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Remembering Hungary’s occupation by Nazi Germany

March 20th, 2019

A historian remembering Hungary’s 1944 occupation contends that the Allied powers ignored the fate of Hungarian Jews. Another young historian calls for a more nuanced and less politicized interpretation of the 1944 events.

On Index, the US-based historian László Borhi citing recently discovered historical documents claims that the Allied powers provoked Germany to invade Hungary, ignoring the implications for Hungarian Jews. Borhi recalls that in 1943, the Hungarian government actively negotiated with the Allied powers Hungary’s surrender, but London and Washington preferred Hungary’s Nazi German occupation in order to weaken the German army’s capacity to engage with the planned Allied landing operations in Europe. In their strategic calculations, the Allied powers completely disregarded the implications of Hungary’s occupation for the then 825,000 strong Jewish population, Borhi contends.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Bernát Veszprémy calls for thorough historiographic research to go beyond the highly politicized myths concerning Hungary’s 1944 occupation by Nazi Germany. The conservative historian writes that the Left likes to interpret Hungary’s invasion as if it was welcomed by the whole country, while the Right wants to blame all responsibility for the Holocaust on the German invaders. Veszprémy thinks that most Hungarians were passive bystanders rather than actively protesting or welcoming Hungary’s occupation. Hungary lost its sovereignty on March 19, 1944, he writes, and the majority of Hungarian Jews were taken away when Regent Horthy was still in office, and before the  Arrow Cross movement took power.

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