The Geo­graph­i­cal Ency­clo­pe­dia of the Holo­caust in Hungary

Ran­dolph L. Bra­ham, ed.
  • Review
By – December 23, 2013

When Nazi Ger­many occu­pied Hun­gary in March 1944 it was appar­ent, with the Red Army near­ing the Carpathi­an Moun­tains and the Ger­man army in retreat from the Sovi­et Union, that it was only a mat­ter of time before they would lose the war. Nev­er­the­less, Hitler was deter­mined to com­plete one of his major objec­tives in fight­ing World War II, the anni­hi­la­tion of Euro­pean Jew­ry. The result was the depor­ta­tion of more than 430,000 Hun­gar­i­an Jews to the Auschwitz death camp. No schol­ar has done more than Ran­dolph L. Bra­ham, in his mon­u­men­tal The Pol­i­tics of Geno­cide; The Holo­caust in Hun­gary, 2 vol. to record this trag­ic history.

North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Press in associa­tion with the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­rial Muse­um, with Bra­ham as its edi­tor, has pub­lished an indis­pens­able ref­er­ence work on the fate of Hun­gar­i­an Jew­ry. The three-vol­ume work, with a Fore­word by Elie Wiesel, and schol­ar­ly entries writ­ten by more than twen­ty con­trib­u­tors, is divid­ed into a num­ber of sec­tions. Bra­ham pro­vides a his­tor­i­cal overview of the events lead­ing up to the Holo­caust in Hun­gary, fol­lowed by a 500 page plus sec­tion on the var­i­ous coun­ties in Hun­gary in 1944, describ­ing the num­ber of its Jews and their fate under Nazi depor­ta­tion pol­i­cy. For exam­ple, in the vil­lage of Pisko, in 1941, the entry lists four Jews and three Chris­tians of Jew­ish descent, and records that the four Jews were deport­ed to Auschwitz on May 27, none of whom ever returned to the vil­lage. In this metic­u­lous work of research, the sto­ry of each vil­lage is detailed with regard to the num­ber of Jews and their fate at the hands of the Nazis. There are also maps, rare illus­tra­tions, and tables which doc­u­ment the num­ber of Jews in the ghet­tos estab­lished by the Nazis.

The ency­clo­pe­dia is designed to serve as a ref­er­ence work for teach­ers, stu­dents, and all those who have an inter­est in the cat­a­stro­phe that befell Hun­gar­i­an Jew­ry in gen­er­al and indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties in par­tic­u­lar. Although libraries have cut back their book acqui­si­tions, this review­er would rec­om­mend that you urge your uni­ver­si­ty libraries, as well as those that have a Holo­caust sec­tion, to pur­chase this essen­tial ref­er­ence work.

Jack Fis­chel is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of his­to­ry at Millersville Uni­ver­si­ty, Millersville, PA and author of The Holo­caust (Green­wood Press) and His­tor­i­cal Dic­tio­nary of the Holo­caust (Row­man and Littlefield).

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