Racist Hungarian textbook removed from curriculum

03 October 2000

According to the Roma Press Center, the Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner for Education Rights, Lajos Aáry-Tamás, has requested that the Hungarian Ministry of Education remove a textbook containing prejudiced statements about Roma from the official list. Experts and Hungarian Romani organisations requested by the Commissioner for Education Rights to review the fifth grade textbook "Humans and Society", published two years ago, found the chapter on Hungary's Romani minority offensive. The book reportedly states that "a major part of the Roma could not or would not lead a European lifestyle," and "the life of a part of the Roma is marked by crime." The book also charges that the Roma spied for the Turks during the approximately 150 years of Turkish rule in Hungary after the sixteenth century, and that they acted as henchmen at the executions of Hungarian historical figures. The Ministry urged the Apáczai Publishing House to purchase back all 763 copies of the textbook sold. Results of a 1995 survey of over four thousand eight grade students conducted by the Institute for Minority Studies at Hungarian Eötvös Loránd University showed that their knowledge about minorities is minimal, and prejudices - especially against Roma - are widespread.

(Agence France Press, Roma Press Center)


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