The Arrow Cross Party and the Hungarian holocaust

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michael mills
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The Arrow Cross Party and the Hungarian holocaust

Post by michael mills » 15 Sep 2005 00:22

[This thread was split off from the "Jews and Shoes" discussion at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=85670 and recaptioned by the moderator -- DT]

The most important thing about the Arrow Cross movement is that it was entirely home grown, a result of political developments within Hungary itself.

When Arrow Cross activists rounded up groups of Jews in Budapest in the winter of 1944-45 and shot them, they were not acting as German puppets, but rather carrying out an action that they themselves desired, for reasons that were not imposed from outside but arose from the internal Hungarian socio-economic and political context.

The men of the Arrow Cross were almost all proletarians, and were in revolt against the conservative Hungarian Establishment consisting of large landowners and the nobility. Their anti-Jewish attitude, in particular their fierce hatred of the upper-class Jews of Budapest, was part of their resentment against the Hungarian ruling class.

It is an interesting fact that after the war large numbers of the lower-ranking members of the Arrow Cross were recruited en masse into the Hungarian Communist Party. After all, from the point of view of Communist ideology, they were ideal candidates; of proletarian origin, revolutionary in outlook, and fiercely opposed to the former Hungarian ruling class.

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Post by Pieter Kuiper » 15 Sep 2005 00:26

michael mills wrote:The most important thing about the Arrow Cross movement is that it was entirely home grown, a result of political developments within Hungary itself.
How did they come to power?

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Post by michael mills » 15 Sep 2005 00:45

How they came to power is not really relevant to what they did when they were in power.

What you need to realise, Mr Kuiper, that anti-Jewish attitudes were wide-spread among the populations of Eastern European countries, and were not simply imposed by German occupiers.

The attitudes of lower-class Hungarians such as the members of the Arrow Cross were a result of socio-economic conflicts within the country, in which Jews, who controlled some 20% of the national wealth, were major players, not just helpless pawns.

The elimination of the Jewish minority of Hungary was the climax of a long period of socio-economic conflict origination in the backward social system in the country, in which the Jews became involved when they migrated to Hungary from Poland and began assume an important economic role.

The German occupiers were simply the facilitators of that process, which was to a large extent internally driven. It was radical elements within the Hungarian political structure, elements opposed to the conservative Establishment, that pushed the deportation of Jews from the Hungarian provinces.

When the conservative Establishment faltered and was replaced by the German occupiers, Hungarian revolutionaries took over and began eliminating the remaining Jews within Hungary on their own initiative.

Such a momentous event as the elimination of a sizable minority from Hungary and other Eastern European countries could only come to pass because millions upon millions of ordinary people in those countries, mainly from the deprived lower classes, felt a very strong resentment against the Jewish caste for economic and social reasons. It was not a case of one man or one political movement imposing its will.

Vox populi, vox dei. Remember that.

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Post by David Thompson » 15 Sep 2005 01:09

Michael -- You wrote:
The men of the Arrow Cross were almost all proletarians, and were in revolt against the conservative Hungarian Establishment consisting of large landowners and the nobility. Their anti-Jewish attitude, in particular their fierce hatred of the upper-class Jews of Budapest, was part of their resentment against the Hungarian ruling class.
and
Such a momentous event as the elimination of a sizable minority from Hungary and other Eastern European countries could only come to pass because millions upon millions of ordinary people in those countries, mainly from the deprived lower classes, felt a very strong resentment against the Jewish caste for economic and social reasons. It was not a case of one man or one political movement imposing its will.

Vox populi, vox dei. Remember that.
Remember this: Source your claims.

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Post by michael mills » 15 Sep 2005 03:23

Here is some brief information on the Arrow Cross Party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_Cross_Party

In elections in 1939, it gained over 25% of the vote and became one of the most powerful political parties in Hungary. So it was a mass movement, with considerable support from the Hungarian population.

Its support came largely from industrial and agricultural workers, so it was primarily a proletarian party.

Thus, an avowedly anti-Jewish party received the support of over 25% of electors. That is a fair indication of the wide-spread nature of anti-Jewish feelings among the Hungarian population at the time.

As indicated in the above article, after achieving its stunning electoral success in the 1939 elections, the party was banned by the conservative Hungarian Establishment.

I would also direct readers to the book "Das Letzte Kapitel" by Götz Aly and Christian Gerlach, which contains an analysis of the important place of the Jewish minority in the Hungarian econmy, and the extent to which the elimination of that minority was pushed by Hungarians for internal political reasons, and not simply imposed by the German occupiers. It also contains information on the extent to which rank-and-file members of the Arrow Cross were recruited by the Communist Party after the war (despite the fact that the leaders were tried as war criminals in Communist courts).

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Post by David Thompson » 15 Sep 2005 06:12

Here is some brief information on the Arrow Cross Party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_Cross_Party
As you are no doubt aware, a number of readers have questioned Wikipedia as a source, due to the uneven quality of scholarship and the use of its articles for polemical purposes by certain nationalistic political groups and factions. However, if you wish to commend its free articles to our readers, caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware).

