Remembering the dead in Hungary: An example of civic engagement

Remembering the dead in Hungary: An example of civic engagement

It’s impossible to detach public history and collective memory from contemporary politics. How a society portrays the past is determined by current realities, contemporary values or interests, as well as the dominant, “preferred” narratives of history. But the government and public institutions don’t have a monopoly over the past ; where civic engagement is strong, grassroots organizations and local activists have the agency to alter the dominant historical narrative or, indeed, offer a new one altogether. When I was in Budapest a couple of weeks ago, I witnessed two striking examples of how a sense of civic engagement can influence the politics of memory.

The "alternative" Holocaust memorial in Budapest's Freedom Square/Szabadság Tér. Photo: Christopher Adam.

I often tell friends who are planning to visit Budapest, that the Hungarian capital’s most important and most telling monument is an alternative Holocaust memorial established in Freedom Square (Szabadság tér), just over a year ago, when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán government began constructing a monstrous monument commemorating Hungary’s occupation by Nazi Germany and portraying the country as a passive, innocent victim of the Germans. A group of remarkably dedicated activists erected their own “makeshift” monument consisting of photographs of “ordinary” victims, personal mementos, shoes, votive candles, flowers and rocks. These activists communicate and organize through Facebook. Not only do they now form a coherent community, but they are starting to redefine Freedom Square. Anyone can add to the memorial and it changes from month-to-month. In stark contrast to the grandiose and static bronze heroes on horseback, this monument is modest, but it’s also dynamic and a powerful example of how to challenge (and deconstruct) the grand narrative of history.

Alternative Holocaust memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam.

The only reason this monument has remained untouched by Hungarian authorities–who are distinctly unsympathetic to its message–is thanks to the commitment of about three dozen activists who are present each and every day in the square. They hand out multilingual information sheets to tourists, they are a sign of constant resistance to the ever-present police officers, who linger in pairs, around the largely abandoned government monstrosity that looms over the votive candles and mementos. It’s critical to note, that since the government monument–situated about three meters away from the alternative memorial–was constructed without any input from the affected community and from historical “stakeholders,” it attracts no interest, respect nor attention. Passers-by only see a living, organic, grassroots reflection of history that now partially encircles it. And–most importantly–these organizers, students, historians, essayists, pensioners, children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors are an overt sign of resistant. One of the regulars in Freedom Square, actor Róbert Garai, won a grant last year from the Hungarian government, as part of a series of official Holocaust commemorations. Mr. Garai handed back the circa $10,000 that he received, in order to protest the government’s blatant falsification of the country’s World War II history.

The alternative Holocaust memorial in Freedom Square/Szabadság tér. Photo: Christopher Adam.

During the winter months and in the early spring, twice a week the “guardians” of this living and ever-changing memorial organize public talks on issues related to the Holocaust, Hungary’s responsibility in the murder of 600,000 Hungarian Jews, contemporary antisemitism and racism, as well as the broader question of civil liberties in Hungary. Organizers spend a half hour assembling a tent in the middle of the square for these talks, and then another half hour removing it. As darkness falls on Freedom Square, you could hear the buzz of drills and hand-held tools disassembling the tent, while a handful of participants linger and quietly reflect in front of the glowing votives.

Public talk in Freedom Square on March 19th, 2015...this was the 71st anniversary of Nazi Germany's occupation of Hungary, on March 19th, 1944.

On March 19th, I gave a talk along with historian Iván Szegő (from the 1956 Institute). The discussion was moderated by prominent civil rights activist Eszter Garai-Édler, who set the tone and focus of the discussion, as the tent filled with about 35 participants. “An entire generation came of age in an environment filled with anti-Semitic hate during the interwar period. This isn’t any different today. Isn’t it frightening that a generation of university-educated Hungarians, who have every chance of obtaining positions of political leadership, has been socialized and taught within this antisemitic environment…in an environment where Miklós Horthy is considered a role model?”–noted Ms. Garai-Édler.

Eszter Garai-Édler in Freedom Square on March 19th, 2015. Photo: Christopher Adam.

We spoke about the fact that Hungary was a trailblazer when it came to antisemitic legislation, and that Hungarian authorities were “overachievers” when it came to orchestrating and administering the most rapid deportation of Jews in all of war-torn Europe. Adolf Eichmann had, in fact, commented on the enthusiasm of Hungarian authorities, in terms of collaboration and the deportation of the country’s Jews. Ms. Garai-Édler told me that young right-wing Hungarians do, occasionally, show up to these talks and they often come to present the stereotypes about Jews and to question the narrative of Hungarian responsibility for the Holocaust that these talks and that the alternative monument aim to explore. The activists allow these voices of right-wing dissent to speak, they are listened to, but the hope is that those who come with prejudice will leave Freedom Square with at least a little more openness to dialogue and to tolerance.

Eszter Garai-Édler, who was the recipient of the Radnóti Anti-Racism award, leaves white orchids one evening at the Szabadság tér memorial. Photo: Anna Vörös.

***

While in Budapest, I witnessed another powerful example of how younger generations of engaged Hungarians take it upon themselves to remember the dead and to reflect on some of the most difficult episodes in twentieth century Hungarian history. Szilárd Kalmár is the chair of Hungary’s Left Party (Balpárt), a left-wing movement formed just over a year ago, which sees the mainstream Hungarian centre-left as having little or nothing to say on issues of social justice. This in turn has allowed for the far-right Jobbik to build its support even among opposition voters who traditionally would have voted for the Socialists. Mr. Kalmár is a thirty-something Hungarian who during the week is employed as a social worker in Budapest’s somewhat infamous 8th District. The borough,  home to over 75,000 residents, is known for its glaring poverty, high unemployment, relatively large Roma population and, most recently, is where new migrants to the European Union congregate, before trying to head west.

