Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 17 Jul 2020 22:40

Why was keeping the Hungarian Jews in the labor companies of the front-line divisions unfeasible in 1944? I mean, shouldn't the Hungarian senior officers have supported this just as much in 1944 as they did in 1943?

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2020 04:14

The labor companies were always excluded from the deportations, they were a part of the Army, it was not going to happen.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 18 Jul 2020 04:42

I meant keeping Hungarian Jews in these labor battalions after the Nazi German invasion of Hungary in March 1944.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 18 Jul 2020 04:43

wm wrote:
15 Jul 2020 10:23
67875047_390403128331417_6154791948822511616_n.jpg :)
I'm sorry; I didn't take a look carefully enough. :( I get it now, though. :)

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2020 06:06

Futurist wrote:
18 Jul 2020 04:42
I meant keeping Hungarian Jews in these labor battalions after the Nazi German invasion of Hungary in March 1944.
Actually, it seems the Soviets were a greater threat to them.
Paradoxically, the forced labor system emerged "as practically the only governmental institution actively involved in the saving of Jewish lives," as Professor Braham emphasizes. Most of those who were enrolled in the labor battalions avoided the deportation and had a greater chance of survival than those deported to the concentration and extermination camps. Moreover, when the Eastern front advanced westward, and mainly when it reached Hungarian soil, a fairly large number managed to escape, crossing over to the Russians or going into hiding until their liberation by the Soviets.
Another unique and paradoxical feature of the tragedy of Hungarian Jewry exists in the fact that a great number of members of the labor battalions driven to the Eastern front fell into Soviet captivity. More than 90.000 Hungarian Jews were detained in Soviet POW camps for many years, the last ones being released as late as in 1950. In the Soviet camps where in most cases the authorities did not make any distinction between the Jewish victim and his former torturer some four or five thousand Hungarian Jews found their death.
Bela Vago, Jewish Social Studies Vol. 41, No. 3/4
It was around midnight. A few thousand German and Hungarian army prisoners were herded together into marching formations. We were told that a two hundred kilometre southeastern trek had been ordered. The night was starless, yet a pale, full moon shed eerie light onto the trackless, frozen wasteland. ...
In ditches were the naked bodies of murdered SS and Hungarian soldiers. Their jackets and shirts had been ripped off and long knives were embedded in their bellies.

We marched throughout the night without being afforded either food, drink nor given respite. Some of the soldiers had fainting spells and dropped down between the marching columns. The Russians clobbered them with their rifles.
Prisoners pulled up their comrades and dragged them along the route. Some Hungarian soldiers wrapped their army overcoats around the shoulders of their former German allies, trying to disguise and protect them from the unbridled venom of the guards. They were not in a forgiving mood. ...

During the day a severe blizzard stowed blinding snow onto our trail. The Russians considered us as enemies not deserving of pity. At dusk, after having marched for sixteen hours, we were given a thirty-minute rest. Everyone received a few tiny clumps of dark, frozen bread which was too hard to chew. I put the small ration inside my pocket hoping that after a few hours, body heat would sufficiently thaw it out.

We were prodded on to resume our laborious march. I felt near the end of my strength. Lack of sleep, food and drink, the unforgiving, seemingly infinite march had sapped my energy.
War and Hope A World War II Memoir by Ludwig Matyas

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Jul 2020 13:27

Hi wm,

In successive paragraphs you wrote, regarding the Labour Battalions;

(1) "Actually, it seems the Soviets were a greater threat to them."

And

(2) "....when the Eastern front advanced westward, and mainly when it reached Hungarian soil, a fairly large number managed to escape, crossing over to the Russians or going into hiding until their liberation by the Soviets."

This seems inconsistent.

Sid.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2020 14:53

They escaped and were sent to to the Gulag anyway.

Ludwig Matyas was one of them, he and colleagues deserted, tried to join the Red Army but were sent to Siberia instead.
The Soviets didn't need POWs they needed slave workers, as many as possible.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Poot » 18 Jul 2020 16:51

wm wrote:
18 Jul 2020 06:06
It was around midnight. A few thousand German and Hungarian army prisoners were herded together into marching formations. We were told that a two hundred kilometre southeastern trek had been ordered. The night was starless, yet a pale, full moon shed eerie light onto the trackless, frozen wasteland. ...
In ditches were the naked bodies of murdered SS and Hungarian soldiers. Their jackets and shirts had been ripped off and long knives were embedded in their bellies.

