Magyar Gárda

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Hungarian Guard Movement
Magyar Gárda Mozgalom
LeaderGábor Vona
Foundation25 August 2007
Dissolved2 July 2009
Country Hungary
AllegianceJobbik (de facto)
IdeologyHungarian nationalism
Political positionFar-right
Size650 (2008)[1]
Nemzeti Őrsereg [hu]
OpponentsAnti-fascist groups
Government of Hungary
Succeeded by
Új Magyar Gárda Mozgalom
"New Hungarian Guard Movement"

Magyar Gárda Mozgalom (English: Hungarian Guard Movement) founded by Magyar Gárda Hagyományőrző és Kulturális Egyesület (English: Hungarian Guard Association for Preservation of Traditions and Culture)[2] was a patriotic-nationalistic association somewhat mimicking an army in its organisation and paraphernalia. It was coined a paramilitary, a party-militia, or – sarcastically – an operetta-guard by its opponents and certain media outlets, even though it was never armed. It was in varyingly close relationship with the Jobbik party in Hungary.[3][4][5][6] It was founded through an "oath of loyalty to Hungary" by its members in Buda Castle, Budapest, on 25 August 2007.[7] It was dissolved by the Budapest Tribunal on 2 July 2009.[8] The president of the Association was Gábor Vona, and it had such prominent members as former (1990–1994) defence minister Lajos Für and actor Mátyás Usztics.


Members of Magyar Gárda gathered in Békéscsaba on Trianon Day, 2009.

The group itself claimed to aim at "defending a physically, spiritually and intellectually defenceless Hungary".[2][9] The international press and its opponents, such as Hungary's former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, have described the organization neo-fascist[10] or neo-Nazi,[11][12] similar to Hitler's brownshirts ("SA") in Nazi Germany and the fascist Arrow Cross Party in Hungary.[13][14]

The Magyar Gárda is described by not only the Western European press[15][16] but also the Hungarian press[17] as a paramilitary organization, a civilian militia[18] or party militia. On one hand, it was never armed; this is also occasionally acknowledged by those who call it a paramilitary.[19] On the other hand, there was an occasion when Tamás Gergő Samu, president of the Békés County Jobbik organization expressed: "[…] if the Jobbik gains power […] the members of the Gárda will form the backbone of the [new] Hungarian gendarmerie, will be invested with public authority, and will march here, on the streets of Sarkad with weapons on their side".[20]

The uniform was composed of black boots, black trousers with white shirt and black vest with the shape of a lion on its back and a coat of arms on the front, a shielded black cap and a red-white striped scarf. The Guard's coat of arms is based on that of Emeric of Hungary which features the Árpád stripes with 9 golden lions in 4 red stripes (3-3-2-1 lions per stripe).

Relationship with Jobbik[edit]

Members of the New Hungarian Guard at a Jobbik rally against a gathering of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, 4 May 2013

On 10 March 2008 three leading figures of Jobbik (Dávid Kovács, the founding president of the party, Ervin Nagy, committee chairman, and Márton Fári, former chairman of the party's ethical committee) resigned from the party because of its relationship with the Magyar Gárda, and issued a statement that "Jobbik has been merged inseparably with the Guard, taking responsibility for something that it cannot really control in the long run".

After several schisms, the organization has largely ceased activity. On January 28, 2017, some radical members of Magyar Gárda held a demonstration against Gábor Vona outside Jobbik's year-opening event. Participants denounced the new politics of Jobbik as a betrayal of the right wing.[21]

Gábor Vona, founder of the Magyar Gárda, used to be the head of Jobbik until his resignation in 2018.


The Chief Prosecutor of Hungary sued the Gárda, alleging that its activity differs from its memorandum of association. The case was delayed several times. On the first day of litigation members of the Guard physically blocked journalists from entering the court, leading to a change in court rules.

On 16 December 2008, the Metropolitan Court of Budapest (Fővárosi Bíróság) as the court of first instance disbanded the "Magyar Gárda" because the court held that the activities of the organization were against the human rights of minorities as guaranteed by the Hungarian Constitution.

The "Magyar Gárda" appealed against the judgment, but the judgment of the first instance court was upheld by the Budapest Tribunal (Fővárosi Ítélőtábla) on 2 July 2009. Following the judgment, the Guard's representatives said they would apply for a review by the Supreme Court and ultimately challenge the judgment before the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg and claimed that the Hungarian courts were bowing to political pressure.

