4.1. The number of defenceless victims. The organization of armed bodies preparing the assassinations.
Following the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944, the "final solution" ( Endlösung ) of the Jewish question was carried through with almost timetable punctuality. The occupation was described by György Ránki.1 The occupation of Hungary was accomplished with so-called "evolutionary method." Hungary’ s full friendship towards Germany and the absolute economic exploitation of the country by Germany were guaranteed, as well as the full opening of the country for German military purposes. Within this and in the interest of all this "the final solution of the Jewish question" was also assured. I am not going to deal with the antecedents, schedules, laws and decrees of the Hungarian puppet government. This was written by Randolph L. Braham.2A detailed summary of anti-Jewish laws and decrees was published by Róbert Vértes: Zsidótörvények és rendeletek 1938-1945 - Anti-Jewish laws and decrees 1938-1945.3 Keeping in view the contemporary maps I prepared a Holocaust map under the title: "Holocaust Hungary 1944"4 As regards the role of Hungarian public service, I published a comprehensive study under the title: "Parancsra tették? - Did they do it on order?5"
This time I am going to deal exclusively with new data and sources in all likelihood opening up new data, as regards the Carpatho-Ruthenian region of zone I. of deportations and confining to ghettos. Braham makes it perceptible: why did North-Transsylvania and Carpatho-Ruthenia get to the first place in the "action". The government realized it already that "the Galicians and the aliens" are more defenceless than the other assimilated strata, that it is possible to hand over further labour force to the Germans, and that the radical "measures" can be justified with the approach of the Red Army. On April 7, 1944, Carpatho-Ruthenia was declared an operational area. The ordinance 6163/1944 BM res. was outlined by László Endre, state secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, responsible for the plan to make Hungary a "territory free of Jews." ( "Judenfrei" )Confining to ghettos began on April 12, 16 days before the issuing of the executive order. Concentration camps were established at the following places in the first zone: Munkács, Ungvár, Beregszász, Nagyszöllos, Huszt, Técso, Máramarossziget, and in Trianon Hungary: Sátoraljaújhely, Kassa and Nyíregyháza. In the neighbourhood of Munkács, on the yard of a factory, under the open sky 14,000 Jews from Bereg county were confined to ghetto. The 13,000 Jews of Munkács were crammed together on April 18 in a part of the Jewish quarter of the city. The Jews from villages were deported up to May 15, those from towns up to May 24. The terms of the deportation of the groups: 17,000 Jews from Ung county, up to May 31; Appr. 10,000 Jews from Beregszász up to May 29; 14,000 Jews from Nagyszöllos up to June 3; 11,000 Jews from the camp at Huszt, up to June 6; Appr. 9,500 Jews from the camps at Iza and Técso, up to May 22.
Today it is still not possible for us to check the figures. It has, however, been proven many times that besides the local population the following categories were also brought uncounted to concentration camp: non-registered children below the age of 6 not compelled to wear the yellow star; persons exempted from wearing the star; fugitives from other countries; Jews staying in that locality on that day just by chance; persons took off the train or just in transit; sometimes forced labour servicemen who have just arrived for a leave. Whoever would have listed those perished under the open sky and in box-cars? We cannot even estimate their number.
Seeing so many tragedies, it is perhaps not decisive if we modify and supplement with further data the figure of 88,500 - much lower than the mass of deportees - given by Prof. Braham. Supplement it, to give an accurate register of the victims, in order to preserve their memory. At the level of our present knowledge a./ we can furnish data on the organization and personnel of the Hungarian gendarmerie, which executed the confining to ghettos, and prepared the mass murders. This could help searching for and finding traces; b./ We can rely upon the punctual public service data of 1944 in the Gazetteer of Hungary. This would help a detailed research concerning the Jewish population of individual settlements. Research of infrastructure, the language- and religious composition of settlements is made possible by indexes in Hungarian and Russian c./ We can publish the list at our disposal containing data of persons.
I found relevant documents in offices of a different profile. Starting from these, additional research would be promising.
The organization which carried out the persecution of Jews and prepared the mass murders, began to function punctually and organically. In the fall of 1940 it presented itself to the public too. This organization of Trianon Hungary gained a lot of experiences in the course of the invasion, during the purge of nationalities and in preparing the mass murder. It made Carpatho-Ruthenia "a territory free of Jews." It’ s name was: The Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie. Carpatho-Ruthenia belonged to the 8th gendarmerie district of Kassa. The gendarmerie departments of Nyíregyháza and Máramarossziget also belonged to this district.
The gendarmerie was characterized by a manifold centralization. The "staff" was at the head of the district. Colonel Gyozo Tölgyessy was the commander. Corps directly attached to the commander were: No. 8. subdivision of Kassa and the No. 8/1 so-called investigation sub-division of Ungvár. The investigation subdivision No. 8 was led by the notorious major "vitéz" László Ferenczy and his subordinates: Dr. István Balló and Béla Tukora-Bakos. Major "vitéz" Zoltán Ághy headed the investigation subdivision No. 8/1. His deputy was Imre Karabélyos, and his subordinate was captain László Bánki.
