Hungarian Ambassador to Oslo Géza Jeszenszky can't attend the Holocaust and Religious Minorities Symposium

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hungarian Ambassador to Oslo Géza Jeszenszky has been asked by the Norwegian Institute of Holocaust and Religious Minorities to stay away from the Tuesday's International Wallenberg Symposium due to his recent remarks he made during a university lecture tour on the causes of degenerative disorders among gypsies in Hungary.

The management of the institution came to the conclusion that by speaking the truth Jeszenszky's presence would jeopardize the outcome of the symposium. Jeszenszky's rebuff is all the more interesting because the Hungarian Embassy in Oslo is one of the organizers of the symposium.

The management of the Norwegian Institute of Holocaust and Religious Minorities made known its decision soon after Jeszenszky's lecture notes appeared in the media in which he confirmed that inscestous relationship is an accepted practice among gypsies in Hungary (and everywhere in Eastern Europe): “The reason why many Roma are mentally ill is because in Roma culture it is permitted for sisters and brothers or cousins to marry each other or just to have sexual intercourse with each other” writes the ambassador.

Jeszenszky has been under attack ever since his lecture notes leaked to the public despite the fact that he rejected the allegations of racism several times in the past.

Due to international outcry over Jeszenszky's lecture, the Hungarian diplomacy went into damage control mode -- institutions and individuals started distancing themselves from the ambassador.

The ministry of foreign affairs and the Corvinus University were among the first that dissociated themselves from the plain talking ambassador.

"Jeszenszky has written the questionable notes as a lecturer and not as an employee of the ministry of foreign affairs or as Hungary's ambassador to Oslo. Although the mentioned paragraph can be misinterpreted, Jeszenszky's entire life and his recent publications demonstrate his support for minority rights," says the foreign ministry statement.

Jeszenszky also started backtracking on the issue; to ATV magazine on Tuesday he said if he had written the lecture today he wouldn't have included the controversial paragraph in the draft, which was in fact a quote from the Journal of Medical Genetics. Then, he apologized to everyone who felt offended by the remarks. I encourage everyone to read the entire text rather than just a single paragraph of it that has been taken out of context to get a clear picture what the lecture was all about.

It turned out that it was Professor László Karsai, the most acclaimed Hungarian holocaust researcher of the University of Szeged who alerted the organizers of the holocaust symposium about Jeszenszky's lecture.

László Karsai, who was also among the invited guests, as a protest over Jeszenszky's invitation pulled out of the event. Anton Weiss-Wendt one of the organizers of the symposium said Jeszenszky's lecture included biased and unsubstantiated allegations against gypsies, which were not supported by any evidence.

In order to protect the institution and the dignity of the event and to prevent others from canceling their participation over the issue we asked ambassador Jeszenszky not to attend the symposium said Anton Weiss-Wendt.

Jeszenszky replied by e-mail, but this time he used the term "inbreeding" rather than incest and claimed that the Roma community had no notion of the dangers of incest said Anton Weiss-Wendt.

After removing ambassador Jeszenszky from the guest list organizer sent a new invitation to professor László Karsai who this time accepted the overture.

(Notes: This controversy is a classic example of how to make a mountain out of a molehill; in addition, it demonstrates that the official dogma of our time just as tyrannical as the tenets of the church were in the middle ages when the inquisition burned hundreds of thousands of people at the stake even for minor disagreements with the official doctrine of the time. Galileo had to recant his teaching on the constellation of the planets even if the idea was already a common knowledge in antiquity and every leader of the church knew he was right. Today is no different, people are getting persecuted for telling the truth even over minor issues like the Roma's sexual practices. Half a century ago, Orwell foresaw the return of the time, when universal deceit rules and telling the truth once again becomes a revolutionary act.)

( – edited by