Mr. Kalmár finished up serving behind a counter in a soup kitchen, which also doubles as the headquarters of the Left Party, as well as a community space with internet access for the local population. The tight space is filled with multilingual posters on anti-racism initiatives and was teaming with local residents, who were either having a meal, were using one of the computer terminals or were chatting with the volunteers. Mr. Kalmár offered me a plate of chicken paprikás, but was then keen to take me on a historical tour showcasing the 8th District’s social democratic and workers’ movement heritage. We walked past buildings that once housed the offices of key left-wing papers, social democratic political movements, a graveside monument for late Hungarian Prime Minister Mihály Károlyi, and he showed me the locations of World War II massacres of 8th District Jews. It was quite an eye-opener, even though I had been familiar with much of the 8th district and some of its local history.

We then walked over to the Kerepesi Street cemetery, which–for left-wingers–is perhaps best known for its massive Workers’ Pantheon and for the grave of Hungarian communist leader János Kádár, the father of “Goulash Communism.” But that isn’t what Mr. Kalmár showed me. He took me to an abandoned corner of the cemetery. Overgrown with trees, an endless tangle of branches and weeds, we came to the untended grave of former Social Democratic government minister Ernő Garami, who served in the revolutionary cabinets of 1918 and 1919, and had previously been the editor-in-chief of the Népszava daily paper. Mr. Garami started off his career as a mechanic, but ended up being one of the iconic (yet by today, largely forgotten) figures of the early twentieth century Hungarian left.

Mr. Kalmár tried to contact Mr. Garami’s descendants, who showed no interest in tending to his grave. After getting in touch with the Kerepesi Street cemetery, Mr. Kalmár was told that as long as the grave did not appear to be completely abandoned, the administration would not remove the tombstone, nor would they excavate and dispose of the remains. So Mr. Kalmár has taken it upon himself to clear the area of weeds and to visit the grave, at regular intervals, with a red carnation.

Szilárd Kalmár, a social worker in Budapest's 8th District, is the only person to tend to the abandoned grave of a prominent Hungarian left-wing political leader. Photo: Christopher Adam.

In my mind, these are striking examples of civic engagements in Hungary. Unfortunately, it is a small-handful of Hungarians–community activists, social workers, artists, public thinkers–who are leading the way, while much of the population is completely disattached from the public discourse. Fear undoubtedly plays an important role. People like Mr. Kalmár or Ms. Garai-Édler, and the handful of outspoken activists, risk losing their jobs and livelihood, and certainly of being labelled with any number of pejoratives by government circles. Unpatriotic, treasonous, Bolshevik, communist–these are just some of the labels that come their way. Yet none of this seems to deter them at all.

If you open your eyes and look close enough, you can see the flickering flame of civic courage in Budapest.

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The Joy Of Satan Ministries: The Truth About Satan, Enki, Nazi Spirituality

The Joy Of Satan Ministries:

The Truth About Satan, Enki, Nazi

Spirituality

Scythian Warrior. Speak to ME directly you retarded nazi lobotomized fool.

Barbaric idiot

barbaric idiot

barbaric idiot

Scythian Warrior, I am more ARYAN that you will even be, you can try harder but you cannot be as ARYAN as I am if you begged your “father enki” the pretend deity to make you aryan like me! Do I care how aryan I am, though? No, not one bit. These are not my obsessions, unlike yours. For you, living in the years B.C.!  I live NOW, in the PRESENT like normal people do! Wake up!

Scythians. Who cares really. So long ago. History, fine. Barbarians, really. Used the scalps of their victims as napkins to wipe their filthy faces while eating the flesh of people and animals after they raped and pillaged. Would you be proud of that? Well for me I‘m not! For Veronika Hompo, she is so proud it is all she can think about, day and night, night and day, week to month to all year, Scythia. A time and land so old, no one cares any more but historians and some fanboys, maybe some collectors of ancient shit. But hiding behind the internet, the coward, nothing like a barbaric bloody warrior is this retard lobotomized ignorant fool calling herself Scythian Warrior! Can it be any more insane? Cowards and fools hiding in Hungary, little twerps with no jobs, wallowing in filth no less, unclean nazis, bad DNA! These filthy slugs, lying to their pretend fools for admiration, such a joke it all is. These nomads from the 8th to 4th century B.C. (WHO CARES!) were conquered by the Sarmatians in the second century and were soon subsumed into other cultures.

The Scythians, considered barbarians by the Greeks, traded (7th cent. B.C.) grain and their service as mercenaries for Greek wine and luxury items. They invaded (7th cent. B.C.) upper Mesopotamia and Syria. They threatened Judah but never actually occupied Palestine. They also made incursions into the Balkan Peninsula, and a century later the mysterious campaign of Darius I against them (c.512 B.C.) may have checked their expansion, although it was no conquest. They destroyed (c.325 B.C.) an expedition sent against them by Alexander the Great. After 300 B.C. they were driven out of the Balkans by the invading Celts. In S Russia they were displaced (2d or 1st cent. B.C.) by the related Sarmatians, and part of their empire became Sarmatia.Bibliography See E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks (1913, repr. 1976); T. Rice, The Scythians (1957); H. W. Bailey, Indo-Scythian Studies (1985).

Scalpings — Scythia

Scalping was practiced by the ancient Scythians of Eurasia.[3] Herodotus, the Greek historian, wrote of the Scythians in 440 BC:

The Scythian soldier scrapes the scalp clean of flesh and softening it by rubbing between their hands, uses it thenceforth as a napkin. The Scyth is proud of these scalps and hangs them from his bridle rein; the greater the number of such napkins that a man can show, the more highly is he esteemed among them. Many make themselves cloaks by sewing a quantity of these scalps together.[4]

  1. Scott, George Ryley (2003). History of Torture Throughout the Ages. Kessinger Publishing. p. 211. ISBN 0-7661-4063-6.
  2. Jump up^ Alfred D. Godley, trans., Heroditus, History, Vol. 4, Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Press, 1963.

scythianwarriorofsatan…. LMAO! Stupid, ignorant, lobotomized fool!
“Can someone recommend me some good stuff or book about the yezidis? I’m searching about them …” No, you are too retarded, Scythian Moronic Fucktard! Go to a university, you penniless, filthy inbred mixed blood loser.

Your blog is embarrassing. You have quotes and citations that are falsified. You should be ashamed and realize the fool you look like, to anyone who even looks at your schizophrenic induced manic blog. You quote a woman who lives in the U.S.A. and not actual citations, you cretin.

