|Tibor Cseres: Serbian Vendetta in Bacska|
VERDICTS AFTER REVENGE
The relatives of the executed kept terrified silence about the bloody reprisals in Bacska in the Autumn of 1944. Those who escaped to Hungary dared only to whisper in fear the horrors they had experienced in their own immediate environs.
The approximate summary of the massacres originates from brave priests, who turned with their experiences to the authority accessible to them, the Cardinal of Esztergom, the Prince Primate Jozsef Mindszenty; they expected some help. The Cardinal addressed a letter to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, who was making preparations for the peace negotiations, and wrote about the massacre of 40,000-50,000 innocent Hungarians in Bacska.
Foreign Minister Janos Gyongyosi, as far as I know, never took advantage of this report in any of his speeches, memorandas, negotiations, though it is certain that he shared the contents of the Cardinal's letter with at least his party and the significant persons of his coalition government.
It is probable, that nobody dared to accuse the highly respected Josip Broz Tito. In the West and in the East the guerilla leader was esteemed so highly, that it was impossible even to mention any of the genocides committed by his troops and gangs of partisans on Croatians, Slovenians, Germans or Hungarians.
The grievances suffered by Hungarians in Bacska in 1944 did not even turn up during the trials dealing with the atrocities of the Hungarian Counter Intelligence police at Novi Sad nor in the peace negotiations.
It is characteristic of the humiliating fear of the democratic Hungarian government, that Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy in the beginning of 1947, was required to deliver about 3,5OO inhabitants of Bacska to the Yugoslavian authorities; they were regarded as fugitives. In addition, he gave opportunity and permission for a far reaching OZNA investigation on Hungarian territory. The majority of the fugitives handed over to the Serbians were executed.
Was Ferenc Szombathelyi, former chief of the general staff, aware of the annihilation of many thousands of Hungarians in Bacska? He wanted to deny his responsibility for the the massacre at Novi Sad in the 1945 autobiographical memoranda before being arrested, by the American authorities for war crimes.
"In the bloody events at Novi Sad and Bacska, writes
Szombathelyi, a great many Hungarians, especially the right wingers and most of the staff officers, saw a great national exploit. They thought of the events as strong arm measures, normal under special guerilla wartime conditions. Unfortunately, I could not alter the situation, because the events had been so horrible that I could not turn to the public with them nor could I release any propaganda statements. The public opinion of the country was entirely under the influence of right wing propaganda, and developed in accordance with it. I would not have thought that the events at Novi Sad had been so terrible, and for a long time I did not believe so, though I never made the mistake of regarding the events at Novi Sad as exploits. I had been convinced for a long time, that there had been a justified reprisal by the troops, which would put an end to Serbian atrocities committed against the Hungarian public security; the administrative organisations; and property damages.
There would be peace at last on this land, which was disturbed by the Serbs and not us, because they did not intend to sympathize with our peaceful and tolerant administration based on the ideas of St. Stephen. What is more they opposed it completely.
In contrast with all the others, I believed the reports of the responsible commanders, namely Generals Feketehalmy-Czeydner and Grassy, who had led the events on the spot, and whom I had known as honest, reliable soldiers up till now. They constantly denied in writing, as well as in words, that there had been bloodshed. If occasionally debauchery had taken place, the reason for that had plainly been the provocative behaviour of the Serb population. I could never get a report from them of the number and identity of the casualties, but they denied that many had been killed, and that women and children had been among them.
I thought I had been delivered an exaggerated report by the civil service. Civil servants get frightened easily, and cry for the armed forces. When the armed forces take severe measures, which cause casualties, they grow even more frightened and would prefer to decline responsibility. They regard the events as ones which did not happen at all.
Considering the international situation mainly in relation to Germany; the Serbian internecine massacres of the partisan movements within our borders; what the Serbs had to suffer at the hands of the German and Croatian troops; and consequently developing homicidal psychosis, I did not find it wise nor did I find the time convenient to call attention to such a scandalous case, which would have completely ruined the peace of the whole country. The government refused to stir up the matter. I was too
young a chief to risk such a great battle on my own, which much later, after having discovered the truth entirely, I lost. I laid the matter aside in accordance with government wishes; I pleaded for its shelving by the Regent.
