The “Jewish Policy” of the Szálasi Regime
This article attempts to outline the history of the Jewish policy of the Ferenc Szálasi regime, which came to power in Hungary in October 1944 by analyzing the motivating factors which guided his decision making process regarding Nazi policies and the Jewish fate. At its core, the article seeks to expose the irony in the fact that Szálasi is the utmost loathed politician in Hungarian history, remembered for wanting to destroy the remnants of the Hungarian Jewish population, despite the fact that one-tenth of the Jews who died were murdered during Szálasi’s regime as compared to the number of deaths associated with the Horthy–Sztójay regime. The article in no way seeks to absolve Szálasi as a virulent antisemite and murderer, but, rather, to prove that Szálasi’s Jewish policy was more opportunistic than that of the Horthy–Sztójay regime. Szálasi planned to exploit the remaining Jews in Hungary as forced labor, and, thus, ghettos were established and the death marches stopped despite the demands of the Germans to the contrary. Those who survived did not owe their lives to Szálasi. However, he did limit the murder of Hungarian Jews, albeit purely to achieve self-serving, pragmatic, and opportunistic goals.