Sorry, no, I don’t think you understand because your underdeveloped brain can’t comprehend much, but I don’t believe in your satan, even as a “gentile” as you keep fixating on, and misusing the word “goy” and “goyim” because you never really learned the actual meaning. I never believed in this satan trash even when in the church, and now as an adult, do you think I changed? I did research and since you can only look to one site, a forum of nazitards, I looked to real research and found that satan is not even believed by many in the world, not at all. Too bad for you and your invisible friends. Fear satan? No, think not! And I can assure you with all I know, those you keep stalking and want to kill don’t believe in your satan either.

When the day comes that Joy of Satan finds out who is all the same user, so many will laugh at you. Do you think they will find it amusing and like some sort of joke that you fooled them, used them for your own purposes and you took advantage of them, their forum and the other users for your own use and needs? I think they will be quite pissed the hell off!

Your death curses make me LOL and I think you’re a joke. You need more than a psychiatric asylum, you need heavy medications and years of intense therapy to fix that severely damaged brain you keep in that ugly skull of yours.

Your superior,

Erika.

https://www.facebook.com/GermanHungarians/
I am far more ARYAN that you will even be (and don’t care), you can try harder but you cannot be as ARYAN as I am if you begged your “father enki” the pretend deity to make you aryan like me! Didn’t your friend embarrass you and tell the truth of your real heritage? Was that not what happened? You can’t fight with a true blooded aryan girl and run to Joy of Satan making false claims that I’m not pure, my ancestors have never been from another area but the lands Hungary and Germany reside upon, so you’d like to say otherwise? And then you make fun of my fiancé for his Turk ancestry, yet Turks are Aryan also. Again I‘ll tell you, who gives a fuck about this but you? Fixated psychopath stalker that you are. Tell your lies to Joy of Satan, tell them you avoided the Jews, but let’s not dance around this Veronika Hompo, who was the friend of many Jews for so many years, and was posting about the Holocaust many times on her Timeline, ridiculing FB users for not being vegan and for not liking the graphic photos posted of Auschwitz, “Nadia” and you posting the ad campaign that compares the slaughter of animals to the murder of Jews in Auschwitz, and you stood up for the campaign and what it stood for, angry as hell! You are who posted Gary Yourofsky’s speeches on the Timeline, always clicking “like” when other FB users posted Gary’s speeches, and Nadia the Pretend, too, she was always posting the gore photos of the Holocaust and saying how horrible they suffered, so why now make animals suffer the same? Don’t try to say this was faked for so long because no one pretends for 4 or 5 or even 6 years to be something and someone they aren’t just to suddenly join some e-cult and decide to tell friends online “fuck you, ignorant, I woke up!” No, you got brain damage! I warned so many people about you, I refused to join the secret group, I wouldn’t have any of your fake profiles get onto mine before when I used an ALF ARA name, and you tried, yes you tried and I just laughed at you, the pathetic little angry girl that hated the world and thought she was the big shot vegan knowing it all, bullying people. Now you lose friends each day, you have nothing but some fringe lunatics left in a Yahoo! group. LMAO

Since you get pleasure in pondering and planning the death and murder of a young boy, (and aryan boy no less) here is some information for you, since you are such a stupid imbecile and uneducated. You are captivated by, persecute and hunt the son of whom you blog about like you are so full of hate, maybe it is love? I disagree with any white race superior shit, genocide is not what I agree with, only you and your cult get off on it, masturbate to it, but here, let you take a read! The one you stalk and obsess over more than anyone, the child? He is a Slav, German, Eire, Turk, a Russian, a bit Argentine and you shitty worthless loser, no friends, nothing to live for, with you whining about your old hag mother who is dying, then your old father, the worthless shit who wouldn’t even feed you, you are barren and empty and couldn’t give your dying parents a ‘nice Aryan child’ before they die their painful deaths? So you want to abuse your friend’s child? Tell that to your JoS ministry, I dare you tell them the truth because I know, we all know you care a cowardly pussy and will never tell the truth at all to your fake friends, you couldn’t reveal your secrets and ruin what little you have left in your shit life. Rituals, curses, you think anyone cares what a fraud shill like you posts and does? You can’t call upon a stone in the woods! You have the power of a stick with mud on it. Not a warrior but a cowardly fool that lies to every High Priest and High Priestess in Joy of Satan. You will reap what you sow, fool.

SLAVS ARE ARYANS!
by wolf88

We are producing this article which is gleaned from a number of websites (and with grateful acknowledgements to Oskar Haleki and his history of Central Europe). We want to lay the ghost that the Slavic people are not Aryan, to rest, once and  for all. The Slavs ARE Aryan as the article below shows.
At this time when the whole White World is in mortal peril, for Aryan (Nordics), Aryan (Celts) and Aryan (Teutons) to bicker on who is the truer Aryan type is ridiculous.
We have comrades who support Aryan Unity throughout the Slavic World. Russia, Serbia and the Ukraine being leading of examples of areas where a fierce White Resistance is growing. Poland and Serbia are not far behind.

Aryan Unity considers the following nations mostly or totally Aryan: – (We are referring here to the White populations of these countries and not modern non-Aryan immigrants!)
Great Britain – Eire – United States – Canada – Spain – France – Portugal – Italy -Greece – Scandinavia – Germanic lands – Hungary – Romania – Poland – Russia (West of the Ural mountains) – the Baltic States – Byelorussia – Czech Republic – Slovakia – Croatia – Serbia – Slovenia – Australia and New Zealand – South African (Whites) – Belgium – Holland – Iceland – Ukraine – Slovenia – Bulgaria

South America contains many countries with minority Aryan populations – Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay being three good examples.
The Aryans once existed in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, India, Japan and China. They may also have penetrated deep into Africa as the ruins in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) show.
The Aryan People are on a long slow retreat back to the ancestral homelands in Europe and Western Russia. The thing for Aryans in all lands is now to UNITE or face extinction – in the way that the Aryans of Northern India for example are just a legend, though some of their traces remain.

Note: Wherever below you find the term “Iranian” it is written as that because at THAT time, the words Iranian and Aryan were interchangeable.

