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Arrow Cross Party

ARROW CROSS PARTY (Hung. Nyilaskeresztes Párt-Hungarista Mozgalom), the most extreme of the Hungarian Fascist movements in the mid-1930s. The party consisted of several groups, though the name is now commonly associated with the faction organized by Ferenc *Szálasi and Kálmán Hubay in 1938. Following the Nazi pattern, the party promised not only the establishment of a fascist-type system including social reforms, but also the "solution of the Jewish question." The party's uniform was the green shirt, its badge a set of crossed arrows, a Hungarian version of the swastika based on the weapons of the old Magyar conquerors.

With financial and moral support from Nazi Germany, the Arrow Cross won 16.2% of the votes in the 1939 elections. From 1941 it lost many of its supporters and in August 1944 was dissolved along with all other parties. However, it continued secretly, under German guidance, to prepare a coup d'état against the government of Admiral Horthy. On October 15, 1944, when Horthy announced Hungary's withdrawal from the war, the Arrow Cross seized power with military help from the Germans. The Arrow Cross government ordered general mobilization and enforced a regime of terror which, though directed chiefly against the Jews, also inflicted heavy suffering upon the Hungarians. It was responsible for the deportation and death of tens of thousands of Jews. After the Soviet Army liberated the whole of Hungary by early April 1945, Szálasi and his Arrow Cross ministers were brought to trial and executed.


J. Lévai, Black Book on the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry (1948), 335–421; idem, Horogkereszt, kaszáskereszt, nyilaskereszt (1945); A. Rozsnyai, Nyilas rémuralom (1962); M. Laczkó, in: Századok, 97:4 (1963), 782–809.

[Bela Adalbert Vago]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.