15/08/2012 16:09 BST

Hungarian Politician Csanád Szegedi To Visit Auschwitz, After Discovering He Was Jewish

Csanád Szegedi built his political profile ranting about the Jewish "control of Hungary" - and as a member of the far-right Jobbik party, that was a good career move.

Szegedi, a Member of the European Parliament, railed against the "Jewishness" of Hungry's elite and he founded the Hungarian Guard, a group which modelled its uniforms and salute on pro-Nazi Hungarian party Arrow Cross.

But Szegedi has found out a small fact which has scuppered his professional path. He is Jewish, the grandson of a Auschwitz survivor and a forced labourer, who had an Orthodox Jewish wedding.

csanád szegedi

Csanád Szegedi, a former member of Hungary's far-right, who has discovered he is Jewish

At first horrified, and then angry, Szegedi, with his political career in tatters, is now seemingly coming to terms with a radical shift in self-perception.

And he is heading to Auschwitz, with a prominent Hungarian rabbi, to learn about his past.

The revelations came to light after months of rumours in the Hungarian press.

In a secret recording, Szegedi is blackmailed by a man who threatens to reveal his Jewish roots, and Sezegedi begs him not to, offering him money and special privileges.

It is a revaluation that has brought his political aspirations crashing down.

He was swiftly fired by Jobbik's leaders, ostensibly because he offered special treatment for his blackmailer, rather than because of his Jewish grandmother.

Ellod Novák, the party's vice-president, said Szegedi had "endlessly lied" about his background.


Jobbik is an increasingly popular party in Hungary

Jobbik president Gabor Vona added: "We have no alternative but to ask him to return his EU mandate. Jobbik does not investigate the heritage of its members or leadership, but instead takes into consideration what they have done for the nation."

Szegedi initially denied his Jewish origins but has since acknowledged them to the Hungarian media, saying he has now discussed his heritage with his grandmother. He will remain an MEP and is planning to set up his own party.

Rabbi Shlomo Koves, of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, said he had met Szegedi in order to organise a trip to the Nazi concerntration camp in Poland.

He told the Jewish news agency JTA that Szegedi want to "pay his respects to Holocaust martyrs."

Rabbi Koves admitted he had been surprised by the turnaround, describing himself as "stunned".

But he added: “As a rabbi, it is my duty to receive anybody requesting spiritual advice or seeking information about Judaism.