Also see https://hungariancultistnazis.wordpress.com/about/

This is scythianwarrior on Facebook. All of her.
Veronika Hompo. Nadia Kiss. Yoora Kim. Any variation of their names and the names of male sock accounts she has used. Here are many she uses and has used, below. Some are active right now.

Veronika Hompo’s Facebook profiles, from her real profile followed by sock accounts in chronological order. The newest and most red cent, active sock/alias profiles will be listed at the bottom of the list and updated accordingly.

The HungARAYAN Veronika Hompo’s Facebook profiles, from her real profile followed by sock accounts in chronological order. The newest and most recent, active sock/alias profiles will be listed at the bottom of the list and updated accordingly.

Veronika Hompo https://www.facebook.com/170588kng
Nadia A. Kiss https://www.facebook.com/kdrseoykdxyfwcr
Erzsebet Horvath https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002854374945
Elizabeth Ho https://www.facebook.com/ieui9844KNVVEWWoyc4906825329
김요라 https://www.facebook.com/vrildamen
김요라 https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005487735189
Istvan Nemeth https://www.facebook.com/istvan.nemeth.1675275
Adél Kassai https://www.facebook.com/adel.kassai
Viktória Venus https://www.facebook.com/viki.feher86
Adél Kassai https://www.facebook.com/adel.kassai
Prska Red https://www.facebook.com/piroska.piros.33
Gábor Barabás https://www.facebook.com/dmmwvb209opq977896nxyvcu
Tamas Varnay https://www.facebook.com/tamas.varnay.9
Tamas Varnay https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007165651017
Szabolcs Mate https://www.facebook.com/szabolcs.mate.7
Béla Kováts https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008343046076
Szittya Harcos https://www.facebook.com/harcos.szittya
Szittya Harcos https://www.facebook.com/iskit.savasci
Anette N. Petit Mignon https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005074726616
Nadia Varnay https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007520025677
Set Nakt https://www.facebook.com/zetur.narul.1
Csaba Hong https://www.facebook.com/csaba.ho.1
Csaba Hong https://www.facebook.com/csaba.hong58
Andrea Polgar https://www.facebook.com/andrea.polgar.12
Anette N. Petit Mignon https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005074726616
Nadia Varnay https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007520025677
https://www.facebook.com/nadia.varnay
Béla Kováts (Scythian Warrior) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007090426175
Nadine Gentil Cher https://www.facebook.com/nadine.gentilcher
Nadine Gentil Cher http://www.facebook.com/nadine.gentilcher
Nadine Gentil Cher https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008042504973
Dina Cher https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008102478208
Kárpát Leánya https://www.facebook.com/karpat.leanya
Yoora Kim https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004644255538
Szabolcs Maté https://www.facebook.com/szabolcs.mate.7
Nadia Kiss https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004496385010
Yoora Kim https://www.facebook.com/vrildamen88
Gabor Barabas https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004265025623
Tamas Varnay (Barabas Gabor) https://www.facebook.com/gabor.barabas.315
Ilona Horvath (Hompóné Erzsébet) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005246296383
Timea Wilhelm (Yoora Kim) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004644255538
Belane Szittya Kovats (Scythian Warrior) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004719616326
Szittya Harcos https://www.facebook.com/szittya.harcos
Nadia Varnay Kiss https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006576438985
Nadia Varnay Kiss https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004753785714
Szabolcs Mate https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004123998174
Szabolcs Mate https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006891406212
Szabolcs Mate https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007585395203
Szabolcs Mate https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007684125423
Nadia Varnay Kiss https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005355257387
Nadine Gentil Cher https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007627487397
Nadia Kiss https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008599656331

Photographs Documenting the Holocaust in Hungary

Photographs Documenting the Holocaust in Hungary

by László Karsai Ph.D.


Introduction, by Harry W. Mazal OBE:

When the Soviet Army captured Budapest on January 17-18, 1945, it was too late to save the lives of 564,500 Jews who had been sent to the various death-camps run by the Nazis. The Budapest SS headquarters, however, was over-run by the Soviets before the Nazis were able to destroy a huge number of papers which documented their efforts to annihilate the Hungarian Jews. These documents, together with many of the photographs that are part of this essay, were bundled up by the Soviets and stored in the basement of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior where they remained unseen for over forty years. When Hungary regained its independence from the Soviet block, the new Minister of the Interior discovered these documents and gave them to the Jewish Museum and Archives of Hungary where Dr. Karsai is presently cataloging and scanning them. We are pleased that the Museum has selected The Holocaust History Project as the site in the United States where eventually all of the tens of thousands of documents may be viewed. The small sampling shown below bears witness to those dreadful years.


Many people know – although many of them very much want to forget, and many more want to make others forget – that the Nazis and their European accomplices murdered six million Jews by employing various methods, such as hunger, beating, hanging, shooting, gassing, etc. during the Second World War. Nearly one tenth of the victims were Hungarian Jews, which means approximately 550,000 people. This estimate is based on a sound research of archival documents.

Even the definition is strange: a “Hungarian Jew.” A major element constituting the tragedy of the Jews in Hungary was that those people who after their Emancipation (1867) became unreservedly Hungarians regarding their language, customs, clothing, and most importantly, their feelings, were excluded from the community of Hungarian citizens. Horthy Miklós’s regime (1920-1944) carried out their gradual exclusion by a series of Jewish Laws passed after 1938. Those very same Jews, about whom Theodor Herzl stated with resignation at the turn of the century that they became a “dry bough” of Zionism, suddenly realized that their homeland for which they had fought with such devotion during the First World War (more than 10,000 Jews died and thousands upon thousands were wounded and disabled) regarded them as alien enemies. This was the case in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian Jewry, notwithstanding the orthodoxim, regarded themselves as Hungarians following the “faith of Moses.”

The reasons why the Hungarian Parliament agreed to pass the severely unlawful First Jewish Law is a subject of a historical debate. According to the traditional opinion it was meant to be a token of “good” intentions towards Hitler’s Reich, the neighbor of which Hungary became after the Anschluss (the Nazi Third Reich annexed Austria in March 1938). It is also possible that the right-wing conservative politicians aimed to take the wind out of the sails of the extreme right. It may well be that the example of the fascist Italy also exercised a considerable influence, since Mussolini in the same year passed anti-Semitic laws and decrees, with which he surprised even the members of his own party.

