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Summary of Foreign Schemes for Rescuing or Assisting Hungarian Jews

Report summarizing the Hungarian Government's conception of the foreign schemes for rescuing or assisting Hungarian Jews:

Recently several international welfare and humanitarian organizations have applied to the Hungarian government for permission to carry out welfare activities in the country.

They are pursuing humanitarian goals and thus want to extend aid to the Jews as well.

Among them are the following activities:

On June 11, 1944, the Swedish Minister in Budapest requested of the Royal Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Hungarian government take a position on the activities planned by the Swedish Red Cross, whose objectives include:

The placement, feeding, and clothing of orphaned and abandoned children in childrens homes to be established through the Hungarian Red Cross

(b) Aid for persons who were bombed out and left homeless and without means.

(c) Facilitating emigration to Sweden of Jews who will receive Swedish citizenship from the King of Sweden.

(d) Facilitating the emigration to Sweden and Palestine of Jews who have relatives in Sweden or have had business relations with Sweden over a longer period.

About 300 to 400 Jews are involved.

The emigration of Jews to Palestine. The emigration to Palestine, initiated by the Palestine Immigration Committee, of persons for whom the English government offered entry permits. Entry permits that are issued will be forwarded to the Swiss Legation in Budapest by the Swiss government. On April 26, 1944, the Legation requested the Hungarian government to issue exit permits for the following Jews who are already in possession of immigration certificates to Palestine:

(a) One thousand children under 16 years of age, and 10 percent adults as accompanying personnel.

(b) Nine families per week (approximately 30 to 40 persons).

(c) Six hundred persons by ship from Constanta.

(d) One thousand four hundred and fifty families.

A total of approximately 7,000 people are involved.

Accordingly, so far there has been regular emigration from Hungary such that about 400 to 500 people left the country for Palestine each month. Now the Swiss Legation is inquiring whether the Hungarian authorities would permit this activity to continue.

The Turkish Minister in Budapest communicated that he was authorized to issue transit visas to a large number of Jews passing through on the way to Palestine.

The American War Refugee Board, through the intermediation of a third party, has approached the Hungarian Legation in Bern for the transmission of the following proposals:

(a) It wishes to send clothing, food, and other articles via the Red Cross to the Jews and other (English, American) internees and political prisoners in ghettos and camps.

(b) It recommends financial assistance to the Jews combined with the repayment in Pengos of Hungary's indebtedness in dollars.

(c) It proposes the removal to Palestine of Jewish children under 10 years of age.

According to reliable sources Romania is in contact with the Americans in this connection. It envisions the transfer of 40,000 Jews, of whom 5,000 have already left Constanta for Istanbul. According to the communication of the Turkish Minister in Budapest, the transit visas for travel to Palestine of these Jews have already been issued.

The Hungarian government investigated the activities listed under 1, 2, and 3 from the following points of view:

1.(a) The Swedish Red Cross rendered great service during World War I by caring for the wounded and by its protection of Hungarian prisoners of war.

1.(b) This was also the situation during World War I in the exchange of prisoners of war.

1.(c) After the current war, the same type of positive services by the Swedish Red Cross will presumably again prove of great importance.

1.(d) On the basis of these activities, the Swedish Red Cross enjoys great prestige in Hungary.

1.(e) In all the enemy countries Sweden is the power representing Hungary.

2.(a) In the British Empire and especially in the U.S.A. there are large numbers of people of Hungarian origin.

2.(b) In these countries there are also large numbers of Hungarian citizens of considerable wealth.

2.(c) In these countries there are Hungarian citizens in internment camps, and the rejection of the above proposals might influence their treatment.

All these considerations induced the Hungarian government to deal with these proposals and, after a thorough investigation, to take a positive stand up to the limit where they might affect the use of the Hungarian labor force.

In view of the fact that the Hungarian government wants to act on these questions in agreement with the government of the German Reich, it respectfully requests the German Legation to inquire regarding the position of the Reich government on the above proposals. In this connection, it also respectfully requests that in the evaluation of this issue attention be paid as well to the considerations that have induced the Hungarian government to deal with the proposals.

Source: From: R. Braham, "The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary," Vol. II, New York, 1981, pp. 874—877.

Source: Yad Vashem