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.