Mađarski - jugoslovenski (?) Židovi na prisilnom radu na "Jugoistočnom bedemu" ("Suedostwall")
Hungarian-Yougoslav (?) Jews - forced laborers at the "Suedostwall"
AuthorsGrinfelder, Ana Marija
Article (Published version)
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Autorica je istraživala robovski rad mađarskih Židova na izgradnji kompleksa strateških vojnih postrojenja za odbranu Juga i Istoka Njemačkog Rajha od prodora Crvene armije, lako su planovi Vermahta predvidjeli pravi suvremeni "limes" na granicama Velike Njemačke od Baltičkog mora do Jadrana za učvršćivanje i obranu osvojenog njemačkog "Lebensraum"-a (životnog prostora), projekt je zbog povlačenja njemačkih vojnika iz osvojenih prostora, zaživeo samo u južnom djelu Austrije i poznat je kao "Jugoistočni bedem". Za gradnju Njemački Rajh je iscijedio poslednje ljudske rezerve - a to su bili mađarski Židovi. Radi ostvarivanja tog projekta odgođeno je provođenje "Endloesung"-a. Odgođeno, ali ne i suspendirano. Pod mađarskim Židovima ovdje se podrazumjevaju i Židovi iz onih djelova Jugoslavije koje je okupirala Mađarska.
The focus of the author's interest is a special aspect of the „Holocaust": Force labor of approximately 72.00 Hungary Jews temporary spared from immediate extermination, in order to substitute the lack of German workers. My particular intention was to investigate the destiny of the Jews from the Yugoslav provinces under Hungary occupation. However, Hungarian historians did not differ in these provinces from Hungary as a whole. So it will demand special researches in Hungarian local archives and hope to find there written sources - or to come in contact with involved persons (which becomes much more unrealistic!), it is therefor my aim to present the issue "Jewish forced labor at the South-East Wall", a scarcely known chapter of the history of the Holocaust among historians in former Yugoslavia. It is necessary to point out, that this forced labor is something quite different from forced and slave labor of Jews in the concentration and extermination camps: in the villages, where Jews ha...d to do earth-works for the fortifications, they worked together with the local population - and in their presence happened massacres of exhausted and enabled workers and cruel maltreatments. The inhabitants of the villages in Burgenland and Styria cannot say that they hadn't seen nor learned anything. Due to the fact, that important material and written sources had been destroyed by the SS and by inhabitants, my research lacks many key data. I hope, that I myself, but also younger researchers will be motivated by this essay to continue investigating and visiting hidden local archives and collections (which I am not able to do for personal and professional reasons!). At the one hand, Hungary as an ally of the Axis was obliged to support the Germans by sending workers and soldiers, at the other hand tried to escape direct rendering of the Hungarian Jews to Adolf Eichmann, the "specialist" for the "Endloesung" of the "Jewish question". Negotiations between Eichmann and the Hungarian authorities and the Jewish Counsellors, resulted in an agreement, that the 80.000 Hungarian Jews who had succeeded in surveying the pogroms of the Hungarian anti-Semites as well as raids of the SS, should be deported to the so-called "Reichsschutzstellung Suedwestwall" (a fortification system to be built up at the Hungarian-Austrian and the Slovak-Austrian border to prevent the Soviet Army from advancing to the Reich. The German military authorities planned a defense system beginning from the Baltic Sea through the White Carpathians down to Adriatic Coast. As the Red Army in summer 1944 reached the border of the German General government u Poland and Hungary in the South, the planners moved the intended defense-positions from the Hungarian-Soviet to the Hungarian-Austrian border. While from October until the end of 1944 the Red Army contracted the siege-ring around Budapest, in the Southwestern parts of Hungary and the Eastern Austria, from the Austrian-Slovak border in Engerau (Petrzane) all over the former Reichsgau Niederdonau (later: the province of Lower Austria/Niederoesterreich), the provinces of Burgenland and Styria started excavations and other kind of earth-works for the fortifications of the Austrian border, the so-called "Suedostwall" ("South-Eastern-Dam"). It was the utmostly reduced rest of the "German Limes", which reached from Engerau at the Danube river in the North to the village of Guessing/Koeszeg in the South. The "Suedostwall" absorbed approximately 20.000 Jewish workers, conscripted in Hungary and, beginning from November 1944, forced to march from the concentration camps around Budapest to the border village. Hegyeshalom has become since then a synonym for one of the cruel Death Marches of the Hungarian Jews. However, it is unknown how many of them were deported from the Yugoslav provinces which in April 1941 were occupied by Hungary. Some more waves of Hungarian 4.000 Jews came to the villages of Engerau and Strasshof - presumptively by an error of the Hungarian Railways, whose servants are supposed to have changed the transport papers and directed trains instead to Auschwitz to the Austrian border. Engerau was one of the northern building sites of the fortifications, and in Strasshof Jews were expected to support the civil forced laborers to reconstruct the militaries airport-runway. However, a greater number of these Jews had to move to various camps in Vienna and its surroundings for agriculture and foodstuffs-industry. In comparison with the Jews who had been deported to Burgenland and Styria and were forced to