A.I. Note No. 9833 to DFI, October 20, 1944 MEMORANDUM 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. RDMcC. 116 Hungary -- 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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