14 May, 2011

14 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
14 May, 1944      1100

My dearest and only Sweetheart –

At last a chance to sit down alone for awhile to write you. I feel so strange when a day goes by and I can’t write a letter for one reason or another. The past two days were very busy ones for me and I was away – more than I was here. And with Charlie not around to help – I have that much more to do.

Anyway, darling, I got back and found two letters from you and one from your mother – all swell. Today is actually Mother’s Day – and I hope that both my mothers got some flowers. Incidentally, dear, you’re absolutely correct about your suggestion. I don’t know why I didn’t send you the check and let you handle it. I think the reason was that when I sent it out – we were not yet engaged, that is – I hadn’t heard it, and I thought I ought to handle the thing myself. In the future – you can do it for me – or us – and as you say, that will be your department. But for pity’s sake, darling, will you sort of keep me posted on things I should remember from time to time? The fact is I wish you had access to my checking account. That would make things even more simple, but that will have to wait too. I think that will be a good idea, though, when we settle down – unless you’d want one of your own. I guess we’ll be able to settle that – without too much difficulty.

Darling, I have missed you a great deal, more than I write you, I think. You write that you can tell my moods from my letters. That’s good – but I sometimes deliberately try to camouflage my mood and I hope I do – those times. I’d love to be home, married to you and loving you and I envy every young couple that are able to be together. However – as you feel, so do I; I know that what we’re dreaming about will materialize and I get pleasure out of just thinking it. It’s wonderful above all though, darling, to realize that despite the time I’ve been away from you – you still love me and feel about me – as I do towards you. That, after all, is the crux of my present state of happiness – and its realization is what makes me happy – at a time when I shouldn’t be – particularly.

I was pleased to read about my folks etc. coming over and I hope all goes off well – and I see no reason why it shouldn’t. Do you suppose it will be difficult for me to get to know all your family, dear? I hope not. I know about your folks who are now my folks too. They’ve been very easy for me to know and once I get back, I’ll do the rest.

And you, sweetheart, – will I have to get to know you? No! I feel as if I’ve known and loved you for years and everything will be just the most natural thing in the world. I hope you feel the same way.

Darling – that’s all for now. I love you, dear, for a hundred good reasons – but chiefly because you are you! Love to the folks – and

All my love to you, dear, forever


about the Hungarian Jews and Auschwitz-Birkenau

On May 14, 1944, 148 trains filled with Hungarian Jews left Hungary for the death camp known as Auschwitz-Birkenau. By July 8, 1944, a total of 437,402 Hungarian Jews had been deported. This was the largest single mass deportation during the Holocaust. With the arrival of these Hungarian Jews, Auschwitz-Birkenau became the site of the largest mass murder in modern history and the epicenter of the Final Solution. Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within this 10 week period in 1944. After an experimental gassing at Birkenau in September 1941 of 850 malnourished and ill prisoners, mass murder had become a daily routine. By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, conducting extermination on an industrial scale.
Hungarian Jewish women and children just off a transport train
At the beginning of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis in 1933, until March 1944, Hungary had been a relatively safe haven for the Jews. Many Jews from Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland sought refuge within its borders. Although in 1938 Hungary had enacted laws similar to the laws in Nazi Germany, which discriminated against the Jews, it was not until March 10, 1944 that a special group of SS soldiers under the command of Adolf Eichmann, was activated for the purpose of deporting the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. The personnel in this Special Action Commando was assembled at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and then sent to Hungary on March 19, 1944 during the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday.

The deportation of the Hungarian Jews had actually begun on April 29, 1944 when a train load of Jews were sent to Birkenau on the orders of Adolf Eichmann. Another train filled with Hungarian Jews left for Birkeanu on April 30, 1944; the two trains with a total of 3,800 Jews reached Birkenau on May 2, 1944. There were 486 men and 616 women selected to work; the remaining 2698 Jews were gassed upon arrival. On May 8, 1944, former Commandant Rudolf Höss (Hoess) was brought back to Auschwitz-Birkenau to supervise the further deportation of the Hungarian Jews. The next day, Höss ordered the train tracks to be extended inside the Birkenau camp so that the Hungarian Jews could be brought as close as possible to the gas chambers. The mass transport of Hungarian Jews eventually consisted of 3,000 or more prisoners on each train.
Transport Trains deliver Hungarian Jews directly to gas chambers
It is estimated that as many as three million persons were eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning ... 9 out of 10 were Jews. In addition, Gypsies, Soviet POWs, and prisoners of all nationalities died in the gas chambers.

