Four years ago, Csanad Szegedi was a deputy leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary, and he blamed Jews as well as the Roma people for his country’s problems. But then he learned he was a Jew himself, and everything changed.
Szegedi was once notorious for his extremist views and anti-Semitic statements, and as a leader of Jobbik, he helped co-found the Hungarian Guard – a paramilitary group that marched through Roma camps wearing black uniforms reminiscent of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross party that ruled Hungary during the Second World War. He was regarded as a rising star in the anti-immigration party Jobbik, the third biggest party in Hungary’s National Assembly, but after making a startling discovery four years ago, Szegedi realized that his life to that point and everything he thought he believed in had all been a lie.
In 2012, the young politician discovered that his own grandmother was Jewish, and had been wearing long sleeves or plasters in the summer to conceal the Auschwitz concentration camp number tattooed on her arm. She was a Holocaust survivor, but Szegedi didn’t even believe the Holocaust had happened. He later described how “shocking” this revelation was to him “First of all because I realized the Holocaust really happened.”