A Strange Anti-Semitic Story

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In the city of Miskolc located in hungry there was a teenager named Csanad Szegedi who became attracted to neo-Nazism.

He didn’t suddenly decide he hated Jews one day but after being exposed to a bunch of Nazi propaganda he gradually became to see things in the same light and came to believe history regarding the Holocaust he was taught was an exaggerated version of actual events. When he went to university he and some friends established the Right-Wing Youth Association which later converted into the anti-Semitic political party known as Jobbik of which Csanad became vice president. He helped establish the Hungarian Guards three years later which marched in uniforms similar to those worn by the Nazis during World War II to instill fear in Jews and other minorities. (Wiener, Robert 2016)

All the while he had no idea that his own mother was Jewish. She knew about and was uncomfortable with her son’s interests she still didn’t inform him that he was a Jew. He stated that in 2010 “‘I started to hear rumors from within and without my close circles that I had some sort of a Jewish origin. It was the biggest sin you could commit if you were on the far Right. You could be corrupt. You could be homosexual. You could be a gypsy, a Roma. But being Jewish was as bad as it gets, I did not pay too much attention to these rumors, but as time went by, I thought I needed to ask my grandmother just to make sure.’” (Wiener, Robert 2016)

After he went to visit his family to celebrate Easter in 2012 he began to ask his grandmother about his life. She told him how her she was raised by her Jewish aunt and uncle after her mother died and showed him the numbers the guards from Auschwitz tattooed on her arm. Upon describing his thoughts at that time Csanad said, "‘I couldn't believe it, I just couldn't…I thought, this is the worst thing that could ever happen – there couldn't ever be anything worse than this. There had been no clues. Nothing could have prepared me for this. Though looking back, when I think about it, my mother and grandmother took issue with my anti-Semitism. Not because it was about Jews, they said... They just made the point that it was wrong to hate anyone. I suppose I just didn't take any notice.’” (Epstain, Angela 2015)

After learning about his Jewish identity Csanad went to the leaders of his political party and asked to resign. Although they were shocked by the news as well for months they thought about just keeping it a secret or using his Jewish ancestry to deflect claims of anti-Semitism held against their political party, however he did eventually resign. His parents were also shocked to know that Csanad discovered his family’s secret that they were Jews. He stated, "‘My father said, “Why on earth do you want to be Jewish?”. I told him that it wasn't a desire. It was who I was. That it wasn't a matter of choice. There were people in Auschwitz who were murdered for being Jews. They may not have wanted to be Jews but had no choice.’"

Csanad went on to embrace his Jewish identity in life, but as strange and twisted as a story about Jewish descendent of a Holocaust trying to intimidate Jews in a Nazi suit is we as humans can make similar errors quite regularly. I’m not saying it may always be to the same degree, however I would say most people like Csanad who do not start out with the intention to cling to racist or sexiest propaganda or become involved in or supportive of those who promote a broad prejudice against any group of people for the purpose of causing harm. But how often do we entertain the ideas of those who do because they also promote ideas that may benefit or flatter ourselves as if we are unaware that they are humans too-individuals who deserve respect and cannot be tossed into a narrow box of generalizations based on their appearance or religious affiliations any more than we can?

You don’t have to be foaming at month racist or sexist in order to cling harmful stereotypes consciously or non-consciously. In order to prevent things like the Holocaust from happening we need to see all people as individuals and be careful about the generalizations about people groups-good or negative-that we allow ourselves to entertain and be careful not to give into the temptation to minimize or rationalize away the significance of others’ sufferings because they do not share our beliefs, race, or culture. As humans whenever we show hatred towards others we are hating our own as we are all a part of the human family and harming others harms ourselves. “The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:34

References:
Epstain, Angela 2015 “This Politician Hated Jews. Then Found Out He Was one” received from The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/goodlife/11616430/This-politician-hated-Jews.-Then-found-out-he-was-one.html
Wiener, Robert 2016 “An anti-Semite who found out he was a Jew” New Jersey Jewish News received from http://njjewishnews.com/article/30181/an-anti-semite-who-found-out-he-was-a-jew#.WUVwRWjyvIW

Picture originally found here

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