However, in 2013, the court upheld the ban on the Guard, ruling that while the ban was unprecedented, it was "the least violent manner" to deal with a group that posed a clear threat to minority groups.[22]


Since its dissolution ordered by the courts the Guard has attempted to reorganize itself as a civil service association, known as the Magyar Gárda Foundation, engaged in cultural and nation building activities rather than politics. It has held at least one "swearing in" ceremony and plans to expand its activities around the country.

Its renewed activities are opposed by the Hungarian authorities[23] and prosecutors claim that the founding of the new organization is in contempt of previous court rulings. In February 2010 the Parliament passed a law which significantly raised the punishment for participating in a dissolved organization.[24]

In 2019, László Toroczkai, the president of the Our Homeland Movement, who was expelled from Jobbik,[25] founded a new organization (Nemzeti Légió) which is not the official successor of Magyar Gárda, but deemed to be its spiritual successor.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LeBor, Adam (March 2008). "Marching Back to the Future: Magyar Garda and the Resurgence of the Right in Hungary". Dissent. 55: 34–38. doi:10.1353/dss.2008.0094. Retrieved 24 January 2021. Opinion polls usually give Jobbik 2 percent or 3 percent support, and the Garda boasts around 650 members.
  2. ^ a b "UNGARN - Nachrichten und Themen". (in German).
  3. ^ Tove H. Malloy, Joseph Marko.. Minority Governance in and beyond Europe: Celebrating 10 Years of the European Yearbook of Minority Issues. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2014. p. 208.
  4. ^ Peter Parycek. CeDEM 12 Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 3–4 May 2012 Danube-University Krems, Austria. 2012. p. 233.
  5. ^ William M. Downs. Political Extremism in Democracies: Combating Intolerance. Palgrave Macmillan. 2012. p. 191.
  6. ^ Charles Asher Small. Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. 2013. p. 226
  7. ^ "Hundreds join Hungary" Archived 11 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ FigyelőNetFeloszlatták a Magyar Gárdát (The Magyar Gárda has been dissolved). FigyelőNet, MTI, 2 July 2009.
  9. ^ Alapito nyilatkozat Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine Establishment manifesto (Hungarian)
  10. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (27 August 2007). "The World from Berlin: Neo-Fascist Magyar Garda Is 'Hungary's Shame'". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Budapest court disbands neo-Nazi Hungarian Guard". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Neo-Nazi Activity Spreading Around the World". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  13. ^ Hundreds join Hungary far-right "guard", take oath, Reuters, 21 October 2007;
    Brown Shirts March in Budapest as Gyurcsany Condemns `Fascists', Bloomberg, Sept 5, 2007
  14. ^ Katalin Fábián (14 October 2009). Contemporary women's movements in Hungary: globalization, democracy, and gender equality. Woodrow Wilson Center Press. pp. 331–. ISBN 978-0-8018-9405-3. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  15. ^ Thorpe, Nick (22 August 2009). "Hungary far-right event broken up". BBC News.
  16. ^ "Hungarian neo-fascist paramilitary group expands". 11 January 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  17. ^ "A Rongyos Gárda története - A példakép". 26 October 2009.
  18. ^ "Growing marginalisation of Hungary's Roma". BBC News. 29 August 2009.
  19. ^ index.huMagyar Gárda: báránybőrbe bújt farkasok? (Magyar Gárda: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing?). Joób Sándor, 27 August 2007.
  20. ^ BEOL.huTüntetés Sarkadon: fegyvert adna a Gárdának a Jobbik (Protests in Sarkad: The Jobbik Would Arm the Gárda). 1 March 2009.
  21. ^ "Hungarian Far-Right Jobbik Party Holds Year-Opening Conference". Hungary Today. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  22. ^ Hungarian Guard ban does not violate freedom of assembly, says Strasbourg court Archived 20 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine., 2013-12-11
  23. ^ "Police investigate "new" Magyar Gárda; former minister mulls banning Jobbik". 14 July 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Az utolsó pillanatban mentek át a Btk. módosítások - bűntett lesz a holokauszt-tagadás". Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  25. ^ Origo. "Toroczkait kizárták, Dúró kilépett a Jobbikból: feltámadt az SZDSZ". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  26. ^ Bence, Horváth (9 May 2019). "Új gárdát szervez Toroczkai László". 444. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  27. ^ Attila, Német Tamás, Rovó (14 May 2019). "Toroczkai Nemzeti Légió néven támasztja fel a Magyar Gárdát". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  28. ^ "ERCC" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2011.

External links[edit]