Hungarian Parliamentarian: “We are talking not about beliefs but about the most horrible crimes”

Speech from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Debates

On January 25th 2006, The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which brings together parliamentarians from 46 European countries, passed a resolution entitled “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” at its plenary session. The resolution was passed by 99 votes to 42, which caught the attention of countries all over the world. Europe is the place where the spectre of Communism was born. This resolution passed by PACE heralded a new beginning of an international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes.

Before voting on the resolution, the plenary session held over two hours of intensive debates. Parliamentarians from different countries made speeches at the meeting, outlining their personal experiences and opinions of communist regimes. Clearharmony will publish these speeches to bring attention to the crimes of the world’s largest communist regime — the Chinese Communist Party — which has brutally oppressed Falun Gong practitioners for almost seven years resulting in almost three thousand deaths and at least 44,000 documented abuses of torture.

The following speech is by Mr Eörsi, a parliamentarian representing Hungary:

This morning, there was a small demonstration in front of this building and all of us have received letters from various lobby groups telling us that we are wrong in wanting to condemn the crimes of communism. I point out to those of the Group of the Unified European Left and all those who wrote such letters that they were free to come here and to write letters. When I was younger I had much more hair; it was not grey and I even had a beard. When we wrote letters and demonstrated most of us were put into jail. That is a huge difference. The UEL’s perception is wrong.

Why would I want to set aside or abandon communist ideas? As Lluís Maria de Puig said, many people were believers. My father was a believer. Why would I condemn my father? But we should learn from such intellectual attitudes. The famous Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukács said, “My party, right or wrong”. Before he died, Jean-Paul Sartre said that he knew all about the gulag but said nothing because he did not want to demoralise the working class and its belief in the future. Learning the truth is vital if we are to make conclusions.

We are talking not about beliefs but about the most horrible crimes. When we talk about what Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and Stalin did to their people, we are told that we should not forget that Stalin liberated half of Europe. How could I forget that? If Stalin had not liberated Europe I should not be here today. Although I never forget that Stalin liberated central and eastern Europe, I remember that before he did so he shook hands with Hitler, to divide Poland, invade the Baltic countries and kill as many people as he could.

Why would I forget that Raoul Wallenberg, who saved my father’s life, disappeared and died in a Russian prison? Nobody knows where or why. I do not understand why people on the left do not realise that we are talking about not ideology and belief but the most terrible crimes committed against human beings in our continent.

I am worried that this debate could be used for various domestic political purposes. There is no problem in Denmark or the Netherlands – nor, fortunately, in Hungary as we do not have communists anymore – but there could be a problem in other countries. I hope that the Assembly will unite in condemning the criminal acts of communism. Whatever Stalin did to others, it was worse for the Russian people. I am convinced that the people of central and eastern Europe, together with the Russians, and all our representatives will be united in condemning those terrible crimes. Thank you.

More information on the resolution “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” can be found at

Note: Founded on May 5th 1949, the Council of Europe (COE) has 46 member countries and has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The COE aims to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to develop continent-wide agreements to standardise member countries’ social and legal practices, and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. The highest decision-making body is the Committee of Ministers, composed of the 46 Foreign ministers or their Strasbourg-based deputies (ambassadors/permanent representatives). The European Human Rights Court is a body under the Council of Europe.

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