Athena Institute Investigations


Soldiers of the Defense Force

  • Original name: Véderő Honvédei Nemzeti Felszabadító Front
  • Year of formation: 2008
  • Presumed No. of members: 25
  • Presumed seat: N/A
  • Presumed leader(s): János Janicsek (m), Zsolt Porubszky (m) (formerly: Tamás Eszes)
  • Ideology: neo-Nazi
  • Threat level: 5
  • Active/Inactive: Inactive

Last updated: 12. 06. 2012.

The Soldiers of the Defense Force National Liberating Front seceded from the Hungarian National Defense Union (HNDU) in 2008. The hate group defined its main activity as organizing military training camps in which the members of several extremist organization were to be trained to use weapons. The organization regularly represents itself at Hungarian supremacist events, its ideology is linked to national socialism. Tamás Eszes, the commander in chief of the Defense Force has become known in the Hungarian media for his anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic remarks.

Mid-June, 2012, the extremist group issued a statement that the Soldiers of the Defense Force is to recruit new members nationwide.

Mid-April, 2012, the Soldiers of the Defense Force extremist group held a paramilitary training camp near the settlement of Bugyi, where the following tasks and exercises were carried out: 1st day: clarification of the Soldiers of the Defense Force's future plans, discussions, formation practices, combat formations, terrain fights, night combat, guard assignment 2nd day: combat formations, rank markings, self-defense, close combat, shooting.  

At the end of March, 2012, the group issued a statement that the Soldiers of the Defense Force is to hold a military camp in Pest county.

Early March, 2012, the For a Better Future Civic Guard Association, the New Hungarian Guard, the Outlaws' Army, the Soldiers of the Defense Force extremist groups and a parliamentary party are about to hold a protest in Jászjákóhalma titled „Demonstration for the public order”.  

Early December, 2011, the internet service provider blocked the website of the Solders of the Defense Force extremist group.

On November 3, 2011, Tamás Eszes, leader of the Solders of the Defense Force extremist group was found dead in his house. Speculations later arrayed by tabloid media were denied by the National Police that in a statement confirmed that Tamás Eszes, former leader of the Defense Force extremist group did commit suicide.

The Hungarian National Defense Union (HNDU) was founded in 2007 by re-establishing the Hungarian National Defense Association (HNDA), a fascist group linked to Gyula Gömbös which was active before World War II. The mission of the organization registered as the Hungarian National Defense Union (HNDU) was identical to those of the fascist group created 80 years earlier (territorial revision, removing the members of the Hungarian Jewish community “from their positions of power”). The hate group, which was based on militant principles, has fallen apart by 2008: a development which proved to be beneficial for the military wing.

This military wing, which was reorganized in 2008 under the name Soldiers of the Defense Force National Liberating Front, defined the militant training of the Hungarian nation as its main goal. The four open military training camps organized during the summer of 2010 are clear indications of the activity of the group. In these camps, members of the group and those of its partner organizations received tactical and weapons training. Based on the accounts of the “officers” in these camps the participants are being trained for the “war situation” which is “because of the Gypsies, the Jews and erroneous political decisions”.

The ideology of the organization is strongly militant. As a consequence, the organizational structure is highly hierarchical, the members are wearing clothes which imitate the uniforms of the regular Hungarian Army.

Creating a Defense Force company in each of the 19 Hungarian counties is one of the short-term goals of the hate group. In line with this goal, they are continuously recruiting members at the training camps as well as on the Internet. On the posters the members of the Defense Force – wearing Entente caps, military clothes, black coal face painting, wading waist-deep in sludge while carrying a weapon – are inviting those who wish to join. Admission is dependent on age, height and fitness, consequently applicants can become the members of the “levente”; the “military police”, the “storm detachment company”, the “infantry company” or the “guards of honor”.

The first public appearance of the Defense Force took place in 2008 in Budapest, at an anti-government demonstration. The commander in chief of the Defense Force delivered a speech surrounded by members of the organization dressed in clothes resembling military uniforms. Tamás Eszes – not bothered by the original topic of the demonstration – used the opportunity to attack the Hungarian Roma and LGBT communities.

The neo-Nazi ideology of the group can be proven by the fact that one of the founders of modern day HNDU, Attila Koncz Hunkürthy posted a picture of himself using the Nazi salute on a community portal. On his profile page the following note – reflecting national socialist rhetoric – has been posted: “If the spirit of a race is statistically inferior to that of another race, then that race itself is inferior to the other race. This is not racism, but a biological fact!”

The Defense Force maintains close relationships to other hate groups and is regularly representing itself in events organized by the extreme right. In 2009 they participated in a rally denying the Holocaust and cynically named the “March of Justice”. The rally was intended as a form of provocation against the March of the Living organized to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. In 2010 the hate group was also represented at an event organized by Pax Hungarica to commemorate the 1956 revolution as well as the “heroes” of the 1944 coup organized by the Nazi Arrow Cross Party.

In February, 2011 Tamás Eszes resigned as the 'commander in chief' of the Soldiers of the Defense Force National Liberating Front.

In April 2011, Soldiers of the Defense Force in their open statement demanded resignation of Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, as the government couldn’t find the solution of ‘Gypsy-terrorism’ and guarantee public order. In March, 2011 several right wing extremist groups organized a power demonstration against the Roma community of Gyöngyöspata. These hate groups demand from the government to carry out similar campaigns to solve social problems of marginalized Hungarian citizens.

