|Launch of the book titled "July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled"|
10/2017 - AHF is proud to announce the launch for the book titled "July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled", edited by Géza Jeszenszky, and published by Helena History Press. We'd like to give special thanks to The Hungary Initiatives Foundation for providing a generous grant to help make this possible!
The goal of the project was to contribute to the publication of a scholarly volume titled "July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled". The purpose of the book is to advance scholarship and Hungarian historiography in the English language relating to how the Jews of Budapest escaped deportation in the month of July 1944 a pivotal pivotal time in World War II as a result of a Hungarian military officer's courage, loyalty, and humanitarian character.
The translation from German to English of cables between the German embassy in Hungary and Berlin contributes to a better understanding of the history of Hungary in this tragic and dark period and enable scholars to conduct additional research.
July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest FoiledJulius Varallyay
20 January 2019
July 1944 - Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled. Jeszenszky, Geza (Ed.) Reno, Nevada: Helena History Press, Saint Helena, CA (20178). Distributed by Central European University, Budapest.
To deal with the foiled deportation of Budapest Jewry and the relevant complexities of Hungary's participation in World War II and alliance with Germany, as well as the Hungarian holocaust in one single tome is a daunting challenge. But Géza Jeszenszky, the foreign minister in Hungary's first democratically elected government in 1990 and a noted historian, has mastered the challenge in this book by editing a well-balanced collection of eight essays which review Hungary's position as Germany's satellite during World War II (György Ránki), the controversy about Hungary's entry and role in the War (Géza Jeszenszky), Hungary's occupation by Germany on March 19, 1944, while Regent Horthy was meeting with Hitler at Klessheim (Deborah Cornelius), the details of the Hungarian holocaust, and its historic background since the end of World War I and the Treaty of Trianon (István Deák), the role of Colonel Ferenc Koszorús in the prevention of the deportation of the Jews of Budapest (Attila Bonhardt), Raoul Wallenberg's arrival in Hungary on July 8, 1944, in order to protect Jews from deportation (Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein), and Colonel Koszorus' actions as a witness and paragon in the war (Frank Koszorús, Jr.).
Charles Fenyvesi, a holocaust survivor, aptly titled his Foreword to this book "The Long Silence of a Heroic Hungarian" and touted the commander of the armored regiment which foiled the Budapest deportations by expelling the gendarmerie mobilized by State Secretary László Baky to carry out a putsch against Regent Horthy and deport the Jews of Budapest , as follows: "Unlike Ferenc Koszorús, whose heroic action in July 1944 forms the central theme of this volume, few individuals risked their life in Nazi occupied Europe by defying Adolf Hitler's maniacal campaign to hunt down every man, woman and child who had even a single close relative of Jewish descent." Who was Ferenc Koszorús? He was an armored division colonel, a descendant of a long line of Calvinist nobility from Transylvania, and according to Fenyvesi "He offered a firm handshake and looked straight into the eyes of the people he spoke with". Frank Koszorús Jr. characterizes his father by his "leadership skills" and the fact that "Loyalty, trustworthiness and honor were the three words that most often crossed his lips." Prior to his armored division's military intervention, Colonel Koszorús addressed his troops on July 4 about the "orders from our highest superior" and closed his remarks: "Who is willing to follow me, I asked, along the path of honor?" - quoted by his son from his memoir.
Another survivor, The Hon. Tom Lantos of California, the only one to serve in the House of Representatives of the US, refers to the courageous intervention of the armored units in the Congressional Records of May 26, 1994, which is reprinted in its entirety in the book: "Colonel Koszorus' unparalleled action was the only case known in which an Axis power used military force for the purpose of preventing the deportation of the Jews."
Perhaps equally importantly, the book's appendix publishes for the first time in the English language secret documents from the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany dated between October 6, 1942 and July 17, 1944. They deal with the treatment of Jews in Hungary, the increasingly confrontational German relations with Regent Horthy after Hungary's occupation in March 1944, the deportation of Jews from Hungary - referred to as Jewish action, and the thwarting of planned deportations from Budapest on July 6, after over 450,000 Jews were successfully deported already from the countryside to death camps.
