Budapest Jewry in the Summer of 1944 - Otto Komoly’s Diaries
Research devoted to the tragedy of the destruction of Hungarian Jewry in 1944 is not extensive. The unpublished diaries of Otto Komoly, a leader of Hungarian Jewry, provide valuable source material. Kasztner acted as his deputy and was responsible for negotiating with Eichmann. During the summer of 1944, an anti-German camp arose in Hungary which demanded a break with Hitler. Between April and June of 1944, some 600,000 Jews from the Hungarian provinces were deported. During this time 200,000 Jews had taken residence in Budapest. Regent Horthy gave orders to stop deportation from Budapest. Jewish leaders supported delay in the evacuations and preferred the concentration of Jews in labor camps. Komoly suggested canceling anti-Jewish measures after adequate preparation. The plan was to eventually encourage emigration to Palestine. With regard to relations with the German invaders confusion reigned within the Hungarian government. The Jewish problem was not its main worry. However, certain Hungarian elements wished to forestall deportations. Some even initiated plans for Hungarian–Jewish cooperation as Hungary moved towards withdrawal from the war. The survival of a considerable number of Hungary’s Jews may be attributed to Komoly’s statesmanlike qualities. However, it is not certain that his way was the only or best way to tackle the problem.