#57 / Editorial


In France, the final round of the presidential elections will take place on Sunday the 24th of April. The far right is at the threshold of power. Despite its changing labels and images, despite its more or less genuine or tactical ideological conversions, in France like in other parts of Europe, the nationalist push is increasingly destabilising the European Union. If the French version of this force were to win on Sunday, it would upset the overall balance of European politics. So this week K. is offering – through three texts already published over the past year – to look to the East to consider the cases of Hungary, Poland or Austria (that of Sebastian Kurz who, before his resignation, governed for a time with the far right[1]), where this nationalist dynamic finds its best relays, in order to concretely assess the looming threat to France. If France were to join the camp of democracies where the so-called “illiberal” forces dominate, whether alone or in a coalition – this group that promotes the absolute priority of national interests, that hopes to undo European solidarity, that wants to tighten the state governed by law, which carries a conservative revolution capable of bringing the nation to its knees and for whom solidarity always comes at the price of internal cleansing, an enchanting review of the national past and a disturbing ambiguity towards the Jews – the damage would be immense and perhaps irreversible for the whole of Europe. If this force is beaten on Sunday, it will certainly be a great relief. But as long as the root causes of this surge are not tackled, it is likely to grow stronger and eventually win.



1 And the article on Austria revisits in particular the figure of Jorg Haider, one of the precursors of national-populism in Europe.

What kind of coexistence Viktor Orbán considers to be functional for Hungarian Jews and what is the reception of his politic on the Jewish side? János Gadó answers this question for K., providing an overview in which he discusses both the difficult issue of the memory of the Holocaust in Hungary, Orbán’s relationship with Israel, and the divisions that exist within Hungarian Jewry.

After a long period of appropriation of Jewish space, but also of Jewish history and memory in Poland, Jakub Nowakowsk observes a new interest in Jewish history in Poland since the eighties. In recent years, the taboo on Jewish-Polish history seems to have been overcome.  However, a new issue is emerging through the current attempts to instrumentalize this history for the benefit of a whitewashed narrative marshaled by polish nationalism and championed at the highest levels of power. In the context of these major controversies, the author also recounts the difficult attempts to renew Jewish life in today’s Poland.

Before he resigned, Sebastian Kurz, the conservative Austrian chancellor, led a coalition with the Greens after governing with the far right. Unlike other Central European leaders who shirk the historical responsibilities of their nations, Kurz had a clear discourse on Austrian involvement in the Holocaust. Within Austria’s small Jewish community, overall satisfaction with the Chancellor prevailed on the one hand; but on the other, prominent Jewish figures remained reticent to be fully infatuated with Kurz. As Jews, this is simply more than they can take on. Danny Leder proposes to K. a look back at the former Chancellor’s policy towards the Jews of Austria when he was in charge (2017-2021).

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.