Before I explain the controversy about Horthy, who is a Hungarian cultural icon, here’s a summary
from someone who has good info about Gorka.
Alt-left Wing Nut Mary Cummins, a self-proclaimed investigative journalist, claims former White House top assistant Dr Sebastian Gorka is an anti-Semitic Nazi-supporter. At least she implies it heavily. But her description of what Gorka wear a year and 2 months ago on Inauguration Night is a sleazy generalization. Here’s what I want to begin with before I write about Gorka’s bocskai suit and medal.
Certainly, the meaning of the Order of Vitéz is far from free of controversy in Hungarian historical memory. As Talking Points Memo points out in its article on the subject, the legacy of the group is very much a mixed one. TPM spoke to Hungarian historian George Deák, a historian who is currently an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Mr. Deák described the order as a “‘tainted’ but ambiguous symbol”; Hungarian Secretary of State Endre and Lt. Colonel László Ferenczy, two of men behind the 1944 mass deportation of Jews from Hungary to concentration camps, were “proud members of the order.” At the same time, however, Mr. Deák pointed out to TPM that “a small number of wealthy Jews allied themselves with the order as well.”
Going further, he added that while “anti-Semitism was probably something shared among most of the members of that group…it wasn’t explicitly anti-Semitic.”
One of Lobelog’s key points in its claim that the Order was essentially a fascist organization rests on the fact that it is listed by the US State Department as an “Organization Under the Direction of the Nazi Government of Germany.” This is true; however, when one looks at the list in question, one can see that this definition was rather broad, encompassing groups ranging from outright fascists, such as the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party and the Lithuanian SS, to the entire police forces of countries ranging from France to Poland to Lithuania. And while even these latter police forces certainly did contribute in abhorrent ways to the Nazi’s goals of genocide and empire, it would be going too far to accuse someone of anti-Semitism simply for wearing the logo of the French police force in order to honor one’s father.”
“Perhaps most importantly (and this is a point that no news outlet, to our knowledge, has brought up), Mr. Gorka’s father never even belonged to the original Order of Vitéz in the first place. Responding in a Breitbart video to the allegations raised against him, Mr. Gorka explained that his father, who had been imprisoned by Communist authorities in 1950 for attempting to organize resistance efforts, had received the Vitéz medal in 1979 “for his resistance to dictatorship.” In addition, Pál Gorka was born in 1930, meaning he was fifteen at the war’s end; considering that the Order of Vitéz was officially banned in 1947, neither Pál Gorka nor, by extension, his son, had any direct connection to the original Order founded by Horthy. The Order was reestablished in exile in the latter half of the 20th century, as a voluntary fraternal organization, but one with no legal standing whatsoever in Hungary. While there may be some question, then, of whether Mr. Gorka is even technically entitled to use the title “Vitéz”, it would be a gross mischaracterization of facts to claim that his wearing of the order’s medal at the Liberty Ball is a direct link to a pro-Nazi group.
You can view Mr. Gorka’s response in full below:
Okay, here’s my explanation on Dr Sebastian Gorka’s suit that he wore and I think it’ll explain a lot about his Hungarian pride. I might not get all of this right, but I’ve always wanted to write this about Dr Gorka because when the internet flipped out over what he wore on Trump’s Inaugural Night, I felt as if I was the only one who knew exactly what he was wearing.
Sooo, here we go.
So what Dr Sebastian Gorka wore was not covered very fondly by any media. The NBC News report on it was misleading, as their headline embedded ‘Nazi-linked’ into the middle of the statement. By putting ‘Nazi-linked’ in their headline, it invokes their perception of what it is and what many Hungarians view it as and the cultural spectrum of Vitezi Rend (Order of Vitez).
I guess NBC’s headline is factual, but it’s misleading as hell.
So the leftists, on Inauguration night were desperate to see Trump and his associates smeared as Nazis. They wanted to believe it to be true to fuel their fake ideology of resistance. A delusional resistance. So the whole internet freakout back on January 20th, 2017 over Gorka’s attire started with a blogger I believe, or someone with a decent-sized site… Someone or whoever posted this pic of Gorka and his wife and they explained it and the person grossly misunderstood his wardrobe.
The wardrobe, I first recognized it as from the legendary Order of Vitez back when this went hitpiece on Gorka went kinda-viral after Trump’s inauguration. I was correct. I’m a big WW1 and WW2 buff. I like studying the Vietnam War as well.
So what’s the Order of Vitez? Why is it legendary? Well, it’s legendary to Hungary that’s for sure. Some Hungarians find it infamously legendary and some find it legendary. It all goes back to who created the Order of Vitez, aka Miklos Horthy.
The Order of Vitez had members of the Hungarian government and military in it from 1920-1945 (when it ended). The Order of- Vitez was founded by the Hungarian ruler Miklos Horthy who has an extremely difficult, jaded history. He was an anti-Semite and in the 1930s as a ruler, relied on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany through trade to lift Hungary from the Great Depression.
