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Hungarian Jews Are Trapped, Swiss Press Says

March 22, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Panic is spreading among the 900,000 Jews of Hungary following the German occupation of the country yesterday and the arrest by the Gestapo of leading anti-Nazis and Jews in Budapest today, the Swiss press reports.

The Jews in Hungary are trapped, Swiss newspapers point out. Emphasizing that Hungary was the only Axis country where Jews had been living in comparative freedom, though under severe anti-Jewish restrictions, the articles express fears that the Jews in Hungary face persecution and annihilation by German occupational authorities. They predict that extreme anti-Semitic elements in Hungary, with the aid of the Germans, will replace those officials who have been advocating a moderate Jewish policy.

With the Russian Army driving for Carpatho-Russia, which is now a part of Hungary, it is expected that the tens of thousands of Jews in that section will be the first to be deported by the German authorities “to unknown destinations.” Other Jews to suffer will be the many thousands of “stateless” persons who were either Rumanian or Czechoslovak citizens prior to Hungary’s annexation of Transylvania and Carpatho-Russia. The number of these Jews is estimated here to exceed 300,000.

Hungary has, during the last few months, admitted Jews from Poland and Slovakia who crossed the Hungarian frontier illegally. Several thousand of these Jews have been permitted to live in Budapest while others have been interned and supported by Jewish community funds. Jewish organizations in Switzerland now fear that these Jews will again fall into the hands of the Gestapo.

Fear was also expressed by leaders of Jewish organizations as to the possible fate of Jewish community leaders in Budapest against whom the extremist press has been constantly agitating. The Jewish community in Budapest is today the only Jewish community in Axis Europe which is still permitted to function. It has been taking care of all the Jewish needs and institutions.


With the situation of the Jews in Hungary suddenly becoming precarious, Jewish groups in Switzerland were also watching developments in Rumania. It is believed here that with the advance of the Russian Army onto Rumanian soil, the Germans will also occupy Rumania in order to protect the Ploesti oil wells which are one of the

German military occupation of Rumania, Jewish leaders stated today, will not only put an end to the negotiations for the evacuation of Jews from Rumanian territory to Palestine, but will expose the 250,000 Jews there to the same treatment as Jews in occupied Poland, and to programs by the Rumanian Iron Guard reminiscent of the early days of Rumania’s entrance into the war.

On the other hand, it was pointed out in the Swiss press today that with the re-occupation by the Russian Army of Mohilev-Podolsk and other Ukranian towns bordering on the Dniester Rive, the Jews who were deported by the Antonescu Government from Transylvania and Bessarabia to Transnistria have escaped the grim prospect of terror and extermination by the Gestapo and Iron Guard.

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