JOURNEY OF THE JEWS IN NORTH-WEST TRANSILVANIA UNDER THE OCCUPATION OF HUNGARY AT AUSCHWITZ
Every year, starting in 2001, the Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in Hungary on April 16, recalling that in 1944 the encampment in ghettos of Hungarian Jews began on this day.
The Jews were part of the 2,630,000 inhabitants of Romania, who, together with a territory of 43,492 km2 torn from the mainland, based on the sentence of the Vienna Dictate of August 30, 1940, were forced under the control of Hungary. Under those profoundly changed conditions from a political and legal point of view, the fate of this ethnicity was circumscribed in the great tragedy of the Holocaust on a European level, from the years of the great world conflagration of the twentieth century.From the examination of the relation between the Hungarian state and the non-Hungarian minorities, as a whole, in the northwest of Transylvania, it was noted the elaboration of an official policy, called the “nationality policy”, hostile to all non-Hungarian ethnicities in the Romanian territory under the control of Hungary. As regards the anti-Semitic side of this general policy, it was enacted by organic laws, passed by the Hungarian Parliament, and amplified by decrees-laws by the Government, with increasing intensity with those from 1939 to 1944 inclusive. They amounted to almost 100 such normative acts, which were extended and enforced against Jews in northwestern Transylvania, the direct effects on the Jewish population leading to its removal out of law.
The Jewish nightmare in this geographical and historical space began with its ghettoization in the 13 concentration camps and Jewish ghettos of 1944, created by the order of the Hungarian Government, through its executive authorities in the northwestern territory of Transylvania, which are unique in its history. These camps and ghettos were the anti-chambers of the Nazi extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, highlighting a sinister picture never known before in these places. In the face of the tragic, even with the impossible, the Jews in this territory, destined for sure death by the Hungarian Government, hoped, however, like any human being, for life. In the struggle between life and death of the victims of terror, some of them made desperate attempts to survive and, through the act of human solidarity, some even succeeded.
The actual decision to gather the Jews in specially organized camps and ghettos and then deport them to the Nazi extermination camps, regarding the territory of the northwestern part of Transylvania, was taken by the Government chaired by Sztójay Döme, until April 6, 1944. But it remained relatively secret for the public, for a short time. Based on this decision, on April 7, 1944, Endre László and Baky László, both of them undersecretary of state at the Hungarian Ministry of Interior, issued the ministerial ordinance number 6163/1944, with the following content: “The government, in short time, will cleanse the land of the Jews. The Jews, regardless of sex and age, will be transported to designated concentration camps. The gathering of the Jews will be done by the police and the gendarmerie. Local authorities will designate appropriate camps. The Jews will be deported. They are transported by train as prisoners. The Jews will have the right to take with them only the clothing they wear, at most spare linen, food for at least 14 days and the maximum weight of the pack will be 50 kg. They will not have the right to carry money, jewelry or valuables.
”The ordinance was confidential and was personally sent by Endre László to the territorial administrative and police authorities, by organizing two conferences with their leaders. The first, on April 25, 1944, in Satu Mare, for the counties in the area, and the second on April 28, 1944, in Târgu Mureş, for the other counties in the area.
Following the ordinance, the orders and the instructions received from Endre László, the leaders of the Hungarian territorial authorities proceeded to prepare the actions, firstly to establish the places of encampment. Everything was carried out in secret.