I did not initiate the mopping up operation at Novi Sad; it was the Ministry of the Interior with whom I maintained close contact throughout the whole operation in Bacska. I informed them of everything I learned from the military line. When he reported to me, I ordered Feketehalmy-Czeydner to personally report to the Minister for Home Affairs and to the Prime Minister. He had been briefed by both Ministers before the operation at Novi Sad
After the events at Novi Sad, my conviction grew firm, that attrocities had taken place on the part of the military forces. Eventually I had to acknowledge the fact, that I had been misled by the reports, and my subordinates could be accused with dereliction of duty and negligence.
On the basis of police reports; private information; and the conclusions reached by my attorneys; it was beyond doubt, that an awful crime had been committed.
The crime had not only taken the lives of wretched Serbian casualties, but we Hungarians also had to suffer a terrible blow. As a commanding officer, I could only declare it a real "national catastrophe". This realization caused me a terrible disappointment in my respected comrades and staff officers. When I reached the end of the road of sorrowful realization, I acted firmly and mercilessly. I transformed the whole matter into a personal one; I put the matter before the court of the chief of staff. Although my Prosecutor was against it, I made a charge of disloyalty.
I did not want too much publicity nor did I want to burden anybody with this difficult case, which lived on in the public opinion as a falsely interpreted national act of heroism. I did not find anybody else with the necessary strength fit to settle the matter. I could not decline responsibility, because it was a matter which concerned the whole country.
The Minister for Home Affairs warned me, that this was not the concern of the court of the chief of staff, because it was not the case of disloyalty but ordinary murder and robbery. I was afraid that in someone else's hands the judgement would be delayed or even dropped.
Since I was the highest commander of the Hungarian Army, it was my duty to settle it. I had to shoulder the damage suffered by the honour of the Hungarian arms and the Hungarian soldier. I have to point out, that I was severely attacked by the Kallay
government. The fact that I took the matter seriously is well shown in the selection of the members of the court; the severity of the verdicts; the extension of the charge; the news bulletins; my orders to my officers; my informative and enlightening speeches; and those articles that appeared after the German occupation of Hungary in right wing papers; the intense interest of the German military attache during the trial; and finally my own arrest and arraignment.
I did not arrest generals Feketehalmy-Czeydner and Grassy, and this enabled them to escape to Germany. The reason for this is as follows: first of all, I seldom consented to my prosecutors' suggestion of arrest, except for cases concerning financial affairs, because I have always esteemed human freedom and dignity highly. Since my own arrest, I see how right I had been. I have respected Generals Feketehalmy-Czeydner and Grassy. They were Hungarian generals, comrades, who I did not want to put under arrest. Both were glad to have their case put before the court as soon as possible. I regarded the arrest just as unworthy of a Hungarian general, as his later escape, but there was one problem I had to take into consideration.
Behind the whole affair stood the Germans as the likely original instigators, who wanted to prevent us at any price from having good relations with our neighbors. They took advantage of this affair at Novi Sad by creating an eternal anymosity between the Hungarians and the Serbs. They would have rescued the two Hungarian protagonists even by force. Unfortunately I have to say that they could have succeeded, because public opinion regarded the two as national heroes.
I did not want to provoke such a forced liberation; I did not want to initiate a fight that I could only lose. I had to consider also the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Bartha. He did not want the trial of Novi Sad, either, probably due to his right wing sentiments. It was also a gesture towards him not to have ordered the arrests, but to have displayed reasonableness in the carrying out of the verdicts.
With their escape and with the abandoning of their subordinates, Generals Feketehalmy-Czeydner and Grassy imposed judgement upon themselves. I wanted to try everything possible, so that they could defend themselves freely without any obstacles. For once not only their own honour, but the honour of the whole Hungarian nation and the Hungarian arms was at stake. I gave special orders to the court to ensure fairness. In the interest of defense of the gendarme officers, I ordered the gendarme general to take part on the trial, but I forbade the participation of right wing politicians.
