When Nazi Germany handed over power to The Arrow Cross on October 15, Soviet forces occupied Debrecen and Szeged, and fighting continued on the Tisza River. Ferenc Saalasi’s main goal as the leader of the nation was to get Hungary to enter the war, believing that the “secret weapon” Hitler promised would turn the war in Germany’s favor at the last minute. 

Szalasi’s Arrow Cross’ power grew through its social agenda, anti-Semitism and nationalism, and post-suffrage radicalism. However, he could not rule without the support and help of Germany. After coming to power in October, the authority of the “Hungarian State” Szalasi was restrained to the capital and the Transdanubia region due to the advance of the Red Army. 

When Adolf Eichmann, who had overseen the deportation of nearly 500,000 rural Jews following the Arrow Cross uprising, returned to Budapest on October 17, more than 200,000 Jews from formerly untouched Budapest had been annihilated. When Horthy overturned the deportations in July, he was forced out of power. Eichmann’s order forced more than 60,000 Jews to ruthlessly march west into Austria, where they were forced to build fortifications. About 70,000 Budapest Jews who escaped deportation were detained in the ghetto. At the same time, about 30,000 Jews with letters of protection from neutral countries were detained in “hideouts.” Thousands more were robbed, executed, and thrown into the Danube. 

Arrow cross warriors raged to the very end, but the ghetto was surprisingly safe unlike any other in Europe. Before the Russians laid siege to and blockaded Budapest for Christmas, the Arrow Cross administration and its “heads of state” crossed the Transdanubia region and moved to the western border to establish what they called “border shelter.” I entered what became known as the Germans Defending Budapest Like a Fortress, giving Soviet forces a long and brutal struggle before the Soviets took the city. The siege lasted from Christmas to February 13, 5, causing much suffering and destruction. They destroyed all the bridges in Budapest, badly damaged public buildings and destroyed more than 30,000 houses and apartments. On 19 March 5, the Germans launched their final counterattack near Lake Balaton, but by April the Red Army had driven the last of the Nazi forces out of Hungary. Szálasi and his closest associates left the country at the end of March. More than a million people fled the Red Army to the West, and more than 100,000


“Arrow Cross Party.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Arrow-Cross-Party.

Hungarian nazis (Arrow Cross Party). https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hungarian-nazis-arrow-cross-party.

United States holocaust memorial museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed November 1, 2022. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/hungary-after-the-german-occupation.

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