Hungarian author Ákos Kertész requesting asylum in Canada
Deutsche-Presse Agentur reports that Hungarian author and screenwriter Ákos Kertész has requested asylum in Canada because of a hate campaign being conducted against him in Hungary. Not only has he been subjected to psychological harassment and threats, but his press spokesperson says the literary figure, who is of Jewish origin, had been attacked on the street and feels his life is in danger.
The 79-year-old author caused a storm in Hungary after publishing an open letter last August in a Hungarian-language weekly in the United States taking Hungarians to task for not admitting their own responsibility for the Holocaust. In addition to other comments, he wrote that "Hungarians are genetically servile."
For those opinions, Kertész was harshly attacked by media outlets close to the governing conservatives, as well as by right-wing extremists. Budapest City Hall, which is led by Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party, stripped Kertész of his honorary citizenship. The Hungarian Government also demanded Kertész apologize for what they considered anti-Hungarian remarks. Sándor Révész, a leading commentator with the left-liberal daily Népszabadság, also criticized the author, saying he had committed the same kind of fatuous generalizations that "radical racists" do.
Kertész won the Kossuth Prize in 2008, the highest literary award granted in Hungary. He is not related to Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész. That author lives in Berlin.