Deportations from Hungary to Eastern Galicia and Ukraine in 1941

At the end of 1938, with the Hungarians ruling over Subcarpathian Rus', the authorities began to harass foreign and stateless residents. Jews were the main target of this policy. Jewish families in the area without formal status – many of them in that position for a number of years – were now at the whim of the Hungarian authorities. At first it was difficult for those without Hungarian citizenship to acquire a trading license, and their livelihood was severely damaged. Soon citizenship became a matter of life or death.

With the outbreak of WWII, many refugees began to arrive in Hungary, in a steadily increasing flow. In 1938-39, the Hungarian authorities incarcerated foreigners and tried to deport them. Following the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, the Hungarians were given Soviet territories and were thus able to improve their deportation system.

In June 1941 the Hungarians decided to deport those Jews that had originated from Poland to the German authorities in Eastern Galicia. They began to hunt down foreign Jews, especially in the Subcarpathian Rus' region, where they uprooted entire communities. The deportees were cast across the Hungarian border, most of them to the Kamenets-Podolsk region, Lwow, Stanislaw, Buczacz and other areas in Eastern Galicia and Ukraine. Among the deportees from Munkács was Rabbi Baruch Yehoshua Rabinowitz, born in Poland, who was deported with his eldest son together with thousands of foreign-born Jews. While they were crossing the Polish border, the rabbi and his son succeeded in escaping, and after a short while returned to Munkács.

By the end of August 1941, with the end of the deportations, some 18,000 Jews had been expelled from Hungary into German hands. All of the deportees suffered terrible experiences and conditions, but the most horrific event took place near Kamenets-Podolsk. On 27-29 August, SS men rounded up those deportees that had arrived in Kamenets-Podolsk together with the Jews of the area, and marched them 16 km by foot. They were ordered to undress, and then they were murdered. Most of the murders were carried out by the Einsatzgruppen, assisted by Ukrainians. According to a report by Friedrich Jeckeln, regional SS and police chief, the number of those murdered in Kamenets-Podolsk was estimated at 23,600: 14,000-16,000 of the victims were Hungarian Jews. Only 2,000 Hungarian deportees managed to escape.

An additional plan to deport Jews from Hungary – and those of Subcarpathian Rus' – was suggested in 1942, but the plan was canceled in the spring of 1943.