Official announcements on the fate of the Jews in Pécs, 1944

A few weeks ago I received a newly published book entitled Kötéltánc (Rope walking) by Sándor Krassó, a Holocaust survivor from Pécs. It is not a work of a professional historian but of an eyewitness, not a comprehensive history of the fate of the Pécs Jewish community but snippets from the year 1944. I managed to identify a few people who appear in the book, among them a high school classmate of my father and the woman who had an elegant children’s clothing store with whom I had quite a dispute over the winter coat I was supposed to get.

Perhaps the most moving part of the book was the list of official announcements that appeared in the local paper, Dunántúl, between March 23 and July 6, 1944, the day the Jewish inhabitants of the city and some smaller towns nearby, about 6,000 people in all, were led to the main railroad station to be sent to Auschwitz. The Pécs Jewish community had been gathered into the ghetto on May 6, which was sealed on May 21. I don’t think I have to add anything to these terse announcements. They speak for themselves. They also happen to be relevant to our discussion about the nature of the Horthy regime’s final days.

March 31: “Jewish households cannot employ Christian servants. … Jewish engineers, actors, lawyers must be removed from the professional associations … From April 5 on all Jews over the age of six must wear on the left side of their coats a canary-yellow six-pointed star.”

April 1: “László Endre, administrative undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, told the reporters of Esti Újság that the government decrees are only the beginning of the final solution of the Jewish question. In the opinion of the Hungarian nation the Jewry is an undesirable element from moral, intellectual, and physical points of view. We must seek a solution that would exclude the Jewry from the life of the Hungarian nation.”

April 6: “On Wednesday the cabinet made the decision to limit the free movement of Jews within the country.”

April 9: “Jews by April 10 must report the details of their radios by registered mail.”

April 15: “A Jew must declare all his assets on official forms. His assets cannot be sold, given to someone else, or pawned.  He must separately declare real estate. A Jew cannot own stocks and cannot have more than 3,000 pengős in cash. Failure to follow this order may mean six months of incarceration.”

April 18: “All Jewish white-collar employees must be dismissed.”

April 19: “Ten people were charged for failure to wear the yellow star… one of them was interned.”

April 21: “All Jewish merchants must shut down their stores.”

April 23: “Jews can receive 300 grams of oil and 100 grams of beef or horse meat per month.”

April 25: “Dismissed Jewish clerks cannot be employed by the same firm even as laborers.”

April 27: “Jews cannot purchase lard.”

April 30: “All Jews must turn in their bicycles to the Pécs police station within twenty-four hours.”

May 4: “Within three days Jews must turn in their musical instruments and pieces of art.. .. For example, pianos, violins, records, paintings, statues, ceramics.”

May 6: [The authorities designated a certain part of town as the ghetto.] “Each room housed five people…. Out of the twenty Jewish doctors in town, five moved into the ghetto.”

The Pécs Railroad Station

Source: www.vasutallamasok.hu / The Pécs Railroad Station 

May 10: “Jews cannot take any valuables into the ghetto… They are allowed to take 50 kg total including bedding … Pécs Jews turned in 38 tons of lard, two tons of goose fat, and 60 kg of smoked meat. … Their radios must be turned in on May 11 and 12.”

May 12: “The government commissioner in charge of the press ordered all forbidden Jewish books to be collected for 5 pengős per ton.” [including works by such authors as Heinrich Heine, Martin Buber, Stephan Zweig, and, among Hungarians, Ferenc Molnár, Frigyes Karinthy, and Sándor Bródy]

May 18: “The City of Pécs offers for sale Angora rabbits turned in by the Jews.” [On the same day there were four suicides by Jewish men and women.]

May 20:  “The Pécs police authorities suspect that Jews are giving their jewelry and gold to Christians for safekeeping. All valuables of Jews belong to the state. Christians who harbor such goods will be severely punished. They can be interned.”

May 21: “No Jew’s book can be published…. Tens of thousands of Jewish books will be reduced to pulp…. We are making a reality of what Ottokár Prohászka and Lajos Méhely demanded.”

