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Hungarian State Responsible For 1944 Deportations, Historian Finds

The Hungarian news portal Mandiner has published a report about a book launch by MIMC Organization founding members and historian László Bernát Veszprémy.(1)

Veszprémy has written a book titled Gyilkos irodák (Bureaus of Annihilation), which deals with the role of the Hungarian state administration during the 1944 deportations.

The book was published by the prestigious Jaffa house.

“A number of fine details, but also space and time have defined collaboration, therefore we can only speak about individual cases” – said Veszprémy during the book launch, where he spoke with the director of the Budapest Holocaust Museum, Tamás Kovács. 

Veszprémy has explained that his book concentrates on the German occupation, but the Holocaust did not start in Hungary in 1944. Earlier events, such as the Délvidék massacre, the deportation to Kamenets-Podolsk but also unarmed labour service were a part of it. Yet historical literature has not written much about the German occupation, the last work was written by György Ránki in 1968.

The author used a lot of archival material from the countries neighbouring Hungary. “Not everything can be learned from Budapest (archives)” – said Veszprémy.

The author said that compared to the Dutch state administration during the German occupation, Hungarian bureaucracy had a lot more leverage. Hungarian bureaucrats had a choice, they were faced with serious decisions. Some anti-Semites were happy about the German occupation, others were forced to collaborate. Yet Veszprémy emphasised that he could not find a single case of a Hungarian bureaucrat ever having been deported or executed for refusing collaboration. Sabotage was easy, since the most punishment one could receive for such actions was jail time or fines.