Here is the matter-of-fact decree that began the process for the Hungarian Jews:

Decree Concerning the Ghettoization of Hungarian Jewry, 7 April 1944
Subject: The Assignment of Dwelling Places for Jews
The Royal Hungarian Government will soon have the country purged of Jews. I order the purge to be carried out by regions. As a result of the purge, Jewry irrespective of sex or age ­ is to be transported to assigned concentration camps. In towns or large villages a part of the Jews are later to be accommodated in Jewish buildings or ghettos, assigned to them by the police authorities. Jewish experts and skilled workmen employed in factories engaged in war production or in mines, large works, or landed estates, whose immediate replacement would endanger the production of the works in question are exempted. However, in factories, mines, or companies which are not earmarked for war production, they must be replaced immediately by the most suitable persons from the staff of the company, works, etc. in question. The persons replacing the Jews must be given the full range of authority of their predecessors. Committees appointed by municipal or county authorities are to determine the persons concerned.

The authorities are to proceed forthwith to provide for people to take their place. As soon as the replacement is feasible ­ and the head of the administrative authority concerned must endeavor to achieve this as soon as possible an expert trustee must be immediately appointed and placed at the head of the factory or company in question, with full responsibility. The rounding up of the Jews is to be carried out by the local police or by the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie units concerned. If necessary, the gendarmerie will assist the Royal Hungarian Police in urban districts by providing armed help. The German security police will be on the spot as an advisory body. Special importance must be attached to achieving undisturbed cooperation with them.

The administrative authorities of the countries must forthwith establish concentration camps in suitable places and numbers, corresponding to the number of Jews to be placed in them. The location of these camps is to be reported to the Secretary of State for Public Security. In every town or large village where the number of Jews necessitates the assignment of separate buildings for them, the police authorities are to take the necessary steps on their own initiative, since only Jews dangerous from the point of view of state security are to be detained in concentration camps, whereas the others are to be accommodated in Jewish buildings. Buildings where Jews have dwelt in large numbers are to be turned into Jewish buildings.

People of non-Jewish origin living in such Jewish buildings are to be assigned residences of a similar value and similar rent within thirty days of the purge in the district concerned. They must be relocated there by the police authorities, so that on leaving the concentration camps the Jews can, when the time comes, immediately be accommodated in the Jewish buildings.

Simultaneously with the rounding up and the transportation of the Jews, the local authorities are to appoint committees which, in cooperation with the police and the gendarmerie, must lock up the residences and shops of the Jews and seal them separately. The sealed envelopes containing the keys and indicating the name and address of the Jew are to handed over to the commander of the concentration camp. Perishable goods and live animals which do not serve the purpose of production must be handed over to the municipal and village authorities. They are to be used in the first place to cover the requirements of the army and public security organs, and secondly those of the local population. Money and valuables (gold, silverware, stock shares, etc.) must be taken into safe custody by the above bodies and, together with a short list specifying them, be handed over to the commander of the concentration camp. Perishable goods and live animals which do not serve the purpose of production must be handed over to the municipal or village authorities against a receipt and counter-receipt. The municipal authorities must deliver these valuables within three days to the branch of theNational bank at the center of the territory to be purged. The police bodies carrying out the purges shall determine these centers separately in each case.

Jews are to be transported as prisoners, by train or if necessary by relay coaches to be ordered by the municipal authorities. The Jews to be deported are allowed to take with them only the clothes they have on, at most two changes of underwear, and food sufficient for no more than 14 days. They will also be allowed luggage weighing no more than 50 kilograms, including the weight of bedding, blankets, and mattresses. They are not allowed to take money, jewelry, gold or any other valuables.

The rounding up of the Jews is to be carried out in the following sequence:

Gendarmerie districts VII, IX, X, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and I.

All armed companies and the training units subordinate to them are at the disposal of the district commanders of the gendarmerie and the police. However, when availing themselves of armed units, the commanders should bear in mind that closing the boundaries of a certain district must not end before the rounding up of the Jews has been completed in the adjacent districts also. Headquarters of gendarmerie districts and police authorities are to establish contact with each other over the rounding up of the Jews, so that the purge may take place simultaneously and jointly. If a Jew cannot be found at his residence, the usual warrant must be issued against him with reference to my present order. The homes of such Jews are to be dealt with in the same way as those of Jews who are caught.

I draw the authorities attention to the fact that all Jews who have fled here from the territories of foreign countries are to be given the same treatment as Communists, i.e., they are to be taken without exception to concentration camps. People whose Jewish origin may be doubtful are also to be taken to concentration camps, where their origin is to be clarified.

My present order is to be treated as strictly confidential and the heads of the authorities or headquarters are responsible for seeing to it that no one will learn of it before the purges are started.


All deputy prefects and mayors, the Regents Commissioner of Carpatho-Ruthania (Karpatalja Kormanyzoi Biztosa), the commanders of all gendarmerie districts, all commanders of gendarmerie investigative units, the central investigation command of the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie, the central police offices of Budapest and of the provinces, the leader of the Royal Hungarian State Security Police, the gendarmerie battalion at Galanta, and the commander of the gendarmerie school battalion of Nagyvarad.

This decree of mine was also received by the Superintendent of the Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie.

Budapest, April 7, 1944 Laszlo Baky

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