Hungarian Jews

Already after the First World War, the Hungarian government under Miklós Horthy (German: Nikolaus Horthy von Nagybánya) began to enact anti-Jewish laws. The first, the so-called Numerus-Clausus Law, made it more difficult for Jewish inhabitants to gain admission to universities as of September 1920. After Miklós Horthy concluded an alliance with the Nazis, there was a strengthening of such laws. What is more, over 100,000 Jewish men were forcibly recruited into work brigades.

When the Arrow Cross Party seized power in Hungary thousands of Jews were deported from Budapest. This photograph provides evidence of Hungarian and German soldiers driving a group of Jews into the State Theatre in October 1944. Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8285A-26 / Faupel / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Shortly afterwards Hungary extradited 18,000 Jewish refugees as well as Polish and Soviet citizens to the German Reich, who were then murdered in Kamenez-Podolski in Ukraine. Following the German Wehrmacht’s invasion of Hungary in March 1944, the deportation of some 424,000 Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau began in May. Miklós Horthy had previously still refused to extradite his Jewish fellow citizens. The Lieutenant Colonel of the SS Adolf Eichmann led the deportations.

In October 1944, the fascist party of the Arrow Cross Party took over control of Hungary with Nazi support. At that time, thousands of Jews were deported from Budapest, selected in Auschwitz concentration camp and transferred to concentration camps or their subcamps for forced labour. Of the 800,000 Jews living in Hungary, approx. 565,000 were murdered during these years.