Hungarian-Jews

A young, handicapped, Hungarian Jewish man from Subcarpathia (now, largely in Ukraine) born with dwarfism, sits in a wicker chair at Auschwitz-Birkenau during selections, in which camp officials would decide which arrivals would be gassed and which would be kept alive for slave labor. Although most arrivals with disabilities were immediately selected for the gas chamber, some were spared immediate death for grisly experiments performed at the camp by SS-Hauptsturmführer and camp physician Dr. Josef Mengele. The fate of this young man is unknown. Because he was photographed by camp personnel, it is likely that he was singled out for Mengele’s experiments. Mengele used Auschwitz as an opportunity to continue his anthropological studies and research on heredity, using inmates for human experimentation. The experiments had no regard for the health or safety of the victims and most died or were killed. He was particularly interested in twins, people with heterochromia iridium (eyes of two different colors), individuals with forms of dwarfism, and people with unique physical abnormalities. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Auschwitz, Province of Silesia, Germany (now and prior to the German occupation of Poland: Oświęcim, Lesser Poland, Poland). May 1944. Image taken by either SS-Hauptscharführer Bernhardt Walter or his assistant, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Hofmann.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Hungary remembers Holocaust amid boycotts, protests
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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.