The American military forces delivered Szombathelyi to the Hungarian government as a war criminal, so that he could answer for his actions during the war before the People's Court of Budapest. The People's Court, after a four day open trial, sentenced Ferenc Szombathelyi to ten years imprisonment. It is worth quoting some details from the reasons adduced:
"In the reannexed Southern Territories, as has been stated in the verdict against Prime Minister Bardossy, the Serbian rebels threatened public security; treacherously murdered Hungarian soldiers and security officials. The situation deteriorated to such a point, that the local security organizations proved insufficient for the restoration of order. For this reason the Minister for Home Affairs pleaded for military reinforcements. Bardossy, put in charge the Minister of National Defence, directing the military forces to clear the South of the rebels in cooperation with the civilian administration.
General Szombathelyi ordered the commanding general of the South, (the commander of the army corps of Szeged), General Feketehalmy-Czeydner, to head the operation aimed at the restoration of order in Bacska. For his assistance, he asked them to form a commission, which the Minister for Home Affairs rejected, claiming that there are the Lord Lieutenants for this purpose. He succeeded in having Representative Popovics appointed next to Feketehalmy-Czeydner as an adviser with the consent of the Minister for Home Affairs. This time it was Feketehalmy-Czeydner who rejected it, because he regarded the person in question as pro German. In spite of his instructions, he completely ignored the Lord Lieutenants. The accused had no special intentions concerning the South; from the military point of view, mopping up was not necessary.
In connection with the events in Zabalj, he received reports of a serious battle from Feketehalmy-Czeydner. He began to think that after all there was a military operation going on. After finishing the mopping up operation in Zabalj, the Minister for Home Affairs thought it necessary to extend the mopping up to Novi Sad as
He was misled by false reports from Feketehalmy-Czeydner. Before his activity in Novi Sad, Feketehalmy-Czeydner had received the instructions in Budapest from the Minister for Home Affairs, the Minister of National Defense, and from the accused, but had not received any special instructions. His reports, did not mention the cruelties of the armed forces. It was only on January 22, 1942, that the accused was informed by the Prime Minister that there had been children among the casualties at Novi Sad. He demanded an explanation from Feketehalmy-Czeydner, who denied this completely, and again depicted the local situation unrealistically to the accused.
General Szombathelyi categorically forbade cruelties in his telegram to the commander. The person in question, in spite of all this, and with the aim of arousing the battle spirit and lust for murder, organized an artificial guerilla fight that produced "wounded casualties". He ordered Mayor Miklos Nagy to supply the soldiers with tea spiked with rum, reasonimg that the weather was cold; blood and alcohol had their effect. The massacre continued in disastrous proportions; in January 1942, in Zabalj and Novi Sad, the total number of civilian corpse was 3,309, including 147 children and 299 aged people.
Feketehalmy-Czeydner continued denying the attrocities, even after the events at Novi Sad. The accused, according to his defense, believed him, because he would not expect such baseness from an old, well known army comrade. At any rate, he asked him for a written report. However, both his official and prosecutor's reports were uninformative. The official diaries of the army units did not contain any information either. He asked for a judicial enquiry, from these sources he could not gain a clear picture of the events. Altough the judicial enquiry entirely exposed the terrible atrocities of the soldiers, he presented a plea for barring the indictment to the Regent. The reason was that the politicians refused to back the case, and the German military attache implied, that Germany did not want a great affair made of the matter.
When the Kallay Government undertook the political clarification of the events in Bacska, the Regent ordered the reopening of the case, the accused entrusted a special court with
the legal procedings. He appointed the members of the court with special care to guarantee the uncovering of the truth. He did not order the arrest of the principal criminals, in spite of the demands of his prosecutor, judge-advocate Mr. Babos. According to his defense, he did not believe that generals of high rank would escape. He trusted them even more, when Feketehalmy-Czeydner and Grassy announced how glad they were to be able to clear themselves of the unfounded accusations. These in question escaped after all with German help, and returned only after the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. They were reappointed to the corp of generals, plus there was an order barring indictment and a total rehabilitation.
The accused denied his guilt concerning the events in the South, though essentially he confessed to know the facts.