The divisions, organized on a territorial principle, were in subordination of the "staff" commander. Division commanders: "vitéz" Jeno Kiss in Ungvár, Dezso Farkas in Beregszász and lieutenant-colonel István Nagy in Nyíregyháza.
There were so-called "wings" under the divisions. Under Kassa ( commander István Majoros ):1. Kassa ( wing-commander: Jeno Sípos ) and 2 Sátoraljaújhely ( wing-commander László Megay );
Under Ungvár: 1. Ungvár ( wing-commander: major Zoltán Zékány ) and 2. Nagyberezna ( wing-commander: captain Imre Vad )
Under Beregszász: 1. Beregszász ( wing-commander: Géza Stachó ) and 2. Munkács ( wing-commander: Jeno Zajzon. )
Under Nyíregyháza: 1. Nyíregyháza.( data missing. )
There were "sections" or "platoons" under the "wings": 4 under Ungvár, 3 under Beregszász, 3 under Munkács, 3 under Kassa and 2 under Nyíregyháza The sections ( platoons ) did not cover the district scheme of public administration, embraced an area differing from the district. Each gendarmerie outpost ( the smallest unit in the organization ) came directly under the command of the section( platoon ) commander. The outposts were established with special care, on the basis of special consideration, according to the size and accessibility of villages and small towns, and according to what extent are these localities endangered "from the viewpoint of national security." The number of personnel of the outposts was fixed accordingly, from 7 to 19. The sections ( platoons ) under the 4 divisions of Carpatho-Ruthenia ruled over 492 towns, villages and scattered localities, in the strict sense of the word. Within the area of their supervision the longest distance was 16 km. The grade of mechanisation of the gendarmerie, under those circumstances, was high. Data on all outposts of the gendarmerie are at our disposal. So is the so-called "list of accommodation" of the gendarmerie on which there are even the names of very small locations and hamlets not to be found in the detailed Gazetteer either.
The gendarmerie received ex-officio directly all the ordinances and instructions of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. In both ministries a separate "gendarme liaison department" dealt with military, administrative and surveillance co-ordination. "Co-operation" was brought about with the local organs of the Customs and Finance Guard. Financial regulations were implemented by none else but the gendarmerie. All in all: the gendarmerie became the chief organ of military dictatorship. In zone No. I of deportations, at Kassa, Ungvár, Sátoraljaújhely, Munkács, Beregszász, Nagyszöllos, Huszt and Máramarossziget a German command was stationed.40 All these together accelerated deportations, including that the main railway line to Auschwitz ran through Kassa, the center of the region. And this happened at the time when the final outcome of the war became clearer and clearer in Europe. German military defeats followed one another. Nobody stood by the victims: the Hungarian Jewish Community deserted them, the Christian churches betrayed humanism. 134-160,000 men, all able to work and fight, were in prison called labour service.6
In the introduction I indicated the sources. I quote one of the most interesting the documentary units of sample value:
An incomplete list of 2012 persons from Ungvár. The register is posterior, it was prepared in Hungarian after the deportations. It is worth studying from the sociological point of view and for the evaluation of properties. It gives the name of the "proprietor of the house;" the name of the earlier tenant; the address of the house; the yearly rent of the house; the quality of the house: how many rooms face the street and the backyard, is there a hall, bathroom, kitchen, pantry, cellar. On this basis the house is classified according to categories I-III. The name of the head of the family moved into the house is also given in each case. I enclose 4 pages as sample. It could be a contribution to the sociological assessment of Ungvár by computer in the future.
4.2. The Holocaust sources. Indicators which can be used as a basis for statistical work and analysing by computer.
A huge amount of descriptions and personal remembrances are at our disposal. The documents examined by me also produce new data; the protestation of courageous Jews - for example - against the deprivation of their civil rights; the orders of court condemning Christians supporting Jews; the inventory of "Jewish assets" including cots, 6 sheep, matters; letters from Tarnopol and from the time of the march to the death-camp in Kamenets. The dull enumeration of the documentary units below and found recently are more shocking than anything else. The matters touched upon is a series of new documents presenting the size and organization of the impersonal institutions. Just a few examples of lists acquired through a "romantic" way from Carpatho-Ruthenia, quoting human destinies:
- Orders and instructions issued by the sub-prefect of Ugocsa county banning the activities and withdrawing the permits of Jewish attornies, doctors and craftsmen in Nagyszöllos with a complete list.
