The frightful story of how the Germans and pro-Nazi Hungarians exterminated 540,000 Hungarian Jews in little more than a year was presented today by American prosecutors to the Allied War Crimes Tribunal, which is trying the leaders of the Nazi Government.
At the same time, a film was shown depicting the torture, humiliation and degradation inflicted by the Nazis upon Jews in occupied territories. The picture showed, among other scenes, how young Jewish girls were forced to parade naked through the streets, how German soldiers dragged old Jews by their hands along the streets and how Jewish women tried to shelter their infants from brutal blows of uniformed Nazis.
Major Walsh, who presented the "Jewish case," told the court that no crime in history was as cruel as the Nazi persecution of Jews. He presented a huge volume of evidence, including a diary of Hans Frank, Nazi Governor of Poland, in which the annihilation of all Jews was urged. One entry in the diary revealed that in December, 1941, Frank sent a memorandum to Hitler asking his permission to seize all Jewish home furnishings in Paris and in all occupied western countries.
The horror endured by the Jews of Hungary was disclosed in detail in a statement obtained from Dr. Reszoe Kastner, a leader of the Zionist organization in Budapest, and head of the Jewish Agency’s relief committee there.
450,000 HUNGARIAN JEWS KILLED BY GERMANS; 80,000 JEWS EXTERMINATED BY HUNGARIANS
Dr. Kastner, who is now in London, was in communication during the occupation with Jewish representatives in Istanbul, and conveyed to them, at one point, a Nazi offer to spare the Hungarian Jews in return for military supplies from the Allies. His statement charges the Germans with direct responsibility for the annihilation of 450,000 Hungarian Jews, and Hungarian pro-Nazi elements with killing 80,000 Jews. In addition, thousands of Jews committed suicide or died of illness, he points out in his statement.
Before the German occupation of Hungary, Dr. Kastner reported, about 17,000 Jews, mainly from Ruthenia, were deported to Poland in August 1941. They were turned over to German military authorities and executed during the succeeding three months. Later Hungarian military authorities killed 1,500 Jews in Novi Sad and other Yugoslav towns. They also starved 50,000 Hungarian Jews to death as slave laborers and deported another 20,000 Jews to German labor camps.
But the real mass-extermination of Jews in Hungary started in March,1944, the report of the Budapest Jewish leader disclosed. As soon as Hungary was occupied by the Germans, special Gestapo units arrived in Budapest for the purpose of liquidating the Jews. The unit was headed by Adolph Eichmann, the Gestapo "specialist" on Jewish affairs, who was born in the German settlement of Sapona, near Tel Aviv, in Palestine.
Jewish leaders in political, cultural and commercial life were immediately deported to the Mauthausen camp. A month later 320,000 Jews were rounded up and driven into ghettos in Upper Hungary and in Northern Transylvania. They were confined in brick factories or in open fields. This was followed by an agreement between Germany and Hungary under which 300,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Germany, allegedly for "suitable labor." The first deportation took place on April 28 and the transport was sent to the notorious Oswiecim extermination camp in Poland.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.