In connection with the statements of facts in the second article, the People's Court found reasons to believe, that the accused sent a telegram to Feketehalmy-Czeydner on January 22, 1942, saying that "striking injustices are to be avoided"; this cannot be confirmed. The pertinent part of Grassy's testimony cannot be accepted as substantial proof in itself, because the person in question cannot be regarded as an unconcerned party. What is more, he had been one of the central figures of the events. It is evident that he tried to exonerate himself by all possible means, and shift the responsibility at least partially upon somebody else.
According to the testimony of witness Imre Suhay, which he made on the basis of conscientious perusing the pertinent documents, there was no such telegram among the documents, only telegram that forbid cruelties categorically. Even if there had been such a telegram, it is sophistry to misinterpret it as a disguised instigation to permitt excesses. The killing of children is a "striking injustice" beyond doubt. The murdering of children would have been forbidden, even by the telegrammed order containing the prohibition. Such an instigation cannot be found even with the distortion of the meaning of the telegram.
In connection with the Southern events, the responsibility of the accused as either instigator, culprit or participant cannot be substantiated. According to the decisive statement of facts, the accused was informed of the massacre after it had taken place. This had been decided in relation with the verdict of the People's Court against Bardossy. It is also true in the case of the accused, who learned of the events only from Bardossy on January 22, 1942. Instigation, culpability or participation are thus out of the question. The telegram of the accused on January 22, 1942, cannot be regarded as instigation either, as it was settled above by the
The accused did not hurry to punish the criminals with the force he would have had to use, as it would have been his duty under such circumstances, since he had no doubt later of what had happened in the South. These events have influenced the nation's moral and also its financial existence. The question arose, are we going to become the object of hatred among the nations?
Under such circumstances, the accused put the investigation of the case in the hands of military leaders, whose impartiality would have been suspected by any sober outside observer. They were the most likely to have participated directly or indirectly in the scandalous operations. Instead of arresting those who were obviously responsible for the events as military commanders, the accused commissioned the principal criminal to undertake the enquiry. Before the watchful eyes and obvious disapproval of the international public opinion, he helped to cover up the case, which eventually led to the barring of the indictment. The problem was of such importance that not a moment of delay should have been allowed; old people and children had been murdered. There had been a "campaign" against them. In such an important case all other aspects are negligible. He ought to have struck instantly, thus making it clear, that the Hungarian government had no quarrel with the Serbs, was ready to support the minority not only with words but with action also. The cover-up of the case has been more harmful than advantageous.
There was no doubt about the series of crimes that took place. The punishment should have been immediate and with deterrent strength, as every sober and honest Hungarian and the whole world's public opinion expected it to be. It was evident that a treacherous clique opposed its own nation, some officers or gendarme commanders may commit such a crime, but the Hungarian nation and its government would not stand for it. It is the exposure, the complete openness in the handling of the case,that would have guaranteed a fair assessment of the tragedy in the Western public and official oppinion.
The glossing over and the attempted concealment of the case created the misconception that it had not been an arbitrary but tolerated course of action. It is well known what a great harm befell the Hungarians. The delayment of the case for weeks or months, degenerated into such an international scandal that its consequences burdened the Hungarian nation for a long time.
The judgement of the People's Court was, for those who were trying to cover up the crimes of some high ranking officers who later joined the German service. The welfare of these criminals was more important than the interests and reputation of the Hungarian nation.
He had the chance to take effective measures to punish the guilty. Instead he acted in an indecisive, harmful way. If he were hindered, should have resigned at once, proving that a responsible Hungarian soldier does not take part directly or indirectly in the cover-up of such crime.
The massacres at Zabalj and Novi Sad could have only been regarded as ordinary mass murders ordered by some individuals in the spot, and not the manifestation of official Hungarian policy. Measures should have been taken according to this. The People's Court denounced the procedure used, and also the accused as a participant.
The guilt of the accused is evident in the fact that even when he had a clear picture of the events in the South, he submitted a report to the regime, but pleaded for a cover-up. Even after reinstituting the legal procedures, he did not order the arrest of the accused principal criminals, providing them an opportunity to escape to Germany.
