He-Halutz Underground in Hungary: March-August 1944: Based on Testimony of Survivors
The Hungarian Jewish leadership was not prepared for the threat of extermination posed by the Nazi occupation of Hungary in March 1944. The He-Halutz youth movement, composed mainly of Slovakian refugees and Polish survivors of the ghetto revolts, was the only group with experience in underground activities. Many members from the provinces made their way to Budapest, where most of their activity was concentrated. Aryan papers were forged and escape routes via Rumania Romania were sought. The underground linked up with the Relief and Rescue Committee, headed by Rudolf Kasztner and Joel Brand, who supplied funds. Refugees, guided by local smugglers, crossed borders by foot at night. Hannah Ganz and Asher Arani, both later arrested, were prominent organizers of the border crossings. Moshe Alpan and Dan Zimmerman replaced them. He-Halutz immediately transferred most of the refugee crossings to the nearby towns of Arad or Turda on the Rumanian border and then with the help of bribes on to Bucharest. By a rough estimate over 6,000 Jews, including 1,000 youth, escaped from Hungary — most via routes organized and manned by the He-Halutz underground.