We marched throughout the night without being afforded either food, drink nor given respite. Some of the soldiers had fainting spells and dropped down between the marching columns. The Russians clobbered them with their rifles.
Prisoners pulled up their comrades and dragged them along the route. Some Hungarian soldiers wrapped their army overcoats around the shoulders of their former German allies, trying to disguise and protect them from the unbridled venom of the guards. They were not in a forgiving mood. ...

During the day a severe blizzard stowed blinding snow onto our trail. The Russians considered us as enemies not deserving of pity. At dusk, after having marched for sixteen hours, we were given a thirty-minute rest. Everyone received a few tiny clumps of dark, frozen bread which was too hard to chew. I put the small ration inside my pocket hoping that after a few hours, body heat would sufficiently thaw it out.

We were prodded on to resume our laborious march. I felt near the end of my strength. Lack of sleep, food and drink, the unforgiving, seemingly infinite march had sapped my energy.
War and Hope A World War II Memoir by Ludwig Matyas
Wm, is this section above a description of a battle in 1942? I'm not familiar with either the author or the book and I'm trying to get an idea where SS and Hungarian troops were taken prisoner together, and a member of a Labor Battalion would be among them.
Thanks,
Pat
Last edited by Poot on 18 Jul 2020 17:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2020 17:10

A suburb called Kőbánya, he and others were hiding there in an anti-aircraft bunker.

He was liberated in the morning, and around midnight he was forced to join a "few thousand German, and Hungarian army prisoners herded together into marching formations."

So it's likely the Germans and Hungarians were taken prisoners at various places and then "herded together."
A few thousand is rather too many for a single surrender.

Although he only says "in ditches were the naked bodies of murdered SS and Hungarian soldiers", he doesn't say it was near the place where they were herded. The text I omitted more or less says it happened later.
Last edited by wm on 18 Jul 2020 17:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Poot » 18 Jul 2020 17:12

Ah, that clarifies things. Thank you for adding that information.
Best,
Pat
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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 23 Sep 2020 01:54

Question--had some parts of the Hungarian countryside managed to have their Jews survive until the Arrow Cross coup in October 1944 just like the Budapest Jews managed to do (for instance, had Horthy managed to halt the deportations of Hungarian Jews earlier, while some Jews would have still remained in the Hungarian countryside), just how much easier or more difficult would it have been for international diplomats (people such as Raoul Wallenberg, Carl Lutz, et cetera) to conduct a rescue operation in the winter of 1944-1945 to save these Jews in the Hungarian countryside just like they managed to save a majority of Budapest Jews from the Arrow Cross in real life?

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Poot » 23 Sep 2020 05:06

Futurist,
I believe you answered your own question.
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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 23 Sep 2020 06:18

I don't think that I did, did I? For what it's worth, if I were to try answering my own question, I would suspect that it would have been harder because the Hungarian countryside would have been far from these diplomats' Hungarian base of operations (which, AFAIK, was Budapest). The fact that these diplomats were saving Jews in the very same city that they were stationed in must have been of significant help to them, I'm presuming? This made it much easier to set up things such as safe houses and whatnot where they could successfully hide Jews. Setting up safe houses in the Hungarian countryside when you don't have much of a presence there would, I suspect, have been considerably harder.

Anyway, what do you think?

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Sep 2020 07:07

Hi Futurist,

As I understand it, the Jews were largely urban, rather than rural. Removal to Auschwitz began in Northern Transilvania, where Hungarians were not a clear cut majority. It then moved on to provincial Hungary proper. Budapest was to have followed but the development of the war largely saved its Jewish population. The diplomats probably only had any influence on the back of the deteriorating war situation.

Cheers,

Sid..

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Futurist » 23 Sep 2020 07:10

What about if the war situation would have hypothetically deteriorated sooner for the Axis, though? Then some of the Jews in the Hungarian countryside could have been saved until the Arrow Cross would have seized power in Hungary, no?

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