Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

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Reaktori
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Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Reaktori » Sun May 27, 2018 1:08 pm

Hello,

Basically, I would like to know more about the role which the Romanian and Hungarian armies played in massacres of Jews in the occupied Soviet territories.
By this, I mean massacres where Romanians and Hungarians played a direct role, rather than events such as Kamenets-Podolsk where Jews expelled by the Hungarian army were massacred by the Germans. I have read off-hand mentions of some of their units working alongside Einsatzgruppen, but don't have much information further than that.

I remember reading that approx. 200 000 Jews or more may have fallen victim to these armies alone. I don't know whether this number included the native Jewish populations of Romania and Hungary or Jews from other territories they occupied.

Answers are hugely appreciated!
Last edited by Reaktori on Mon May 28, 2018 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun May 27, 2018 4:15 pm

Hi, welcome, I apologize in advance for a kind of haphazard reply, as this is not “my area” of study.

Fairly accessible, Hilberg in The Destruction of European Jews (pp 311-313, 334) describes the Hungarians in 1941 as reluctant to join in killings of Jews (citing how the Hungarians actually “stopped an action by native police” in Zhitomir) but the Romanian military as eagerly collaborating - carrying out, for example, execution actions in Balti (July), Cernauti (late July), Odessa of course (October - over 20,000 victims), and over the winter and after “expeditious killing” by Romanian troops of Jews who had been driven into the Transnistria (p 388), highlighting mass killings at Dumanovca and Acmecetca (p 389) and elsewhere (p 390). Hilberg gives the death toll in the Romanian area on p 1315; indeed, Hilberg gives 150,000 victims shot in the “Romanian area” plus “tens of thousands” more deaths in Transnistria ghettos.

This post includes information on Kishinev, where an extermination action against the Jews was carried out also in summer 1941. Ioanid's The Holocaust in Romania, mentioned in the post, is the best source I know for Romania in general. I am not sure of participation by Romanian troops outside the Romanian area.

Another good source is Solonari's paper, “Patterns of Violence: The Local Population and the Mass Murder of Jews in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, July-August 1941,” in David-Fox, Holquist & Martin, eds, The Holocaust in the East: Local Perpetrators and Soviet Responses, discussed, with an eye on the concept of Judeo-Bolshevism, in this post; in his article, Solonari discusses Romanian army massacres of Jews in Bessarabia and Bukovina.

Hilberg has background on the Holocaust in Romania quoted here. You probably are aware, but for general information, Romania had regained Bessarabia and Bukovina; to quote Nick Terry, here “there were significant pogroms, organised mass killings by Romanian troops and gendarmes, and further violence bleeding westwards into core Romania (Iasi) and pre-1939 Soviet territory (Odessa). There was a whole Einsatzgruppe here, D, on the Romanian front with the German 11th Army, which even left a commando behind outside Odessa while the rest of the force moved on to the Crimea, but this commando had very little to do as the Romanians carried out most of the slaughters there.”

It was following the initial summer 1941 massacres that Antonescu removed the Jews from Bessarabia and Bukovina to the Transnistria, formerly Soviet territory then occupied by the Romanians, mentioned above.

Related, here is a description of the notorious Délvidék massacres, carried out by the Hungarians in early 1942.
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Re: Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Reaktori » Sun May 27, 2018 4:58 pm

Thank you very much SM,

I remember reading about the Hungarian "work-battalions" (I think that's what they were called anyway) in which quite a lot of Hungarian Jews seem to have served, at least during earlier years of the war in the east. Could this have played a part in the, well, initial unwillingness of the Hungarians in participating in massacres? I know that just as in Romania, the "Judeo-Bolshevism" myth was popular in Hungary as well.

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Re: Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun May 27, 2018 5:06 pm

some related links:

"The Holocaust in Romania":
This section of the web site was built in its entirety based on the book
“The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944”
Radu Ioanid, the author, is the director of the Benjamin and Vladka Meed Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and a well known researcher in the field.
Especially: "3. The Massacres at the Beginning of the War"

"Romanian Sources on Mass Murder in Transnistria"

"Extracts from Jean Ancel Transnistria, 1941-1942: The Romanian Mass Murder Campaigns, Volume 1: History and Document Summaries"
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Re: Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Sun May 27, 2018 5:12 pm

Reaktori wrote:Thank you very much SM,

I remember reading about the Hungarian "work-battalions" (I think that's what they were called anyway) in which quite a lot of Hungarian Jews seem to have served, at least during earlier years of the war in the east. Could this have played a part in the, well, initial unwillingness of the Hungarians in participating in massacres? I know that just as in Romania, the "Judeo-Bolshevism" myth was popular in Hungary as well.

Welcome to the forum. Glad to have you, we look forward to new members.
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Re: Massacres committed by the Romanian and Hungarian armies

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sun May 27, 2018 5:18 pm

Reaktori wrote:Thank you very much SM,

I remember reading about the Hungarian "work-battalions" (I think that's what they were called anyway) in which quite a lot of Hungarian Jews seem to have served, at least during earlier years of the war in the east. Could this have played a part in the, well, initial unwillingness of the Hungarians in participating in massacres? I know that just as in Romania, the "Judeo-Bolshevism" myth was popular in Hungary as well.
Here is a link on the early post-Barbarossa period in Hungary. Despite extreme anti-Semites being active in Hungary, the Hungarian government, until 1944, didn't accept the mass murder of all Hungary's Jews; during the years the Hungarians differentiated between Jews in Budapest, who saw themselves as part of Magyar culture and as loyal to the state and country (Horthy recognized and to an extent accepted their economic and other importance), and Jews in outlying regions, refugee Jews, etc, who were victimized in the Kamenets-Podolsk action. Even then, after 1941 such deportations were not repeated until the Hungarian Action in 1944 - and then in very different form. The labor battalions, in which many young male Jews served (and ironically some, who would otherwise have died, survived), are one of the "events" which show the extent to which anti-Semitism was a factor in Hungarian politics, although before 1944 mass extermination of "Hungarian" Hungarian Jews was not accepted.

Welcome to this subforum! We have some actual experts - like Sergey Romanov and, from time to time, Nick Terry - who participate.
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