The success of Son of Saul, a Hungarian film about the Holocaust, has received both acclaim and anti-Semitic hate after it was nominated an Oscar – the first Hungarian film do so in the European nation’s history. It follows the winning of a Golden Globe earlier this month.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Vicktor Orbán gave his support for the film. “I convey my heartfelt congratulations to László Nemes Jeles and all the creators and actors of Son of Saul,” the prime minister wrote in English.
“I would like to express my appreciation to Andy Vajna, who has established a support system for the film industry that opens the path to talented professionals”, Orbán wrote, addressing the government commissioner for the film industry.
Vajna told Hungarian news agency MTI today that “we are proud that a film has been made that the world is seriously paying attention to”, adding that it is a “special honour that ‘Son of Saul’ is the first Hungarian film ever to win the highly prestigious Golden Globe award”.
In response to the Prime Ministers’ praise, far-right politician Előd Novák responded that the success of Son of Saul was evidence that the “Holocaust industry” was flourishing.
It is a common claim by anti-Semites that Jews fabricated or exaggerated the Holocaust so they could ‘cash in’ on war reparations and other benefits. They call this the “Holocaust industry”.
Novák is deputy chairman of Hungary’s Jobbik party, which holds a fifth of the seats in the country’s National Assembly. The party is widely considered to be an antisemitic neo-Nazi nationalist movement.
More poignantly anti-Semitic were the swathes of Facebook comments in response to the film.
Referring to the Holocaust as a hoax, one commented that it was “The world’s worst joke ‘film’”, while another said the film should be called, “Saul’s Son of Jewish propaganda”.
In a comment on an article about Son of Saul, someone wrote, “This article is lying because it is not a film, but a Hungarian Jew **** propaganda.” Before accusing the Golden Globe itself as being awarded by “the Jews”.
These are just some of the comments that can be used.
The comments on social media highlight an attitude in Hungary that is held by a minority, but is increasingly worrying to the Hungary’s Jewish community.
Last month, protests were held in opposition to the planned statue of a Hungarian politician who conspired with the Nazis during the Holocaust. The plans were ended following intervention by the Hungarian prime minister and strong opposition from the Jewish community and other groups.