Three anti-Semitic laws completed the exclusion of the Hungarian Jews between 1938 and 1941. The first two laws made their economic situation more and more difficult; the Third Jewish Law, which was passed in 1941, however, was a real, Nuremberg-type, racial law introducing “race-protective” orders.

In July and August of 1941 nearly 16,000 Jews regarded as aliens or whose citizenship was stated to be unresolved, were deported to territories under German rule in Galicia where the Germans massacred them in the vicinity of Kamenec-Podolskij. This was the first “five-digit massacre” during the process of the Holocaust of the European Jewry. We do not have photos documenting this massacre. However, we have pictures about the second massacre which involved Hungarian Jews. In January 1942 in the Southern region (Délvidék, which was reclaimed from Yugoslavia) during an action taken against Serb partisans Hungarian gendarmeries murdered nearly 3,500 people. There were about 800 Jews among them. The gendarmeries shot their victims and threw their bodies into holes blown in the ice of the frozen-over Danube. Evidently, in order to frighten the civilians, they also hanged people in the public squares as we can see in the pictures.

Eichmann and his Sonderkommando of 200 men deported the Jews of the provinces to Auschwitz with the active help of the Hungarian clerks, policemen, solders and gendarmeries in the spring and early summer of 1944. The Jewry of the provinces, 437,000 people, made up more than fifty percent of the entire Hungarian Jewry. We have extremely few photos documenting this horrible “record achievement,” since Eichmann and his “experts” were not “able” to deport so many Jews in such a short period from any other European country (between May 15 and June 6 of 1944).

According to archival documents, sporadic newspaper sources, and testimonies of survivors, the majority of the gentiles did not even try to help the persecuted people. There were only a few people who participated actively in the persecution besides the officials and functionaries. Their estimated number is greater, however, than the number of those people who tried to help actively. The photos documenting the deportation show that it takes only a few gendarmeries to march the obedient Jews to the railway station, to the cattle cars. We know from archival documents that after the deportation, the citizens began the looting of the deserted ghettos. In some places they acted defying the martial law; and in other places they had official permission. Obviously, the looters of Kôszeg belonged to the second category, since they happily allowed the taking of pictures. Both the looters and the loot indicate, that in this case, poor people were taking the belongings of other poor people.

Miklós Horthy put an end to the deportation of the Jews on the 6th of July, 1944. The reasons are still not entirely clear. It is possible that his decision was motivated by the landing of the allied forces on the shores of Normandy, or the offensive of the Red Army, or he was afraid that the capital would have been destroyed by a carpet bombing if the Jews of Pest had had been deported. Eichmann had a fit, but without Hungarian help he was not able to continue shipping “raw material” to the death factory of Auschwitz.

Ferenc Szálasi, the leader of the Arrow-Cross Party and the Hungarist Movement came to power with the help of the Germans, after Miklós Horthy, the governor of Hungary, announced that he appealed for cease-fire. The members of his government, when their picture was taken, broke a tradition: they did not wear their Hungarian gala-dress. They put on simple civilian clothes. Maybe they had a premonition concerning their fate: the majority of them would be sentenced to death by the court of the Hungarian People within a period of less than one and a half years.

Nearly 200,000 Jews were terrified in Budapest by the coming into power of Szálasi’s Arrow-Cross men. The troops of the Red Army were not able to liberate the ghetto of Pest until the 18th of January, 1945. Up to then, hundreds of defenseless Jews were murdered by Arrow-Cross men every day as the photos show. Many Jews were tortured horribly before their death, others were simply shot and thrown into the Danube which was filled with drift-ice. They handed over nearly 70,000 Jews to the Germans for forced labor. They worked on the fortification system in the Sub-Alps in order to “protect” Vienna.

In the spring of 1945 Budapest was reduced to ruins as we can see in the photographs. Because of the meaningless war fought, on the Nazis’ side nearly one million lives were lost. From 825,000 Hungarian Jews 550,000 died, and some of the returning survivors emigrated within the next few years. Thus, in the place where one of the most flourishing Jewish communities of Middle-Eastern Europe once existed, now only approximately 5,000-70,000 Jews exist.

 

 

