Spiegel Online recently posted an incredibly poignant, terrifyingly candid article on Hungary’s Right-Wing War on Culture by Philipp Oehmke.
It’s worth a close read. In it, Mr. Oehmke describes the takeover of Budapest’s popular New Theater by a pair of notorious anti-Semites, György Dörner and István Csurka. In his hasty, thrown together application to be the new director of the theater, Dörner wrote of his intention to rid the institution of “degenerate, sick, liberal hegemony.” Csurka, a famous poet and playwright, founded the nationalistic, anti-Semitic Hungarian Truth and Life Party and spends his spare time worrying that Zoinists are planning another Jewish homeland in Hungary and railing against those who are “foreign-hearted,” mainly liberals and Jews.
In his article, Mr. Oehmke describes his attempts to interview both György Dörner and István Csurka and digs deep into the right-wing mentality of not only the new leaders of the New Theater but the entire rightest movement in Hungary, even interviewing “zombie” Sándor Pörzse, “one of the most prominent members of Jobbik, he is also a member of parliament, the editor-in-chief of the party magazine Barikád and a founding member of the party’s paramilitary organization, the Hungarian Guard, which is now banned.”
An excerpt from the article…
“In addition to being a poet and a politician, Csurka publishes a weekly newspaper called Magyar Fórum. The editorial offices are in downtown Budapest. A man who looks like a bouncer in a bar is standing at the reception desk. He has a hanging eyelid and is wearing a Jack Daniel’s T-shirt stretched tightly across his enormous stomach.
‘You again. I recognize your voice,’ he says. ‘You’re the one who’s been calling all this time. I told you that Mr. Csurka has no time for you.’ He reaches for the phone, speaks with someone and then shakes his head.
Here at his weekly newspaper, Csurka has recently begun writing commentaries under the headline Ascher Café, diatribes filled with hate and accusations. ‘People make fun of our application,’ Csurka writes, ‘because in it we expressed national thoughts and not their liberal consensus.’
The commentary’s title Ascher Café is a reference to Tamás Ascher, perhaps Hungary’s most famous film director, the Director of the Academy of Drama and Film, and a Jew. For Csurka, Ascher symbolizes the Jewish-liberal coffeehouse cultural conspiracy he has been fighting for decades. Csurka writes: ‘It isn’t just the social-liberal cultural policy, but also the Ascher Café’s dominance over the theater that is so oppressive. We are withdrawing culture from the control of Tamás Ascher, the head of the café, the great director, who also directs films in Los Angeles and is, with all certainty, descended from a family of Ashkenazi Jews from Odessa.’ ”
These are the new cultural leaders in Hungary. These guys. They’re running things now.
What will they think of next?