On July 2, 1944, as part of Operation Gardening, the British and American strategy to lay mines in the Danube River by dropping them from the air, American aircraft also drop bombs and leaflets on German-occupied Budapest.

US B-24 bombers carry out a raid on Budapest, Hungary industrial targets during the summer of 1944.

US B-24 bombers carry out a raid on Budapest, Hungary industrial targets during the summer of 1944.

Hungarian oil refineries and storage tanks, important to the German war machine, were destroyed by the American air raid. Along with this fire from the sky, leaflets threatening “punishment” for those responsible for the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers at Auschwitz were also dropped on Budapest. The U.S. government wanted the SS and Hitler to know it was watching. Admiral Miklas Horthy, regent and virtual dictator of Hungary, vehemently anticommunist and afraid of Russian domination, had aligned his country with Hitler, despite the fact that he little admired him. But he, too, demanded that the deportations cease, especially since special pleas had begun pouring in from around the world upon the testimonies of four escaped Auschwitz prisoners about the atrocities there. Hitler, fearing a Hungarian rebellion, stopped the deportations on July 8. Horthy would eventually try to extricate himself from the war altogether—only to be kidnapped by Hitler’s agents and consequently forced to abdicate.

Danubian archipelago on fire - archive pictures of the bombing of Hungary, 1944

Danubian archipelago on fire – archive pictures of the bombing of Hungary, 1944

One day after the deportations stopped, a Swedish businessman, Raoul Wallenberg, having convinced the Swedish Foreign Ministry to send him to the Hungarian capital on a diplomatic passport, arrived in Budapest with 630 visas for Hungarian Jews, prepared to take them to Sweden to save them from further deportations.

A group of Hungarian Jews pictured in 1944. It is believed Raoul Wallenberg prevented the deporation of up to 20,000 Jews destined for concentration camps Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1263020/Raoul-Wallenberg-Soviets-lied-death.html#ixzz36AjIeorf Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | Daily Mail on Facebook

A group of Hungarian Jews pictured in 1944. It is believed Raoul Wallenberg prevented the deportation of up to 20,000 Jews destined for concentration camps

Wallenberg's stand against the Nazis have made him a folk hero and the subject of dozens of books and documentaries Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1263020/Raoul-Wallenberg-Soviets-lied-death.html#ixzz36Ajbhrom Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Wallenberg’s stand against the Nazis have made him a folk hero and the subject of dozens of books and documentaries

 

My post from a year ago today:  What Happened on July 2nd Beside the Battle of Gettysburg

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3 responses

  1. Dani says:

    Thank you for sharing this important piece of history.

    Best,
    Dani

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  2. Birgit says:

    I read a book about Raoul Wallenberg and believe him to be a hero who should be more well-known. It is a crime that he was taken by the Russians and lived many years after although how many is unknown. I saw a mini-series with Richard Chamberlain playing the lead and thought it was quite good

    Like