Intellectuals in the internment camp.
Intellectuals in the internment camp. Written on the picture: Some of the last Jewish members of the editorial staff of the “Pesti Hírlap,” who were working until the great change, and then they landed in the factory internment camp. From left to right: Imre Gyôri, the former editor of the paper, Gyula Vidor former political columnist, Béla Szabó, János Fleiner Fóti, the former “dreaded” critic, Lajos Réti, the younger brother of Katalin Karádi’s secretary, László Gál, the son of the actor Gyula Gál, and political contributor Ferenc Kemény.
Interned lawyers, actors and journalists
Interned lawyers, actors and journalists
Jewish intellectuals in the internment camp.
Jewish intellectuals in the internment camp.
Members of the editorial team of the newspaper
Members of the editorial team of the newspaper “Esti Kurir” in the internment camp (István Kardos was murdered).
Internment camp.
Internment camp. Written on the picture: “Some of the last Jewish ‘Mochikans’ of the Pester Lloyd in the factory internment camp.” From left to right: Ernô Geiringer, György Kecskeméti, István Keller, Péter Sugár, Gyula Morgernstern, Jewish former journalists.
Internment camp.
Internment camp. Written on the picture: “The last Jewish members of the editorial staff of the ‘Ujság’ in the factory internment camp.” From left to right: Zoltán Stób, Sándor Jemnitz, Ernô Halász, Géza Kônig, Endre György, Jenô Nádor.
Internment camp.
Internment camp. “The illustrious quartet (four-in-hand).” [written on the picture] The first man from the left is Mr. Rozsnyai the composer. He does not wear the yellow star because his wife is Christian. It did not help, however: he and his wife were murdered.
Ernô Ligeti was murdered.
Ernô Ligeti was murdered. Written on the picture: “Ernô Ligeti Lichtenstein, the former Jewish journalist and novelist in the factory internment camp.”
An article in the
An article in the “Harc” about the Jews in the internment camp. (Title: “Together the Entire Illustrious Company!”)
Leaders of banks and factories in the internment camp.
Leaders of banks and factories in the internment camp. Written on the picture: “These ‘big Jews’ also live in the internment camp: 1. Baron Samu Madarassy-Beck, the retired president of Leszámítoló Bank. 2. Emil Wolf, the former manager of the Chinoin chemical factory, who do not wear the yellow star even in the internment camp for Jews, because his wife is Christian. 3. Samu Weiner, the former ‘leader’ of the Jewish mill industry. 4. Károly Somogyi, the former co-owner of the Haasz and Somogyi hardware company.”
From the newspaper
From the newspaper “Harc.” The text written on the picture is abusive and sarcastic in the vein of anti-Semitic writing.
Internment camp.
Internment camp. Written on the picture: “Jewish women lying down in the factory internment camp.”
Distribution of dinner in the internment camp.
Distribution of dinner in the internment camp.
Internment camp.
Internment camp. A group in the internment camp. In the front stands Zoli, the famous dwarf clown of Budapest.
Internment camp.
Internment camp.
Dezsô Kellér, the famous master of ceremonies in forced labor.
Dezsô Kellér, the famous master of ceremonies in forced labor. None of the listeners seen in this picture survived (Nyírség, 1943).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: construction work (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: construction work (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the skeleton staff (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the skeleton staff (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: cooks: J.
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: cooks: J. Szitnyai (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: on the way to Russia (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: on the way to Russia (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the entire forced labor battalion (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the entire forced labor battalion (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: construction work (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: construction work (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: on the way to Russia (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: on the way to Russia (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: one of the officers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: one of the officers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the same officer (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: the same officer (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: shoemakers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: shoemakers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: kitchen (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: kitchen (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: camp fire (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: camp fire (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: a tableau (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: part of the camp (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: part of the camp (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: working on road construction (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: staff of officers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Scenes from the life of Jewish forced laborers: staff of officers (Riptinyec, 1940).
Ohrolruf camp.
Ohrolruf camp.
The center of the Arrow Cross Party at Andrássy street No.
The center of the Arrow Cross Party at Andrássy street No. 60: “the House of Fidelity.”
The center of the Arrow Cross Party under Andrássy street No.
The center of the Arrow Cross Party under Andrássy street No. 60: “the House of Fidelity.” (Partial enlargement of previous.)
The Arrow Cross Government (Ferenc Szálasi was the Prime Minister).
The Arrow Cross Government (Ferenc Szálasi was the Prime Minister).
The Szálasi Government.
The Szálasi Government.
Ferenc Szálasi enters the Castle of Buda.
Ferenc Szálasi enters the Castle of Buda.
Strolling people.
Strolling people.
The gate of a house at Kossuth Lajos Square no.
The gate of a house at Kossuth Lajos Square no. 18 is marked by a yellow star.
A Jewish woman clearing away rubble.
A Jewish woman clearing away rubble.
Moving into a house marked by a yellow star.
Moving into a house marked by a yellow star.
Jews being marched on the József ring (József körút) to the ghetto of Pest.
Jews being marched on the József ring (József körút) to the ghetto of Pest.
Handcuffing in Poland.
Handcuffing in Poland.
Many Jews who wanted to obtain a Schutzpass are queuing in front of the so called
Many Jews who wanted to obtain a Schutzpass are queuing in front of the so called “Glass House” (Budapest, Vadász street no. 29.) which was protected by the Swiss embassy.
School of Jewish children, refugees from Poland in Vác (1942-1943).
School of Jewish children, refugees from Poland in Vác (1942-1943).
The synagogue of Tarnopol which was set on fire by the Nazis.
The synagogue of Tarnopol which was set on fire by the Nazis.
Before being taken away.
Before being taken away.
Yellow star.
Yellow star.
A rabbi is forced to wash a car (Novy Sad, 1942).
A rabbi is forced to wash a car (Novy Sad, 1942).
Identity check by Arrow Cross men (still from film, 1955)
Identity check by Arrow Cross men. This is not a contemporaneous photo, but a still from the filmBudapest Spring (1955).
