We wish to condemn in the strongest terms the words of Szilárd Demeter, museum director and ministerial commissioner appointed by the Hungarian government, in a recent opinion piece published by pro-government news website Origo. We believe that history should be learned, not instrumentalized for the purposes of political propaganda. We condemn Demeter's anti-Semitism and relativization of the Holocaust in those remarks in which he likened Europe to a "gas chamber" and our founder George Soros, who in reality was a Jewish child driven into hiding by the Nazis in his native Hungary, to Hitler.
The CEU Senate has not previously spoken out publicly concerning the campaign of scurrilous personal attacks on our founder emanating from Prime Minister Orbán, his officials, and allies of his government. Those attacks long since crossed a line from reasonable debate to shocking rhetoric dispensed with callous disregard for the truth. Indeed, the present Hungarian government and its allies have demonstrated antipathy toward serious debate not just in words but in deeds, by continuing to undermine the independence of media in Hungary, as well as the academic freedom of institutions including the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest's University of Theatre and Film Arts (SzFE), and CEU. It is the present Hungarian government, not we, nor George Soros, who have chosen to turn freedom of the media, the academy and civil society, as well as rule of law and fundamental human rights, into points of political contention in Europe.
CEU stands proudly together with our founder George Soros, committed to the values of open society, which means democracy characterized by commitment to openness, free exchange of ideas, critical thinking, political equality, and respect for justice and the rule of law.