Decree Concerning the Ghettoization of Hungarian Jewry

(April 7, 1944)


Subject: The Assignment of Dwelling Places for Jews

The Royal Hungarian Government will soon have the country purged of Jews. I order the purge to be carried out by regions. As a result of the purge, Jewry – irrespective of sex or age – is to be transported to assigned concentration camps. In towns or large villages a part of the Jews are later to be accommodated in Jewish buildings or ghettos, assigned to them by the police authorities. Jewish experts and skilled workmen employed in factories engaged in war production or in mines, large works, or landed estates, whose immediate replacement would endanger the production of the works in question are exempted. However, in factories, mines, or companies which are not earmarked for war production, they must be replaced immediately by the most suitable persons from the staff of the company, works, etc. in question. The persons replacing the Jews must be given the full range of authority of their predecessors. Committees appointed by municipal or county authorities are to determine the persons concerned. The authorities are to proceed forthwith to provide for people to take their place. As soon as the replacement is feasible – and the head of the administrative authority concerned must endeavor to achieve this as soon as possible – an expert trustee must be immediately appointed and placed at the head of the factory or company in question, with full responsibility. The rounding up of the Jews is to be carried out by the local police or by the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie units concerned. If necessary, the gendarmerie will assist the Royal Hungarian Police in urban districts by providing armed help. The German security police will be on the spot as an advisory body. Special importance must be attached to achieving undisturbed cooperation with them. The administrative authorities of the countries must forthwith establish concentration camps in suitable places and numbers, corresponding to the number of Jews to be placed in them. The location of these camps is to be reported to the Secretary of State for Public Security. In every town or large village where the number of Jews necessitates the assignment of separate buildings for them, the police authorities are to take the necessary steps on their own initiative, since only Jews dangerous from the point of view of state security are to be detained in concentration camps, whereas the others are to be accommodated in Jewish buildings. Buildings where Jews have dwelt in large numbers are to be turned into Jewish buildings. People of non-Jewish origin living in such Jewish buildings are to be assigned residences of a similar value and similar rent within thirty days of the purge in the district concerned. They must be relocated there by the police authorities, so that on leaving the concentration camps the Jews can, when the time comes, immediately be accommodated in the Jewish buildings. Simultaneously with the rounding up and the transportation of the Jews, the local authorities are to appoint committees which, in cooperation with the police and the gendarmerie, must lock up the residences and shops of the Jews and seal them separately. The sealed envelopes containing the keys and indicating the name and address of the Jew are to handed over to the commander of the concentration camp. Perishable goods and live animals which do not serve the purpose of production must be handed over to the municipal and village authorities. They are to be used in the first place to cover the requirements of the army and public security organs, and secondly those of the local population. Money and valuables (gold, silverware, stock shares, etc.) must be taken into safe custody by the above bodies and, together with a short list specifying them, be handed over to the commander of the concentration camp. Perishable goods and live animals which do not serve the purpose of production must be handed over to the municipal or village authorities against a receipt and counter-receipt. The municipal authorities must deliver these valuables within three days to the branch of the National bank at the center of the territory to be purged. The police bodies carrying out the purges shall determine these centers separately in each case.

Jews are to be transported as prisoners, by train or if necessary by relay coaches to be ordered by the municipal authorities. The Jews to be deported are allowed to take with them only the clothes they have on, at most two changes of underwear, and food sufficient for no more than 14 days. They will also be allowed luggage weighing no more than 50 kilograms, including the weight of bedding, blankets, and mattresses. They are not allowed to take money, jewelry, gold or any other valuables. The rounding up of the Jews is to be carried out in the following sequence: Gendarmerie districts VII, IX, X, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and I.

All armed companies and the training units subordinate to them are at the disposal of the district commanders of the gendarmerie and the police. However, when availing themselves of armed units, the commanders should bear in mind that closing the boundaries of a certain district must not end before the rounding up of the Jews has been completed in the adjacent districts also. Headquarters of gendarmerie districts and police authorities are to establish contact with each other over the rounding up of the Jews, so that the purge may take place simultaneously and jointly. If a Jew cannot be found at his residence, the usual warrant must be issued against him with reference to my present order. The homes of such Jews are to be dealt with in the same way as those of Jews who are caught.

I draw the authorities attention to the fact that all Jews who have fled here from the territories of foreign countries are to be given the same treatment as Communists, i.e., they are to be taken without exception to concentration camps. People whose Jewish origin may be doubtful are also to be taken to concentration camps, where their origin is to be clarified.

My present order is to be treated as strictly confidential and the heads of the authorities or headquarters are responsible for seeing to it that no one will learn of it before the purges are started.

Recipients: All deputy prefects and mayors, the Regents Commissioner of Carpatho-Ruthania (Karpatalja Kormanyzoi Biztosa), the commanders of all gendarmerie districts, all commanders of gendarmerie investigative units, the central investigation command of the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie, the central police offices of Budapest and of the provinces, the leader of the Royal Hungarian State Security Police, the gendarmerie battalion at Galanta, and the commander of the gendarmerie school battalion of Nagyvarad.

This decree of mine was also received by the Superintendent of the Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie.

Budapest, April 7, 1944 Laszlo Baky

Source: R.Braham, "The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary," Vol. I, New York, 1981, pp. 573-575.


Source: Yad Vashem