Although from 1944 to 1945, the majority of the society observed the looting, ghettoization and deportation of the Jews with indifference, still, several thousand Hungarians decided not to abandon their persecuted compatriots. Several people with varying backgrounds and occupations but with similar courage helped the Jews to a smaller or greater extent by expressing sympathy to performing dangerous, self-sacrificing rescue actions.
After the German occupation of the country, sympathy for Jews was expressed in many places. In Balassagyarmat, the Jews and non-Jews up until 1944
Words of the survivors - link center
Also in Kótaj, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles had not deteriorated when "we were forced to wear the discriminating yellow star after the Germans arrived". Indeed, the gentiles continued to "behave very decently to us, they always helped".
H. S. was standing in a bread queue in her home town of Volóc on April 19th, 1944 when a Gentile acquaintance addressed her: "He came to me and asked me to escape, and also to let my parents know about it. He was going to wait that night on the grape hill, till everybody would head over there one by one. When everyone was there, they would hide us. I immediately went home and told my father the plan. He thought it was a good idea but my mother hesitated because of my little brother, who made escape harder." Her mother persuaded the other members of the family to stay, arguing - as the official organisations stressed - they would only be taken to do agricultural work within the country, so they could remain with the children and work. H. S. was the only one of her family of five to return to Budapest in 1945. She was then 16.
There were also positive examples from the period of deportation and ghettoisation. The Jews of Tarpa were given
Ungvár Jews on their way to the ghetto
Jenő Ligeti was a member of that fortunate transport which, in early July, went to Strasshof in Austria rather than to Auschwitz. He had earlier lived in the Szeged ghetto "quite well considering the conditions. We had occasionally guests, one or two brave Christians who confronted the public atmosphere and dared enter the ghetto."
The population of Balmaújváros very much loved K. Gy.'s father, "so they always took good care of us in the ghetto. We had many Christian acquaintances who visited us in the ghetto and obtained what we needed".
In addition to Gentiles who paid demonstrative visits to the ghetto and smuggled in food, some actively aided, rescuing the persecuted. At Beregszász, the gendarmes threatened to execute forty women if they didn't receive a million pengős by midnight. "There were Christians who loaned money, such as the doctor, Dr Linner." - recalled the nurse H. E.
There were instances when the will to help extended even further. At Nagyvárad "some kind Christians attempted to organise a rescue action to save a hundred people from being hurled into the ghetto." People in Tárkány who wanted to bring food to the Jews were threatened with internment by the collaborating authorities. At Ungvár Gentiles who wanted to take or smuggle food into the ghetto were not just threatened, but arrested.
Of the Jews herded into the railway station of Máramarossziget, one was a 31-year-old Jewish mechanic from the Bártfalva ghetto, who admitted that "there were several Christians who wanted to hide me and promised to give me food until this situation was over". I. R. B. did not take advantage of this rare offer since "I wanted to share the fate of my parents and sister, from whose two gorgeous small children I didn't want to be parted". Apart from him, they all died in the Birkenau gas chamber.
The brutal scenes as the Jews were loaded onto the trains astonished and sometimes prompted help from the civil population. This was often accompanied by dangers.
"If someone from the population benevolently tried to smuggle us some food under their clothes, they were beaten up and threatened with shooting. It happened sometimes, in Újpest, that they tried to pass us some small food items through the windows, but when the gendarmes noticed them, they beat them up along with us." - reported the widow K. Á, about her experiences.
The rescue activities of the Gentile population in the capital was decisively stronger
Sára Schalkház was hiding Jews, the Arrow Cross killed her together with her protégés
Mrs. M. B, a young woman from Bonyhád, encountered a march of Jewish women on Rákóczi Road. "A woman I didn't know wanted to pass on a note to someone and I stepped from the pavement and took it from her. At that moment, an Arrow Cross man grabbed me by my collar and halted the column, all the time swearing broadly at me." This woman who was trying to help was taken to Ravensbrück. She was liberated in May 1945, by which time she weighed a mere 35 kilograms.
K. B. was being marched from Budapest towards the German border, but at Győr he escaped. "An honest land-worker, who knew I had nothing, wanted to hide me, pretending I was a relative of his wife. But I was denounced to the Arrow Cross."
