Joseph Goebbels was the ultimate Third Reich insider and had a strong personal relationship with Adolf Hitler. As such, he would have a good idea what was transpiring. He was also one of the leading anti-Jews in the regime.
Goebbels maintained a detailed personal diary that included reflections on all aspects of the war and operations. The diaries are extensive, encompassing 29 volumes of roughly 500 pages each, written in German.
Near the end of the regime, Goebbels gave orders that his diaries were to be copied for safekeeping using the new technique of microfilm. A special darkroom was created in Goebbels’s apartment in central Berlin, and Goebbels’s stenographer, Richard Otte, supervised the work.
Boxes of glass plates containing his microfilmed diaries were sent in April 1945 to Potsdam, just West of Berlin, where they were buried. The original handwritten and typed diaries were packed and stored in the Reich Chancellery. Portions were published thereafter.
Boxes of glass-plate microfiche at Potsdam were discovered by the Soviets and shipped to Moscow, where they sat unopened for decades. In 1992, German historian Elke Fröhlich discovered the plates, and the full and complete diary was published in German between 1992 and 1995.
When the documents were finally released, it was evident that Goebbels’ account often ran completely counter to court historians’ narratives in a number of areas — especially on what is called the “Jewish Question” — and what transpired in Hungary in 1944 in particular.
Goebbels in his diaries referred to partisan problems and even stated some numbers. He spoke of tens of thousands killed, not millions or even hundred of thousands.
The notion that millions of Jews fell into German hands in Russia is a myth. Many got out and placed instrumental roles in the Soviet war effort. [See Jewish News Archive, 7/8-1941; 45,000 Bukovina Jews Evacuated to Soviet Interior and Jewish News Archive 2/18/1942, “Uzbekistan Becomes New Home for Hundreds of Thousands of Evacuated Jews”]
Read: Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Russia Helped 1,750,000 Jews to Escape Nazis
“Stalin … made use of the Jews to eliminate the intelligentsia of the Ukraine, and then exported the Jews by trainloads to Siberia.” — Adolf Hitler, evening table talk on 22 August 1942
Apr 29, 1942 (II.4.201) **
The SD gave me a police report on conditions in the East. The danger of the Partisans continues to exist in unmitigated intensity in the occupied areas. The Partisans have, after all, caused us very great difficulties during the winter, and these difficulties have by no means ceased with the beginning of spring. Short shrift (kurzen Prozess) is made of the Jews in all eastern occupied areas. Tens of thousands must bite the dust, and the Fuhrer’s prophecy is fulfilled for them, that Jewry has to pay for inciting a new World War with the complete removal/uprooting (Ausrottung) of their race.
In addition to his Ministry responsibilities, Goebbels was Gauleiter (governor) of the Berlin District. He wrote:
Oct 1, 1942 (II.6.37)
I drive back to the Chancellery with the Führer. Once again we talk through the Jewish Question. Here the Führer takes the same radical standpoint I do. He is also of the opinion that we must completely deport the Jews out of the Reich (restlos herausschaffen), and above all from Berlin.
But this is apparently not so easy even in an uncontested city where the National Socialists had been in power for a decade. According to the exterminationist thesis, over 1.6 million Jews died in the six death camps alone. At the beginning of 1943, two-thirds of the holocaust was allegedly complete.
Jan 23, 1943 (II.7.177)
The Führer is of the opinion that the Jewish Question in Berlin must be solved as soon as possible. As long as one still finds Jews in Berlin, we cannot speak of internal security. Also the Jews must be removed from Vienna (aus…heraus) as fast as possible.
As late as March 1944, the JQ in Berlin is still ongoing.
Mar 16, 1944 (II.11.490)
Six thousand Jews are still living in Berlin, partly privileged, and partly tolerated. I’m keeping an eye on them, and will still try to deport them (abzuschieben) at the earliest opportunity.
Goebbels had intelligence about the Zionist Israel project.
May 26, 1943 (II.8.370) **
An interesting report tells about the conference at Casablanca. According to this report it was decided that the Anglo-Saxon powers would create a national home for the Jews in Palestine after their eventual victory. This national home is to take care of 20,000,000 Jews. These Jews are to engage chiefly in intellectual and managerial tasks; the work is to be done, as decided in Casablanca, by middle European and especially German workers. For this a large-scale resettlement would be necessary that would, to a certain extent, depopulate (entvölkere) Central Europe. It isn’t hard to imagine what’s going on in the brains of these plutocratic statesmen who are dependent upon the Jews; but we also know what we must do to protect the German people against such a fate.
Over the last six months of 1943, there is scarcely any mention of Jews in Goebbels’ diaries.
Then Joseph Goebbels weighed in with his diaries on the Hungarian situation. Looks like Goebbels the insider and one of Hitler’s closest confidant’s thought something completely different was going on than the court historians convey.
According to the official narrative, the deportation and gassing at Auschwitz of 437,000 Hungarian Jews occurred with great efficiency between April 29 and July 9, 1944.
Mar 23, 1944 (II.11.530-531)
At the moment, the [Hungarian] Jews are not under arrest, but rather confined to the ghetto. We can therefore use it well in Budapest, because they will serve to some extent as hostages against enemy air raids. The people of Budapest were always of the opinion that, so long as there are Jews in the Hungarian capital, they would not be attacked by enemy aircraft.
