Sunday, March 2, 2014

ADSS 8.208 Cardinal Seredi to Maglione: Hungarian anti-Jewish laws

ADSS 8.208

Reference: Number 8991/1941; AES 10041/41

Location and date: Esztergom, 24.11.1941

Summary statement: Steps of the Cardinal against the racial laws and for the Jews of Hungary.

Language: Italian


Even before your Eminence’s letter (1) reached me, the last episcopal conference had been occupied with the question of “the Jews” (including the baptised) expelled from Hungary.  From that conference on 10.11.1941 (number 7098/41) (2) I turned to the Royal Hungarian Minister of the Interior (3) with the request and insistence that “Jews” who are Hungarian citizens are not expelled, especially if they are Catholics.  Others have insisted that the way to remove them from the country must be humane.

The Minister replied to me on 24.11.1941 with the following:
“I wish to reassure your Eminence, and have to honour to inform you that only Jews from Galicia have been expelled from Hungary.  If however, it is latter proved that they are Hungarian citizens, then there will be no impediment to their return.  At the same time I gave orders to the police to be humane to those being expelled.  Of course once they were across the border, the police are no longer able to give orders in this regard, because that would go beyond my jurisdiction and my powers”. (4)

I do not know what position to take regarding such orders as these given to subordinate officials of the Royal Ministry of the Interior.  In any case I will try to intervene in cases where these or other concerns offend against the law of charity.  I must confess, however, that the case becomes more and more difficult and less popular.  But above all the difficulties and popularity is the law of God!

(1) See ADSS 8.194
(2) Not published in ADSS.
(3) Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer (1881-1948), Minister of the Interior 1938-1944.  He was a supporter of Regent Horthy and was deposed when the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944.  He spent the rest of the war in a KL.
(4) In July 1941 the Hungarian government expelled about 20,000 Jews, mostly refugees from Poland, into German-occupied Eastern Galicia. Between 14,000 and 16,000 of these people were murdered by the Germans between 27-29 August at Kamianets-Podilskyi.  The language used by Keresztes-Fischer is open to suggestion that he was aware that the fate of the expelled Jews would be very dangerous, if not, lethal.

Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer (1881-1948)
Hungarian Minister of the Interior 1938-1944

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