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  • Officers chase a migrant who crossed into Hungary on Saturday

    Officers chase a migrant who crossed into Hungary on Saturday | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 September 2015

Record numbers of migrants crossed from Serbia into Hungary Sunday.

Hungary's refugee policies are similar to Nazi deportations during the Holocaust, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann said in an interview published Saturday by German magazine Der Spiegel.

The controversial statement comes as a record-high number of migrants and refugees entered Hungary Sunday, with over 4,000 people crossing from Serbia for the first time since the crisis began.

"Sticking refugees in trains and sending them somewhere completely different to where they think – they're going reminds us of the darkest chapter of our continent's history," he added.

Faymann referred to an incident in early September when migrants boarded a train in Budapest in the belief that they were heading to the border with Austria. The train was stopped west of the capital in the town of Bicske, where Hungary has a camp for asylum seekers.

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The comparison was immediately rejected by the Hungarian government, which accused the Austrian government of launching a 'campaign of lies' against Prime Minister Viktor Orban's administration.

Budapest has been widely criticized for its mistreatment of refugees crossing from Serbia into Hungary, while the Austrian government and its citizens have largely welcomed the migrants. Prime Minister Orban announced Friday that, beginning next week, his country's borders would be sealed and migrants would be jailed if they trespass.

“There is no fundamental right to a better life,” he told German daily Bild on Saturday, accusing refugees of seeking a European lifestyle.

The far-right leader made headlines by claiming that helping refugees encourages them to continue migrating to Europe.

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Orban was also criticized by the Hungarian Jew community in July for trying to whitewash Hungary's historic responsibility in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps through a controversial monument.

Officials estimate that 175,000 migrants have crossed from Serbia into Hungary so far this year.

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