The shameful Hungarian occupation of Denmark

Hungarian troops in Denmark? In 1945 Hungary’s generals and officers continued to fight alongside the Nazis serving the Third Reich even after the war had ended in Hungary. The occupation of Denmark was one of the most disturbing adventures of Hungary’s pro-Hitler army.

Hungarian occupying forces in Jutland, Denmark.

In February 1945 Budapest was already free. The Red Army controlled eastern Hungary and Budapest; American and British planes mercilessly bombed the remaining German Nazi and pro-Hitler Hungarian forces. Months earlier, in October 1944 Horthy had been removed and in December the country had a Free Parliament in Debrecen. Yet the remaining Hungarian Army have regrouped and continued the senseless fight with the German Nazis.

Hungarian army officers still believed in Hitler’s invincibility and hastily organized four new divisions. The untrained soldiers retreated to Germany for a quick preparation before being sent to an almost certain death. Nazi Germany still had thousands of well rested occupying troops in Denmark, so it was decided that 12,000 poorly trained Hungarians would march into Denmark to replace them. The Germans were sent to the front where most of them perished and the Hungarians became part of the Nazi occupying force in Denmark.

Hungarian soldiers with Danish flags in 1945.

The Germans were not nice to the Danish people, antifascist resistance was brutally oppressed. After the liberation of Ryvangen 200 corpses were discovered, some still lying on the surface. Members of the Danish resistance had been cowardly executed.

The Hungarian occupying force turned out to be clumsy and unreliable. German officers looked down on them and often used them as forced laborers. There is anecdotal evidence that Hungarian soldiers had friendly relations with the Danish population and even had skirmishes with their Nazi comrades in Copenhagen when a smaller rebellion broke out against the German superiors.

The short lived occupation ended in May 1945 and the Hungarians were sent home. Those who were stationed on Bornholm Island ended up in Soviet POW camps since the island had been liberated by the Red Army.

People in Copenhagen are celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945.

As far as I know, the Hungarian Government never apologized to the Danish people for this shameful incident. A Danish writer, Søren Peder Sørensen, researched the occupation and published a book. As a gesture, Hungary’s President János Áder awarded him the Golden Cross of Merit “for his outstanding achievements in developing the Danish-Hungarian relations.”

György Lázár

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel

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