Some 600 Neo-Nazis assembled in Buda’s Castle District yesterday to observe the 69th anniversary of the failed attempt on the part of German and Hungarian troops to break out of Budapest in 1945.
On 11 February 1945 some 28,000 German army, Waffen SS, and Hungarian troops accompanied by a large number of civilians attempted to break through Soviet lines encircling the city and escape to the wooded hills to the northwest. Most were captured, killed, or wounded by the Soviet army. Two days later the city surrendered.
The Battle of Budapest was one of the final battles of the Second World War. It was also one of its bloodiest. Some 38,000 civilians were killed during the siege, including some 15,000 Jews murdered by members of the governing Arrow Cross party. In an orgy of violence following the city’s surrender, Soviet troops raped some 50,000 Hungarian women and looted households at gunpoint.
The so-called “Day of Honor” commemoration was held after a Budapest court struck down a decision banning the event. It was attended by representatives of members of various Hungarian extremist organizations, as well as people from the Dutch and Bulgarian “divisions” of the Neo-Nazi “Blood and Honor” organization. Most of the young men participating in the ceremony were dressed either in black uniforms or camouflage. Many wore insignia or armbands or carried flags reminiscent of those of the Arrow Cross and Waffen SS.
Prevented by police from using the Clark Adam square on the Buda side of the Chain Bridge as a staging area from which to enter the Castle District, the participants were forced to approach the Castle District via an alternative route that for many involved crossing the bridge, taking the subway from Deak Ferenc square to Széll Kálman square, and walking up the hill past the German consulate to the Castle District.
After laying a wreath at a symbolic memorial, the master of ceremonies praised the Hungarian soldiers who “fought against Bolshevism for a Christian Europe”. “We are proof that there are still Hungarians in our homeland who have not degenerated”.
A police cordon prevented anti-fascist protesters from entering the Castle District. Some 20 protesters managed to reach Kapisztrán square where they shouted “fascists go home” and other slogans. Police kept them far away from the main body of people.
This was the first time the “Day of Honor” was held in the Castle District since it was first organized in 1997.
In Pest a separate group of anti-fascist protesters met on the left bank of the Danube to read aloud the names of the 18,000 Jews murdered by the Arrow Cross in the final months of the Second World War.
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