The documents reveal the extent to which Hungary withstood German pressure for treating Hungarian Jews prior to the March 1944 occupation. In a telegram on 8 October 1942, German Under State
Secretary Luther informed their Legation in Budapest that measures for Jews with Hungarian citizenship in German Occupied Western Europe who were to be interned for later deportation, "have led to various protests by Hungarian representatives and an intervention by the Hungarian Minister. Hungary asks that [the] measures taken be reversed and requests that their Jews be treated as exceptions. in order to accommodate [the] Hungarian Government," the telegram continues, "it should be given the opportunity to withdraw Hungarian Jews from the specified territories by year's end.Regarding Hungary's demand.it can be said that these measures are not intended to be against individual nations but against [the] international Jews." In this regard, the Under State Secretary remarked that "Also notable is that Rumania as well as Slowakia [sic] and Croatia not only agree with the subjugation of their Jews to German measures, but with German support have also started or completed the deportation of Jews in their own countries." A not commonly known fact provides a relevant proof in this respect at the Treblinka death camp, which was closed down by the Germans in October 1943, and where a Memorial Park established after World War II dedicates a large rock to every country from which victims were brought there and murdered. The only European country allied with, or occupied by, Germany but missing at the Treblinka Memorial Park is Hungary - personal observation on a visit to Treblinka in June 1992. In fact, mass deportation of Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz did not start until after the German occupation on 19 March 1944.
The documents also show the extent to which Hungary's sovereignty was intended to be trimmed by Hitler's appointment of Plenipotentiary Veesenmayer on the day of the occupation, "to initiate the formation of a new [Hungarian] national government that is resolved to fulfill the obligations of the Tripartite Pact loyally.", and also the instructions Foreign Minister Ribbentrop gave to the Plenipotentiary on 2 April 1944 for "having the Regent kept more and more at a distance from the business of the government. and gradually completely isolated in the castle. The goal is to gradually eliminate him completely."
The puppet government installed after German occupation was led by Döme Sztójay who appointed to key posts several far right, anti-Semite figures, and, as presented in István Deák's essay, "It has been calculated that 200,000 persons in public service participated in the swift and amazingly efficient execution of the deportations. They included, from Prime Minister Sztójay, through Andor Jaross, László Endre and László Baky, that trio in the cabinet who were directly in charge of the Hungarian Final Solution". A note on 26 May 1944 by visiting Counselor from Germany's Foreigh Office Ehrental von Thaden from Budapest confirms this: "The Jewish question in Hungary is, as I was able to ascertain during my brief stay in Budapest, being driven at urgent speed towards a solution with the vigorous support of Hungarian State Secretaries Endre Laslo [sic] and Baky." To initiate mass deportations, the German occupiers came well prepared: "The preparations for the occupation included plans for the deportation and eradication of the Hungarian Jews. Adolf Eichmann arrived shortly after the occupying troops as the head of the Eichmann Kommando, consisting of not more than 200 to 300 people" summarizes Deborah Cornelius. Deportations started in the regions, and "Based on gendarme Lieutenant Colonel László Ferenczy's report and other sources. altogether 453,551 people were deported from the countryside.", according to Tamás Stark. By June 26 Horthy received a series of messages from the Pope, President Roosevelt, Gustaf V. King of Sweden, as well as Hungarian Protestant and Catholic Church leaders to intervene. Information "in the so-called Vrba-Wetzler report" - which, as Attila Bonhardt explains --, "dispelled any doubt concerning the camps' function as the sites of the systematic mass extermination of European Jewry" has also reached the Regent. Deborah Cornelius notes that "On June 26, Horthy summoned a meeting of the Crown Council - the first such meeting to be held since the early days of the German occupation. Horthy denounced the two state secretaries in charge of the Jewish campaign, László Baky and László Endre, as sadistic scoundrels, demanded their resignation again, and insisted that the Hungarian administration and gendarmes take no part in the deportations."
