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Shofar FTP Archive File: places//hungary/diplomatic/mcclelland-memorandum.1044

A.I. Note No. 9833 to DFI, October 20, 1944


To: The Minister
From: R. McClelland
October 20, 1944

      AI  received a note from the Federal Political  Dept.,
Division  of Foreign Interests (No. 1523, October 19,  1944)
this morning stating that according to information they  had
received  from  the  Swiss Legation in  Budapest,  the  Jews
heretofor concentrated in some 2,600 separate houses in  the
city  of  Budapest  were  being  moved  into  camps  outside
Budapest. These measures were being applied equally to  
non-interned, foreign Jews.

      Tuesday  last,  October 17, the new  Minister  of  the
Interior  in  the Szalassy Government made  a  very  violent
speech  on the subject of the Jews which was broadcast  over
the  Hungarian  radio but which, as far as I know,  was  not
reported  in  the  press  here in Switzerland.  Among  other
things  Vajna  stated  that  the "Jewish  problem  would  be
liquidated  mercilessly,  as the Jews  deserved.  All  
anti-Jewish  laws  would be strictly and ruthlessly enforced.  No
foreign passports or protective  documents  of any sort  would  
be  honored.  And particularly  no  interference either 
internal  or  external would be brooked."

      It  is reliably known that the Germans tried to  force
the  last  Hungarian  Government to  remove  the  Jews  from
Budapest. The Hungarians, however, stalled and succeeded  in
keeping them there. Now, with a 100% Nazi Government in  the
saddle  and the Gestapo & SS given a free hand, the  logical
step, in order to prepare the way for further deportation or
extermination is to get the Jews out of the capital  and  to
some   location  where  they  can  be  "worked  on"  without
observers or danger of interference.

      In  the  light of the above information, the situation
looks  very serious to me. I do not, however, see just  what
steps  could  be undertaken either by ourselves (other  than
continued  propaganda pressure via the radio & leaflets)  or
by  the  Swiss  to  avert  or mitigate  this  final  radical
"solving"   of   the   so-called   Jewish   problem.    From
conversations I had this morning I have the feeling that the
Swiss  would  be willing to do all they could through  their
Legation  in  Budapest if they knew exactly how to  proceed.
Perhaps,  in  the interest of leaving no stone unturned,  it
might  be worthwhile to voice our concern to Monsieur  Pilet
asking  him undertake any steps possible through  the  Swiss
Legation in Budapest. Perhaps if the latter had instructions
to  whatever  steps  possible in  the  light  of  the  local
situation some helpful demarches might be made in behalf, at
least  of  individuals  in whom the Swiss  can  legitimately
occupy themselves in their role of Protecting Power.


Reprinted from documents in Washington, D.C., National Archives,
Record Group 84, Foreign Service Posts, American Legation Bern,
American Interests Section, General Records 1942-1947, Box 74, 840.1
Jews-Hungary, in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's 
"1994 Days of Renenbrance" publication, "Fifty Years Ago, Darkness
Before Dawn."

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