June 11: “1,200 claims were received for Jewish houses and apartments.”

July 2: “The Jewish ghetto will be closed. The Christian families can move back to their old apartments shortly.”

July 6: [the day Pécs  Jews boarded the box cars] “The ghetto is empty.”

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Minusio
Guest

This terrible summary of events looks like the highly condensed version of how the German nazis did it over twelve years. All compressed into less than four months. It is unbelievable. But we know that it is true and we should never forget.

tappanch
Guest

1941 census [1930 census]. There were 3,486 [4,030] people with “Israelite” religion in Pécs. In Baranya county, outside Pécs, there were an additional 2,498 [2,560] people.

The Jews of Southern Baranya were deported to Auschwitz via Sopron on May 27.

There were two trains to Auschwitz from Pécs. The first train, with 3,100 Jewish people from Pécs itself left on July 4, 1944. Two days later, the second train carried 2,500 Jewish people who had lived in the countryside. It took two days for each train to arrive at the border town of Kassa [Kosice].

Guest

Not totally OT:

There just surfaced an incredible story from Munich. An old man seems to have in his possession many famous pictures (Picasso etc …) which originally belonged to German Jewish collectors and were taken away from them by the Nazis. His father somehow managed to keep their existence unknown. Now the German government is pondering what to do – the first families/former owners have come out asking for a return …

O, I forgot:

The value of the collection is estimated at around one billion €, yes one thousand million €!!!!!

Minusio
Guest

Less OT: Relatives of my girlfriend who lived in the Hungarian countryside were also deported and killed during those four months in 1944. The day after they disappeared their little shop was plundered and their house occupied by “true” Magyars, their neighbours.

grantbg
Guest

So sad.

spectator
Guest

“All Jews must turn in their bicycles to the Pécs police station within twenty-four hours.”
……………
Somehow it struck me as one of the lowest.
How can anybody, who supposed to be a Human Being came to such idea at all?

And there are people who willing to resurrect these “old glorious times”, claim to belong to the Human race too, even Hungarians of all that.
We will never learn, obviously.

JGrant
Guest

My father, along with his family, have first took on Hungarian surnames and about 20 years later left their Jewish faith and became Calvinists. This was a full 25 years before 1944. Therefore nobody in his factory knew that he was born Jewish. Until somebody reported to the authorities this fact, after which he was interned. Later he was taken to Sopronkohida and then to Mauthausen. From there he was taken further West to Gunskirchen where the Americans freed him. He arrived home half dead and only lived another 12 years or so. I still have his yellow star he had to wear. I saw in the photos of the 5-600 protestors at the inauguration of the Horthy statue today that many of them were wearing the Jewish star. Good on them. I was out of town all day, so I couldn’t join them, but it gave me a good feeling that at least there are some people who do not let these appalling events go unchallenged.

andy 'view from hell'
Guest

Ma, Vasárnap, Horthy szobrot avattak Budapesten!

Horthy Miklós levele gróf Teleki Pálhoz, 1940. október 14-én:

“Ami a zsidókérdést illeti, én egész életemben antiszemita voltam, zsidókkal sohasem érintkeztem. Tűrhetetlennek tartottam, hogy itt Magyarországon minden-minden gyár, bank, vagyon, üzlet, színház, újság, kereskedelem stb. zsidókezekben legyen, és hogy a magyar tükörképe – kivált külföldön – a zsidó. Azonban, minthogy a kormányzat egyik legfontosabb feladatának az életstandard emelését tartom, tehát gazdagodnunk kell, lehetetlen a zsidókat, kiknek minden a kezükben volt, egy-két év leforgása alatt kikapcsolni, és hozzá nem értő, leginkább értéktelen, nagyszájú elemekkel helyettesíteni, mert tönkre megyünk. Ehhez legalább egy emberöltő kell. Én hirdettem talán először hangosan az antiszemitizmust, azonban nem nézhetek nyugodtan embertelenségeket, szadista, oktalan megaláztatásokat, mikor még szükségünk van rájuk.”

andy 'from under the elephant'
Guest

We are on the “küszöb” (threshhold) of a NEW age. Some people are delighted, others are sad.
Some people feel sick to the stomach.
Its creepier than ever.

tappanch
Guest

For Hungarian speakers:

The legend of the “lady with a holdall” from Pecs.

http://www.urbanlegends.hu/2012/02/a-pecsi-szatyros-holgy-legendaja/

“She survived 1944 in a pit dug in the ground.”

andy 'no mardi-gras here'
Guest

They sure know how to celebrate Haloween over here !!!

