Remembering the veterans who fought against Hitler-Horthy fascism

Veterans Day is a United States holiday observed on November 11th. It honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces among them those veterans who fought fascism in Europe. It is a special day for Hungarian-Americans since many Americans (among them Hungarian-Americans) gave their lives during World War II to fight Horthy’s pro-Hitler regime and Szálasi’s Arrow-Cross terror.

In the last couple of years the Orbán government has been attempting to whitewash Horthy’s record. On Veteran’s Day it is important to remember that Miklós Horthy was the enemy of the United States and the American people. His shameful regime resulted in the death of many American soldiers.

Horthy with American soldier – he was arrested but avoided prosecution after Stalin intervened.

Horthy with American soldier – he was arrested but avoided prosecution after Stalin intervened.

On 22 August 1938,  Horthy’s wife, Magdolna Purgly joined Hitler to inaugurate the Prince Eugen in Kiel. The heavy cruiser’s task was to support Nazi Germany’s effort to sink American merchant ships.

Many Hungarian-Americans were in disbelief on December 12, 1941 when Horthy declared war on the United States!

Horthy’s wife and Horthy (left in white jacket) had friendly relations with Hitler.

Horthy’s wife and Horthy (left in white jacket) had friendly relations with Hitler.

In 1942 Horthy’s son, Stephen (István) volunteered to fight on the Eastern Front as a pilot. He was shooting at American-made planes because the Soviet Union received thousands of American planes as part of the Lend-Lease agreement. Stephen Horthy was a guest of the United States in 1920s when he spent a year and a half working at the Ford factories in Michigan. The younger Horthy never expressed regret Hungary’s declaration of war on the US.

Horthy in discussion with Goebbels and top Nazis.

Horthy in discussion with Goebbels and top Nazis.

Hundreds of American airman died in Hungary because the Hungarian Air Force (as part of the Nazi military machine) also fought against them. I find it distasteful that Mr. Orbán celebrates the Hungarian 101st Home Air Defence Fighter Wing (101. Honi Légvédelmi Vadászrepülő Osztály). This air group, also known as the Puma after the unit’s insignia, was created in the spring of 1944 to fight the US and British Air Force. It is time to take a more critical view of their operation.

Also, there were American OSS (predecessor of the CIA) agents on ground. They fought with Hungarian anti-fascists and partisans in the Slovak National Uprising. Especially shameful is the story of those OSS agents who were captured in 1944 and transported (via Budapest) to Mauthausen where they were executed.

In 1946 an American military cemetery was inaugurated in Budapest on Budaörsi út. American soldiers were buried there but later their remains were moved. Canadian soldiers who fought with the British in Hungary were buried at the Solymár military cemetery.

Rabbi Ferenc Hevesi inaugurated the American military cemetery after WWII with President of Hungary Zoltán Tildy.

Rabbi Ferenc Hevesi inaugurated the American military cemetery after WWII with President of Hungary Zoltán Tildy.

In the United States during WWII Hungarian-Americans raised funds to defeat fascism and it is estimated that 50,000 Hungarian-Americans served in the U.S. military. The newspaper Szabadság (Liberty) commemorated the Hungarian-American dead by printing their name, rank and state of origin in a separate column on the front page of each issue. On the basis of this documentation alone, an average of 150 Americans of Hungarian origin died each month in 1945 alone!

Horthy in discussion with Goebbels and top Nazis.

Horthy was interrogated by the Americans at Nürnberg.

On this Veterans Day I also remember my own father-in-law who was a World War II veteran and is buried in a military cemetery in Idaho. I believe that most Hungarian-Americans agree with me that it is time to warn the Orbán government that whitewashing Miklós Horthy and his regime’s role in World War II is not only distasteful but anti-American!

György Lázár

The remains of the WWII American military cemetery in Budapest. (Not in use).

The remains of the WWII American military cemetery in Budapest. (Not in use).

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

    I find it shameful and, looking back into history, quite difficult to understand that the U.S. decided to forgive Horthy, Franco, and Salazar their crimes against their own people, and against humanity, when they were in fact Hitler’s active allies.

  2. Pierre, Salazar’s rule may have had many terrible flaws, but support for Hitler was not one of them. Not only did he detest Hitler, but the only reason that Portugal did not join the Allies was the fear that this would provoke Franco into allying with Hitler.

Leave a Reply to Young Ireland Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *