Viktor Orbán pontificates on 1944

As controversy continues to swirl around the government’s decision to erect a monument commemorating the March 19, 1944 “occupation” of Hungary by the Third Reich,Viktor Orbán decided to explain the symbolism of the monument. If Orbán thought that this lengthy explanation would help his cause, he was mistaken. In fact, he got himself into even deeper water than before.

Thanks to the diligence of the young pro-Fidesz crew of mandiner.hu, the letter is already available in English. By and large, I will use their translation except for a few times when I think the translator misinterpreted the meaning of the original or where there are grammatical errors.

The letter is addressed to “Frau Professor Katalin Dávid.” It seems that Katalin Dávid, a ninety-two-year-old highly respected art historian, wrote something about the controversial monument which she entitled “Memorandum.” Her piece is not available online, although it was either published somewhere or circulated among friends. It seems that she was not unfriendly to the idea of erecting such a monument because Orbán profusely thanks Dávid for her “kind gesture” and notes that her style is superior to the writing of those intellectuals who “use the public tone of general contempt.” Her “Memorandum,” he writes, “is the first to avoid the bar counter of cheap political pushing and shoving that is practically unavoidable these days.” In brief, all those who oppose the erection of the monument behave like crude, presumably soused guys who shout at or even shove each other in a bar.

After expressing his opinion of Hungarian intellectuals, he goes on to share his own ideas about the history of the period. Well, the “cheap” Hungarian intellectuals immediately shot back. József Debreczeni, who is intimately familiar with Viktor Orbán’s thinking, described this pompous letter as both unbecoming and dangerous for the prime minister of a country. Debreczeni, who has a soft spot for József Antall, whom he rarely criticizes, brought up a similar mistake Antall committed when he lectured about what he personally thought of the role of Miklós Horthy. At least Antall was a historian before he became a politician.

The very first problem is that, as usual, Viktor Orbán doesn’t tell the truth about the government’s original concept for the monument and what it was supposed to stand for. He now says that the idea was always to create “a memorial to hundreds of thousands of innocent victims.” Thus, we would have a truly odd situation here: those Jewish organizations who object to the erection of the monument don’t want to see a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Surely, that would be madness. Indeed, it would be if it were true.

But let’s go back to what the government initially wanted the monument to express. The name of the monument was simply: “German occupation of Hungary, March 19, 1944.” The description of the monument emphasized that “Archangel Gabriel [is] the man of God, symbol of Hungary.” There is not one word about victims. Moreover, the government required that “the monument must faithfully reflect the loss of Hungary’s dignity and independence and in its monumentality it must express the tragedy of the occupation that overtook the whole nation.”

But now, for Orbán, the Archangel Gabriel highlights something else as well: the anti-Christian nature of the German regime in 1944. “The invading German empire of the time swept away the two-thousand-year-old European Christian virtues and the Christian expectations and teachings with regard to politics and power, and so the victims, whether of Mosaic faith, Christian or without faith, became the victims of a dictatorship that embodied an anti-Christian school of thought. To successfully grasp this very complicated historical and spiritual structure within a sculptural composition commemorating the victims is a true creative feat.” Indeed, it would be a feat if it had any truth to it. Surely, Viktor Orbán must be confused if, while writing about the Shoa, he focuses on the anti-Christian nature of  “the German empire of the time.” As if the mass annihilation of Jewish people had much to do with the anti-Christian ideology of the Nazi regime. After all, the victims were not sent to the gas chambers because of their religion but because of their genes. (By the way, in the above sentence I changed “orthodox” to “Mosaic faith” because in this context “óhitű” refers to what Hungarians used to call “izraelita vallású.” I want to point out Orbán’s avoidance of the words “Jew/Jewish.”.)

Dialogue Viktor Orbán style Fruzsina Magyar, wife of Imre Mécs, is taken away from Szabadság tér today

Dialogue Viktor Orbán style /  Fruzsina Magyar, wife of Imre Mécs, is taken away from Szabadság tér 

From Archangel Gabriel we can now move on to the symbolism of the imperial eagle. Viktor Orbán also has a definite opinion on that subject. The question for him is whether the invaders were Nazis or Germans, and in his view the invaders were Germans. He bases this opinion “primarily … on constitutional law.” They were Germans “who at the time happened to be living their lives in a country organized according to the Nazi state structure. Differentiating between the two and assessing the implications is the business of the German people and less so that of Hungarian commentators who otherwise acknowledge German national virtues and are usually sympathetic towards the failings of others.” This is how Orbán explains why they don’t use the Nazi variation of the German imperial eagle. Thus, the message is that for the sins of Nazi Germany all living Germans are still responsible. They are the ones who must take care of that problem, says the prime minister of a country whose government and the majority of its population refuse to admit their own responsibility for the Hungarian Holocaust. As for Orbán’s remarks about those wonderful Hungarians who “are usually sympathetic toward the failings of others,” it makes me sick.

His final words on the monument are that “from a moral perspective and with regard to the historical content of its system of allegories, this work is accurate and flawless.”

Now let’s turn to how Orbán views the role of the Hungarian government and the Hungarian people in the events of the Hungarian Holocaust. According to him, it is undisputed that “Germany bears responsibility for what happened in Hungary after 19 March 1944,” and this fact is determined by “our Fundamental Law.” That is, the new constitution which his government proposed and enacted and which claims that as of March 19, 1944 Hungary lost its sovereignty. This might be an undisputed fact for Orbán, but as we know from weeks of historical discussion on the subject it is an immensely complicated issue. Nevertheless, it is well documented that Hungarian authorities played a significant role in the events after March 19.

Hungarians who analyzed this particular part of the text found the following sentences problematic from a historical and lexical point of view. Although Orbán, after stating that Germany was responsible for the events post March 1944, also admits the responsibility of the Hungarian political leadership, he adds that in his view “the charge of collaboration and the related responsibility holds true in this case.” The word “collaboration” is odd here because the word in Hungarian means pretty much what the English meaning of the word is: “treasonable cooperation in one’s own country with an enemy occupation force.” The Hungarian definition adds that a collaborator is a traitor and that we use the term mostly for collaboration in World War II. Orbán, therefore, either doesn’t know the meaning of the word or is purposely using it to emphasize that Germany was an enemy of Hungary. Hungary’s leaders were, it seems, collaborators because they “did not initiate any form of resistance …; they did not launch a national defense or national rescue mission, they did not attempt to protect the freedom and assets of the country’s citizens, and they didn’t even have the strength to set up a government in exile.”

Note that, according to Orbán, Hungary’s leaders are guilty not because of what they did but because of what they didn’t do. It wasn’t that they actively collaborated; rather, they failed to defend the country against the German invaders. This interpretation, it seems to me, pretty well exonerates them from responsibility for the Hungarian Holocaust.

Then comes what Orbán rather mysteriously calls “the issue of cohabitation.” It took me a little while to figure out that he was talking about Jewish/non-Jewish relations in Hungary since he assiduously avoids the mention of Jews in his letter. Orbán asks, in what he describes as the most important question, “What can we do, especially our own generation born after the events who are committed to Christian values, to national self-respect and to national pride based on correct self-knowledge?” In his view Hungarians did everything they could have done. They apologized, they made reparations, “but at the same time we cannot bear a responsibility that is not ours to bear.” Without the German occupation nothing would have happened to Hungary’s Jewish population. Therefore, “without the acceptance of these facts it is difficult to imagine a sincere cohabitation based on trust in the future.”

If I interpret this last sentence correctly, Viktor Orbán tells us that Hungarian Jews and non-Jews who don’t agree with his concept of history ought to leave because “sincere cohabitation” will be impossible. This strikes me as an only lightly veiled threat of the ugliest kind. For good measure here is the last sentence: “And our generation became followers of radical, anti-communist politics because we had had enough of an insincere life built on a lack of trust.” One could ask, what does anti-communism and the lack of trust in the Rákosi and Kádár periods have to do with the relationship between the government and those who oppose Viktor Orbán’s revisionist view of history? What is he talking about? Is he accusing his opponents of ties to the “horrid” communist past? It’s possible.

This whole letter is shameful and outrageous.

 

 

 

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80 comments

  1. Steve:
    >Montgomery never mentioned Horthy’s hate of the “Galicianers” as he called the poor Jews, who were deported before and after the Occupation of Hungary, which consisted in a few SS men and Eichmann’s staff, which occupation consisted of an ally helping to de-jew Hungary by organizing Hungarian Gendarmes and trains, etc.without whose help 400 + thousand could not have been sent to Auschwitz to join the many thousands of dead for whose murder no outside assistance was required by Hungary.
    Horthy who is being resurrected as a good ruler hated the “Galicianers” as he called the bad (poor) Jews and was playing cards with the good (rich) Jews. He was also proud of the Hungarian Jews, who according to him created Hollywood as he told my father in my presence. But that is another story..

    ************************************************************
    Steve,
    All 437 thousand Jews of provinces were “Galicianers” – not that the majority of them were urban Jews in command of a significant part of the economy?
    All 250-280 thousand Budapest Jews were good (rich) and could play cards with the ruler?
    And what financially good did they do for him? Why Horthy ended in Portugal on “welfare”, and those Jews had not advised him to deposit some money in Swiss banks as, I am sure, Putin’s councilors advise him?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Rev. A W Kovacs
    May 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm Quote
    (So too Eva Balogh and others’ ready dismissal of the books by Montgomery and Eckhardt,)
    *****************************************************************
    Rev. A W Kovacs,
    I am unfamiliar with Eckhardt’s book, but Montgomery’s book is an excellent source though it is a priori hated on this site just because it is pro-Horthy, even though the author was frequently critical of his friend. But Montgomery left Hungary in March 1941 so he had no first-hand knowledge of the events after that date. Kallay’s memoirs describe the war time until the occupation, and, of course, there are so many other books. None of the major historians agree with the views of this site on the events of March 19th, 1944.
    Eliezer M. Rabinovich

  2. Sandor, I should have written: “there must have been a few decent clergymen, even ‘though you and I have never met any’. In 1944 during the Arrow Cross terror I stood outside my old school in Keleti Karoly utca where I once was a “konviktor” (a very appropriate name for a young Jewish boy in the Rakoczianum and asked the porter to advise the Principal (the Rev. Gaspar Jeno) to see me. He sent a message to say that he has no time to do so. I asked to see some other of the teachers, all of whom were Catholic priests and none of them were available. These good people all knew why I wish to see them but it was more convenient for them to avoid refusing their old pupil, who was 18 at the time. They knew me well, having been entertained by us in my parent’s home many times. Just one of many example of the could not care attitude towards the murderers of the son of God.

  3. Yes Eliezer, Horthy referred to all the country Jews as Galiciers, the source of this being none other then General Gerloczy Gabor, who was a personal friend (of both Horthy and my father) and the Head Aide-de-Camp until October 15..
    No Eliezer, there were no 250-280 thousand rich Jews in Budapest, most were middle class and some were clerks, etc and termed lower middle class, but there were a large proportion living in the Jewish areas of the capital who were trying to make a living and were never playing cards with Horthy. There were some very rich Jews in Budapest, like Goldberger Leo who died in Mauthausen in spite of palying bridge with the good Admiral and others inclluding Chorin who with members of others from the Weisz Manfred concern flew to Portugal in a plane provided by Himmler of SS fame.
    In any case there were no more than 190-200 thousand Jews in Judapest, but a good proportion of these were in Hungarian labour service.

  4. The reputation of Hungary is being further damaged by its unqualified defenders.
    Eliezer and Rev Kovach and similar contributors are trying to argue decently, but they are achieving the opposite goal.

    We need Deak like blunt analysis, and noble intentions to guide even the last Hungarian out of the mud, the Horthys,Rakosis, Orbans have created.

    steve297’s comments are amazing. He is a great enrichment to this blog.

  5. Steve,
    But if so, as you write now, Horthy, saving the Budapest Jews, cared not only of rich but about everybody. (You were one of them, right?) How many did live in Budapest?

    Majority of the historians accept Horthy’s estimation that 170 thousand were registered in the city and 110 thousand were hidden by the Hungarians. Hidden? – it is almost impossible. But Raphael Patai explains that when after March 19 the Jews were ordered into 1900 “Jewish” houses, 110 thousand disobeyed and continued to live in their old places without being reported. Istvan Deak believes that more than 100 thsd. Hungarians actively helped to the Jews, and the rest simply looked other way. You asked what Montgomery wrote about Horthy’s attitude. The entire book is available on:

    http://www.hungarianhistory.com/lib/montgo/

    A quote:

    “The real exception was Hungary. Discussing Jew baiting, Admiral Horthy once gave me the key to his attitude. “As a boy,” he said, “I have received a good education. I shall not forget it.” Jews to him were human beings as they had been to his idol, the Emperor- King Franz Josef under whom children of Jewish parents had been members of the general staff, generals and admirals. The Regent’s opposition to anti-Semitism was strongly backed by the Hungarian prince- primate, Cardinal Seredi and by both churches. In parliament the Regent’s views on this matter were vigorously voiced by leading aristocrats who in their exclusive club, the National Casino, liked to chant a song of which the refrain was “No, we are not Aryans, we are not Aryans, no!” This referred to the Magyars ‘Turanian descent.

    Anti-Semitism would have been good politics for anyone looking for cheap popularity. Anti- Jewish feelings were but slumbering. They had been very much awake in the early twenties, for two reasons. First, the general misery after the war had made people look for scapegoats, and in the Old World Jews have been the traditional scapegoats. Second, the communist interlude of 1919 was chiefly the work of Jews, according to Professor Jaszi, a leftist writer, who stated that Jewryhad supplied ninety- five percent of the active figures of the revolution. I do not mean this to be construed as indicating that more Jews in Hungary favored communism than Gentiles. I have no way of knowing anything about it, since communism at the time I was there was underground.”

  6. We Need Deak Like Leaders
    May 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm Quote
    >The reputation of Hungary is being further damaged by its unqualified defenders.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The reputation of the nation cannot be damaged by its acceptance of truth.

  7. “The reputation of Hungary is being further damaged by its unqualified defenders.”

    The operative word in this sentence is “unqualified”.

  8. Eliezer Rabinovich
    May 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm Quote
    The reputation of the nation cannot be damaged by its acceptance of truth.
    __________

    Exactly. This is why Orban and Fidesz should accept the responsibility for the past, and move in, versus denying the sad past, rewriting history and with it creating further division in Hungarian society.

  9. Rabinovich, one question and one remark. (1) Could you give the link to István Deák’s claim that 100tdsd Hungarians actively helped Jews? (2) Regardless of what Horthy said to Montgomery, we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps Horthy told Montgomery what he thought Montgomery wanted to hear?

  10. Yad Vashem better start giving out their Righteous among Nations a bit faster, for they have a long way to go. In fact Hungarians received a total of 806 medals (including Mother (posthumous) and daughter for my Mother) and throughout the World there were only 25,271. Either the 100 thousand figure is wrong or some 98 thousand are still waiting to be recognised as Righteous.

  11. Steve you have to understand the difference between estimates (in this case by the famous historian Istvan Deak if I understand correctly) and proven cases supported by documents, statements or other evidence (by Yad Vashem in this case). The fact that the numbers are different does not mean that one is wrong it is important to understand this.

    Let me bring an example that helps understanding the difference:

    – I estimate that there are more than 1 million MSZP sympathizers in Hungary today. I base my estimation on polling, election results and various other factors (not really, because it’s just an example)

    – I ask you to create a documented list with the names of MSZP sympathizers, but only from people where this can be proven

    How many could you include in such a list by name? At first it would be easy, known politicians, MSZP delegates in local councils. But then you would run into problems. There is no way you could create a proven list documenting all sympathizers, complete with names, sources and other deteails.

    Your list would contain a few thousand names at most. While the estimate contains over 1 million. The numbers are clearly different yet It doesn’t mean that they are wrong it only means they measure different things.

  12. Eva S. Balogh:
    May 3, 2014 at 8:26 am Quote
    Rabinovich, one question and one remark. (1) Could you give the link to István Deák’s claim that 100tdsd Hungarians actively helped Jews? (2) Regardless of what Horthy said to Montgomery, we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps Horthy told Montgomery what he thought Montgomery wanted to hear?
    *********************************
    (1) Istvan Deak, The Holocaust in Hungary, pp.148-158, Hungarian Quarterly, Winter 2004, Budapest:

    “Considering, however, that in Budapest most everyone was capable of detecting a Jew and also that most of those in hiding were not denounced, it is likely that at least a hundred thousand Gentiles gave active assistance to the Jews, while many more simply looked the other way.”
    Deak also thinks that about 200 thsd, assisted in the deportations of the country Jews.

    (2) No doubt. Therefore, while Montgomery is a good and honest source, it is definitely cannot be consider as the only one or the major one. In my article on the subject, just published in Russian, there 75 references. On this site in my extensive comments on April 18-19 I gave a date-by-date account of the government activity in 1942-1944 for protection of the Jews.

  13. Eliezer Rabinovich: “(You were one of them, right?)”

    What insolence. If Hungary had ever been proud of exactly this part of history, that part of its Jewish population survived, and if that were less of an accident and more of deliberate policy, probably there would not be any debate about victims and “heroes” after 70 years. In such a case, you would probably be on very good terms with steve because both of you would be proud of what has been achieved. You would just not demand submissive appreciation – the true and deeply felt gratitude would have been there automatically. I suggest you reconsider the appropriateness of your statement: “We could have let you die, but you survived (accidentally but still), therefore you should now treat us as your rescuers (although we did it to save our skin when the war turned against us).”

  14. …because both of you would be proud of what has been achieved, but even more probably unhappy that it was not more who could have been saved.

  15. What are our resident troublemakers doing?
    Are they working overtime to project a false history?
    Horthy was a major war criminal. Period.
    Let us forget the Jewish question.
    Were the ordinary Hungarians killed in WWII not his victims?
    His incompetence was unparalleled.
    Trolls, give up, and leave us alone.

  16. Rabinovich: ““Considering, however, that in Budapest most everyone was capable of detecting a Jew and also that most of those in hiding were not denounced, it is likely that at least a hundred thousand Gentiles gave active assistance to the Jews, while many more simply looked the other way.”
    Deak also thinks that about 200 thsd, assisted in the deportations of the country Jews.”

    I just checked with Professor Deák what he said exactly in this passage. He admitted to me that he has no hard data to support this number. He only thought that there had to be a lot of people to keep one Jewish person alive, fed, and hid.

    However, and this is the important part, he also told me that he was talking here about the last months of 1944. Moreover, in the next sentence he added that “The tragedy is that such popular solidarity was all but inconceivable in the spring when the deportations to Auschwitz took place.”

    That sounds different. Doesn’t it?

  17. While we relentlessly keep on chewing the old bone regarding Horthy’s role, the present rivalling shameful regime just about to erect a heap of kitsch named “Memorial” for shady reasons.
    Would be worth anything to find the original “Memorandum” of Prof. Dávid, because knowing of her I safely dare to assume that she didn’t let the aspects of art out. I guess in particular Archangel Gabriel got some attention too, since one of her field of expertise is the religious art of Hungary.
    In this light I’ve find insulting the way how Orbán lectured the professor on the symbolism of the memorial, albeit not before the necessary reference to the “two-time two- thirds majority” just to ensure the hierarchy established… Obviously, for “iconographic comments” needed only courage, since he has all the knowledge required… Oh, my…

    A bad art used to depict a blatant lie, an eyesore and an outrageous insult on every civilised person of Hungary.
    And right after his pilgrimage a paunchy has been soccer player, presently wannabe dictator lecturing the professor of art history in her subject, in a manner what was common among the ambitious young communists at the time when Viktor Orbán got his appetite for power – as an ambitious young communist.

    Some things just working ever since, aren’t they, comrade Orbán?

  18. The Kozma Street cemetery section 300 is another shady story.
    See Tamas Csapody’s research.
    The executed WWII criminals are mixed with the real heroes of 1956 in their resting places.
    The whining Horthy praisers are invited to cleanse his name, and acknowledge that his henchmen were excellent murderers, but Horthy had nothing to do with them.

    Is the fate of the many decent Hungarians to correct the Horthy worshippers for ever?

  19. Deak Istvan’s throwaway statement not withstanding there were not 100 thousand “active” helpers of Jews in Hungary. There may have been that many, more or less, who have not bothered to betray Jews whom they knew to be vulnerable. That is not exactly “active”. Some no doubt knew the consequences of what may happen to a Jew who is being caught. But even than I cannot agree with Prof. Deak’s assumption. When the Jewish Houses were established it is not conceivable that about one half of the Jews of Budapest defied the regulation.

    But it is true that many Jews did not have to “move” into Jewish Houses, because they already lived there. My parents lived in a house which became one of them and all they had to do is to take in some 20 or 25 Jews into their home, designed for a family of 3 or 4.

    In his May 2nd remarks Eliezer comments that “Horthy, saving the Budapest Jews, cared not only of rich but about everybody. (You were one of them, right?)” In spite of a personal connection between my father and the Regent, I can state categorically that I have never received any help whatsoever from Horthy in my search for survival. (I admit that due to being “good i.e. rich Jews” my parents received Kormanyzoi Kimentetseg which allowed them to hide in a hotel without the yellow star.) Eliezer has read my memoirs and should know better than credit Horthy with my survival, he may as well credit the Arrow Cross for not catching me.

  20. The most noble and most decent Col. ret. Nemes Takach Lajos, Bosze Jozsef, and dr. Mathe Elek were genuine helpers.
    Two of them were married to Jews, and helped members of their extended family.
    Most neighbors and friends have not helped.
    Hungary was not Denmark or Bulgaria. Horthy made it worse than it should have been.

    As earlier said, Eliezer is not qualified to make a judgement. He could assist our esteemed historian, Gyorgy Haraszti in his efforts to deliver new facts to Orban.

    What a comedy!

  21. Steve397, István was a bit careless with his numbers, but it is likely that by the end of 1944 (November and December), the people who were supporting the deportations in the spring and summer thought the better of it. By that time, it looked almost certain that Germany lost the war and the Russians were only a few kilometers away. Non-Jewish supporter of the regime had to think of the future. What about if they will be punished for what they have done to their Jewish neighbors? That may explain why in the last two months of the year, more people were ready to hide their Jewish friends.

  22. activity in 1942-1944 for protection of the Jews.

    From reading here today I think I need to stop bothering to convince people here. Honestly, I am shocked that professor Balogh decided now to check the data with Prof. Deak but – no comments. Just I do not want to provoke another phone call. What November-December, if the order for the Jews to move to separate house was issued on May 3d? Of course, it took sometime to realize it but it was much earlier than in November-December

    KirstenMay 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm:
    > I suggest you reconsider the appropriateness of your statement: “We could have let you die, but you survived (accidentally but still), therefore you should now treat us as your rescuers (although we did it to save our skin when the war turned against us).”

