The Nizkor Project

50 Years of Silence

History and Voices
of the Tragedy in Romania and Transnistria

The Fate of the Jews from Northern Transylvania

When northern Transylvania was ceded by Romania to Hungary, following the Vienna Award of August 1940, the destiny of its 150,000 Jews was joined with that of Hungarian Jewry.

Hungary was not eager to deport its Jewish population. "In May 1943, Miklos Kallay (the Prime Minister, a moderate conservative), in a public speech, rejected 'resettlement' of the Jews as a 'final solution,' as long as the Germans were giving no satisfactory answer about where the Jews were being resettled"<44>.

However, in March 1944, when Germany occupied Hungary, and a pro-fascist government (Sztojay) was installed, the situation changed radically. Eichman arrived in Budapest to organize the deportation plans. He brought SS troops who immediately started rounding up and deporting the Jews. "Over 450,000 Jews, seventy percent of the Jews of Greater Hungary were deported, murdered, or died under German occupation."<45> Among them were Jews of northern Transylvania. According to Martin Gilbert, 105,000 people of this group perished.

"Meanwhile, the Jewish Relief Committee in Budapest, began negotiations with SS- Hauptsturmfuehrer, Dieter Wisliceny, offering to pay ransom money in order to rescue the remaining Hungarian Jews from deportation. Negotiations were protracted and complex, but Eichman never halted the deportation trains. Finally, nothing substantial developed in the rescue of these Jews, except for one trainload of Hungarian (and Transylvanian) Jews who were saved"<46>.

(This train became known as "The Kastner Transport," the name of the man who negotiated its re-routing to Switzerland.).

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