Moscow (Feb. 8)
The heroism of a Jewish conscript in the Hungarian army who sacrificed his life to destroy Axis arms and personnel is reported today in the Soviet press in an article on the position of the Jews sent to forced labor battalions in the Hungarian forces. Thousands of these Jews have been captured by the Russian forces and other thousands have fled to the Soviet lines, the papers report.
A Jewish engineer named Herbst, attached to the “Jewish Battalion” of the 20th Hungarian Infantry Division was ordered to repair a field piece damaged during a battle with Russian infantry. Instead of repairing the gun. Herbst caused it to explode, killing himself and more than 20 Hungarian infantrymen who were stationed nearby. As punishment no one in the entire battalion received any rations for three days, one of the captured conscripts told the Russian commander. Normally, he said, the Jews were only given a half-pound of bread a day. Another prisoner told the Russians that early in December the commander of the battalion, Anton Nemedi, ordered the Jews to lie in the snow for eight hours, as a result of which 18 men of one company died.
The article also reveals that the bulk of the Jewish conscripts were intellectuals, including teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and scientists. Among them was one of the most famous bio-chemists in Europe, Acoseza Mishokolszi. On the basis of captured documents and testimony of Hungarian prisoners, Russian military men estimated some time ago that about 250,000 Jews, clad in tattered civilian clothes with a yellow badge affixed to their sleeves, have been sent to forced labor battalions at the front by the Hungarian authorities.