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600,000 Jews Trapped if Nazis Enter Hungary; Budapest Plans Submission

May 22, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The 600,000 Jews in Hungary, watching with anxiety the spread of the war, fear that they will be trapped if Hitler turns his eyes towards this country.

Although the Hungarian nation, Regent Nicholas Horthy and the Cabinet are profoundly anti-Nazi, it is felt that Hungary is hardly in a position to defend herself. It is therefore clear that Hungary will not offer any resistance to Nazi military invasion lest such resistance lead to massacre of the Hungarian army and bombardment of towns and cities.

This correspondent found even the most bitterly anti-German statesmen arguing in favor of non-resistance. Their viewpoint can be summarized as follows:

“Of what use is it to kill our men and destroy our cities by resistance which would be crushed? Should the Allies win the war, then Hungary’s independence will be restored even if we display no resistance to Nazi invasion. On the other hand, should Germany win the war we are lost in any event.

Hungarian statesmen consequently hope ardently for an Allied victory in the west. This hope is repeated from mouth to mouth and does not find expression in the press, for the entire press has been ordered to take a pro-German rather than a pro-Allied viewpoint and to publish pro-Nazi news dispatches distributed chiefly by German and Italian agencies. This is done under pressure from Berlin which the Budapest cabinet cannot resist, despite Premier Paul Telekis anti-German feelings.

With such a situation prevailing, one can imagine how Hungary’s Jews feel about their future. Unable to emigrate, since the borders of all neighboring countries are closed to them, the Jews expect to face the same fate as the Jews of Czechoslovakia, since, if Hungary is occupied, it will probably be put under a protectorate.

The position of the Jews in Hungary will be even worse than in Czechoslovakia since the Hungarian Government is even now pursuing a sever anti-Jewish policy by attempting to carry out within six months the plan embodied in the “Jewish Law” for virtually purging Jews from the nation’s economic and cultural life, a plan originally scheduled to take four years to execute.

Already Jews cannot peddle shoelaces or ice cream in the streets, not to mention that they are being dismissed from all commercial enterprises–including those owned by Jews–under the provision limiting employment of Jews to 12 per cent.

In the army, into which Jews are being mobilized, no Jew can become an officer or be decorated. A Jew cannot even serve as a street cleaner. Commercial licenses are being withdrawn from Jews and no licenses are issued to Jews to establish factories, even for manufacture of commodities needed for the country’s industrial development or export trade.

That the tempo of the anti-Jewish drive would be speeded up under a Nazi regime goes without saying. Added to this is the possibility of confiscation of Jewish capital and immovable property, as was done in Nazi-occupied Poland, Austria and Bohemia-Moravia.

Especially precarious is the position of some 5,000 Jewish refugees from the Reich, Austria, the Protectorate and Poland, who fear falling into the Nazis’ hands again and have no means of emigrating in time.

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