In April 2011, Soldiers of the Defense Force in line with its previous plans started to build up a "joint” paramilitary training facility in the village of Gyöngyöspata that would serve as a venue also available for other far-right extremist organizations. The preparations were also attended by the Outlaw’s Army and - under the flag of the ‘For a Better Future’ Civic Guard Association - the New Hungarian Guard. The area used for the training is owned by the leader of a hate group and it is near to the Roma community of the village. According to the Institute's previous Early Warning Dispatch the presence of the far-right extremist groups could aggravate social tensions on the local level. Due to the deteriorating situation social tensions deepened significantly the mayor of the village announced his resignation.

In April 22, 2011 hundreds of Roma women and children were evacuated from the village of Gyöngyöspata because of the Soldiers of the Defense Force’s paramilitary training camp near their homes. The event was called-off after the National Police took eight members of the extremist group into custody. Later, the Court of Eger released the accused and closed the case - the verdict was appealed by the National Police. Immediately after his release, Tamás Eszes, leader of the hate group declared: “my message to the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sándor Pintér is that now he has punched his own face by the fist, not simply slapped it”. He also announced that he is going to run for the majorship of Gyöngyöspata. According to his own statement, he was previously convicted several times by criminal courts. His experience in the French Foreign Legion inspired the hate group’s uniform.

Late April 2011, the service provider that hosted the site of the Defense Force blocked the homepage due to its racist and anti-Semitic contents. Since then, the hate group has registered its site on a new domain and already restarted its recruitment activities to strengthen the organization.

After the Court of Eger released the accused and closed the case, members of the Defense Force and Outlaws Army extremist groups returned to Gyöngyöspata. After renewed provocations by ectremist elements, a serious clash erupted during the night of April 26, 2011. Three people were hospitalized after the incident.

Surveillance camera recording published by the National Police about the clash erupted during the night of April 26, 2011 in Gyöngyöspata.

In the beginning of May, 2011 called on its members and sympathizers to attend on the demonstration of the law enforcement community to be held in Budapest today wearing the hate group’s uniform. The leader of the group, Tamás Eszes announced that “although they are not satisfied with the work of Hungarian law enforcement, but they would like to express their solidarity with the agencies’ colleagues”.

On May 21-22, 2011 the paramilitary extremist group, Defense Force organized a training camp in the village of Csemő near Budapest. The participants – many of them under 18 – wearing military uniform received weapon skills and military tactic training, then carried out exercises. The leader of the hate group, Tamás Eszes was stopped and searched by National Police.

By distributing online posters, the Defense Force has restarted its recruitment activities. Taking no account of the newly introduced legislation – banning similar extremist campaigns and making them punishable by up to three years of imprisonment – by the end of June, 2011, the extremist group is going to organize a paramilitary training camp for its members and sympathizers.

In mid-June in the village of Gyöngyöspata, after the mayor's resignation – that came after racist extremist campaigns of several far-right hate groups - during a campaign coordination meeting to be held about 'civilized campaign rules', leader of the extremist group and nominee for the mayorship Tamas Eszes attacked his rival. National Police filed criminal charges. Later, the extremist leader resisted the intervention of, and a man in his company attacked law-enforcement personnel.

Two days later Eszes Tamas was convicted for one and a half year in prison - suspended for four years - of violence against law-enforcement personnel. The leader of the extremist group was released after the Court decision, but immediately taken into custody again - this time by officers of the National Customs and Finance Guard who charged him with multiple accounts of tax evasion.

On July 2, 2011 the Defense Force is going to organize a demonstration titled “Future belongs to HETEROs” for “Hungarians with normal sexual orientation and way of thinking” to protest against the Budapest Pride Parade. According to previous information the event will follow the path of the Pride Parade hold last week.

In July 2011, the village of Gyöngyöspata is to elect its new mayor after the former mayor resigned after the racist extremist campaigns of the Defense Force and New Hungarian Guard.

On July 17, 2011 the village of Gyöngyöspata elected a new major - leader of the Defense Force, Tamas Eszes ranked forth. This ended, with a clear failure, one of the first serious efforts on behalf of militant Hungarian extremism to gain - local - political power through democratic elections. Before, Eszes held a rally to present the center idea of its campaign, the "model of Érpatak". (A Hungarian research group compared the “model” with the Harlem Children's Zone initiative - available only in Hungarian).

Late September, 2011, leader of the Defense Force Tamás Eszes announced his resignation - again. His place is taken over by János Janicsek, a long-time member of the extremist organization who became known as a participant in the incident in Gyöngyöspata. The seriousness of the resignation however remains a question: the extremist group already played out this card earlier this year. Eszes “resigned” that time, too, while this fact did not prevent him in starting the establishment of a paramilitary training camp in Gyöngyöspata, becoming known nationwide as a key participant of the incident, then - unsuccessfully - running for mayorship in the village. At the same time, as Eszes was also summoned by a Parliamentary Committee that investigates the Gyöngyöspata incident, it is possible that his formal “resignation” is intended to provide him with a pretext to avert questioning by the parliamentary panel.

Mid-October, 2011, the Defense Force led by Tamás Eszes has formally joined to the Guard Alliance, an umbrella organization established by the Hungarian National Guard. This provides a formal framework for cooperation to the two extremist groups.

“We are aware of the fact that within crime there is also such a thing as Gipsy crime, and if these criminal groups get carried away there maybe a war in our country. The forces beyond our borders need to be organized and united. The Hungarian nation can no longer be oppressed neither within nor beyond our mock borders. Not only do we have to raise our voice, but we also need to take action.”

(Tamás Eszes, 2008.)

“It is no surprise that our national awareness and traditionalism – which the Jews are trying to suppress – are becoming stronger and stronger. Just as in case of any economic crisis the extreme right became stronger and gained power for 10 or 20 years to come. This is what is happening right now. History repeats itself.”

(Tamás Eszes, 2009.)