Hungarian Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Anna Siko: Q&A session notes
· The Ambassador noted that there will be a special session in Federal Parliament in order to commemorate Raoul Wallenberg on the occasion of this centenary year (when he would have turned 100 years old). This was the result of a jointly signed letter by the Hungarian, Swedish and Israeli ambassadors to Australia requesting this from the Australian Government.
· A search is currently underway for an appropriate street in Canberra to be named after Raoul Wallenberg. It is anticipated that this initiative will be extended to other cities in Australia as well.
· In response to a recent poll conducted by the US-based Anti-Defamation League, which found that Hungarians have the most antisemitic attitudes in Europe, the Ambassador noted that she believed that while unfortunately antisemitism does indeed occur in Hungary, it is not more antisemitic than other European countries. Importantly, there have not been reports of violent antisemitic attacks there, unlike in some other European countries, including most recently in France. Certainly the Hungarian Government is not antisemitic. The antisemitism in Hungary that does exist predominantly stems from the major economic challenges facing the country.
· Holocaust education is mandatory within the national curriculum.
· In a lighter moment during the evening, when the Ambassador asked who was of Hungarian origin so that she could offer them consular support, an attendee responded that “gastronomically we all consider ourselves Hungarian”.