Monday, July 28, 2014
ADSS 10.265 Angelo Rotta to Luigi Maglione - positive steps for Hungarian Jews
10.265 Angelo Rotta, Hungary to Cardinal Maglione
Reference: Telegram 224 (AES 4581/44)
Location and date: Budapest, 14.07.1944 @ 18.40 (Received Rome 15.07.1944 @ 17.00)
Summary statement: Positive results from the steps taken by the pope and bishops for the Hungarian Jews.
I received telegram 251 (1) … to Regent Horthy (2) and was most appropriate. His Highness, who had tried to keep the nunciature aware of the true state of affairs, was shaken by an abortive coup that took place … led precisely by fanatical anti-Semites. (3) Also very useful was the pastoral letter prepared by the Cardinal Primate (4) that was to be read in all the churches of (?) Hungary last Sunday. The Government “got wind” of it and begged Cardinal Seredi to withdraw it; the Cardinal has suspended publication of the letter upon the promise of the ending of the deportations and granting exemptions for the baptised Jews. In fact, you will notice a … deportations are suspended. (5) … the Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior had much of his power removed (6) … in all areas concerning the Jews. There is still debate about the extent of exemptions in favour of Christians; some members of the Government show a lot of bad faith. (7) The general political situation is uncertain; we hear a lot of talk about a probable change of government. (8)
Note of Giovanni Montini:
Audience with His Holiness, 17.07.1944. For those concerned, let them know of the concern of the Holy See and the result that has been obtained.
(1) Not published in ADSS; see ADSS 10.242, n2.
(2) See ADSS 10.243
(3) The anti-Horthy and pro-German faction in the Hungarian government planned a coup for early July with German support. Their intention was to put the Arrow Cross party in power with Laszlo Endre as prime minister. One of the first actions was to resume deportations. Under the guise of a flag consecration ceremony significant numbers of pro-German forces took up positions in Budapest. Suspicious that Baky and Endre were planning a revolt, Horthy ordered forces loyal to the government into the city and ordered the other forces to leave Budapest. The attempted coup failed.
(4) Cardinal Justinian Seredi
(5) Admiral Horthy order Prime Minister Sztojay to stop deportations from Budapest on 06.07.1944.
(6) In the archives of the Apostolic Delegate in Istanbul a note from Budapest dated 18.07.1944 was found. It concerned the state “of provisions taken by the Hungarian Government with regard to the Jews”. (See ADSS 10.305, n9). On 01.07.1944 there had been an approach for a group of Jews (Telegram 254 [AES 476/44]). Angelo Rotta replied on 17.07.1944: “I received your telegram 254. If the appropriate steps are made, the Hungarian Government is willing to give permission for them to leave; please submit the necessary certificates promptly”. (Telegram 226, AES 4618/44).
(7) Most likely, the two secretaries cited here were Laszlo Endre and Laszlo Baky. See ADSS 10.172, 207. On 28.06.1944 at the first meeting of the Crown Council since the German takeover in March, Horthy ordered deportations to stop and for the dismissal of Baky and Endre. Neither order was agreed to. Shortly after Angelo Rotta sent this telegram to Rome, oversight of Jewish matters was taken away from Endre.
(8) See ADSS 10.233