Slaughtering the Scapegoats: The Mass Murder of Jews and Roma in Hungary during the Last Months of World War II
27 April 2021, 6 pm CET
László Csősz (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences)
In Hungarian historical awareness, wartime genocide is closely linked to the German occupation, which began in March 1944. ‘Germanizing’ the national tragedy in this way minimizes Hungarian responsibility and the role of domestic xenophobic traditions in the Holocaust. The dimension of mass destruction in Auschwitz and other Nazi camps somehow overshadows other crimes against humanity which were perpetrated solely by Hungarian actors.
This lecture provides a comparative overview of the mass executions and other atrocities committed in the Hungarian provinces from early autumn 1944 to early spring 1945, in which thousands of Jews and hundreds of Roma were killed. The lecture analyses the historical context, the social dynamics and local factors of the ‘cumulative barbarization’ that resulted in the murder of entire communities, the motivations of perpetrators, the post-war retribution, and the place of the events and the killing sites in the collective memory and remembrance of the Holocaust in Hungary.