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Corpses of Jews in the courtyard of the Dohany Street Synagogue.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 02435

Corpses of Jews in the courtyard of the Dohany Street Synagogue.

During the last few months of the war in Hungary, the Nyilas (Arrow Cross) exploited the anarchic conditions in the areas still under their control to continue their excesses against the Jews. This was particularly true in Budapest, despite the fact that the Soviet army had completely encircled the city by December 27, 1944. The reign of terror that had begun with Szalaszi's assumption of power on October 15, 1944, went almost completely unchecked after the beginning of the Soviet siege on December 9. Gangs of armed Nyilas--mostly teenagers--roamed the city hunting for Jews in hiding. They searched them out in hospitals, shelters, homes outside the ghetto, in the International Ghetto, and in the large ghetto. After robbing the Jews of their remaining valuables, the Nyilas shot them on the spot or marched them to the banks of the Danube, where they shot them, and threw their bodies into the river. A large number of Jews who were murdered in the ghetto were buried in mass graves in the courtyard of the Dohany Street Synagogue.

The most horrific of these attacks occurred on the Pest side of the capital, at the two Jewish hospitals located on Maros and Varosmajor streets. The Maros Street hospital, which had operated under the protection of the International Red Cross during the German occupation, was attacked on January 11, 1945. After the initial melee, during which Nyilas gang members wantonly destroyed hospital equipment, threw patients out of their beds and trampled them, and murdered staff members, survivors were ordered to dig a mass grave, remove and bury the bodies. They were then shot and buried in the grave themselves. Only one nurse survived of the 92 people that were in the hospital at the time. Three days later, on January 14, the hospital on Varosmajor Street was attacked, resulting in the deaths of 150 patients and medical staff. These manhunts and massacres continued unabated until the liberation of Budapest in April. [R. Braham, "The Politics of Genocide," vol. 2: 995-1007]

Sandor Ek
January 1945 - February 1945
Budapest, [Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun] Hungary
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lilly Brust-Gach
Record last modified: 1997-12-04 00:00:00
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