In the opinion of the People's Court, General Szombathelyi's deed involves the characteristics of the crime of dereliction of duty by an official, defined in the first paragraph of the Penal Code Article 478. As a government official, he abused his official authority with the purpose of exempting someone from lawful punishment. He neglected the fulfillment of his official duty by preventing the prosecution of criminals. The argument that politics necessitated this, or that he acted under German pressure, cannot justify his reprehensible participation in the cover-up of the case, and may be considered merely as a mitigating circumstance. The verdict was ten years imprisonment.
The People's prosecutor lodged an appeal against the verdict. The National People's Court changed the decision of the People's Court in May 22, 1946, and sentenced the late Chief of the General Staff to life imprisonment. It is worth quoting again from the reasons adduced, which judged Szombathelyi's attitude more strictly:
"It is essential to establish the responsibility of the accused in the events at Novi Sad.
Before the culmination of the atrocities in January 22, 1942, he sent a telegram to the leader of the massacre-called-raid with an order that the striking injustices are to be avoided. Grassy, one of the direct culprits related this determinedly, and the National Council does not find the People's Court's scepticism towards his confession reasonable, because the accused himself concedes on the 28th page of his remarks, that under the effect of Czeydner's report he may have sent such a telegram to him on January 22.
So even if at the time of ordering the Armed Forces and the commissioning of Grassy to lead the raid, it was far from the intentions of the accused, that these Armed Forces should carry out mass murders at Novi Sad. By the fact that he did not avoid the possibility of further murders with the cancelling of the whole operation; and that he did not order the most rigorous, objective enquiry; and did not draw the conclusions with the merciless exercising of his judicial power; he has become responsible both of the previous and the later unlawful acts.
The accused did not make use of his court against these murders, but commissioned the principal criminal, General Czeydner, whose reports seemed more powerful in his eyes than any proof. His unconditioned belief in the reliability of a general, originating from the military caste solidarity, brought the result of horrible death of thousands of innocent people including women and children.
Months later he initiated a court-martial against the murderers, but as early as August he had already stopped the proceedings against them. Some of them including Grassy, he put up for promotion regardless of the outcome of a possible trial. After eighteen months, submitting to outward pressure, he is forced to initiate the procedure again through his court. In spite of his prosecutors repeated proposal he denies the arrests and they all escaped to Germany, who may well be said to stand on the same level of morality. The accused commemorated the horrible crime in a melancholy officer's order of the day, regarding it this time as a national catastrophe. Up to that time, he had regarded the raid as
the brave and heroic deed of the Hungarian soldier. This fundamental switch of conviction after eighteen months was due only to the murderers' escape .
All these facts concerning the accused, the National Council has already considered against him, and included them in the war crime defined under the first article of the P.C., paragraph 11. Although they do not share the characteristics of the direct action carried out with the purpose explicit in the quoted article, they were in connection with it. Originating from a uniform volition, the behaviour of the accused realized the war crime in some of its details was evaluated as belonging to the same ideological circle."
A Yugoslavian delegation, whose responsible jurist member was Dr. Vladimir Gavrilovics, solicitor from Novi Sad, exercised political pressure and referred it to the approaching peace-negotiations. They demanded the extradition of Ferenc Szombathelyi and the principal criminals, who were already condemned in the case of the raids at Novi Sad for the purpose of a local Yugoslavian legal proceedings.
This Vladimir Gavrilovics was the counsel of the wealthy Serb landowner and industrialist Gyorgy Dungyerszky in Bacska. He was the man, who had rescued the Nabob's family in January 20, 1942, following an order by telephone from Novi Sad. He had taken them to Budapest, forgetting about his own family. He had not been warned of the imminent danger and all his relatives apart from his old father fell victim to the bloodshed. In the demand for the culprits, the thirst for direct revenge brought extraordinarily strong arguments, although they had already received their final verdict; the severest metted out. They argued that "The decision of the Hungarian judicial authorities will have influence on the outcome of the approaching peace negotiations!" .
Obviously this has been one of the most important arguments that the Hungarian authorities yielded.
The victorious powers signed the peace treaty with the Hungarians or forced the treaty on the Hungarians at the Paris Peace Conference on August 24, 1946.