Despite Horthy being an ally of Hitler for years, he turned on the Nazis when trying to stop the fighting between Hungary and the UK, USA. Horthy was overthrown by the Nazis because of this betrayal. But during the time of his rule, he protected Hungarian Jews from being deported to German concentration camps — and Jews were only taken from Hungary when the Nazis took him out of power. Horthy’s Hungary government had not much of a choice but to be allied with the Nazis as diplomatic partners, and when WW2 started Horthy tried to find ways out of having his government be a part of it. Horthy’s refusal to hand over Hungarian Jews to the Nazis which went on for years, along with his secretive attempts at striking a deal with the Allies, eventually led to the Nazis overthrowing him. He was arrested by the Germans but at the end of the war, the US took custody of him and eventually let him go after he served as a witness at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Horthy lived out the rest of his life, exiled in Portugal.
Horthy is a Hungarian icon that divides Hungarians, as some see him as a hero and great leader who worked with the cards he had — and others see him as a despot who did no good. Horthy is seen as someone who did his best to defend the Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, until he was overthrown in which he lost his power to protect them. He did pass anti-Semitic laws during that time, but Hungary was seen as a safe haven for Jews in that vicinity of nations and that was due to Horthy. Horthy is not deemed bad nor good by the Hungarian government these days and is left to academic debate or social debate. Some right-wing Hungarians choose to admire Horthy for doing the best he could.
The medal that Mary Cummins claims Dr Gorka is wearing has an unidentifiable meaning and the Order of Vitez wardrobes is seen as a cultural passing-down from dad-to-son, and Gorka is just honoring his dad by wearing the formal Order of Vitez wardrobe. He’s not a Nazi like people claim, as Horthy wasn’t a Nazi either.
Gorka has a far-right conservative ideology but has never indicated a fascist dictatorial agenda whatsoever. The formal suit he wore with the medal is a cultural thing of his. Kinda how other cultures and ethnicities have traditions that uphold their rulers even if they were controversial.
The main thing Horthy gets criticized for is his anti-Semitism but he didn’t want to kill Hungarian Jews and did all he could to protect them, despite not regarding them much. Him and Hitler did not get along well, and he was trying to leave the Axis and join with the Allies for years during the war. So yes, he’s a controversial figure and is technically seen as a Nazi-collaborator — but he was forced into it. If he refused to join Hitler he would have been overthrown. He didn’t have much of a choice. The US government obviously did not deem him as someone who deserved to be treated as a Nazi or Nazi-collaborator as he didn’t receive punishment.
He didn’t receive punishment due to his years of trying to leave the Axis, years of saving Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust, and years of being stuck in a spot he couldn’t get out of. He was stuck as an ally to Hitler, and it was not his choice. Hitler’s Germany and the fascist Italy had the power over him by a lot.
So her claim of Horthy being someone who was totally complicit in the 600,000 Jews who died under him is inaccurate. He wasn’t complicit. He was an anti-Semite but he didn’t want them to die. He had a weird moral complex it seems, in my opinion. But he held himself higher than the Jewry, yet he didn’t want to kill them. He wasn’t a great person, but he wasn’t totally evil. He was just a rich elitist who was able to become a despot easier than many. But he wasn’t a nihilistic, evil psycho like Hitler. And also, the 600,000 claim is not very accurate based on the numbers I’ve read.
Many leaders in history have shadiness of them, but they are still revered as cultural icons and Gorka was representing his culture and honoring his heritage. Her slander of him for doing so is misled.
I’m not saying Horthy is on par with the Founding Fathers, because that’s absolute heresy as they weren’t oligarchical despots. But I’m not saying Horthy is on par with Hitler whatsoever either. But here is the thing, if liberals support Fidel Castro’s ideology and Obama can literally go hang out with the Castros like he’s their bestfriends — then what’s the big deal of Gorka wearing a cultural, ancestral suit like this? I mean it should NOT be a big deal especially after Hillary looks like a commie in her wardrobe and even had Lady Gaga wearing a Nazi uniform once.
So for my final statements, I will say this. I don’t condone what the Axis nations fought for, but I do like to study the context of the nations and rulers and what nations were in it for. Hungary really had no choice. I’ve read about them being able to side with the Soviets had they made the choice quickly before the war or at the beginning of the war. But perhaps the Horthy and his government and military were uncertain if the Soviets could protect them from the Nazis and the Fascist Italians. It’s something you could study and debate. Either way, I hope I helped clear up some fog about Miklos Horthy and how despite his anti-Semitism and despotism, he was not a genocidal maniac. He was forced into allowing it after YEARS of resisting the powerful Nazi Germany government and Hitler’s will. He was forced because he was toppled by the Nazis. After Horthy tried to leave something he never wanted to be in with someone (Hitler) he never was fond of, he was toppled and the Jews he protected from the Holocaust were unable to be saved by him anymore. Horthy didn’t have a choice. He was basically made an ally by the Nazis. And Horthy did his best.
That’s why the Hungarians have mixed feelings about him. The Hungary government overall won’t take a side as they want to leave it up to academic, free, social debate. Horthy is perceived different and seen different by many.