(JTA) – Thousands came out for the March of the Living in Budapest, where World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder reminded the Hungarian government to speak out against anti-Semitism.
Lauder also denounced the far-right Jobbik party, the second largest in the country, as “extremist” on Sunday at the annual commemoration of the Holocaust in the Hungarian capital.
“The March of the Living also reminds us what happens when the world is silent,” Lauder, the event’s keynote speaker, told the crowd, which was estimated as high as 10,000. “We will never be silent again. And when it comes to anti-Semitism, the Hungarian government must never be silent.
“Today, when the world looks at Hungary, it does not see its great culture. It does not see its beautiful cities. It does not remember its great and glorious past. Today the world sees Hungary and they see Jobbik. They see an extremist party that promotes hate.”
Jobbik is behind only the ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
About 560,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, most of them in 1944. Today, Hungary’s Jewish community numbers around 100,000.
Lauder stressed that the Hungarian Jewish community is “alive and well.”
“And the Hungarian Jewish community is not going anywhere. We march today to say: We are here. We are alive. And here we will remain,” he said.
Lauder said the Jewish community had contributed much to Hungarian society.