M. T. and his companions were almost dying of hunger and thirst during a death march. "When we passed through Hungarian villages, the peasants would always give us what they could."
When a group of Jewish women were being marched through the streets of Újpest in November, the Gentile women stood in the streets and wept.
I. G. found himself in the Red Cross children's home on Zoltán Street, after a month of digging trenches. The home was only intended for those under fourteen, and he was at that time sixteen. The Arrow Cross removed the older children from other similar institutions. I. G.'s life was saved by a kind house warden, who warned him about an impending Arrow Cross raid, and he was able to escape in time.
Mária Kóla, who was the deputy leader of the Swedish Red Cross's social department, went to great lengths to create protected houses and children's homes in Budapest. "Kálmán Kohányi also played a very lively role in the organisation of these houses, who despite being ‘Aryan' was one of those Christians not afraid of being labelled ‘A friend of the Jews.'" Kohányi did more than this. "On numerous occasions, he helped save people from the brick factory and from Szent István Park."
In October 1944, one of the more uplifting episodes in the history of the Hungarian forced labour service occurred in Baja, to
Malvin Csizmadia was hiding escaped labour servicemen
One group waited in the Jewish cemetery for the seemingly inevitable mass execution, when "unexpectedly, a Hungarian colonel appeared and in the name of the army, took charge of us. That night, we went to an island of the Danube at Baja, where astonishingly and movingly, we were greeted by the population." "The non-Jewish population of Baja brought us food and clothing."
A doctor treating the labour servicemen who were in dire condition was "a totally liberal minded person, wanted to send the most shocking report about our health to the superior authorities".
Another member of this same group recalled: "We went as far as Baja, where the population received us with love, gave us food and tried to supply us with everything." "From there, we were taken to Szunyogsziget, where a lieutenant called Bánffy received us and tried to look after us as best as circumstances allowed."
"The Baja community treated us very well. The mayor opened up the Jewish houses and gave us clothing they found there. A colonel put us under his protection. The Szeged labour servicemen, while fleeing, came this way and gave us their two daily rations of bread." "The population received us kindly. They brought us water and fruit." "We spent one night in the house, and the local people brought us food." This collective, infectious wave of sympathy from the population of Baja, the civil population and the Szeged labour servicemen came at precisely the right time. The labour servicemen had escaped - at least for the time being.
László Wirth, who had deserted his unit together with his companions, remarked about the behaviour of the civil
Calvinist reverend Gábor Sztehlo saved hundreds of Jewish children
"The population of Kassa was very good to us. They not only consoled us but advised us to stay there, saying they would hide us. Only about five or ten people dared to risk it." - said Gábor Grósz in 1945.
A. M. also fled before the westwards deportation. "I was hiding with friends in Buda using Christian documents, but they were reported for hiding Jews. The detectives came and they took away everyone they found there."
A pair of brothers, E. K. and T. K, gave independent testimonies of the same story. E. K. escaped from his company, while his
Words of the survivors - link center
In sum, we can say that in Hungary in 1944 and 1945, there were plenty of people who showed solidarity with the persecuted Jews and undertook actions to save them. The overwhelming majority of the Hungarian population were passively indifferent and frequently accepted financial benefit from the deportations. However they were still more willing to help the persecuted rather than those actively participating in the "dejewification" of Hungary.
 Protocol 3550.
 Protocol 3087.
 Protocol 2940.
 Protocol 2476/B.
 Protocol 1279
 Protocol 3555.
 Protocol 1116
 Protocol 1091
 Protocol 2623.
 Protocol 16
 Protocol 1743.
 Protocol 182
 Protocol 1491
 See for example Új Magyarság May 4, 1944; Magyarság April 29, 1944; Kárpáti Magyar Hírlap July 25 and 30, 1944.
 Protocol 325.
 Protocol 2540.
 Protocol 3075.
 Protocol 3075.
 Protocol 3580.
 Protocol 3626.
 Protocol 3451.
 Protocol 3409.
 Protocol 1788.
 Protocol 2730.
 Protocol 3062.
 Protocol 2971.
 Protocol 2757.
 Protocol 2100.
 Protocol 1160.