Former Robbik leader Csanad Szegedi discovered his Jewish roots last year (CBN)
Former Robbik leader Csanad Szegedi discovered his Jewish roots last year (CBN)

A former leader of a Hungarian extreme far-right and anti-Semitic political party has converted to Judaism after he discovered his Jewish heritage.

Csanad Szegedi, former leader of the nationalist Jobbik party who are linked to Neo-Nazism, quit the group last year after he discovered his Jewish roots and that his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.

Szegedi, who was previously open about his anti-Semitic views, said he is now embracing Judaism with the assistance of Chabad rabbis in Budapest, according to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

He told the newspaper he intends to observe the Sabbath and keep Kosher. "I have discovered that I can reconcile my conservative viewpoints as Hungarian and as observant Jew," he said.

Szegedi's previous far-right credentials include founding the neo-fascist Hungarian Guard in 2007. The members of the guard wore black uniforms reminiscent of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross party, which ruled Hungary at the end of the Second World War.

After his family's Jewish history become known, he was accused of attempted to bribe those who confronted him about the revelations in order to keep them a secret.

The current leader of the Jobbik party, Gabor Vona, is said to have originally wanted to keep Szegedi in the movement in a bid to silence critics who accuse the party of anti-Semitism.

However, Szegedi chose to quit the group in 2012. He even said he would speak to his Jewish grandmother about her Judaism - which she kept a secret - and visit the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp where several of his family members may have been killed.

A supporter of the Jobbik party attends a rally in Budapest (Reuters)
A supporter of the Jobbik party attends a rally in Budapest (Reuters)

Discussing his conversation with his Jewish grandmother, he told Welt am Sonntag: "She opened up and she talked about her life and how she was sent to Auschwitz and how our family was annihilated.

"I was shocked. First of all because I realised the Holocaust really happened."

Rabbi Shlomo Koves, who is helping the reformed Szegedi embrace his new found religion, told of his hesitation when he first met the former far-right poster boy.

"When I first met with Csanad, I had very, very mixed feelings because on one hand I was sitting across from a member of the Jobbik party, which has extreme anti-Semitic view", he told CBN News.

"But on the other hand, I was sitting across from a broken person who has realized what he has done and has come to a situation where he figured he had to change but he didn't know how to change."

Szegedi described how he has since felt "reborn" since he converted.

"I had this set value system that I had to change completely. I had had this value system until I was 30 and I had to admit that it was all wrong and to find the will to change," he added.

Members of Jobbik attend the inauguration ceremony of the
Members of Jobbik attend the inauguration ceremony of the "Hungarian Guard" in Budapest (Reuters)