-The sub-prefect issued instructions on the "handling of Jewish holdings". As regards the same procedure, see: documents of Szürke village from Ung county dated July 10, 1944 ! The correspondence with the notarial district ( an administrative unit smaller than a district but larger than a village ) contains lists of properties. These documents contain additional data on the claim of church- and secular office bearers;
-The list of the Jewish population of Nagyszöllos town with addresses, 912 persons. In all cases there are complete families, large families in general;
-The list from Ungvár contains the names of 2042 Jews. The names of the first 41 persons - that is, the first page - still cannot be found. The list handed in by the Community and controlled by local authorities, can serve as a guideline for all those concerned. ( One can find in the list the address and name of the previous tenant, the size of the flat, the number of rooms, the enumeration of conveniences: kitchen, pantry, bathroom, cellar, ante-room, the grading of the flat into category I., II., or III. The original document was written in April 1944. The names of the new "owners" were put on the list later in hand-writing by the official. ) The houses and flats were handed over on July 10 to the "beneficiaries." We found the 3rd and 4th copies of the lists hand-written by the communities of Csap and Tiszasalamon. The list from Csap - dated April 4, 1944 - contains the names of 332 Jewish persons. Their names, professions and particulars of birth are also on the list. There are 22 persons on the list of Tiszasalamon.
Up to now we did not find the lists compiled by Jewish communities. Now, however, we found the trace of three original lists. Béla Nagymihályi, the district notary of Csap, on April 8 1944 under No. 2168/1944 submitted to the Ministry of the Interior "one copy each of the lists of names complied by the Jewish communities of Csap, Tiszasalamon and Tiszaásvány." The same lists were sent to the head of the district public administration too. The lists are unique from the historical point of view. These are copies of lists sent to Department VII./res. of the Ministry of the Interior about ghettos and deportations. No trace of the lists can be found in the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior so far.
The sub-prefect of Bereg county compiled a complete list of Jewish real assets, including homes. Later on he let these real assets as state property.
We have a deportation list from Ungvár too, - the fourth largest city after Nagyszöllos, Máramaros and Munkács. Other lists are also available, from which the full drama of the Holocaust can be reconstructed. For example the list of Jewish assets; the closing down of Jewish shops; the list of names of 168 Jewish craftsmen, dated May 10, 1944.
There is no list of deportations from Ung county, but the already mentioned list of names of 1942 and its files checked by the army as well as "the list and distribution of nationalized land" dated 1943, substitute the register of victims. The lists of homes, shops and workshops, records of properties and a large number of documents on the letting out of homes are also available.
It is characteristic of the atmosphere and the responsibility of the whole Hungarian public service that they did not at all count with the return of the Jews. A proof of this is the fact that the list of names of the deportees was immediately combined with the register of occupancy of left-behind Jewish homes. At some places, next to the names of the new residents we found their profession ( from day-labourers to beer merchants ) and religion ( from Calvinists to Greek orthodox ) as well as the address of their left-behind homes with the number of rooms. The case of 66 Jewish families from Bustyaháza ( Técso district ) is an example. The Royal Customs Office gave the flats and houses into the possession of new owners already on July 25, 1944.
The ghetto- and deportation lists sent to Department VII. of the Ministry of the Interior usually contained the names, too, of persons in Jewish labour camps. The importance of this was that when returning home or checked on the train, they could have been deported immediately. That’ s why the number of those actually condemned to death is higher than that of the officially deported persons.
In conclusion, I return to my thesis stated in the 2nd chapter: A significant segment of Hungarian society was interested in the Holocaust, saw the token of the rise of its own existence in it. The annihilation of the Jews was absolutely in the interest of tens of thousands, - though they themselves did not kill.
I quote two from the many examples. The first comes from the public administration branch office in Rahó: "List compiled by the village of Gyertyánliget of landed property to be placed under trusteeship." The list contains the names of 70 persons condemned to death, the names and profession of 70 new tenants and the quantity of land confiscated from the dead. The list was signed by the economic inspector in Huszt, on June 2, 1944.
The other is "the resolution No. 343/1944 VGF. by the economic inspectorate of the public administration branch office in Máramaros, Huszt district, regarding the appointed estate managers-tenants on the territory of the village of Veleta."
The trains were still on the way to Auschwitz, when on May 17, 1944, new owners were appointed on the pasture, plough-land and meadow of 79 Jews. The date of approval by the chief economic inspector is May 24, 1944. The largest piece of "land" was 2.5 cadastral yokes( 1.4 hectares )!
1Ránki, György: 1944 március 19. ( Budapest, 1978. )
2Genocide, pp. 394-430, 547-569 and 664-677.
3Vértes, Róbert: Zsidótörvények és rendeletek - Anti-Jewish laws and decrees, 1938-1945, Budapest 1997.
4Sochnut, Budapest 1995.
5In: Fifty years, pp. 405-425.
6Szita, Szabolcs: A zsidó munkaszolgálat - Jewish labour service, In: Fifty years pp. 338-340. Gazsi, József: Levéltári kutatás a munkaszolgálat történetéhez - Archival research to the history of forced labour service, Holocaust füzetek 9. sz. pp. 164-165 and 181-183.