Ayala Nedivi

An Attempt to Rescue the Carpathian Jews on the Eve of the Occupation of Hungary, according to Moshe Krausz’s “Book Pages”


The article describes a surprising and unknown attempt to rescue Carpathian Jewry on the initiative of Aladár Szegedy-Maszák, Director General of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, and with the knowledge of the Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Kállay. The attempt was cut short by the German occupation, as shown in the writings of the Director of the Palestine Office in Budapest, Moshe Krausz.

The rescue attempt began eight or nine days before the German occupation of Hungary. The cover story was that the Carpathian Jews were to be brought to Budapest in preparation for their emigration to Palestine. No confirmation of this affair has been found among those involved, and only indirect, implicit, confirmation has been found in documents. On March 16, 1944, three days before the German occupation, 600 approved certificates were received from Istanbul, and notice was received of a ship ready to take on the immigrants in Constanţa. Until that time there had never been such a large number of immigration certificates at one time in Hungary, and it appeared suddenly in a period when there was an arrangement for the immigration of nine families a week. The German occupation of Hungary cut short the rescue operation. Krausz's description confirms that many Jewish leaders in Budapest knew of the anticipated German invasion several days before it happened, and of the possibility of the annihilation of Hungarian Jewry, as a result of the invasion.