    The statement has nothing to do with me, and I would not comment on it.

    steve397 May 3, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    > that I have never received any help whatsoever from Horthy… . (I admit that due to being “good i.e. rich Jews” my parents received Kormanyzoi Kimentetseg which allowed them to hide in a hotel without the yellow star.)

    So you did receive some personal attention through your family, as I read in your Memoirs and as you admit now.. But I meant another story: you had no threat of deportation because you were a Jew of Budapest, and the deportations had been stopped by the Regent.

    I will translate my research paper into English and will try to make it read by as many people as possible. I am sure Hungary will eventually change its attitude to Horthy-Kallay in a positive way, and I would regret if the Jews would not stand with the whole nation.

  23. I apologise for taking up so much space in this excellent discussion, but why people helped others could be the theme of a fairly voluminous book in which the Christian saviors of the provincial Jews would probably take up a paragraph, as I believe there were very few instances. As is known, Jews were put into Ghettos and then disappeared, there was nothing which the population could do but to carry away what was left in the homes of the deported.

    By the time the Arrow Cross took over, the non-Jewish population of Budapest knew that the country Jews were gone, heaven knows where and those in Budapest were seeing Jews being marched on the streets, saw that Jews in Labour Service were clearing up the bombed streets and some people hid their Jewish acquaintances while others took them in because they pitied the suppressed. Some others have distinguished themselves by simply not betraying Jews to the murderous gangs of nyilas gangsters. (Personally I regard those who helped me or did not betray me with equal appreciation. In my memoirs I list 7 who helped me and my family and 5 who did not betray me.)

    We, today, can only guess why some people turned out to be so brave as to hide a Jew, they must have had a reason, but I think the majority would have done it for humanistic reasons. My father was hidden for a while by a member of the Upper House, who was just a customer of my father’s business, my mother was hidden by an unknown cleaning lady and her midget daughter who fed her and sometime me, just because they judged that it is how it should be, while in the late stages a Viennese lady, who run a “flat of assignment” kept me and my father for money.

    Whatever drove the people to be human in inhuman times, we should be eternally grateful for what this minority has done and each of us should think if they would have done what they have done for whatever reason.

  24. Dear Reader of Horror Stories, I’ll will gladly give you the URL so that you may read my memoirs as an ebook, but if you wish to read a horror story, you will be disappointed. I survived and had a very happy life since and provided I live just until tomorrow when my first 88 years will be up, I intend to continue to be happy and satisfied for another year or two.
    With all this waffle I almost forgot the URL is:
    http://www.foboko.com/ebook/7885/biography-and-autobiographies/the-explanation

  25. @Steve397:

    Thank you for that fascinating story of your life in Hungary!

    Just started reading and couldn’t “put it down” – until my eyes hurt and my wife called me to do some work …

    I wish you all the very best!

  26. I am also reading Steve397’s book and blog.
    What is a horror story if not his childhood 1944?

  27. I have finished about half of Steve’s book and I can only ask everyone here to download and read it and also ask their friends to read it. It is such a fascinating report of terrible (and crazy …) times.

    This book should be read by everyone who wants to understand a bit what was going on in Europe and especially in Hungary in WW2!

    Thanks again, Steve, for sharing this!

  28. There is an English translation of this letter in The Confidential Papers of Admiral Horthy (pp. 267-269). However, that reference to Horthy’s anti-Semitism is not in that letter. It is in a letter to Pál Telek, dated on October 14, 1940. It was also translated and published in The Confidential Papers (pp. 149-152). Here is the passage:

    “As regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite through all my life, I have never had contact with Jews. I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theater, press, commercial enterprise, etc. should be in the hands of Jews, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad” (p. 150)..

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