The Hungarian Deportations in the Light of the Eichmann Trial
Eichmann’s line of defense was that he was only carrying out orders as a “transportation officer.” This statement was not accepted and he admitted that during 1941 that he commanded and organized the deportation of over half a million Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz and other death camps. The reason for the German occupation of Hungary, which was not resisted at all, was to secure the transport of oil from Romania and to plunder supplies of food and equipment. Solving the Jewish problem in Hungary was not the primary reason for the German occupation, as Eichmann claimed. Eichmann’s place in the political constellation in Hungary included supply of foodstuffs, materiel, etc., and direct contacts with Himmler in his duties regarding the practical carrying out of the Final Solution. Horthy, a long-time antisemite, gave the Germans a free hand. The German High Command ordered Eichmann and the Hungarian leaders to supply 100,000 able-bodied men for labor in war industry plants; Eichmann redirected them to Auschwitz together with the aged, women, and children. Eichmann maintains that the Hungarian gendarmerie were responsible for the deportations and for the bestial cruelty of the action. In fact, the Hungarians were willing cooperators of Eichmann. He was not an “advisor,” but omnipotent in Hungary as regards the Jewish question. He was responsible for the deaths of half a million Hungarian Jews.