is still undetermined.
As a Jew I am concerned about a rise in Anti-Semitism world-wide, as a person of Hungarian birth I am concerned about the rise of Neo-Nazism in Hungary. As a human being and as a Canadian, I am concerned about all of these, but especially to hear that this group is victimized here in Canada as well by prejudice directed toward them.
We have often heard the phrase “Never Again” and we have felt over the years a commitment to ensure that Nazism and racial prejudice does not rise again. Here we are faced with a challenge to stand by those words, by that commitment.