Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwtiz-Birkenau on May 26, 1944
The Holocaust, as we know it today, is mostly about the Hungarian Jews.
This quote is from a recent news article, which you can read in full here.
They [the Hungarian Jews] were massacred by their fellow Hungarian citizens.
Sent to their deaths through the efficient work of their elected government’s bureaucrats.
Their neighbors, their business partners, their fellow club members, the chimney sweeps, police officers, tax collectors, the electric meter readers, the mailmen, the chauffeurs, their grocers and their teachers actively and willingly participated in the genocide.
The Jews – regardless of their social standing – eagerly and efficiently were served up to the gallows and ovens on a silver platter by elected public office. Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944.
It was not until May 1944, when the Hungarian Jews were deported, that Auschwitz-Birkenau became the site of the largest mass murder in modern history and the epicenter of the Final Solution.
In 1942, there were 2.7 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, including 1.6 million at the Operation Reinhard camps, but only 200,000 Jews were gassed at Auschwitz that year in two old converted farm houses, the little red house and the little white house. This information is from the book Auschwitz, a New History by Laurence Rees, published in 2005.
Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944.
Up until the Spring of 1944, it had been the three Operation Reinhard camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor, that were the main Nazi killing centers for the Jews, not Auschwitz.
The order to round up the Hungarian Jews and confine them in ghettos was signed by Lazlo Baky of the Royal Hungarian government on April 7, 1944. Jews in Hungary had been persecuted since 1092 when Jews were forbidden to marry Christians.
The deportation of the Hungarian Jews began on April 29, 1944 when a train load of Jews were sent to Birkenau on the orders of Adolf Eichmann, according to the book by Laurence Rees.
According to The Holocaust Chronicle, a huge book published in 2002 by Louis Weber, the CEO of Publications International, Ltd., another train filled with Hungarian Jews left for Birkeanu on April 30, 1944; the two trains with a total of 3,800 Jews reached Birkenau on May 2, 1944. There were 486 men and 616 women selected to work; the remaining 2,698 Jews were gassed upon arrival.
On May 8, 1944, former Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss [Hoess] was brought back to Auschwitz-Birkenau to supervise the further deportation of the Hungarian Jews. The next day, Höss ordered the train tracks to be extended inside the Birkenau camp so that the Hungarian Jews could be brought as close as possible to the gas chambers.
Train tracks were extended from the Auschwitz station into the Birkenau camp
According to Laurence Rees, in his book Auschwitz, a New History, the first mass transport of Hungarian Jews left on May 15, 1944 and arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on May 16, 1944. The mass transports consisted of 3,000 or more prisoners on each train.
On April 17, 1943, after Bulgaria, another ally of Germany, had refused to permit their Jews to be deported, Hitler met with Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian leader, in Salzburg and tried to persuade him to allow the Hungarian Jews to be “resettled” in Poland, according to Martin Gilbert in his book entitled Never Again. Admiral Horthy rejected Hitler’s plea and refused to deport the Hungarian Jews.
From the beginning of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis in 1933, until March 1944, Hungary was a relatively safe haven for the Jews and many Jews from Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland sought refuge within its borders. However, in 1938, Hungary had enacted laws similar to the laws in Nazi Germany, which discriminated against the Jews.
On September 3, 1943, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies and turned against Germany, their former ally. Horthy hoped to negotiate a similar deal with the Western allies to stop a Soviet invasion of Hungary.
“Sonderkommando Eichmann,” a special group of SS soldiers under the command of Adolf Eichmann, was activated on March 10, 1944 for the purpose of deporting the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz; the personnel in this Special Action Commando was assembled at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and then sent to Hungary on March 19, 1944 during the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday.
On March 18, 1944, Hitler had a second meeting with Horthy at Schloss Klessheim, a castle near Salzburg in Austria. An agreement was reached in which Horthy promised to allow 100,000 Jews to be sent to the Greater German Reich to construct underground factories for the manufacture of fighter aircraft. These factories were to be located at Mauthausen, and at the eleven Kaufering subcamps of Dachau. The Jews were to be sent to Auschwitz, and then transferred to the camps in Germany and Austria.
When Horthy returned to Hungary, he found that Edmund Veesenmayer, an SS Brigadeführer, had been installed as the effective ruler of Hungary, responsible directly to the German Foreign Office and Hitler.
