Josef Gundel - Hungarian tank commander

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Post by Orok » 15 May 2004 12:38

hardi wrote:Orok is the professional of Hungarian Army (M.kir.Honvédség); I'm just interested in the hungarian Waffen-SS :)
Thank you hardi for your kind word. I am not professional at all, I am just interested in this subject and took some time to read! :lol:
BTW I am looking forward to your works! :D

Hungarian citizens (or rather subjects, for Hungary was nominally still a kingdom during the war) in German Armed Forces is a very complicated issue waranting a book length study. Put it into a nutshell, Hungarian citizens were not allowed to join German Armed Forces (or for that matter any foreign military organizations) under both Hungarian laws and the treaties between Hungary and Germany at the start of War. Hungarians of German ethnic origin (that in practice largely refers to people who still spoke German as their first language, not those people who had a German surname and/or with ancestors who were German speaking!) were allowed to volunteer for Waffen-SS after mid-War under serious German pressure, but those who indeed volunteer would lose their Hungarian citizenship automatically, at least on paper. This reflects the general loss of control by Horthy and his posse on Hungarian internal affairs. However it is only after the full occupation of Hungary by the Germans and the advent of the Szalasi administration that Hungarians were "free" to join the German Military. In reality they were mosted drafted "freely" by Waffen-SS recruiting squads roaming through Hungarian countryside, especially in areas where German was formally used as a major Language (e.g. some areas in Transylvania, etc.). Towards the last few weeks of the War the Szalasi government reached an agreement with the Waffen-SS, according to which the Waffen-SS were to train and equip several Divisions of Hungarian troops for the defense of Hungary and these troops were to be evenly divided between Waffen-SS under German control and Honved under Hungarian control. According to this agreement the Hungarian military transferred a large number of Hungarians, mostly new volunteers for the Honved (not for German forces) and Honved personel (mostly NCOs and junior officers), into German hands for training. However only one and half Waffen-SS division was actually formed which were poorly equipped, totally untrained and did not see any real fighting (with the exception of a few small pre-existing Waffen-SS units which were transferred to form part of the Divisions).

In summary, with perhaps a few exceptional persons, there was no such thing as Hungarian soldiers and officers of the wehrmacht as claimed by you. However if you have any sources (first or second hand) and materials proving the contrary (You must have them since you bother to make such a claim here! 8) don't you?) I would like very much to see them and take some time to study and analyze them with you for our common interests!

As to Hungarians (either Magyar or German in nationality) in Waffen-SS hardi is the expert who can give you detailed information if you have any specific questions. There is fortunately a short but serviveable study in English by A. J. Munoz: Teutonic Magyars: Hungarian Volunteers of the Waffen-SS, which first appeared in installments in the Axis Europa Magazine, then published in its entirety as an appendix to the book The Hungarian Army and Its Military Leadership in WWII. There is also a very good unit study of one of the mostly Hungarian Waffen-SS division: For the Homeland: The History of the 31st Waffen-SS Volunteer Grenadier Division, by the young Hungarian scholar Rudolf Pencz, which has been published in English translation recently and fairly easy to find.

Best Regards and have a nice weekend!

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Re: Josef gundel - Hungarian tank commander

Post by coldwarspook » 27 Mar 2012 15:33

@Balrog - Thank you for this information :

actually, he was not my relative, he was my german professor at my military university(the Citadel) . he was a really great guy. he died my senior year in college. i even attended his funeral which was held in the university chapel.
It is amazing,not only to learn about how Joe's life ended at the Citadel,but to actually see photos of him during the war! Thank you,everyone.
From 1963-64,I was a student in the Hungarian course at the Defense Language Institute (formerly Army Language School),Presidio Of Monterey,CA. He was one of my instructors there,and as you say,he was indeed a great guy.
I recall him being of average height but with broad shoulders,jet-black hair,and those slightly-slanted eyes that characterize Hungarians of more Eastern extraction. A ready smile,deep voice (probably somewhat accounted for by his cigarette habit),and a fairly pronounced limp which he said was caused by a motorcycle accident on the Eastern Front.
Can't remember any reference to being a tank commander,but that doesn't mean he didn't mention it - 1964 was some years ago now! Because of his friendly demeanor,he naturally became a favorite among the students. And since we also studied culture,we learned of the famous Gundel family and their widely-celebrated enterprises,the Gundel restaurant and their hotel on Gellert hill overlooking Budapest.
My experience there at the school is among my fondest memories. I still have very good command of Hungarian,and correspond frequently with a friend in that country. Joe was one of the people who made that possible. R.I.P.,baratom,es Isten eltesse.


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Re: Josef Gundel - Hungarian tank commander

Post by PatSchenning » 06 Oct 2019 10:59


I was also a student at ALS in 1963-64, studying Hungarian. I would love to connect with you to discuss Joe Gundel and related stuff. I can be reached at [email protected]
Pat Schenning (in school my name was Selmeci Pal)

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