Our Foreign Minister, Janos Gyongyosi, and the members of the Hungarian delegation made and expressed wishes only in relation with the population and territories of Czechoslovakia and Romania. There were no reproachful conclusions drawn against Yugoslavia, although the letter from Esztergom relating to the murder of 40-50 thousand Hungarians in Bacska was likely to have been in Gyongyosi's pockets. They did not dare mention
grievances of the invasion of North Torontal and North Bacska, both parts of the remnants of Hungary defined by Trianon in the 1920 Peace Treaty by Serbian partisan gangs without authority in September and October. This meant plundering, ransoming and kidnapping. On one occasion they forced their way into the railway station of Szeged with an armored train. After having plundered food and clothes, they returned with full wagons to Serbian territory.
The attack and indictment by the Yugoslavian "peace-delegate" in concern with the Peace Treaty with Hungary took place on August 24, 1946:
"Today we have started the debate of the Hungarian Treaty Proposal, said the Serb delegate, Edward Kardelj; I would like to relate the Yugoslavian delegation's viewpoint with some general remarks:
The Yugoslavian nations for centuries have been the victims of Hungarian feudal lords and chauvinists, who had been possessed by the idea of expansion for the creation of the St. Stephen's Crown's State. The St. Stephen's State was to expand to the Adriatic, which pursued a violent policy against our population, and backed all policies which aimed at the weakening of the Yugoslavian nations and states.
There are various forms of Hungarian assaults against the Yugoslavians, such as the subjugation and violent assimilation in the first centuries, when the Hungarians and the Yugoslavians got in touch on the Pannon Plateau. There had been the expansion of the regime on certain parts of Yugoslavian national territories; the policy that lasted through several centuries until the Turkish invasion. There had been the vehement and repeated pursuit of the Yugoslavians, their relocation and murder after the great defeat from the Turks. There was a policy of national oppression and permanent Magyarization with new methods in recent times, especially after the compromise of 1867 between Austria and Hungary. Horthy infected the Hungarian nation with revisionist ideas, who based its policy on the revival of the St. Stephen Empire."
The opening argument is abundant in blatant falsifications of history. In the beginning of our book, we related in accordance with historiography, that at the time of the Hungarian conquest, there was only a thin Bulgarian and Slavic population on the South Plain; the infiltration of Serbs was to come in the following centuries. It was especially the consequence of the northward-
bound expansion of the Turkish Empire. The Serbs had their rights, and demanded more and more of them; they suffered no violent assimilation.
"The Hungarian imperialists and chauvinists were incapable of accepting the borders fixed in the peace treaty of Trianon after World War I. They nursed permanent resentment and the spirit of revenge among the Hungarians in Yugoslavia against the Yugoslavians continued Mr. Kardelj. For this reason the Hungarian leaders backed all the activities of fascist and terrorist forces, which aimed at the undermining of the Yugoslavian authority.
The Hungarian government eluded its responsibility ensuing from the Peace Treaty of Trianon, especially in concern with the flood-control system, cut off by the borders, which caused our population incalculable losses. Failure to fulfill these duties brought unfortunate consequences. The Danube and its affluents flooded the rich plains of Vojvodina, and changed the productive region into a swamp."
In Bacska the southern Slavs were in a minority at the time of the dictated peace at Trianon, not even reaching one-third of the population. The flood-control system, cut off by the borders damaged the Hungarian plain first, since all the rivers of Hungary spring from outside its borders. The accusation that Hungarian carelessness had turned the rich plains of Vojvodina into marshland is simply untrue, a political humbug.
"Horthy and his government's policy made Hungary a real storm-center of impatience in central Europe. Hungary joined the fascist states and obviously helped in the preparation for the fascist offensive, which demanded the martyrdom of freedom loving nations, said Kardelj.
The Horthy regime disloyally broke the Lasting Peace and Eternal Friendship Treaty, which it had signed with Yugoslavia on December 12,1940 and with Germany on April 3, 1941 which aimed at an offensive against Yugoslavia. The government put its territory at the German army's disposal to help the latter in its military operations against Yugoslavia."
The Serb delegate completely forgot the fact that the German military force had delivered an ultimatum to the Hungarian government, and that because of the forced breaking of the Eternal Friendship Treaty, Prime Minister Pal Teleki committed suicide.
There is no similar precedent in contemporary European diplomacy.
