Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ADSS 10.407 Rottal to Sec State - Jews forced into ghetto; grave military situation

10.407 Angelo Rotta, Hungary to Secretariat of State

Reference: Telegram 324 (AES 7889/44)

Location and date: Budapest, 26.11.1944 @ 17.00 (Rec’d Rome 27.11.1944 @ 13.00)

Summary statement: News of persecution of the Jews – ghettos, inhumane, frequent murders, many suicides.  Military situation is grave

Language: Italian


The fight against the Jews is escalating, it is accomplished in a truly inhuman manner; all Jews are forced to live in the ghetto, great confusion; Arrow Cross party (1) believes everything is lawful against the Jews, theft, injuries, murders, frequent suicides.  The government promises but has neither the strength or good will; this Apostolic Nunciature continues to take steps in favour of the Jews, especially the converts; something has come of the collective appeal to the representatives of the neutral countries (2) since the enemy has threatened retaliation.  Military situation is very serious (3); great uncertainty about … Budapest; many ministry offices already evacuated; buildings (?) mined; the splendid Margaret Island (4) whether through criminal act or negligence was blown up causing many casualties.  I have heard of food and fuel shortages.

(1) See ADSS 10.265,n3.
(2) See ADSS 10.408, appendix.
(3) Soviet and Romanian troops entered the eastern suburbs of Budapest on 07.11.1944 but halted their advance because of fatigue and overstretched lines.  They resumed the attack on the city on 19.12.1944 and encircled it on 26.12.1944.  Fighting was fierce and murderous.

(4) Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube links both sides of the city.  On 04.11.1944 the bridge on the Pest side were blown up; by whom has never been determined.  The explosion occurred during the day when there was heavy traffic on the bridge.  During the siege of the city the island was used as a parachute drop zone and for improvised airstrips.  Fighting on the island was brutal and merciless.  The Germans destroyed the bridge on the Buda side of the island on 18.01.1945 during their retreat from the city.

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