Readers may find "Das Letzte Kapitel," by Götz Aly and Christian Gerlach, more reliable.

When I get the chance I will try to scan some information on the Arrow Cross Party and post it here.

Readers interested in learning more on the fate of the Hungarian Jews may find these threads helpful:

Arrowcross brutality and the "House of loyality"
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=20458
German documents on the Jews of Hungary
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=62876
"Das letzte Kapitel": Book on deportation of Hunga
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=24804
Tibor Ferencz on the Hungarian Jews 1944
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=48085
The meeting between Hitler & Horthy on 16/17 April 1943
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=10044
David Irving and the Klessheim Conference
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=17408
Wallenburg
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=21973

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Post by Pieter Kuiper » 15 Sep 2005 07:12

michael mills wrote:The elimination of the Jewish minority of Hungary was the climax of a long period of socio-economic conflict origination in the backward social system in the country, in which the Jews became involved when they migrated to Hungary from Poland and began assume an important economic role.
How long was this period? When did these Jews migrate to Hungary? Did Hungary's Jews speak Polish?

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Post by TISO » 15 Sep 2005 19:17

Vox populi, vox dei. Remember that.
Not under German occupation. Remember that!

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Post by David Thompson » 15 Sep 2005 19:28

Thus, an avowedly anti-Jewish party received the support of over 25% of electors. That is a fair indication of the wide-spread nature of anti-Jewish feelings among the Hungarian population at the time.
To substantiate your inference, you need to show that the Arrow Cross Party had an anti-semitic platform in 1939, and that this program had a major influence on the voting results.

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Hungary to Deport Non-Hungarians in Occupied Yugoslavia

Post by Globalization41 » 17 Sep 2005 05:44

Budapest, Hungary, By Telephone to The
New York Times,
Thursday, May 1, 1941: All
Serbians, Montenegrins, Bosnians, gypsies, and
Jews who did not reside in Hungary before
Oct. 3, 1918, and their descendants, have been
ordered to leave the territory recently taken
from Yugoslavia by Hungary. They may take
with them only as much of their personal
belongings as they can carry and only such
valuables and cash as they will need for the
expenses of their voyage. ... Specific
instructions have been given by the military
command, which issued the order, as to how
these people must leave the country. ...
Hungarians and Germans married to foreigners,
as well as their children, may remain in the
country. Women two weeks before or after
childbirth and all persons over 75 years of age
will be permitted to remain also. ... ...
Budapest, Hungary, Associated Press, The
New York Times,
Thursday, May 1, 1941: The
newspaper Pester Lloyd reported today from
Zagreb, where there are about 10,000 Jews,
that Chief of State Ante Pavalitch had approved
a new Jewish law for Croatia providing that only
those who can prove they are Croats and non-
Jewish and have not actively opposed the Croat
movement will be considered citizens. All other
residents will be considered subjects. ... The
race law is similar to that in Germany,
distinguishing among Jews, half-Jews, and
quarter-Jews. All changes of Jewish names
since December, 1918, lose their validity.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 17 Sep 2005 06:55


Pieter Kuiper
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Re: Hungary to Deport Non-Hungarians in Occupied Yugoslavia

Post by Pieter Kuiper » 17 Sep 2005 07:43

Globalization41 wrote:Budapest, Hungary, Associated Press, The
New York Times,
Thursday, May 1, 1941: The
newspaper Pester Lloyd reported today from
Zagreb, where there are about 10,000 Jews,
that Chief of State Ante Pavalitch had approved
a new Jewish law for Croatia providing that only
those who can prove they are Croats and non-
Jewish and have not actively opposed the Croat
movement will be considered citizens.
On September 27 1941 the Swedish daily newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Stockhoms-Tidningen quoted La Stampa:
Italian Newspaper asks; To where have 50,000 Jews in Croatia been taken? ....
When Dr. Pavelitj took power there were 50,000 Jews in Croatia ...
five months later there are none. Where have they been taken?
Five months after a new government, none exist in the country. ...
No one is said to know where they were taken or to where they disappeared.
(quoted by Paul A. Levine, From Indifference to Activism.)

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 20 Sep 2005 05:25

michael mills wrote:
The elimination of the Jewish minority of Hungary was the climax of a long period of socio-economic conflict origination in the backward social system in the country, in which the Jews became involved when they migrated to Hungary from Poland and began assume an important economic role.
How long was this period? When did these Jews migrate to Hungary? Did Hungary's Jews speak Polish?
Jews began to migrate in large numbers into the Kingdom of Hungary at the end of the 18th century, from the formerly Polish province of Galicia which was annexed by the Habsburg Monarchy in 1772.

