President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, the Hungarian immigrant Sebastian Gorka, is likely a member of a historically Nazi-affiliated organization
Individuals in leadership roles in the organization claim him as a member, but Gorka did not respond to questions from The Forward about whether or not he is, in fact, a member.
The organization in question is the Vitézi Rend, which The Forward describes as an “elite order” that was founded by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary from 1920 to 1944.
The Vitézi Rend and Horthy collaborated with the Nazis in their European takeover; among other atrocities, Horthy’s organization delivered “hundreds of thousands” of Jews into Nazi hands. During the Nazi reign, members of the group were granted possession of property that was seized from Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The Vitézi Rend was temporarily disbanded in the aftermath of World War II, in adherence to the terms of the Allies’ armistice with Hungary. However, the group was maintained by Hungarian army veterans in exile, and was reformed inside Hungary in 1989 after the fall of Communism in the nation.
The goals of this group are, obviously, something that would allow the group’s members to have easily collaborated with the Nazis. The group still maintains that Admiral Horthy’s ideas reign supreme. These ideas center on maintaining the so-called “racial purity” of the Hungarian nation.
Nowadays, the Vitézi Rend bills itself as simply a far right populist group. Again though, the group has not taken any serious steps to distance itself from its Nazi-riddled past. Rather, they have maintained their allegiance to the same principles that the group operated by during World War II.
Although Gorka hasn’t explicitly acknowledged his alleged membership in this organization, there are a few indications from his past that point to it being a fact.
On a number of occasions, he included an extra “v.” in his name, after his middle initial. One such occasion is Gorka’s 2008 doctoral dissertation at Hungary’s Corvinus University; he did the same when testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in 2011.
Only individuals who have been sworn in as members of the Vitézi Rend use that extra “v.” in their name.
In addition to that, Gorka wore the medal of the Vitézi Rend at a presidential inauguration ball on January 20. At the time, he claimed that he was wearing the medal only out of respect for his father.
However, Kornél Pintér, a leader of the Vitézi Rend in Western Hungary, told The Forward in a phone interview that Gorka is, in fact, a member of this historically Nazi-affiliated organization.
There are serious ramifications if this is true, because the Vitézi Rend is listed by the State Department as a criminal organization for its role in World War II. Gorka, who only became a U.S. citizen five years ago, would have been required to disclose his membership in the Vitézi Rend upon his application for citizenship, and it’s not a given that, if he had disclosed that information, he would have been allowed in.
Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, told The Forward that he believes a case could be brought against Gorka on account of him allegedly lying about a crucial part of his background when applying for U.S. citizenship.
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