“Vitezi Rend had a lot of anti-Semitic, racist members,” according to Heisler, the vice-president of the World Jewish Congress. “The organization had some members who were actors in the killing of the Jews,” as well as taking Jewish property, he said.
Historian Eva S. Balogh fled Hungary to the U.S. in 1956 before gaining her Ph.D. and teaching at Yale. She said that “the likelihood that a good number of the [Vitezi] Order’s members embraced the ideas of Hitler is fairly strong.”
Almost “the entire Hungarian high command belonged to the [Vitezi] Order,” according to Balogh, who also runs the news website Hungarian Spectrum and has written extensively about the Gorkas. She said that these Hungarian elites “were avid supporters of Germany and eager to join Germany’s war efforts.”
Miklos Horthy, the regent and head of state of Hungary, wears the admiral’s naval uniform in Budapest on Nov. 12, 1927. AP
Today’s Vitezi Rend members, according to Balogh, follow the same “ethical and moral code” as their predecessors in the 1920s — “ardent nationalism, a fostering of Hungarian military traditions [and] an attraction to right-wing ideologies.”
Aside from the question of whether or not Sebastian Gorka was a member of Vitezi Rend, his credentials as a counterterrorism expert have also been called into question.