earth-moving works for anti-tank defense and in concrete factories, the Jews in Lower Austria had better luck - until to February and March 1945., when the Special Intervention Command (SEK) in Vienna decided to evacuate the Jews to the concentration camps. Jews from the Western Part of Lower Austria were deported to the ghetto of Theresienstadt: their destinies are unknown. As most of the Hungarian Jews before starting to the Death Marches were not any more registered, and due to the fact that the local population in Lower Austria did not show great competence with the Jews (although the hide and save more Jews the population elsewhere), we do not know names, so that it is hardly probable that we shall be able to identify Yugoslavian victims among the dead’s of the Ghetto in Theresienstadt in the registers which have been collected by researcher of the Institute for the History of the Austrian Jews in St. Poelten (Austria) Eleonore LAPPAINE. In some of the villages in Burgenland, where massacres had happened, graveyards bear the memory of the victims. Young people cultivate them with the aim, to pay the duty piety to the victims and to give a symbolic act of compensation for the injustices committed by their ancestress. Although the Hungarian Jews employed at the "Suedostwall", could temporarily escape from Holocaust, but not all of them succeeded to survey the decline of the Nazi-regime. For an undefined number of them, the immediately expected salvation by the allied troops meant the death sentence. Rapid movement, euphemistically called "evacuation", meant that the SS, preventing their salvation, forced them exhausted laborers to new forced marches, from their working-places to the concentration camps of Mauthausen, Gusen, Ebensee, and others.: Diseases and exhaustion as well as slaughtering by brutal SS-guards resulted u death of a huge number of them during the marches or immediately after arriving in the camps. For those victims, the „Suedostwall" in fact meant "Holocaust after Holocaust" or a "prolonged Holocaust". In the district of Oberwart, in the villages of Rechnitz and Deutsch-Schuetzen (Burgenland) traces and terrestrial researches led to the rests of mass graves of Jewish victims. Local politicians and members of the Nazi-party have been supposed to be involved. Trials by Austrian justice resulted in acquittal owing to lack of evidence, but primarily as a consequence of the Austrian amnesty for war-crimes in 1957. The balance of the South-East-Wall, which were without any resistance overrun by the Soviet Army at the end of March 1945., is about 15,000 perished Jews. Neither Serbian nor Croatian historians have until yet mentioned the Jewish victims of the South-East-Wall. In Hungary, there exits a rich bibliography about this special chapter within the Jewish Holocaust, however mainly u Hungarian language. The language barrier has probably been the main obstacle for historians of former Yugoslavia, as well as for Austrians and Germans. On the other hand, Hungary historians have ignored that among the Hungarian Jews there might be a - until now the unregistered number of Yugoslavian Jews who became Hungarians when Hungary u April 1941. occupied Yugoslav territories. Surveilled of the Jewish Community in the Croatian Medjimurje and Baranja Districts are convinced that among their elder members there is not any former forced laborer who was at the South-East-Wall, because all of these forced labors had perished. Surveilling testimonies would be particularly helpful to describe how the work at the "Dam" proceeded", which were the building plans: Until now, it seems that there did not exist plans and the commanders of the labor-camps or the working-brigades decided at their own hand, where should be erected what. A "technical" description of the works, of the erected buildings and their purpose we can deduce merely from rests of walls It was, therefore, the aim of this research to enlighten the destiny of the Jews from the occupied territories and to find traces of their work, suffering, and death u one of the massacres or forced labor camps. Owing to the lack of sources and testimonies, the author is unable to respond to this challenge. She has, therefore, the researches focused on in-depth investigations of the circumstances of forced labor as well as of the massacres committed by local Nazis, in order to prove, that there happened a Holocaust after the Holocaust, between autumn 1944 and spring 1945. when most of the Jews from the German-occupied countries had been exterminated. This research should motivate historians, particularly those who are mighty of the Hungarian language, to continue with particular aspects of the Jews deported from the Croatian territories. Another reduction was necessary because of the disposal of sources and literature: As the author is not employed u a historian or scientific institution, but as the senior officer in diplomacy, she is not able to visit all archives which might prove necessary sources nor libraries abroad. Thus, it is this reason, why this investigation can give merely stimulation for further researches.
Keywords:Jevreji - Jugoslavija / Jevreji - prisilni rad / Jevreji - spašavanje / Jugoistočni bedem / Suedostwall / Jews - Yugoslavia / Jews - forced labour / Jews - rescue / Holokaust
Source:Zbornik 9 : Studije, arhivska i memoarska građa, Jevrejski istorijski muzej - Beograd = Jewish studies 9 : Studies, archival and memorial materials, Jewish historical museum - Belgrade, 2009, 3, 127-184
- Beograd : Savez jevrejskih opština Jugoslavije [Federation of Jewish Communitues in Jugoslavia]
- Izvorno ime autorke je Anna Maria Grüenfelder.