The Christian Churches of Hungary and the Holocaust
The study provides an overview of the position of the three major Christian denominations of Hungary – the Catholic, Reformed (Calvinist), and Evangelical – on the treatment of the Jewish question from the pre-World War I era through the Holocaust. It aims to demonstrate that the leaders of the Christian churches laid the groundwork for the public acceptance of the ever harsher measures adopted by the successive Hungarian governments during the Nazi period. By their hostility to the Jews and Judaism and active support of the various governments’ anti-Jewish measures, the churches fostered a climate of opinion that made possible the implementation of the Final Solution on the eve of Allied victory in 1944. The study focuses on the position of the various church leaders during the Horthy era (1919-1944), demonstrating that they were primarily concerned with the protection of converts and Christians of Jewish origin – a concern that generally characterized their attitude even during the short-lived reign of the Arrow Cross Party (October 1944-April 1945). Finally, the study highlights the activities of some of the bishops and lower clergy who, in contrast to their leaders, took a more positive stand on behalf of the beleaguered Jews.