March 1, 2013 | Author Robert Landori
On Sunday, March 19, 1944 – almost exactly to the day seventy-nine years ago – the German Army occupied Hungary because Hitler did not trust his ally Admiral Horthy’s troops, battling alongside the Germans on the Russian front, to fight hard enough against the advancing Red (Soviet) Army.
Hitler wanted at all costs that Hungary help slow down the Russians’ advance on the German Fatherland.
The Jews of Hungary, who, ‘til then had lived in relative safety in that country, suddenly found themselves in mortal danger. SS Colonel Adolf Eichman, in charge of the Nazis’ plan for the Final Solution, arrived in Budapest the day after the German Army did, salivating to get his hands on the last vestiges of Central European Jewry: 725,000 souls.
“In April 1944, Hungarian authorities ordered Hungarian Jews living outside Budapest (roughly 500,000) to concentrate in certain cities. Hungarian gendarmes were sent into the rural regions to round up the Jews and dispatch them to the cities.
In mid-May 1944, the Hungarian authorities, in coordination with the SS, began to deport the Hungarian Jews.
In less than two months, nearly 440,000 Jews (that’s SEVEN THOUSAND A DAY) were deported from Hungary in more than 145 trains, mainly to Auschwitz. but thousands were also sent to the border with Austria to be deployed at digging fortification trenches. By the end of July 1944, the only Jewish community left in Hungary was that of Budapest, the capital.” (The US Holocaust Encyclopaedia: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005458 )
THE BOTTOM LINE: Out of three-quarters of a million Hungarian Jews, half a million were kille d during the period of nine months, from April to December 1944.
This logistical challenge could never have been met without the willing cooperation of the Hungarian Law Enforcement agencies, mainly the police and the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie.