Victims of a Holocaust made in Hungary or of a German Occupation?   Leave a comment

005The debate rumbles on in Budapest. Outside the capital, we know the truth, and always have, certainly for the past twenty-five years, since the fall of Soviet-style Communism allowed people in rural Hungary to speak candidly about what home-grown fascists and local gendarmes had done so suddenly to their Jewish and Roma neighbours.

 

A public statue of Horthy has now been followed by an abomination of desolation dedicated to ‘the victims of the German occupation’, sponsored by the Hungarian Government. Not surprisingly, all the Jewish associations have turned their backs on this blatant distortion of the real events of March 1944 – March 1945 in the capital, and the erection, featuring a German eagle descending on angelic Hungary, had to be unveiled secretly at night.

 
The pseudo-historical basis for the Government’s denial of Hungary’s Holocaust lies in the belated actions of the puppet Regent following his failure to halt the deportations of nearly all of the Jewish population from the Hungarian countryside in the late spring and early summer of 1944.   There is some evidence that the deportation of the Hungarian Jews from Budapest, relatively small in number but rich in economy and culture, was impeded by measures taken by Regent Horthy, who ordered three thousand gendarmes back to the provinces. However, in the confusion caused by the Allied advance, the deteriorating military situation for the Axis alliance in Romania and the rumours of a putsch against him, the PM, Stójay, was able to ignore Horthy’s orders and begin the deportations from the suburbs of the capital.

 

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It was actually Himmler’s intervention in redirecting all remaining military resources and personnel to the Romanian Front which halted the deportation of the 200,000 Jews from Budapest and the forced ‘death’ marches of the unarmed forced labour units, which were mainly comprised of Jewish men. It was also in this lull in anti-Semitic operations in Hungary, that the name and nature of Auschwitz-Birkenau became known in Budapest, as well as internationally. There were protests, made directly to Horthy, from the Pope, King George VI and Winston Churchill. Hungarian politicians and church leaders could no longer be in any doubt about what awaited Eichmann’s transportees.

 

Even so, in the summer of 1944, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry continued to defend its actions on The Jewish Question against the mounting international outcry against the genocide, led by the United States. According to the Hungarian government, the Hungarian nation was defending its own against the greatest danger… a much greater danger than that presented to the white population of the USA by the negroes or the Japanese. As the Soviet army approached the frontiers of Hungary the defeatest propaganda and disruptive activity of the Jews had had to be stopped. They had therefore been segregated and set to useful work in Hungary and elsewhere. A large number of Jews had been transferred to Germany as a workforce, as had for years also been the case with Christian Hungarians.

 

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Perhaps by Christian Hungarians the Stójay government was referring to the treatment of the Roma. In fact, the first Hungarian-speaking people to be deported, first to the ghetto in Lodz in 1939, and then to Auschwitz, were from the Burgenland in Austria. They were separated from their relatives on the Hungarian side of the border, just five kilometres away, near Sopron. The Roma in Hungary itself had been given a separate register in August 1940, on which 2,475 names were recorded. In July 1941, a Bill banning interbreeding between Hungarians and Roma was only rejected in the Upper House of Parliament.

The following year, the first gipsy ghetto was set up by the Esztergom City Council, which the internees were only allowed to leave for work purposes. In 1944, alongside the anti-Jewish actions, the Roma were also herded into labour camps in several counties, including Szolnok and Bács-Kiskun, which were established on some of the larger farms.

In June, those Roma designated as unreliable were moved to special concentration camps within Hungary. These were established near the bigger provincial towns, and the settled Roma communities in Szolnok, Csongrád, Bács-Kiskun, Pest, Heves and Nógrád counties were moved to camps in Szeksárd, Veménd, Pecsvárad, Baja and Nagykáta. In other words, they were deliberately moved from eastern to western Hungary. In August and September, the remaining Roma were subjected to raids on their villages, pressing the men into forced labour companies.

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It was at this time, in August and early September, that Miklós Radnóti, wrote ten poems in the notebook which was later to be found in his coat pocket in his makeshift grave by the roadside. The first six of these were written at the Heidenau work camp in Hungarian-held Serbia, in the mountains above Zagubica. The second of these was written as a Letter to My Wife:

 

 


 

 

 

 

004

Beneath, the nether worlds, deep, still and mute.

Silence howls in my ears, and I cry out.

No answer could come back, it is so far

from that sad Serbia swooned into war.

And you’re so distant. But my heart redeems

your voice all day, entangled in my dreams.

So I am still, while close about me sough

the great old ferns, that slowly stir and bow.

When I’ll see you, I don’t know. You whose calm

is as the weight and sureness of a psalm,

whose beauty’s like the shadow and the light,

whom I could find if I were blind and mute,

hide in the landscape now, and from within

leap to my eye, as if cast by my brain.

You were real once; now you have fallen in

Daylight and miracles seemed different things.

Above, the echelons of bombers’ wings:

to that deep well of teenage dreams again.

Jealous interrogations: tell me; speak.

Do you still love me? Will you on that peak

of my past youth become my future wife?

– But now I fall awake to real life

and know that’s what you are: wife, friend of years,

– just far away. Beyond three wild frontiers.

And Autumn comes. Will it also leave with me?

Kisses are sharper in the memory

Daylight and miracles seemed different things.

Above, the echelons of bombers’ wings:

skies once amazing blue with your eyes’ glow

are darkened now. Tight with desire to blow,

the bombs must fall. I live in spite of these,

a prisoner. All of my fantasies

I measure out. And I will find you still;

for you I’ve walked the full length of the soul,

the highways of countries! – on coals of fire,

if needs must, in the falling of the pyre,

if all I have is magic, I’ll come back;

I’ll stick as fast as bark upon an oak!

And now that calm, whose habit is a power

and weapon to the savage, in the hour

of fate and danger, falls as cool and true

as does a wave: the sober two times two.  

 

 

Sources:    

Zsuzsanna Ozsváth  & Frederick Turner (2014), Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklós Rádnóti; A Bilingua Edition. Budapest: Corvina.

Szabolcs Szita (2012), The Power of Humanity: Raoul Wallengberg and his Aides in Budapest. :Budapest: Corvina. (Research papers for fuller Hungarian papers available online).

The Budapest  Times, 31 July 2014.

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Posted August 5, 2014 by TeamBritanniaHu in Uncategorized

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