Hungarian Jews

the tragedy of the destruction of Hungarian Jewy is that it came late in the war. The deaths of approximately 550,000 Hungarian Jews occurred between May and July 1944; most of them were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Germany occupied Hungary on March 19, 1944 in response to the threat of the approaching Soviet Army. Prior to that time the authoritarian government of Hungary, although allied with Nazi Germany, resisted German demands to implement the Final Solution program.

The occupation forces included a Sonderkommando unit headed by Adolf Eichmann. Between May and July 1944 Eichmann succeeded in deporting 440,000 Jews. However, the Hungarian government stopped the deportations in July. In October 1944 when the fascist Arrow Cross Party overthrew the Horthy government in a coup d'etat Eichmann was able to resume his murderous activities.

Eichmann was opposed by efforts to rescue Hungarian Jews, most notably by the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest by creating safe houses and distributing protective passports, the so-called Swedish Schutz-Passes.

Source: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

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