Thursday, July 4, 2013

ADSS 6.16 Angelo to Rotta to Maglione


ADSS 6.16 Angelo Rotta, Hungary to Cardinal Maglione

Reference:  report number 2223/39; AES 2151/39

Location and date: Budapest, 15.04.1939

Summary statement: After several new developments, the nuncio provides information on the race laws and public attitude towards the “Jewish question”.

Language: Italian

Text:

The most salient fact of Hungarian political life these days was its exit from the League of Nations, which has been widely reported in the newspapers (1).  It did not come unexpectedly, as you see in my report number 1888/1938 of 9 January of that year (2) I had previously announced the news of that event which is reported in today’s news.  Count Csáky (3) from the ministry of Foreign Affairs has given extensive explanations on the Government’s conduct in this regard to both houses of Parliament.  These explanations were accepted as fully explained in both houses.  He brought the usual arguments against the League of Nations, such as they are, adding later a special topic such as the hostility or lack of consideration afforded by the League to Hungarian minorities in neighbouring countries.

The exit from the League of Nations also serves as part of the preparation for the trip of the Prime Minister, Count Teleki and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Csáky to Rome and Berlin. As your Eminence knows, they will depart for Rome on 17 April (4)

While the general political atmosphere is increasingly “red hot”, here in Hungary life here is relatively – very relative – calm, because foreign politics does not steer them from the current line of conduct, which results from Hungary’s accommodation in the Rome-Berlin axis: it is not possible then to accept invitations to alliances or positions that are contrary to the axis.

The Slovakian question, with the fixing of the border, is final, at least for the moment; with Yugoslavia relations are good; with Romania relations are tense, although this government does not intend to push things too far.  Indeed the National Socialist journal, “Magyaság” has been suspended for three months, apparently because it published a violent article against Romania and the province of Transylvania.  We must not, however, believe that their love for the Romanian government has led to this measure, but in reality, putting the newspaper out of action in recent months has more to do with taking away the main spokesman for the National Socialists or the Arrow Cross during a political election campaign. Now that they are a little weakened, the can give less trouble to the Government (5).

In view of the political elections, which will take place in all probability towards the end of may, the Government wishes to hasten the approval of the anti-Jewish laws and, if at all possible, to also approve agrarian reform.  They wish to present to the people, a concrete action, not only promises.

Today the Upper House, in full session, commenced the discussion of the anti-Jewish laws, after which the Commission will, at long last, present the modifications for the law in question. (6) The mood in the Upper House is largely favourable to the laws: there has been much discussion: taking part in the discussion for the Catholics were His Eminence the Cardinal Primate (7) and the bishop of Csanád, Glattfelder (8).  They were not able to obtain very much, because the Government does not feel confident that the Chamber of Deputies will approve modifications made by the Upper House, if they were too radical, leading to the possibility of a crisis, particularly dangerous in the current circumstances, and risk a new and more extreme Government, that would enact a harder law: in fact because of the long history of propaganda by the parties of the extreme right, it arousal of the public mind against the Jews would be too strong.  So today in the Upper House, His Eminence, Cardinal Seredi, opening the discussion of the proposal, took to the floor to declare among other things that the law as conceived does not match Catholic doctrine; but given the circumstances, in order to avoid a greater evil, by choosing the lesser evil, he would not oppose approval of the law. (See attachment) (9).

Then the law passed without a long discussion.  The principal amendment introduced considered who should not be considered a Jew in the sense of the law, and those who have been baptised at least twenty years and have been faithful in the observance of the Christian Religion and whose ancestors or parents have lived in Hungary from 1848 onwards (10).

The law is very confusing, it has been written by too many and it lacks a logical harmony as well as an accurately determined foundation.

The latest events in Albania (11) have had a positive press here; even if it has not been warmly received it has been understood.

Here in Hungary there are no shortages of concerns, and of the serious dangers that threaten peace in Europe and also by the necessity of being tied itself, to closely tied, to Germany.

Oh! If the wise words of the Holy Father pronounced in his Easter homily (12) are heard and accepted from high to low, you could really talk about peace, but …

Note of Tardini.

22.04.1939.  Look carefully at what he said of Cardinal Seredi.  Did he vote for or against? (13)

Notes:
(1) Hungary quit the League of Nations on 15.04.1939 having given notice of its intent to leave two years previously.

(2) Not published in ADSS.

(3) István Csaky (1894-1941), Foreign Minister 1938-1941.

(4) They were received by Pius XII on 21.04.1939.

(5) Hungarian Parliamentary elections were held on 28-29.05.1939.  The Arrow Cross party won 14.4% (29 / 260 seats) of the vote; the Hungarian National Socialist won 0.3% (no seats) of the vote.

(6) See ADSS 6.10.

(7) Justinian Seredi (1884-1945), bishop of Ezstergom 1927-1945.

(8) See ADSS 6.10 n3.

(9) The nuncio attached a copy of the 15.04.1939 edition of Pester Lloyd.

(10) According to the 1941 census there were 846,000 people (6.2%) considered Jewish according to the 1939 law.  Of that number 62,000 were Christian by religion although the real figure could have been as high as 100,000. See http://www.ksh.hu/statszemle_archive/viewer.html?ev=1944&szam=01-03&old=1&lap=20 

(11) The Italian military occupation of Albania began on 07.04.1939.

(12) ADSS 1.7.

(13) Both Seredi and Glattfelder voted in favour of the law.


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