Jano
Guest

Andy: Yes, this perfectly describes Horthy’s antisemitism. Yes, he wasn’t a Nazi, he certainly didn’t want to exterminate the Jews and he is rightly not deemed a war criminal (or at least about 44-45, 19-20 is much less obvious). On the other hand he was an antisemite in this “weak sense” nevertheless and there is nothing to praise about him or erect statues for.

Even if one makes peace with the person, I think his name stands for an entire period and and political system which made a pact with the devil and eventually lead the country into a catastrophe. That is certainly not something to declare continuity with.

GordonBlő
Guest
OT: an article about the rural public work program. http://nol.hu/belfold/20131102-kozmunkaban_nyugdijig The local sources tell the journalist that among rural people Orbán is actually getting more popular. Those who do not participate in the program (they like Orbán because the prgram brought order and assuaged perceived injustice, that is the former receipt of welfare payment without work) and also those who participate in it (they got to like it, it’s an OK money after all and people can stay in their communities) like Orbán better and better. Also these locals are afraid that after a change in government the program would be cancelled (so people would get money without work and participants would not be able to so anyhting). I add that rural people are often also socially conservative and uneducated to have more political information beyond Fidesz-controlled state media. Of course, the program is enormously expensive — all the services performed by the workers could be done 1/3 of the costs, but after all it’s a welfare program for the rural region (intended foremost to purchase votes for the money and it worked). Again, the Left has nothing to say (Bajnai opposed it as being inefficient, which it is, though… Read more »
Member
Jano : Yes, this perfectly describes Horthy’s antisemitism. Yes, he wasn’t a Nazi, he certainly didn’t want to exterminate the Jews and he is rightly not deemed a war criminal (or at least about 44-45, 19-20 is much less obvious). On the other hand he was an antisemite in this “weak sense”… “Weak” Anti-Semitism? Letter of Miklos Horthy to Count Pal Teleki, 1940, 14 October [3 months after the annhilation of the Pecs Jewish population]: “As to the jewish Question, I have been an anti-semite all my life, I never had anything to do with jews. I find it intolerable that here in Hungary every last factory, bank, fortune, store, theatre, newspaper, business, etc. is in jewish hands, and that the image of Hungary abroad is that of the jew. However, since one of government’s most important tasks is to raise living standards, and for this we have to increase our wealth, it’s impossible within a year or two to phase out the jews, in whose hands everything resides, and replace them with loud-mouthed incompetents, otherwise we’ll be ruined. To do this requires at least a lifetime. I was perhaps the first to proclaim my anti-semitism loudly, yet I cannot… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

A long interview from 2011 with Professor Braham about Hungary and its Holocaust:

http://magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/egy-dicso-nemzetkep-erdekeben-77380

Minusio
Guest

One shouldn’t forget either that blatant or ‘salon’ antisemitism has been largely present in Europe for centuries. Even in part of my grandmother’s generation. All of this I can’t understand. At least they just only wanted not to have anything to do with Jews socially, but they would never have wanted to kill them. Is was basically a (stupid) societal thing which I still don’t totally understand – because they made exceptions…

But two facts remain:

– It was Hungary that – in modern times – first introduced antisemitic laws.
– It was Nazi-Germany that thought of and organised the holocaust in an almost bureaucratic manner- and found more than 100 000 willing – no: exceedingly keen – helpers in Hungary, too. They found helpers in many other countries. But the keenest and most efficient were, in fact, Hungarians. This is disturbing.

tappanch
Guest

The Fidesz reaction to the Horthy bust was characteristic yesterday.

