Hungarian-Jews

Hungarian Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia (today, mostly in Ukraine) depart from railway stock cars at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and are processed; those deemed young and healthy enough for work will be selected for internment at the camp as laborers, while the elderly, children, women with young children, the weak and disabled will be sent to the gas chamber. Auschwitz concentration camp, Auschwitz (Oświęcim), Poland. May 1944.

An elderly Hungarian Jewish woman, previously interned at either the Tét or Berehovo Ghetto, arrives by cattle car at Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau extermination camp. Too old and infirmed to work, she would have undoubtedly been sent to the gas chambers following selections. Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Auschwitz (Polish: Oświęcim), Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland. May 1944.

As the fall of the Germans got closer and more certain, more and more people tried to put some distance between themselves and the Arrow Cross Party, the Hungarian variant of Nazism. This phenomenon has its roots in human nature. In general, people believed the slogans of the Arrow Cross press about a Jewish-Bolshevik-Plutocrat front- which seemed to prove that the Jews were the most powerful people on earth: at one and the same time they held in their hands, through their diabolical cleverness and their web of contacts, the Western capitalist countries and Russian Bolshevism. Consequently, whichever of these groups reached Budapest first - the Western capitalists or the Russian communists - their first move would surely be to punish or reward people for their mistreatment of the Jews at a time of crisis. So a trend began - one might even say a secret movement - aimed at providing people with suitable alibis. Everyone tried to exonerate himself in advance. People lined up witnesses and contacts designed to show how they had sabotaged the regime, and how many Jews, and particularly how many Jewish possessions, they had saved. Rumor had it that some people began to visit the ghetto, and look up the occasional Jewish neighbor. Wags called this sudden enlightenment ‘alibi-baba’. The term really described a characteristic lament in all humankind: a tendency to turn towards the party in power. It was precisely the opportunists who now believed that the Jewish sun was rising.

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Maskerado: Dancing Around Death in Nazi Hungary, Tivadar Soros

A Jewish couple is photographed in the Budapest Ghetto after the arrival of the Soviet Army in Hungary. The ghetto was created on 29 November 1944  by the fascist Hungarian government, led by Ferenc Szálasi. It was surrounded by a high fence and stone wall that was guarded so that contraband could not be sneaked in, and people could not get out. The ghetto lasted for less than three months, until the capitulation of Hungarian and German troops in Budapest on 13 February 1945 following the Battle of Budapest. More than half of those that were forced into the ghetto in 1944 were sent to concentration camps, starting almost immediately from the establishment of the ghetto. From occupation to liberation, the Jewish population of Budapest was reduced from 200,000 to 70,000 in the ghetto. Budapest, Hungary. February 1945. Image taken by Yevgeny Khaldei.

Hungarian Jews, recent arrivals at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, who were not selected for interment and labor, are moved onward to the gas chamber for execution. The elderly, women with young children, children, the ill or disabled and “surplus” individuals were routinely singled out for immediate extermination upon arrival after selections to separate the healthy and able-bodied from those deemed unfit for work. Auschwitz concentration camp, concentration camp, Auschwitz (Polish: Oświęcim), Małopolska Voivodeship, Poland. May 1944.


Pécs (Hungary) (AFP) - Hungary bean 70th anniversary commemorations of the Holocaust on Wednesday amid boycotts and protests by Jewish groups which accuse the government of whitewashing the country’s role in the mass deportations of Jews in 1944. Marking the day when Hungarian Jews were first placed in ghettoes in 1944, ceremonies were held around the country as part of “Holocaust 2014”, a programme of events organised by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. In Budapest, President Janos Ader and Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics lit candles at a monument by the Danube commemorating the thousands of Jews shot into the water in 1944-1945 by the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross militia. A ceremony was also to be held at Budapest’s Holocaust Museum, with trees planted and candles lit to remember the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
Source: AFP

Hungarian Jews from Carpathian Ruthenia (today, mostly in Ukraine) arrive by train at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The first transports of Jews from Axis ally Hungary to Auschwitz began in early May 1944 and continued even as Soviet troops approached. It is estimated that from an original population of 861,000 people considered Jewish inside the borders of Hungary between 1941 and 1944, about 255,000 survived; a survival rate of just 29.6%. Auschwitz concentration camp, Auschwitz (Polish: Oświęcim), Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland. May 1944.   

Hungarian and German soldiers round up Jews in Budapest for deportation. From the start of German occupation in 1944, Jews and Gypsies (Roma) were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkinau concentration camp with complete cooperation of Hungary’s fascist leader Ferenc Szálasi of the Arrow Cross party. By the end of the war, the death toll was between 450,000 and 606,000 Hungarian Jews and an estimated and 28,000 Hungarian Gypsies. When the war ended, Szálasi was captured by American troops and returned to Hungary. He was tried by the People’s Tribunal in Budapest in open sessions and sentenced to death for war crimes and high treason and was hanged on 12 March 1946. Budapest, Hungary. October 1944.

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Hitler with Ferenc Szálasi, leader of the Hungary fascist/NS Arrow Cross party. The Nazis originally backed a rival group to the Arrow Cross because they were suspicious of Szálasi’s stated ambitions of Hungarian expansion. They were swept to power in late 1944 following the German invasion of Hungary, initiated in opposition to the moderate regime of regent Miklos Horthy. Horthy had been allied to the Nazis but unwilling to exterminate Hungarian Jews. 

ROBERT GRUBER
BORN: DECEMBER 6, 1933
KOSICE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA

“Robert was raised by Hungarian-speaking parents in Kosice, a town in eastern Slovakia with a sizable Jewish community of 7,000. The Grubers were a traditional Jewish family and they observed the Jewish Sabbath, dietary laws, and holidays. Robert’s father owned a small jewelry shop.


1933-39: When I was 5, Kosice was taken over by the Hungarians, who were lead by a dictator named Horthy. I stood on the main street with my parents, watching the soldiers march into town in a victory parade. They were lead by Horthy himself on a white horse. Just days later, non-Hungarian Jews were given 48 hours to leave the region. Our family fled to the town of Michalovce where several of our relatives lived.


1940-44: By winter 1944 we had moved again, to a town in western Slovakia. The house that we lived in had a trap door leading to a hiding space, where we hid once the Germans started rounding up Jews. After the Germans began deporting Slovakian civilians as forced laborers, a neighbor came to us one day demanding that he wanted to hide in our space so that we should get out. He threatened to inform on us if we didn’t. My parents retorted that if we were forced to leave and were rounded up by the Germans, that we’d inform on HIM. He left.


The Grubers stayed in the hiding place for nine months, until the Soviets bombed the area. In March 1945, when Robert was 12, he and his family were liberated by the Soviets.”