On March 19, 1944, the same day that Eichmann’s Sonderkommando arrived, German troops occupied Hungary. The invasion of Hungary by the Soviet Union was imminent and Hitler suspected that Horthy was planning to change sides. As it became more and more likely that Germany would lose the war, its allies began to defect to the winning side. Romania switched to the Allied side on August 23, 1944.
After the formation of the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA) in 1939, Adolf Eichmann had been put in charge of section IV B4, the RSHA department that handled the deportation of the Jews. One of his first assignments was to work on the Nazi plan to send the European Jews to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa. This plan was abandoned in 1940.
In 1937, Eichmann had gone to the Middle East to research the possibility of mass Jewish emigration to Palestine. He had met with Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, with whom he discussed the Zionist plan to create a Jewish state. According to testimony at his trial in 1961 in Jerusalem, Eichmann was denied entry into Palestine by the British, who were opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine, so the idea of deporting all the European Jews to Palestine was abandoned.
At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, at which the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was planned, Eichmann was assigned to organize the “transportation to the East” which Holocaust True Believers claim was a euphemism for sending the European Jews to be killed at Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Hungarian Jewish children walking to the gas chamber at Birkenau; they were allowed to carry their pails of food into the gas chamber
The next day after German forces took over Hungary, Adolf Eichmann arrived to oversee the process of deporting the Hungarian Jews. There were 725,000 Jews living in Hungary in 1944, including many who were previously residents of Romania, according to Laurence Rees, who wrote Auschwitz, a New History.
The Jews in the villages and small towns were immediately rounded up and concentrated in ghettos. One of the ghettos was located in a brick factory in the city of Miskolc, Hungary, where 14,000 Jews were imprisoned while they waited to be transported to Birkeanu. Many of the Holocaust survivors, still alive today, talk about the brick factory. Famous survivor, Irene Zisblatt, was one of the Jews who was allegedly at the brick factory, before being sent to Auschwitz.
Hungarian women are not happy after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau
One of the Hungarian Jews who survived Auschwitz was Alice Lok Cahana, whose story was recounted by Laurence Rees in his book entitled Auschwitz, a New History.
Alice was 15 when she was registered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, but in spite of being over the age of 14, she was sent, only months later, to the gas chamber in Krema V and told that she would be given new clothes after taking a shower.
According to Alice, the purpose of the red brick Krema V building was deceptively disguised by red geraniums in window boxes, so that the prisoners would not suspect that they were going into a gas chamber. Alice was inside the gas chamber in Krema V when the revolt by the Sonderkommando unit in Krema IV began on October 7, 1944. This was the occasion when the Sonderkommando blew up the Krema IV gas chamber building with dynamite that had been sneaked into Birkenau by some of the women prisoners who worked in factories outside the camp.
Laurence Rees wrote:
But the revolt did save some lives. It must have been because of the chaos caused by the Sonderkommando in crematorium 4 that the SS guards emptied the gas chamber of crematorium 5 next door without killing Alice Lok Cahana and her group.
Another famous Hungarian survivor was Iby Knill, who was 18 years old, and working as a resistance fighter in Hungary when she was arrested and eventually transported to the Birkenau death camp in June 1944, according to a news article by Virginia Mason, published on January 26, 2010.
Iby’s story begins when she was a young girl growing up in her native Czechoslovakia; when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, she escaped over the border into Hungary but was arrested as an illegal immigrant.
“There were five of us, all girls and we made a pact to stay together as we walked through those gates and were greeted by the man we later learned was Dr Josef Mengele,” she says of her arrival at Birkenau. “From that day on it became a test of survival.” Miraculously, she adds, all five of them lived to witness the liberation from the Nazis in 1945.
By 2010, Iby had started writing her survivor story and was seeking a publisher for her manuscript.
According to Iby Knill, “The shower unit and the gas chamber looked the same. They had been built that way, so we never knew if we were to be gassed or just showered.”
In her lectures on the Holocaust, Iby described the infamous Dr Mengele, whose experiments in the name of medical science earned him the nick name, Angel of Death. “We lined up and he would walk in front of us, picking out the weakest. Their fate was the gas chambers.”
She wrote about the cramped, inhuman conditions at Birkenau, the incredible hunger and thirst, and worst of all, the scraps of gray, latherless soap made from human ashes, and the constant fear of extermination in the gas chamber.
According to her story, Iby was able to leave the Birkenau death camp only by volunteering to go to the Lippstadt labour camp, a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, where she worked in the hospital unit. On Easter Sunday, 1945, while on a death march to the main Buchenwald camp, she was freed by Allied Forces.