The Hungarian Jews..

The Hungarian Jews and the Holocaust

Why is it still up to date to talk about the holocaust in Hungary today?

1. It is present in current days’ politics

2.   Miklós Horthy Hungary’s governor’ (between 1920-44) rehabilitation, the making of statues, demonstrations for and against it.

– The Arrow Cross Party (the Nazi party’s Hungarian equivalent) writers accused of sympathy getting into the foreground.

– Eli Wiesel Nobel- Peace Award winner writer gave back his award originally by Hungary, the Big Cross of the Republic of Hungary, as a protest again László Kövér attending an event where Józsed Nyírő, a former member of the Arrow Cross Party was honoured in Romania.

3. It is present in everyday life.:

A well known Hungarian Santa Claus was parodized and shared by a 17 year old vocational student on Facebook, and which, in very short time had gained quite a couple of likes from his friends.

Jews in Hungary

The Jews (also known as Hebrews or Israelites) were ancient Middle Eastern people, and they derive from the people, and after people following the Jewish religion, are culturally and linguistically heterogeneous community of people all over the world. They were present in Hugarys in the ancient world.

– AD II-III. century – in Pannonia province, as residents of the Roman Empire.

– The conquering Hungarians had close ties to Jewish people through Jewish Khazars. Two Kabar tribes arrive with the conquering Hungarians to the Carpathian Basin.

 – The first authoritative reports – about Jews residing in Hungary – a letter from around 955. Adressed is the Khazar king in this letter from Cordova, stating that two – Croatian Jews in Cordova have offered to deliver the letter through Hungary with help of its Jewish residents to the Khazar Republic. – While in the twelfth. century, the Jews were persecuted in many of the European countries, in Hungary under the Arpad kings more or less restrictively, but better than the contemporary European conditions had safer lives. They made financial transactions addressed by the royal court more than once and made use of their money, their competence. Their position during the thirteenth century Hungary deteriorated somewhat. Then they are barred from certain economic vacancies, and had to wear a distinctive sign. II. Andrew Pope and the German merchant towns claimed repeatedly to forbid intermarriage, and then – in 1215 decisions of the Fourth Lateran Council – required the Jews to wear a distinctive sign, and forbade the Jews toattend a job at the state and public offices.

In the medieval ages, the golden ages of Jewry in Hungary were present at the same time with the country’s economy boom.under the reign of King Matthew.

An anonymous Knight from Erfurt described the Jews solemnly paraded at Matthew and Beatrix's wedding which took place in the course of 1476, at the Castle of Buda. The description of the march illustrates the specific situation of the Hungarian Jews, because apart from the example mentioned above in the whole medieval Christian Europe, nowhere is known about the Jews on horseback, sword who were allowed to have been presented publicly. The 1848 March 15 Hungarian Revolution and the subsequent war cut down the number of the Jews because material and high blood sacrifices were involved. The battles of 1849 involved over 180 thousand soldiers of which twenty thousand were Jews. The Compromise (1867) and the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Emancipation Act of the Jews followed each other almost instantly. It granted Jews full civil and political rights. The full recognition of the Jewish religion, but had not yet been realized, it only took place in 1895. More recent history of Hungary the highest immigration rate peaked with the arrival of immigration of Eastern European Jews, which was in the nineteenth century and it Maximized during the second half of the nineteenth century. The new immigrants were very poor, mostly living rural ways of life, and also engaged in farming those Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews were under the jurisdiction of the Empire and the Russian Empire and from Galicia area. Immigrants in the reform era and the continued legacy of freedom liberal political and social climate, the huge economic development, the potential had attracted them for a better living in Hungary.

In the 1891 census, the Jewish population of the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom was 612,803 people the population of the Kingdom of Hungary including Croatia was 17,318,794 people at that time. The Jewish Diaspora was said to be 3.54% of the society. At the end of the nineteenth century, a powerful movement was born where people with Hungarian ethnic origin became a Hungarian as volunteers. In particular, the emerging Jewish and German minorities chose to be assimilated by Hungarians. In other European countries this has not taken place, Jews did not merge with the majorly Christian society, in other places, they remained very distinct religious and ethnic minorities. In Hungary, the newly launched urban development, inclusive attitude of the majority of society, the creation of the modern nation-state mass-ethnic fusion of Judaism made it possible for the official policy to grant equal opportunity social justice and belonging to the Hungarian nation. In the nineteenth century’s liberal atmosphere, a number of the Hungarian Jewry became a Hungarian they actually felt they belong to the nation. Globally, a unique phenomenon was born: Neolog Judaism. The Neolog synagogue mass was held in Hungarian Language. In 1895, the Jews under the Law of the Hungarian nation became officially represented, that meant: one could easily have Jewish religion and at the same time be a Hungarian citizen just like Catholic or Presbyterian Hungarian. The vast majority jonied the Neolog congregation, which meant ¾ of all Jews living in the capital. By the XX. century, the Hungarians with Jewish religion was so much involved with Hungarians of Christian religions, that they became a part of the Hungarian society and culture that they could no longer be separated from each other.

From today's Hungarians – cities in particular – have many Jewish ancestors, as Germans, Slovaks and other nationalities.