After mounting tensions between the Regent and State Secretaries Baky and Endre who were resolved to continue with deportation of a quarter million of Jews from Budapest, and, if necessary to achieve their goal, remove Horthy through a putsch to do so, the gendarmerie from the countryside was summoned to Budapest. Attila Bonhardt recounts that "On the evening of 5 July, he [Colonel Ferenc Koszorús] was ordered to Horthy's residence, where Horthy informed him in [Major General] Lázár's presence that Baky and his circle wanted to begin deportation of the Jews of Budapest on 6 July. He gave them the order by word of mouth to expel the gendarmerie battalions from the city as quickly as possible, using the armored divisions that were in waiting, if necessary by force." In dramatic circumstances the First Armored Division took positions on 6 July to close the roads to Budapest, and the same day Horthy personally ordered the gendarmerie commanders and their units "to leave the capital today by 4:00 PM. I do not wish to see a gendarme in Budapest" - Bonhradt concluded that "By 8 July, the gendarmes had left Budapest, and on 9 July the units under Koszorús' command returned to their garrisons."
The Jews of Budapest were not deported in July 1944. Which is not to say, however, that many Budapest Jews were not killed later, especially after 15 October, the overthrow of Horthy and the instalment of the Arrow Cross leader Ferenc Szálasi. In this critical period through the end, "The activities of Wallenberg," - who arrived in Budapest on 8 July - "the Swiss Consul Carl Lutz, the Papal Nuncio Angelo Rotta, the pseudo-Spanish Consul (in reality an Italian anti-Nazi) Girogio (Jorge) Perlasca, and the International Red Cross representative Friedrich Born constitute perhaps the best-known chapter of the Hungarian Holocaust." - asserts István Deák; perhaps the name of Gábor Sztéhló needs to be added. They saved most of the survivors from among the quarter million Jews of Budapest whose destiny was changed in the first instance by the heroic intervention of Colonel Koszorús in July 1944. Where does responsibility lie about the faith of the victims of the Hungarian holocaust? And what responsibility had Regent Horthy? Several essays in this book touch on this highly complex issue. István Deák sums up the conundrum: "If anyone should ever have been both decorated for valor and executed for the vilest of crimes against humanity, it was this dignified, charming, rather dim-witted former Austro-Hungarian admiral" - Regent Horthy. Géza Jeszenszky sets out factually that "The 77-year old former head of the Hungarian state was detained as a possible war criminal and was questioned extensively, but based upon investigations by the United Nations War Criminal Committee and Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor general of the Nuremberg Trials, it was decided not to raise charges against him."
The volume can be purchased at Amazon.
March 15 is Hungarian National Day commemorating the 1848 War of Independence and fight for Liberation and Democracy. Kossuth Lajos (Louis) (b. 1802, d. 1894, pronounced co-shoot luh-yôsh) was Governor of Hungary and leader during fight for independence which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The bloody conflict eventually led to a great compromise known as the "Austro-Hungarian Empire," in which Hungary gained some autonomy, although Kossuth would have no part in it and demanded full indepependence until his death. It also inadvertantly set the seeds for Hungary's dismemberment after WWI at Trianon
"the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, perjured in the sight of
God and man, had forfeited the Hungarian throne."
"All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about
the people without the people. That is Democracy, and that is the ruling
tendency of the spirit of our age."
Louis Kossuth Speak! [Click Here] - This is the speech of Louis Kossuth which he gave for the dedication of the statue for the 13 Hungarian generals, who were executed at Arad, Hungary, on October 6, 1849 (Arad is in Rumania today after annexation due to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 ).
Louis Kossuth was exiled after the fall of the Hungarian Liberation Fight of 1848 and made his permanent home in Torino (Turin), Italy. He could not attend the dedication of the monument at Arad, without risking arrest, so he recorded his speech inTurin, and sent it to Arad using the new technology of sound recording, called the phonograph.
The original recording on two wax cylinders for the Edison phonograph survives to this day, although barely audible due to excess playback and unsuccessful early restoration attempts. Lajos Kossuth is the earliest born person in the world who has his voice preserved. Since the audio is of such poor quality, here is it is transcribed in Hungarian and translated to English (special thanks to Louis Kossuth in North America)