The Last Chapter of the Holocaust
Götz Aly and Christian Gerlach in their book, Das letzte Kapitel, wanted to say something radically new in two areas. One was that, according to them, the tragedy of Hungarian Jews was the result of an interactive process. The cabinet of Döme Sztójay, appointed after the German occupation, was not merely an obedient instrument in the Nazis’ hands, but also took initiatives and played an active part in what transpired. Secondly, the wealth taken from the Hungarian Jews, according to Aly and Gerlach, significantly contributed to the financing of the war economy and the stabilization of the standard of living. The article tries to show that it was not a multi-phased, “interactive” process lasting for months that led to the deportation of Hungarian Jews (800,000 people, including converts). Rather, the decision to deport every Hungarian Jew was already made by the relevant officials in the first days of April. The article also tries to show that the wealth that could be confiscated from Hungarian Jews did not significantly contribute to offsetting the expenses generated by the war.