"At the time of the occupation, the Hungarian military forces and the Hungarian officials had committed an endless number of crimes against the Yugoslavian population. They had murdered 18,000 Yugoslavians in Bacska and harmed 104,000 people which means that 122,000 or 43% of the population became victims of the Hungarian terror. Every second Yugoslavian was killed or became a victim of violence in concentration camps during their imprisonment and internment. The Hungarian occupying forces committed such crimes in large numbers at Murakoz and Murantul. In spite of all fundamental decrees of international law, Hungary incorporated these Yugoslavian regions apart from Murantul, and relocated Bukovinian Hungarians there to change the ethnic character of the Yugoslavian lands for its own benefit."
There were unscrupulous falsifications in the exaggeration of the Hungarian Armed Forces' crimes. The official Yugoslavian data serves as up-to-date refutation: The official publication "Zlocini Skupstore u Vojvodini" Novi Sad 1946, which still exaggerates, mentions 6094 executed and 11,658 slandered Serbs. This is one-third and one-tenth of the peace delegate's agitative, false figures.
"The Hungarian Imperialists' Chauvinist and Revisionist Policy before the war had such a strong effect on some Hungarians in Yugoslavia, that they attended the service of the Hungarian Military Forces and the authority in occupation. They took part in many crimes, and corroborated with the invaders.
It is clear, that the Hungarian Fascists and Chauvinists roused impatience in this part of Europe, exciting hatred between the Yugoslavian nations and the Hungarians and causing murders.
However, Yugoslavia knows that there are democratic powers in Hungary today that are determined to break the relation with this awful past, these powers struggle for good neighborly relations with the Yugoslavian nation. The Yugoslavian delegation is led by the principles of a good-neighborly and friendly relationship with the Hungarian nation, when it presents a codicil for the Hungarian peace treaty proposal; and by the intention of supporting the Hungarian nation in the creation of a firm democratic system in its country. By no means, would it allow to be led by the principle of revenge against the Hungarians. For all
these reasons, it has minimized its demands for compensation for damages, the Hungarian occupation caused us, and the total cost of which is ten times the sum granted in the peace treaty proposal.
With our demands, we by no means want to aggravate the political and economical situation of Hungary as a defeated power, but we wish to help the country in its rapid progress. The Yugoslavian government is bound to exercise friendly politics with its neighbor; with the conviction that such a policy can only help the consolidation of democracy in Hungary, and the stabilization of peace in this part of Europe. The desperate struggle of the Hungarian democratic forces against those fascist remnants, which today tries to revive revisionism and aims at sowing the seed of the St. Stephen's Crown illusion show, that there are such democratic forces in Hungary. They do not allow the renewal of the imperialist policy so dear to the Horthy regime, and that may guarantee normal, firm and friendly relations with the neighbors."
The "peacemaker" Serb politician would have had an occasion to mention, after having multiplied the damage caused by the Hungarian reoccupation ten times, that the bloodshed by Hungarians had been revenged tenfold on the Hungarian population.
"The Yugoslavian delegation regards its demands from Hungary as bearing such characteristics that would deserve Hungary's sympathy and friendliness towards Yugoslavia. Since it wants to establish friendly relations with Hungary, Yugoslavia has not presented its territorial claims, though a significant number of the population belonging to Yugoslavia has remained on the other side of the border. We hope that the Hungarian government will respect the instructions of the peace treaty, and will guarantee freedom and equality for the Yugoslavians, ever more when it realizes that Yugoslavia has allowed freedom and equality for the Hungarians, like participation in the local administration. We have solved the problem of the relocation of the population on the grounds of free will, though a significant number of Hungarians live in Yugoslavia, who had severely hurt our nation with their hostile behaviour towards the population. We wish to live in peace and good friendship with Hungary. We have considered all the claims of Hungary in this respect, and have reduced our claims to the very minimum."
The Yugoslavian authorities had informed Foreign Minister Gyongyosi at the very beginning of our democracy, that they plan
to decrease the Hungarian population of Bacska by 40 thousand. In the course of the events, they probably have realized that the eviction of these 40 thousand souls had already taken place by simply murdering them......
|Tibor Cseres: Serbian Vendetta in Bacska|