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Sunday, July 29, 2012

About memories, again

This time comparison of British and Hungarian memorials, both controversial and still different. It is about memorials to victims of the second World War. OK, British were the winners and Hungarian on the side of losers. And in spite of that, British are more tactful, balanced and consider more the sensitivities of others. The Hungarians have a mythical eagle (originally most probably a lanner). It appears as the bird on the coat of arms of the first royal family descending from the chieftain under whose reign the Hungarians entered the Carpathian Basin where they reside also today in a medieval chronicle and as the forefather of this family in another. In Hungarian, however, the word "turul" (most probably of Turkish origin) was first used by a 19th century poet, János Arany. Immediately before and during the war, it was the symbol of a far-right, nationalist and anti-Semitic movement and thus hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews and Roma were murdered in this sign. In spite of that, a memorial was erected in Budapest to commemorate the victims of the war figuring this symbol. The idea led to vivid protests and the Budapest Municipality did not authorise the erection of the monument which was done in spite of that. The creators wanted to soothe the sensitivities by declaring that the memorial also wants to commemorate the civilian victims, including those deported to concentration camps. They were not, however, to give up that the sculpture should be this ill-reputed symbol. The British recently unveiled a memorial to the Bomber Command which also killed many civilians in Germany, among others during the cruel raid on Dresden. It has aroused strong feelings in Germany but it was not erected until they arrived to an agreement that the civilian victims will also be mentioned. But this is a memorial to the dead, and the form, although somewhat strange, and resembling the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, has no offensive message.

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