‘Race Against Time’

The Endeavours of Dr Gyorgy Gergely, Hungary 1940–1945
  • T. D. Kramer


One of the most significant difficulties confronting Hungarian Holocaust scholarship is what might be termed the compartmentalization of testimony. The large majority of survivors can provide direct eyewitness evidence on only a relatively narrow selection from the events that befell Hungarian Jewry during the German Occupation, which commenced on 19 March 1944. In particular, there has been a paucity of comprehensive, contemporary written testimony from those few activist leaders in the upper echelon of the Jewish hierarchy, whose experience encompassed a wide range of responsibilities and endeavours. Until now, the exemplar of this category has been the Zionist leader Otto Komoly, whose diary outlines events, issues and individuals in a generally forthright manner, though unfortunately often all too briefly. Possibly in the same category is Miksa Domonkos, a senior executive in the Jewish Council (Zsidó Tanács, Judenrat, henceforth JC), whose diary of the Occupation period was, at the time of research, in private control and unavailable to historians. This gap has, however, been substantially rectified by the documentation and testimony of Dr Gyorgy Gergely. After being in his private files for more than four decades, the majority of Gergely’s material is now available for scholarship at the Archive of Australian Judaica at the University of Sydney.1


Jewish Community Geneva Convention German Occupation Social Conscience Jewish Question 
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  1. 1.
    For a comprehensive exposition and analysis of this topic, see T.D. Kramer, From Emancipation to Catastrophe: The Rise and Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry (Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 2000).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Randolph L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide, The Holocaust in Hungary (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), p. 16. (Henceforth, Braham 1981)Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Jeno Levai, Raoul Wallenberg, His Remarkable Life, Heroic Battles and the Secret of His Mysterious Disappearance (Budapest, 1948), 78. Translated by Frank Vajda, Melbourne, 1988. (Henceforth Levai 1948a.)Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    See C.A. Macartney, October Fifteenth: A History of Modern Hungary 1929–1945 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1957), 382–85.Google Scholar
  5. 26.
    For Gergely’s original Notes on this and subsequent discussions with Born on the Spanish proposal, see Erno Munkacsi, Hogyan Tortent? [How did it Happen] (Budapest: Renaissance, 1947): 208–12. These Notes appear to be no longer extant elsewhere.Google Scholar
  6. 32.
    Arieh Ben-Tov, Facing the Holocaust in Budapest. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Jews in Hungary, 1943–1945 (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1988), p.325.Google Scholar
  7. 35.
    Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust. The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Free Press, 1993), p. 134.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. D. Kramer

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