A New Historical Myth from Hungary: The Legend of Colonel Ferenc Koszorús as the Wartime Savior of the Jews of Budapest. Review Article of Jeszenszky, Géza, ed. July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled. Reno, Nevada: Helena History Press, 2018, pp. 317. Distributed by CEU Press.

Peter Pastor

Abstract


This book is a compilation of essays by authors who were previously published elsewhere. Its main focus is on Ferenc Koszorús, a wartime colonel of the Hungarian army fighting as an ally of Germany who ostensibly was responsible for saving the Jews of Budapest with the so-called Koszorús Action during the German occupation of Hungary. Some of the articles also examine the roles of Regent Miklós Horthy and the Hungarian government in the destruction of close to one half million of its Jewish citizens, mostly in German death camps. The reviewer marshals facts, documentation, and works by prominent historians to demonstrate that Koszorús had little to do with the survival of the Budapest Jews in July 1944. The myth of Koszorús as a wartime champion of the Jews was invented by the colonel himself in his postwar memoirs. In the volume, the editor Géza Jeszenszky points out that most non-Jewish Hungarians were either active supporters of the deportations or were passive bystanders. It may be this sad fact that prompted him to mythologize and create a hero who allegedly saved the life of three hundred-thousand Jews.

Keywords


Hungary; World War II; Regent Miklós Horthy; Colonel Ferenc Koszorús; Hungarian Holocaust; Deportations; Budapest; German occupation of Hungary; Edmund Veesenmayer; László Baky

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ahea.2019.355

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