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses in Budapest.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses in Budapest.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses in Budapest.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses in Budapest.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men in Budapest.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men in Budapest.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men in Budapest.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men in Budapest.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victim of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses in Budapest.
The skull of a victim of Arrow Cross men.
The skull of a victim of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men. A mass of corpses.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men in the court of the Synagogue of Dohány street.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men in the court of the Synagogue of Dohány street.
Corpses in a concentration camp.
Corpses in a concentration camp.
Corpses in a concentration camp.
Corpses in a concentration camp.
The death of a Jewish forced laborer.
The death of a Jewish forced laborer.
Novy Sad, a street after shooting committed by the gendarmerie.
Novy Sad, a street after shooting committed by the gendarmerie.
Hungarian gendarmes are shooting Jews on the streets in Novy Sad.
Hungarian gendarmes are shooting Jews on the streets in Novy Sad.
Executions in Novy Sad in 1942.
Executions in Novy Sad in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanged Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Hanging (Novy Sad, 1942)
Hanging (Novy Sad, 1942)
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Executed Jews in the Southern region (Délvidék) in 1942.
Victims of the ghetto (Budapest, 19 January 1945).
Victims of the ghetto (Budapest, 19 January 1945).
A victim of the Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944).
A victim of the Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944).
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944)
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944)
A cart full of corpses (Budapest, 1945)
A cart full of corpses (Budapest, 1945)
Wagon full of corpses (Budapest, 1945)
Wagon full of corpses (Budapest, 1945)
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944-1945)
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944-1945)
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944-1945)
Victims of Arrow Cross men (Budapest, 1944-1945)
Murdered Jewish forced laborers at the end of 1944 in the Beregi forest at Füzesabony.
Murdered Jewish forced laborers at the end of 1944 in the Beregi forest at Füzesabony.
Exhumation of the bodies of Jewish forced laborers at Cservenka (November 5, 1957)
Exhumation of the bodies of Jewish forced laborers at Cservenka (November 5, 1957)
A group of objects found during the exhumation at Cservenka (November 5, 1957).
A group of objects found during the exhumation at Cservenka (November 5, 1957).
The identification of the corpse of 22 year old Magda Friedmann in Budapest.
The identification of the corpse of 22 year old Magda Friedmann in Budapest.
The grave-stone of Hanna Szenes in Budapest.
The grave-stone of Hanna Szenes in Budapest.
Patients and doctors murdered in the Jewish hospital in Maros street (Budapest, 1945).
Patients and doctors murdered in the Jewish hospital in Maros street (Budapest, 1945).
Corpse of a murdered Jew.
Corpse of a murdered Jew.
Funeral procession held for exhumed bodies of Jewish forced laborers (Budapest).
Funeral procession held for exhumed bodies of Jewish forced laborers (Budapest).
Exhumation from the depth of 60 cm in the forest of Kerecsend.
Exhumation from the depth of 60 cm in the forest of Kerecsend.
Exhumation in the forest of Kerecsend
Exhumation in the forest of Kerecsend
A corpse in a coffin in the forest of Kerecsend.
A corpse in a coffin in the forest of Kerecsend.
Re-examination: Dr. Németh
Re-examination: Dr. Németh and his colleague (in the forest of Kerecsend).
Exhumed corpse in the forest of Kerecsend.
Exhumed corpse in the forest of Kerecsend.
Corpses of a mother and her daughter in the forest of Kerecsend.
Corpses of a mother and her daughter in the forest of Kerecsend.
Taking 20 corpses to the cemetery of Eger from the forest of Kerecsend.
Taking 20 corpses to the cemetery of Eger from the forest of Kerecsend.
Coffins on the hill of the cemetery after the exhumation (Kerecsend).
Coffins on the hill of the cemetery after the exhumation (Kerecsend).
12 corpses in coffins (Kerecsend).
12 corpses in coffins (Kerecsend).
The lowering of the coffins to the grave (Eger).
The lowering of the coffins to the grave (Eger).
The funeral of the 26 martyrs in Eger.
The funeral of the 26 martyrs in Eger. They were murdered in the forest of Kerecsend. Mr. Székely the President of the Jewish Community of Eger delivers a speech.
The funeral of the 26 martyrs in Eger.
The funeral of the 26 martyrs in Eger. They were murdered in the forest of Kerecsend.
Tank, refugees
Tank, refugees
Street in the time of war.
Street in the time of war.
Taking photos of the victims in the ghetto (Budapest, 19.
Taking photos of the victims in the ghetto (Budapest, 19. January 1945).
Prisoners of war
Prisoners of war
Portrait of a victim of skin transplantation.
Portrait of a victim of skin transplantation.
Shoe sole made of a desecrated Torah.
Shoe sole made of a desecrated Torah.
Drum made from a desecrated Torah.
Drum made from a desecrated Torah.
The emptying of apartments of Jews in Sopron (1944).
The emptying of apartments of Jews in Sopron (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Jews marching towards the railway station in Kôszeg (1944).
Jews marching towards the railway station in Kôszeg (1944).
March of deportees to the railway station in Kôszeg (1944).
March of deportees to the railway station in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
Deportation of the Jewry of the provinces in Kôszeg (1944).
A hiding Jew.
A hiding Jew.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
Looting of the deserted ghetto in the provinces.
A ravaged home.
A ravaged home.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
March of deportees on the streets of Kôszeg in 1944.
Deportation: on the way to the railway station (Kôszeg, 1944).
Deportation: on the way to the railway station (Kôszeg, 1944).
Deportation (Balatonfüred, 1944).
Deportation (Balatonfüred, 1944).
Deportation (Balatonfüred, 1944).
Deportation (Balatonfüred, 1944).
Arrival at the concentration camp.
Arrival at the concentration camp.
Part of the camp.
Part of the camp.
Goldmark Hall (Budapest, 1945).
Goldmark Hall (Budapest, 1945).
Picture taken in Germany [?]
Picture taken in Germany [?]
The humiliating march of those who
The humiliating march of those who “dishonored the German race”.
Placard against Jewish lawyers and doctors.
Placard against Jewish lawyers and doctors.
A deportee (Auschwitz).
A deportee (Auschwitz).
Arrival at Auschwitz (1944).
Arrival at Auschwitz (1944).
A group of people arriving at Auschwitz (1944).
A group of people arriving at Auschwitz (1944).
Medical experiment.
Medical experiment.
A small child with tattooed arm.
A small child with tattooed arm.
People lined up to celebrate in a camp after the Second World War.
People lined up to celebrate in a camp after the Second World War.
Wreaths for the memory of the martyrs.
Wreaths for the memory of the martyrs.
Shooting in the back of the neck.
Shooting in the back of the neck.
SS execution.
SS execution.
Victim in a concentration camp.
Victim in a concentration camp.
Heap of corpses.
Heap of corpses.
A dead person beside the rails.
A dead person beside the rails.
Corpses in Dachau.
Corpses in Dachau.
Interior of a barrack (Dachau).
Interior of a barrack (Dachau).
Heap of corpses in Dachau.
Heap of corpses in Dachau.
Corpses in Dachau.
Corpses in Dachau.
Corpses in Dachau.
Corpses in Dachau.
Victims in Dachau.
Victims in Dachau.
Victims in Dachau.
Victims in Dachau.

