Scrapbookpages Blog

March 17, 2018

The Hungarian Jews who were deported to Bergen-Belsen

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 2:33 pm

The Deportation of the Hungarian Jews

Bergen-Belsen camp, April 1945

According to Eberhard Kolb, who wrote a book entitled “Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945,” Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had opened a special section at the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp on July 8, 1944, where 1,683 Hungarian Jews from Budapest had been brought. The Jews in the Hungarian section were treated better than all the others at Bergen-Belsen. They received better food and medical care and were not required to work nor to attend the daily roll calls. They wore their own clothes, but were required to wear a yellow Star of David patch. The Bergen-Belsen camp had different categories of prisoners, and the Hungarian Jews were in the category of Preferential Jews (Vorzugsjuden) because they were considered desirable for exchange purposes.

Prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen camp

The first transport of 318 “exchange Jews” left the Bergen-Belsen Hungarian camp on August 18, 1944, bound for Switzerland. On August 20th, the trainload of Hungarian Jews arrived in Bregenz and then went on to St. Gallen the next day.

Hitler had given his permission in December 1942 to release Jews for ransom, so Himmler was not going against established Nazi policy.

On August 21, 1944, three SS officers (Kurt Becher, Max Grüson and Hermann Krumey) who were representing Himmler, and a representative of the Budapest Jews, Rudolf Kastner, met with Saly Mayer, a leading member of the Jewish Community in Switzerland. The meeting took place in the middle of a bridge at St. Margarethen, on the border between Germany and Switzerland, because Mayer refused to enter Germany and he also did not want the SS men to enter Switzerland, according to Yehuda Bauer.

Becher asked for farm machinery and 10,000 trucks, and in return, he promised to free 318 Hungarian Jews from Bergen-Belsen.

In a show of good faith, the train with the 318 Jews was already waiting at the Swiss border. Mayer offered minerals and industry goods instead of the trucks.

According to Yehuda Bauer, Becher later claimed that he had persuaded Himmler not to deport the Budapest Jews, and that was why Himmler issued an order to stop the deportation three days later.

A second group of 1,368 Hungarian Jews left the Bergen-Belsen detention camp on December 4, 1944 and entered Switzerland just after midnight on December 7th, according to Yehuda Bauer. Altogether, there was a total of 2,896 Jews released for ransom, including a transport of 1,210 Jews from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, who entered Switzerland on February 7, 1945.

After the departure of the second Hungarian transport to Switzerland in December, more transports from Budapest continued to arrive at Bergen-Belsen and the Hungarian section remained in existence there until April 15, 1945 when the camp was voluntarily turned over to the British by Heinrich Himmler.

According to Eberhard Kolb, it was a transport of Hungarian Jews in February 1945 that bought in the lice that started a typhus epidemic in the camp. The delousing facilities in the camp had been temporarily out of order at that time.

After the Hungarian Jews had entered Switzerland, there were false reports by the Swiss press that the Jews were being ransomed in exchange for asylum for 200 SS officers who were planning to defect. When Hitler heard this, from Ernst Kaltenbrunner who was no friend of Himmler, he ordered all further releases of Jews for ransom to stop.

Between April 6 and April 11, 1945 the Hungarian Jews were evacuated from Bergen-Belsen on the orders of Himmler who was planning to use them as bargaining chips in his negotiations with the Allies. Himmler still had hopes that the Western Allies would join the Germans in fighting against the Communist Soviet Union.

The next day, on April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died and Hitler and Himmler truly believed that America would now join them in their war against the Communists.

The Jews in the Star Camp and also in the Neutrals Camp were also evacuated, along with the Hungarians, in three trains which held altogether about 7,000 Jews who were considered “exchange Jews.”

One of these trains arrived with 1,712 Jews on April 21, 1945 in the Theresienstadt Ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Two weeks later, the Theresienstadt Ghetto was turned over to the Red Cross, just before Soviet troops arrived with Russian doctors to take care of the prisoners who were sick with typhus.

The other two trains from Bergen-Belsen never made it to Theresienstadt because they had to keep making detours due to frequent Allied air attacks, according to Eberhard Kolb. One of the trains finally stopped on April 14th near Magdeburg in northern Germany; the guards ran away and the Jews on the train were liberated by American troops.

The third train halted on April 23, 1945 near the village of Tröbitz in the Niederlausitz region; they were liberated by Soviet troops after the guards escaped.

 

Eli Wiesel – A famous Hungarian Jew

1 Comment »

  1. It’s all a LIE!

    jrizoli.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/holocaust-its-all-a-lie/

    JR

    Comment by Jim Rizoli — March 19, 2018 @ 10:06 am


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