On the entire territory of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910, the Jewish population was 932,458 people. The Kingdom of Hungary with Croatia counted 20,836,681 inhabitants. The Jewish Diaspora, was said to be 4.47% of the society. 75.7% of the Jewish faith chose Hungarian as their mother tongue, which is much higher than among Catholics as a proportion of Hungarian speakers. 61% of the merchants,58% of printers, 48.5% of doctors, 42% of the innkeepers, 24% of bakers and 24% of the butchers, 21% of tailors, 9% of the the shoemakers were Jews in 1910. The pupils of secondary schools in the 1893-1913 period, 20% of secondary school pupils while 37% were Jewish. In 1913, 34,1% of Pázmány University students and 31,9% of BME students were Jewish. (1920 data, 34% of the smaller the country's journalists, 24,5% of the musical performers, 23% of actors, and 17% of the painters and sculptors were Jews. Also in 1920 it was reported that 40,5% of the factory owners , owners of land with 1,000 acres or more 19,6% were Jews.) 3.1% of the Jewish population worked as industrialist, or 100 acres larger landowners, 3.2% were owners of 100 acres or smaller lands, 34.4% were workers, and 59.3% were self-employed or employees.

The Holocaust in Hungary

The deterioration of Hungarian Jews actually began five years after Hitler’s rise to power. In Hungary, the parliament from 1938 moved to a more anti-Semitic legislation and enacted laws – known as Jew laws-, the Jewish population which gradually deprived of civic rights. This is partly due to the domestic and the foreign pressure of the growing anti-Semitic forces, but realpolitical considerations played also a part in it, namely, the threat of German influence in the forced compliance. Laws that removed The Jewish population of the civil rights were approved by the Chief Rabbi: if Hungary didn’t make its „half-hearted” Jew-laws stricter (according to Hitler) threatened with German invasion – which would have implied the mass deportation of Jews, which Hungary successfully avoided until 1944.

The Hungarian anti-Jewish politics before 1944 already claimed tens of thousands of victims. Nevertheless, until 1944, the majority of Jews in Hungary was not yet threatened by immediate threat to life, but this does not change the fact of private persecution. The assimilation of Jews in Hungary also was broken by the high level of official anti-Semitism, discrimination and stigma, which in 1944-45 ended in the Holocaust.

Already in 1941, Jews were deported from Hungary to Kamenets-Podolsk where they were mass-murdered. It is not until 1944, after the Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz and other death camps again. However, tens of thousands of Jews were called up for labor service, with more of them finding their death in Don-bend with the active participation of the Hungarian guards. But Horthy and the Hungarian-German officers had no resistance. Only in 1944, as the Red Army approached, they began preparing for the change. Horthy began to plan the transition. Hungary, however, the 1944th March 19, became invaded by German troops. In April 1944, Adolf Eichmann and his team with the help of a handful of powerful Hungarians – approx. 200,000 people (gendarmerie, state and railroad officials) participated in the deportations – in six weeks, more than 425,000 people were transported to Auschwitz and other death camps, where 90% of them were killed.

After the German occupation of Hungary, began immediately the Jews collection into ghettos, they are obliged to wear a yellow star, and then in April, with the Hungarian administration’s help the deportations began again. Until july.1944, 445 000 citizens were deported, of whom 437,402 people to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The government has not requested any documentation about them. D-day, increased foreign pressure, and the – at this time also known as – Auschwitz Protocol, due in late June, Horthy wanted to replace Secretary of State for Home Affairs who organized the deportations with cooperation with the Privy Council and on 26 June recommended the discontinuation of transports. They continued, however, until the governor ordered the loyal military forces loyal to prevent the so-called 'coup gendarme'; Horthy banned on deporting the Jews of Budapest.

During the Arrow Cross Party’s seizure of power (1944th October 15) outside of Budapest, Jews were only in the work battalions, jews from the countryside had another fate: almost all of them were deported and murdered. In the capital, about 200 thousand in the work battalions – of about 100 thousand men – waited in terror what the Arrow Cross Party regime would bring. The cabinet was committed till the end to the German Association of Hungary they thought the war should be continued, so in response to the request of the German, 50 000 Jewish people were deported, the remaining Jews in Budapest were closed into ghettos where thousands of people were killed. In Budapest about eight thousand Jews were murdered, about nine thousand died of the bombing, starvation, disease or committed suicide.

1944-45 about 70% of the total Hungarian Jews, about 600,000 people were murdered (The 1941 census, counted 861 000 people who were considered Jew with at least two Jewish grandparents of those numbers, and within those: 725 thousand with Israelite religion. The Survivors’ number of 255 000 people can be estimated). The families declared as Jewish, mostly elderly, women and children (the majority of men were forced laborers at the front) were deported abroad, mainly to Auschwitz and Dachau where suffered a painful death. The Carpathian Basin’s Jewish population (Budapesters and southern Transylvanian residents were the only ones who survived-buta part from them) was killed. About 50% of the capital city residents, more than 100,000 people have died in the death camps or abroad during the Arrow Cross Party’s terror in Budapest. The other part’s survival of Jews in Budapest can be connected with organized and spontaneous rescue operations. The Hungarian population and foreign diplomats took part in Hiding the hunted, helped them escape.


When we talk about the Holocaust, most of us think of the trials and persecution of Jewish people. Many people do not even know, that there was a Roma Holocaust During The Roma Holocaust during World War II is less public, despite that the Roma had faced atrocities, deportations to labor camps, concentration camps and mass extermination. They are called: porrajmos, originally meaning 'destruction, sequestration'. The history of Hungarian Roma’s porrajmos is not exactly documented. Certain is, that after the German occupation of Hungary on the 19th of March 1944, many Roma were deported first to Komorn into the Star Fortress and then to various concentration camps. Various estimated data of the number of dead Hungarian Gypsies: According to some 60-70 thousand people, moderate sources only estimated only 20-30 thousand fell as the victims of genocide, but according to the historian László Karsai, the number of Roma who have been brought to concentration camps and had died there is around 5 thousand.

László Dudás