The Hungarian Holocaust: 70 Years Later

 CEU hosted “The Hungarian Holocaust: Seventy Years Later” conference on April 6, bringing together the top scholars in the field to share their research on the leadup to the atrocity, the responsible actors, the effects of the destruction, and the ways in which the Hungarian Holocaust is remembered and commemorated.

CEU President and Rector John Shattuck opened the event, calling it a “momentous, solemn and far-reaching occasion for those who have the capacity to look deep into history and to understand it.” The conference is held every 10 years in conjunction with a related conference in the U.S. Shattuck expressed pride in CEU as the conference’s sole sponsor and for the dual goals of the University and the conference in engaging in the pursuit of truth and desire for an honest engagement with history. He underscored the enormous importance of the conference proceedings, “so that record of what actually happened cannot be twisted and shaded against the truth that we all know.”

Professor Andras Kovacs, who teaches both in CEU’s Jewish Studies and Nationalism Programs, preceded the panels with a story of a very good friend whose personal history Kovacs never knew until he heard it from another source. The friend was born after the war to a Hungarian woman whose husband had been sent to a labor camp before she was snatched from her home by the Arrow Cross, forcing her to leave her 18-month-old son behind. Although at first, neighbors tried to care for the child, he eventually died of starvation before his mother returned to Hungary. Kovacs’s friend was the younger brother of the child who died, but he had never shared the story. The secrecy of such stories was the norm, not only just after the war, but throughout the communist regime, when it was essentially illegal to discuss the Holocaust, despite the Soviet portrayal of the Germans were relentless tyrants.

Renowned author and Holocaust scholar Randolph Braham gave the keynote address via taped video message from the U.S. “This conference is being held at a significant juncture in the history of Hungary and Hungarian Jewry, on the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust,” said Braham, a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at the City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “The destruction of Hungarian Jewry, on the eve of Allied victory, represents one of the most controversial chapters in the history of the ‘Final Solution’ in Europe.”

He went on to note that most of the 565,000 Hungarian victims considered themselves loyal Magyars (Hungarians) of the Jewish faith, citizens of a country that has yet to acknowledge a role in the Holocaust, let alone apologize.

“It is this failure to honestly and courageously confront the past that largely contributed to the increasingly virulent assault on the historical memory of the Holocaust,” Braham said. “Following the systemic change of 1989, the leaders of the successive democratically-elected governments, while aware of the reality of the Holocaust, have, with a few exceptions, consistently pursued policies that one, aim to deflect attention from the Holocaust by focusing on the positive experiences of the Jews in their emancipation in 1867 and on the rescue activities of the relatively few Christian Hungarians during the German occupation, including [Regent Miklos] Horthy’s rescue: the halting of deportations in early July 1944. These policies also strove to bring about the rehabilitation of the Horthy era and the revitalization of the national Christian principles that had guided it. Finally, these policies were designed to absolve Hungary of any guilt for the Holocaust by placing ultimate and exclusive responsibility onto the Germans.”

In the first panel, scholars addressed “The Road to the Holocaust,” dissecting official policy of the Hungarian government, including the 1920 “numerus clausus” law, the first to place strict quotas on the number of Jews who could attend university.

CEU Professor Maria Kovacs, director of the Nationalism Studies Program who published a groundbreaking book on numerus clausus in 2012, noted that historians can neither confirm nor deny a straight line between the anti-Semitism of the 1920s and that of the 1940s. Kovacs is, instead, very interested in whether or not – in the history of Horthy regime – a serious attempt was made to reconsider the 1920 Jewish quota or to try to put an end to discrimination.

“It is important because, 18 years later, the 1920 legislation served as a prototype legislation for the new anti-Jewish law,” she said. “Proponents of the 1920 university quota were very explicit in that they intended to expand it to all income-earning occupations.”

Interestingly, Kovacs contrasted this with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s successful efforts to curb discrimination during the same era. In Hungary, Prime Minister Istvan Bethlen’s 1928 reform of numerus clausus (which eased the quotas somewhat) was meant to satisfy foreign demands but not to genuinely eliminate discrimination, Kovacs said. “It was a phony paper reform. Lower-level government decrees were then implemented [to continue discrimination].”

Krisztian Ungvary, a research fellow at the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, discussed decision-making regarding the deportations of Hungarian Jews.
He believes that the deportations were not part of a master plan, but a

series of political decisions made by Hungarian authorities. “When Germans were sent here, it wasn’t even clear that they had to collect Jews and deport them,” Ungvary said. “Everything that happened here did so in strong cooperation with Hungarian authorities. There was no German office that would’ve taken over Hungarian administrative tasks, there were liaisons.” In fact, Ungvary noted, according to phone books, the number of those Hungarians who worked with Nazi leader Adolph Eichmann on deportation numbered 60 and the whole of the Nazi staff in Hungary was no more than 200.

Regarding the effects on Jewish society after the war, CEU Professor Emeritus of History Viktor Karady reviewed his data on how many doctors had disappeared as a result of the Holocaust. Because Jews in the countryside were targeted first, many doctors moved to Budapest. “The losses of the Jewish groups is much bigger than Christian groups,” Karady said. “It is a very clear distinction which we have to make here between the various rates of losses.” Karady found that the survival rate of female Jewish doctors was higher than male and also noted that social status mattered. He also studied records of those who changed their surnames from Jewish names to Hungarian names to try to avoid persecution.

Karady’s colleague Peter Tibor Nagy, head of the Wesley Research Center for Sociology of Church and Religion, reviewed similar data to determine the different kinds of social capital that could affect survival rates. “How can you hide? What kind of habits are necessary for this?” he asked. The level of education and chosen profession mattered as well as how well Jews were integrated into Christian society.

The final panel dealt with remembrance and commemoration of the Holocaust in Hungary. Gabor Gyani, who teaches at both CEU and Eotvos Lorand University, again pointed out that many commemorations have focused on rescuers and not victims. Under communism, it was essentially forbidden to discuss the Holocaust, so many memories were lost. “Personal biographic narratives have emotional impact,” Gyani said. “The Holocaust experience impacts the national myths. This might have led to self-scrutiny [for Hungary].”

Andrea Peto, CEU associate professor of gender studies, is using the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive to study personal recollections of Hungary’s people’s tribunals that tried members of the Arrow Cross after the war. Peto has reviewed 800 interviews and looked carefully at how the participants talked about the trials, how they are narrating, and how they discuss their participation in the legal process. “These stories are about revenge and satisfaction – they are atypical for Holocaust stories,” Peto said. In her related paper, she argues for understanding the different kind of truths constructed by digital storytelling. “Most damage is done by historians who think they know the truth and are the only ones who can share the truths,” she said. “Looking at memories of the trials warns us how necessary it is to recognize the fragility of memory.”

For full conference program and abstracts, see attachment.

Watch Randolph Braham’s keynote address here.