Auschwitz Transports from Hungary

Germany occupied its ally Hungary on March 19, 1944 and the Auschwitz transports soon commenced on a rapid schedule. On July 6, 1944, Hungary’s regent Miklós Horthy issued a decree stopping the deportations of Hungary’s Jewish citizens. He did not do this out of concern for the fate of Jews, but due to the dramatically deteriorating military situation for Germany and Hungary after the Normandy landings (June 6, 1944) and stern warnings from President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The warnings came after George Mantello (György Mandl), Jewish First Secretary of the El Salvador mission in Switzerland from Transylvania, publicized the Auschwitz Report findings around June 19 1944, detailing the nature and magnitude of the atrocities in Auschwitz. Unfortunately he received the report with great delay at a critical time: about two months after the report reached Rudolf Kasztner and others in Budapest and elsewhere in April 1944. One needs to ask what would have been the fate of Hungarian Jewry had the original recipients in Budapest publicized it or sent the report swiftly to Mantello. News of the atrocities rapidly awoke the Swiss people’s conscience and led to large-scale protests, masses in Swiss churches about “Our Jewish brothers and sisters”, a best selling book “Am I my Brother’s Keeper” by a leading Swiss theologian, and over 400 glaring headlines decrying the barbarism.

Cattle car used for transporting Hungarian Jews.

During World War II a large number of Hungarian Jews in forced labor were treated by the Hungarian administration and army like slaves. They were often extremely cruelly treated in slave labor camps and on the Soviet front. Significant number of forced laborers died as a result.

Hungary’s rural Jewry was completely destroyed less than four months after the German occupation. With the exception of the Jews of Budapest and those in forced labor, the country became almost completely without Jews – was nearly Judenrein. Between May 14, 1944 and July 20, 1944, the Hungarian administration, the gendarmerie and the Hungarian National Railroads (MÁV) sent 423,271 people to Auschwitz with great cruelty.

Along with tens of thousands of extraordinary deportees such as to Kamienets-Podolskyi and Strasshof, victims of the Einzelaktionen, death marches and the Porrajmos (Roma Holocaust) – nearly half a million Hungarian men, women and children were deprived of their human dignity, civil and political rights, freedom, property and, ultimately, their lives.

Extraordinary deportations

Map of scheduled deportations, 1944

It must be asked: Would Hungary have done this to its Christian population? Would the population have been complacent if the MÁV wagons carried hundreds of thousand Christian Hungarians to death camps in Poland and so many others were dragged to the Danube in Budapest to be killed?

Horthy was arrested after the war in Germany by the American armed forces and was imprisoned. He testified against leading Nazis in Nuremberg. Despite his complicity in the mass murder of Hungary’s Jewish citizens and large number of gypsies, as well as Hungary attacking its neighboring countries in coordination with Germany and atrocities by the Hungarian army he was allowed to leave for exile in Portugal. He never paid for his crimes and after the end of Communist rule was reburied in Hungary with honors. He is considered by many in Hungary, including its Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, to have been an exemplary leader.

It is our duty to remember the Holocaust, to understand the role and responsibilities of individuals, organizations and governments, not only because of the past but also for the future.

Eszter Garai-Édler (Budapest) and Larry Pfeffer (Jerusalem)

11 Comments

  1. “He did not do this out of concern for the fate of Jews, but due to the dramatically deteriorating military situation for Germany and Hungary”

    OK! So how do you explain this?

    https://www.thejewishstar.com/stories/when-hollands-jews-found-a-haven-in-an-anti-semitic-hungary,16154

    So he saved Jews from Netherlands in 1942, way before the war effort deteriorated.

    Furtermore, until March, 1944 he resisted deportations.

    There is no doubt that Horthy was an antisemite, but clearly he was never on board with Germany’s extermination campaign.

    • „… he was never on board …“ Admiral Horthy was not on board … ? … neither was Hitler he built the highways … I call that where are hillary’s emails.

      Horthy was a lackey of his revanchism, the same problem that Hungary still has today.

  2. Stephen Herald says:

    In an October 1940 letter to Prime Minister Pál Teleki, Horthy wrote: “As regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life. I have never had contact with Jews. I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary everything, every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theatre, press, commerce, etc. should be in Jewish hands, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad. Since, however, one of the most important tasks of the government is to raise the standard of living, i.e., we have to acquire wealth, it is impossible, in a year or two, to replace the Jews, who have everything in their hands, and to replace them with incompetent, unworthy, mostly big-mouthed elements, for we should become bankrupt. This requires a generation at least.”

    • So Horthy was calling out “Jewish privilege”, in today’s terms! Should leave us pondering where all this talk of “white privilege” will take us, especially since both in the US and Canada white people are about to become a minority within about 2 decades. The last time a group was identified as being “privileged”, the end-game got really ugly. But the Marxist-globalists will tell us that this time it will surely be different!

  3. György Lázár says:

    Joe, your cynical falsification of Hungarian Holocaust is not just irritating… but it is utterly distasteful. Just like the Orbán government’s institutionalized falsification of the Hungarian Holocaust. Even today you (and the Orbán regime) try to deny the fact that mass-murder of Jews took place in Hungary by Hungarian soldiers of Horthy’s army, by Hungarian police and railroad workers.