Rogan, the Jewish “expert” of the party reprimanded Jobbik
for giving opportunity to the foreign press to ‘shout about antisemitism in Hungary’.

But he did not have any bad word about Horthy or his policies.

Is the image of Horthy on public property or on Church property?

If it is erected on public property, Rogan, as mayor of district 5 is responsible for not removing the sculpture built without permit.

If it is on Church property, the current leadership of the Calvinist Church just gave another proof of its pro-Horthy and pro-Jobbik policies.

Guest

@Stevan: “1940, 14 October [3 months after the annhilation of the Pecs Jewish population]” are you sure you didn’t mix up the dates?

Btw, here’s another (in)famous letter by Horthy from June 6 1944 where he’s almost whining and imploring Hitler (in German however):
http://www.forost.ungarisches-institut.de/pdf/19440606-1.pdf

PS:
Does anyone know of an English translation for this?

tappanch
Guest

Economic news.

The building of new apartments/houses in Hungary has reached a historical low.

1987 – 58,000
1993 – 20,000 local minimum
2004 – 43,000 local maximum
2010 – 20,000
2012 – 10,000
2013 – 4,000 (3/4 year) historical minimum

tappanch
Guest

“A collection of 1,500 artworks confiscated by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s has been found in the German city of Munich […] the artworks were found by chance in early 2011, when the tax authorities investigated Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of an art dealer in Munich.”

Csatary, the police chief of the 1944 Kassa ghetto lived in Canada until 199? as an “arts dealer”. May I ask about the origin of his collection and its location now? (could be in Canada OR in Hungary).

tappanch
Guest

Public employees have to take an exam about “national consciousness” – recommends vice premier Semjen.

In other words, the Orban government will make another selection after the 2014 election, firing the politically not reliable teachers, doctors and other public employees.

http://nol.hu/belfold/a_kozigazgatasban_dolgozoknak_vizsgat_kell_tenniuk_nemzettudatbol

tappanch
Guest

Fidesz instructed Parliament to approve the further restriction on freedom of speech with “exceptionally urgent” speed.

Journalist can go to jail, if they disclose evidence that is deemed not true.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20131104_Bajai_video_kiveteles_surgos_eljarasban_t

Member

wolfi :
@Stevan: “1940, 14 October [3 months after the annhilation of the Pecs Jewish population]” are you sure you didn’t mix up the dates?

Yes. Apologies for my haste and carelessness!

tappanch
Guest

Fidesz permitted only a few hours of debate today about the stifling of investigative journalism.

They will amend the Penal Code tomorrow.

Guest

@Tappanch re the building of new houses:

Actually imho it would be better for Hungarians to renovate their old houses, anyway there are so many empty houses which could be used – of course some of them are beyond repair. Also it would be a good idea for the government to help people renovate and modernise heating systems, putting in better insulating windows etc by offering them cheap loans – instead of just forcing the suppliers to reduce heating costs.

tappanch
Guest

While people were protected from home eviction only from December 1 to February 28 last winter, this year Fidesz freezes evictions from October 15 to April 30.

This is a further proof that the election will be in April and not held together with the May EU election to save money.

Jano
Guest

Stevan Harnad: Yes it is definitely weaker than Hitler’s or Szálasi’s antisemitism, but, if you read on my comment, it is nevertheless de facto antisemitism and therefore inexcusable and unforgivable. He wanted the Jews out of their economic and cultural positions and he thought that he could just acheive that “peacefully”. When he lost control of the situation and realized what level of barbarianism he opened up the door to, he tried to act, but it was way too little and way too late. He deserves no statue, no praise and no high regard whatsoever.

He is a very controversial (and therefore historically intriguing) character and in my opinion the overall picture is very negative, but it’s unscientific and inappropriate to portray him as an equal to Hitler or the Germans. Disliking people to any extent for their race/gender/etc. is a pretty disgusting personality trait – and I take every opportunity to fight against such people – but it is not a crime in a legal sense.

Jano
Guest

*read: Hitler or the other Hungarian or German Nazi leaders

tappanch
Guest

Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945
http://www.lootedart.com/

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