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Jewish Shops in Budapest Looted; Jews Flee Homes; Seek Escape from Hungary

March 23, 1944
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Jewish shops in Budapest and other cities in Hungary are being pillaged by local anti-Semitic elements under the protection of the Gestapo and of German military units who are now the actual rulers of the country, it was reported here today.

The report, which reached Stockholm from reliable sources in Hungary, says that the Gestapo, together with Hungarian fascists, during the last three days has arrested many Jews, Poles and Social Democrats throughout Hungary, “Jewish shops were stormed yesterday and today in Budapest and other places,” the report states.

Depicting the panic among the Jews in Hungary, the report says that “many young Jews have left their homes and are trying to reach Switzerland or Turkey.” The contents of the report are confirmed by several Swedish citizens who arrived here today after having witnessed the German occupation of Hungary.

“Immediately after the occupation,” one of the eye-witnesses told correspondents here, “Gestapo units surrounded all railway stations in Budapest. They stopped every person and asked him whether he was Jewish. Each passenger was scrutinized and asked to produce documents proving that he was not a Jew.”

The Swedish travellers also confirmed reports that many refugees committed suicide in Budapest when the Hungarian capital was taken over by the Gestapo, which has made its headquarters in the Royal Hotel, Hundreds of Jewish refugees from Poland were arrested by the Gestapo on the first day of the occupation, these eye witnesses also disclosed.


Swedish correspondents in Berlin were told today by a spokesman of the German Foreign Office that the “complete elimination of Jews from various phases of life “will be carried out in Hungary. A statement disseminated by the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda yesterday and published in the press here today reveals that Hitler demanded application of all the “Nurenberg Laws” to the 900,000 Jews of Hungary during his talks with Admiral Horty.

Other reports from Berlin reaching here today point out that Hitler was willing to compromise on various other requests which he presented to the Hungarian Government, but not on the demand that the Jews in Hungary be treated as are Jews in Germany and in German-held countries.

Jewish groups in Sweden were making desperate efforts today to secure more information concerning the Jews in Hungary, especially as to the possibility of moving some of them through Turkey to Palestine. At a conference of representatives of Zionist organizations in the Scandinavian countries which is taking place here, a message from Jerusalem was read stating that the Hungarian Settlers Association in Palestine has submitted an urgent request to the Jewish Agency “to dispatch immediately 5,000 immigration certificates for Jews from Hungary,” in view of the present situation.

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