    In my home town, Debrecen, local Hungarian police murdered 71 Jews at Apafa, in Kiskunhalas Hungarian soldiers and MÁV railroad employees murdered 194 Jews. At Pusztavám 216 Jews were murdered… etc.
    Horthy and his regime was responsible for the Hungarian Holocaust and thousands of Jews were murdered on the spot. Jewish officers and soldiers were denied weapons and were herded to their death in the so called Labor Battalions… Only the German Nazis did this to their Jewish fellow countryman…

    • “In my home town, Debrecen, local Hungarian police murdered 71 Jews at Apafa, in Kiskunhalas Hungarian soldiers and MÁV railroad employees murdered 194 Jews. At Pusztavám 216 Jews were murdered… etc.”

      Do you want to specify when this took place?

  4. Garai-Édler Eszter says:

    The deportation was carried out by the Hungarian administration and the gendarmerie (csendőr) under German supervision.
    Never again! May the memory of the martyrs be blessed!

    • Agreed!!! Never again!

      But I do think you are fighting a misidentified danger. The greatest danger to Jews in Europe today clearly stems from the growth of the Muslim population, as well as their far-left sympathizers. In most of Western Europe antisemitic attacks are growing exponentially. Feeble attempts to frame the right have been made like in Germany for instance:

      https://www.timesofisrael.com/germany-is-accused-of-downplaying-anti-semitic-attacks-by-muslims/

      “In a 2016 survey of hundreds of German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic incidents, 41 percent said the perpetrator was “someone with a Muslim extremist view” and another 16 percent said it was someone from the far left. Only 20 percent identified their aggressors as belonging to the far-right.”

      According to the German authorities however 90% of antisemitic incidents involved far-right.

      Keep fighting the wrong enemy and it will happen again! Jews in France and Belgium are already increasingly fleeing. Hungary on the other hand remains one of the safest countries for Jews in Europe.

  5. Dr Cynthia Haft says:

    AT this time when a writ has been granted by SCOTUS to the Republic of Hungary fighting the Hungarian Jewish victims, survivors and their legal heirs, the passengers on the trains to Auschwitz deporte by the the MAV–an instrumentality of the republic, looking to avoid acepting responsibilitry, and above all, to avoid payment to this ever dwindling class, each and every fact or falsification as well as the hue surronhding it is of enormous importance.
    It is true that the deportations began from the moment the Germans conquered Hungary. It is true that they were ended on the date given . BUT: this is a very partial truth putting the Hungarian government in a far better light than it deserves. Prior to the actual deportations, the Hungarians, and the Hungarians alone, had taken mutilple steps to arrive at a point where the deportations en masse became feasible. Previously, there had been other mass murders but implemented differently. Kamenets, for example, used MAV lorry drivers–an integral part of the government instrumentaliy. Presenting the deportations with no Hungarian prelude, as implemented from the day the Germans took over, diminishes the Hungarian role. Other governments, the French for example, tried this trick. However they were to realize in recent years that it wasn’t going to work. The deportations stopped on a specific day–not because the Hungarians thought there a moral, humane or other valid reason for stopping them, but because the roads to the East were no longer viable, and only the Jews of Budapest remained. The entire section on Einzelactionen is completely false: even its name–it is a Hungarian Aktion, so why give it German name, not found in the well known textbooks. The camps mentioned are not final destinaions–they are transit camps, where the inmates were isolated and grouped awaiing a transport. Labour battalions in many cases saved the lives of those Jews but in many other cases, once freed they returned to their homes only to be ghettoized and deported shortl y thereafter, having served the Hungarian government in place of military service.
    Because it is the last European country whose Jews were deproted, and the existenc eof extermination camps was well known all over Europe at least from summer 1942, it cannot be that a delayed letter, an announcement not made, bear the brunt of the guilt. The Hungarians knowingly and willfully awaited their turn to rid themsleves of their Jews, achieve their wealth, property and position and continue to this day to enjoy profit. Hungary bares the reponsibility for the spoliation, ghettoization and transport to death of its Jews and this in record time. As if to ensure they didnt overlook a single victim or that they might be stopped in their tracks.

  6. 18,000 were deported from Koloszvar. Among them 7,000 children under the ages of 14.
    Collaborators of the Koloszvar Deportations were:
    Dr. Layos Vargha, the Governor of Koloszvar (Cluj) County.
    Dr. Ferenc Szasz, the under sheriff of the county.
    Dr. Laszlo Vasarhely, the Mayor of Koloszvar city.
    Dr. Geza Papp, The Prefect of the Police of Koloszvar.
    Dctrs. Strohschneider and Roeder.
    Observe their “educated” titles! Amongs the children, was my own half sister, Erika Pollak, 4 and half years old born in Atilla Utca. Showed into the cattle trains on a hot June morning, crying for water until she got to the gates of Auschwitz and gassed the same day.
    May these barbarians families know thirst, tragedy and hunger.
    Never again!

  7. The true history of the Hungarian holocaust can be found in Prof. Braham’s (NYU) monumental work. It also contains much data not published elsewhere.
    Prof. Karsai (U of Szeged) also has well researched books and essays on this subject.
    Recent polling indicates about 30% of Hungarians are anti-semites. Doubling since the Orban regime has taken over.

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