Before that, smaller numbers of Jews from the Austrian provinces and Bohemia-Moravia had migrated into Hungary from the end of the 17th century onward, from the time when Hungary was reconquered from Ottoman rule. However, their numbers were not significant compared with the immigrants from foremr Polish terriotry.

The Jewish immigrants from Galicia spoke Yiddish, as did almost all East European Jews at that time. Most settled in the northern and north-western counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, the areas that later became Slovakia, Ruthenia and Romanian Transylvania, and in those areas they continued to speak Yiddish and to practise their traditional occupations of petty trading, artisanry, and the production and distribution of hard liquor.

Some of those Jews eventually moved to central Hungary, particularly to Budapest, where they became highly assimilated and rose in the social scale, assuming a major role in the economy. The film "Sunshine" is an excellent presentation of the social process whereby a Jewish liquor-distiller in the back-blocks of Hungary moves to Budapest and becomes part of the Hungarian Grosse Bourgeoisie.

The Jews of central Hungary for the most part gave up Yiddish and adopted Hungarian. Budapest acquired a very large Jewish population, so much so that some wits good-humouredly renamed the city "Judapest", which in German means "plague of Judea".

The "Hungarian" Jews deported in 1944 came overwhelmingly from the areas which Hungary had lost in 1919 and regained between 1938 and 1940, ie south Slovakia, Ruthenia, north Transylvania, ie the Jews least assimilated to Hungarian culture and society. The highly assimilated Jews of Hungary Proper were not greatly affected by the deportation.

By contrast, the Arrow Cross reign of terror in the winter of 1944-45 was aimed precisely at the assimilated, upper-middle-class Jews of Budapest. In that respect the Arrow Cross may be regarded as a proletarian revolt against the Jewish middle class.

A detailed account of Jewish settlement in Hungary may be found in the book "Hungarian-Jewish Studies", published by the World Federation of Hungarian Jews, New York, 1966-1969.

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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 20 Sep 2005 05:48

By contrast, the Arrow Cross reign of terror in the winter of 1944-45 was aimed precisely at the assimilated, upper-middle-class Jews of Budapest. In that respect the Arrow Cross may be regarded as a proletarian revolt against the Jewish middle class.
Having just finished Ungvary's history of the siege of Budapest, I'd like to point out that the Arrow Cross was not a popular political party or movement among the Budapest populace. In fact, most of the Arrow Cross leadership fled the city (along with with Gestapo and RSHA notable like Adolf Eichmann) on December 24 1944 just before the city was trapped by Soviet military forces. Rather than a "proleterian revolt", it was gangs of rabid Arrow Cross mercenaries who instigated a series of pogroms against the Jewish civilians trapped in the city during the winter 1944/45 siege.

he most important thing about the Arrow Cross movement is that it was entirely home grown, a result of political developments within Hungary itself.
The most important thing about the Arrow Cross party was that it was always the most pro-Nazi of Hungary's political factions.
How they came to power is not really relevant to what they did when they were in power.
Actually, how the Arrow Cross came to power is really relevant. The Arrow Cross came into power immediately following Hitler's coup of the Admiral Horthy government (i.e. Operation PANZERFAUST) in October 1944. Arrow Cross leader Ferenc Szalasi was in essence Hitler's Hungarian puppet.
The German occupiers were simply the facilitators of that process, which was to a large extent internally driven. It was radical elements within the Hungarian political structure, elements opposed to the conservative Establishment, that pushed the deportation of Jews from the Hungarian provinces
And Adolf Eichmann was running the whole show.
What you need to realise, Mr Kuiper, that anti-Jewish attitudes were wide-spread among the populations of Eastern European countries, and were not simply imposed by German occupiers.
I don't think anyone's ever argued that the Germans invented European antisemitism, or that other middle European fascist movements didn't do their own share of brutal scapegoting and dehumanization of the Jews. What exactly is your point, other than an insinuation that Hungarian Jews got too "uppity" and got what they deserved from the proleterian masses?

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Post by michael mills » 20 Sep 2005 06:46

Anybody who claims that Eichmann was "running the whole show" in Hungary simply does not know the histroy of the deportation from that country in 1944.

Again I would recommend the book by Aly and Gerlach for a thorough analysis of the background to the deportation, and its origin in internal Hungarian politics.

Eichmann was nowhere near the most important German official in Hungary from 15 March 1944 onward. He was in fact subordinate to the BdS (commander of the German Security POlice), who was, if my memory serves me correctly, somebody called Geschke.

Eichmann and the Sonderkommando under him were responsible for organising the transports of Jews out of the country. The great majority of the men under his command, about 300, provided the escorts for the transports.

But the rounding up of the Jews, and the decision which Jews to put on the trains and which to keep in the country, were actions by the Hungarian Government, with the major agency being the Hungarian Gendarmerie.

And the fact that Eichmann left Budapest for the last time on 24 December 1944 shows that he was not in charge of the depredations by the Arrow Cross militants, which continued by their initiative all through January 1945.

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