Apr 18, 1944 (II.12.44)
The Führer then explained to the Gauleiters the background of his campaign in Hungary, and how it was designed. He gave an amusing description of his talk with Horthy. He had to use strong-arm tactics because the old man was not comfortable with the necessary measures. The Führer left him in no doubt, that either it would be a fight to the death or that he had to submit. The Führer had so many forces to apply to this campaign that Horthy offered no serious resistance. In particular, the Führer expected contributions from Hungary of food, oil, manganese, and people. In particular, he wants the 700,000 Jews in Hungary involved in beneficial activities for our war effort.
Apr 27, 1944 (II.12.199)300,000 Hungarian Jews have been detained and imprisoned in the concentration camps. They should come, in large part, to Germany as a workforce. Himmler will take care of this; above all, they are to be used for our difficult war production programs.
May 4, 1944 (II.12.232)
Our plenipotentiary in Hungary, Veesenmayer, gives an excellent speech on the decisive Hungarian factors. …In particular, it’s to his credit that the Hungarian potential is now in large part requisitioned for our war efforts. Also, the Jewish Question is now being handled more energetically. I insist that the measures taken against the Jews in Hungary have a factual basis. It’s not enough that one only announces in the press what happens, but one must also explain it. In Budapest the Jews are starting to be gathered into ghettos. The ghettos are built in the vicinity of the armament factories, because air attacks are likely there. It is hoped thereby to avoid British-American attacks on Budapest, if at all possible.
By 1944, Germany’s war production had relocated factories to bomb-proof underground locations, and small, satellite camps near factory locations. In Hungary the Jewish labor force was already on or near location. But labor shortages were so dire that Nazi officials requested 70,000 Hungarian Jews be pulled from the satellite camps and brought to Germany for labor in armaments production. In 1944, any and all Europeans were conscripted into the labor force.
Many able-bodied Hungarian Jewish men were also up in the Carpathian mountains building massive in-depth defensive fortifications in summer 1944. They usually were labor battalions under Hungarian command.
A letter from Hitler to Horthy was uncovered. Hitler says Hungarian Jews will not sit out war. A week later, on April 9, 1944, Prime Minister Sztójay places 300,000 Jewish laborers at the disposal of the Reich. Winter Watch note: There were 750,000 Jews in Hungary at this time.
Even so in this Times of Israel article from 2016 we see a fessing up, describing the “Glass House” operation whereby 50,000 to 80,000 Hungarian Jews were given passes to leave the country to Palestine.
In 1944, the Jews were still a strongly entwined group, especially in the economy. The expulsion of all Hungarian Jews, or even of only those in the provinces outside Budapest, in an interval of two months, would have been like a virtual atom bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy.
As of April 19, 1944, the German authorities in Hungary were “encountering greatest difficulties” procuring rail transport even for 10,000 employable Jews on their hands. On April 27, they reported that, while transport had finally been arranged for 4,000 of them, rail shortages were still delaying the deportations for labor, which at that point contemplated 50,000 employable Jews.
Auschwitz was a large industrial complex. Much smaller contingents of Hungarian Jews would have been sent there as labor. But to use scarce rail stock to ship the infirm, elderly and children off to Auschwitz?
Yet, a fictitious claim attributed to the Auschwitz “camp resistance movement” states that from May 15 to May 25, 1944, each day saw 13 trains arrive, each train consisting of 48 to 50 cars, 100 Hungarian Jews to a car. That’s 62,400 to 65,000 per day. There are no records of protestations from German officials about having these valuable rail assets commandeered.
Other claims place 147 separate trains with box-car transports that were used. From Aug. 7-30, 1944, some 74,000 more Polish Jews were railed in from Lodz. In the midst of it, 7,503 ghetto inhabitants from Terezin (Theresienstadt), in western Bohemia, were sent 400 miles east to Auschwitz on three transports (May 15, May 16 and May 18, 1944).
Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 28, 1944, with the war lost and German columns pinned down all over Europe, the SS allegedly transported 18,402 Jews from Theresienstadt, Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic) to Auschwitz, Poland, in 11 transports (over 180 box cars). The gassings allegedly continued until late October 1944.
These multiple mass movement of people operations would have to occur throughout the summer and fall of 1944 as German lines crumbled before Allied and Soviet offensives. Axis forces faced severe manpower and supply shortages largely impacted by transport and deployment. See next clip for the non-cartoon world background on aerial attacks against German trains.
D-Day was in June 1944. At about the time of the Normandy breakout at St. Lo, a massive Soviet offensive called Operation Bagration started on June 22, 1944, that caught the Axis poorly deployed.
The Soviets focused their massive attacks on Army Group Centre — not Army Group North Ukraine, as the Germans had originally expected. More than 2.3 million Soviet troops went into action against German Army Group Centre, which had a strength of fewer than 800,000 men and only 40 fighter aircraft. At the points of attack, the numerical and quality advantages of the Soviet forces were overwhelming.
The story in Normandy of Germany’s greatest tank commander further illustrates the desperation.
The Germans would have needed every rail car and all personal available to counter this.
By early August 1944, the Soviets were just east of Auschwitz, approaching Krakow, Poland, and were in eastern Slovakia. The German Luftwaffe was effectively neutered in these offensives, and making desperate attempts to interdict Allied air raids. At this point, Germany was facing a refugee onslaught in the evacuation of its own nationals.
Furthermore, if extermination was the objective, why not improvise means to kill them in Hungary, and perhaps even blame it on the Hungarians? In fact, there are sites in Hungary that need to be disinterred. Although sites like Cservenka and Kerecsend have turned up smaller numbers of bodies, historians wedded to the Auschwitz story keep the forensics proceeding slowly, if at all. In actuality most of the mass graves unearthed in Hungary contained the bodies of Hungarians who supported the Axis war effort.