Hungary turns blind eye as fascists mask identity to collect tax-deducted funds
Hungary’s government has allowed two extreme right-wing organisations to collect tax-deducted private grants, enabling those organisations to spread views that they admit hark back to Hungary’s fascist regime during World War Two.
The status of “foundation for the public good” has been granted by state organisations to a pair of foundations that extremists have taken over and used to cover their identities, an investigation by Atlatszo.hu has found. The method has meant these groups can collect money for activities that, at best, entice hatred against minorities like Roma and Jews.
Pax Hungarica Movement and the Army of Outlaws (Betyarsereg) are a pair of extreme right-wing movements that grew out of the banned extremist Hungarian National Front (MNA) and its successor, the Blood and Honour Cultural Association, which was banned as well.
Pax Hungarica leader Endre Janos Domokos told Atlatszo.hu in a video interview that he considered Pax Hungarica (PH) the political heir of the Arrow Cross Party, which controlled Hungary during the last tsretches of World War Two. Arrow Cross leader Ferenc Szalasi was a staunch Hitler ally who was executed after the war.
At events of the organisations also featured in the Atlatszo.hu video, participants sometimes talk in a language and with mannerisms that resemble that of Adolf Hitler, including his trademark salute.
“To me, the ultimate moral reprieve would be to have a government at long last that takes this type of human that desecrates our symbols, puts them in a cattle train once again, and ships them off very far to work, because they hate working,” Betyarsereg leader Zsolt Tyirityan told a Pax Hungarica rally in 2012, according to the Atlatszo.hu video.
PH is funded through a foundation called Szabad Szellem – Magyar Kultura (Free Spirit / Hungarian Culture), which it took over after the courts denied it the license to operate as a standalone non-profit organisation. PH uses the foundation openly to gather funds, urging supports on its web site to donate to PH.
The Free Spirit foundation evolved from an innocent project funding journalism training in the 1990s. Gradually extremist members took over the board and by now its projects include supporting skinhead rock bands or organising marches to commemorate the heroism of the troops of Nazi Germany during the war.
At events, speakers use the full spectrum of classic nazi ideology. They tend to talk of wiping Hungary clean of non-Hungarians, calling for cattle trains to take Jews away from Hungary again, and envisioning an apocalyptic war in which true Hungarians need to defend their motherland.
The foundation was classified as „supporting the public good” and now qualifies for donations from personal income taxes, 1 percent of which are earmarked by individual taxpayers for specific purposes.
Taking over or hiding behind a seemingly unrelated non-profit organisation is a tried-and-true modus operandi of extremists in Hungary. PH’s sister organisation, the Army of Outlaws, uses a foundation in Vecses, a town not far from Budapest’s international airport, to collect donations.
The Hungarian language source article was posted on 18 April 2014.