Rescues by the military

There were people at different levels of command in the Hungarian army who found the Jewish Acts as contrary to the national interest and condemned the persecution of Jewish fellow citizens.

The majority of officers, who had gone through the hell of the First World War, did not accept the increasing humiliation of their Jewish comrades based on political criteria and the introduction of obligatory rosters indicating racial origin. Many of them realized that the so-called auxiliary labor service, increasingly unbearable for the Jewish people was contrary to the real interests of the army, was pointless and wasteful. MP Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky intervened several times in favor of those in the labor service.

General Vilmos Nagybaczoni Nagy, Minister of Defense alleviated the burdens of the Jewish men forced to undertake unarmed service. His human approach drew the increasingly loud protests of the pro-Nazi extreme right. After ten months in office, he was forced to resign in June 1943.

In northern Transylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Imre Reviczky, commander of the Tenth Auxiliary Labor Force Battalion and Sergeant-Major Jenő Gombay displayed an exemplary human attitude. They consistently protected their Jewish staff from atrocities. (Both of them are Righteous Among the Nations.) The Arrow Cross accused Reviczky of "unfaithfulness", of resistance activities at the beginning of 1945. The swift arrival of the front saved him from execution. By providing selfless assistance to hundreds, he acquired lasting merits. Streets were named after him in the 3rd district of Budapest and in three towns of Israel.

Ret. Colonel Imre Ozoray and his family provided much assistance to their Jewish acquaintances. As a commander of a Jewish labor company, this officer seized various opportunities. He was able to get hold of rubber stamps which he used for rescuing people. Two dozens of persecuted Jews found refuge in his villa. Career officer lieutenants Jenő Thassy and Guidó Görgey, descendants of famous Hungarian historical families, Righteous Among the Nations, joined the movement of resistance. Moreover, they protected ingeniously their Jewish acquaintances, among them the writer Ferenc Karinthy and others. Görgey's mother, Friderika Görgey de Thierry was a brave and active participant of their actions.

Groups of armed resistance organized around Lieutenant Lajos Gidófalvy, General Staff Captain Zoltán Mikó, Lieutenant Vilmos Bondor performed extensive rescue operations. They distributed hundreds of identification documents, certificates of exemption to people in hiding, deserters, mobilized students and those persecuted because of their ethnic origin or religion. In the 6th district of Budapest, Gidófalvy and his comrades rescued hundreds of Jewish children. Mikó's group also took part in rescuing Hungarian writers and other members of the intellectual elite.

Kálmán Ferenczfalvy, chief of the economic office of the 20th Labor Force Battalion rescued hundreds of women and men in the labor service. In 1988, he was bestowed the Righteous Among the Nations award, and became honorary citizen of Gyöngyös in 2003. On many occasions, Captain László Tamásy introduced himself as an investigating officer of the Hadik Barracks (counter-espionage). He "arrested" demonstratively those he aimed to rescue, then brought them to the safety of a shelter. Many were saved as the result of legal and illegal actions by Colonel Raymund Bóth and Majors Emil Löderer and István Fehér.

The Artúr Görgey University Battalion under the command of lawyer Endre Csohány provided shelter and military documents offering temporary cover for Jewish people. During a raid, the counter-espionage seized ten men in the labor service hiding at their facility. These people were executed in the military prison on Margit Boulevard on 4 December.

Anna Szenes, with her paratrooper comrades trained by the British military, tried to set up Jewish self-defense and resistance. Treason thwarted their courageous plans. The Jewish radio-operator was tortured and executed in Budapest on 7 November.

The battles of the First World War left László Ocskay disabled. In spite of this, yielding to the persuasion of his Jewish friends, former comrades, he accepted the command of a labor company in 1944. The retired captain operated a so-called cloth-collecting unit as a cover to a sewing workshop in the former Jewish Grammar School of Zugló district in Budapest, where he rescued fifteen hundred persecuted Jews. The protected persons were employed at mending military uniforms, and German soldiers protected this "military workshop" from the attacks of the Arrow Cross.

Ocskay had direct contacs with Friedrich Born and Raoul Wallenberg. The Secretary of the Embassy and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder spent their last days in Budapest in his apartment. From this place, they were abducted to Moscow, never to come back. (Later, Ocskay fled with his family to the United States, away from the harassments of the Soviet authorities.) A documentary movie was made about his unique rescue operation. In honor of this Righteous Among the Nations a memorial bench has been placed in the Városliget City Park.

Lajos Kudar, Colonel of Gendarmerie and one of the leaders of the Center for State Protection, prevented the apprehension of hundreds of people during the rule of the Arrow Cross. Secretly, he handed over the names from the lists for arrest to Margit Rosner and Mrs. Dr. István Kovács. They alarmed the concerned persons and many managed to escape. In the end days of the siege of Buda, Kudar paid with his life for his humanitarian actions.

First Lieutenant Tibor Almásy was appointed as commander of one of the barracks in Sopron in March 1945. The German Todt organization carried out defense constructions in the surroundings of the town, using Hungarian Jewish forced laborers. At the approach of the Soviet troops, in the villages near Sopron, the SS executed by the hundreds men and women weak and sick as a result of the harsh work. On 28 March, a Hungarian armed escort fleeing west handed over to Almásy almost four hundred Jewish labor servicemen, claiming that the SS would "take care" of them.

The commander ordered the forced laborers into the cellar. He dressed in military uniform some of the German-speaking men from the group and ordered them to the gates. During the night, he hanged canvases with the words "Danger of typhus" on the walls of the barracks. The rescue operation was successful, the SS did not enter the territory of the barracks. People protected by Almásy survived the passing of the battle line, and he has been bestowed the Righteous Among the Nations award.

The Hungarian population also rescued British and American pilots, and risked their own lives hiding them from the German authorities. The Szalai family in Csapod, Sopron County sheltered for almost half a year American navigator Arnold R. Silverstein in the close vicinity of a German airfield. Honoring this outstanding act, Miklós Szalai received a high award of the American military in 1985.