Hungary's place in World War II has been woefully documented, because until recently any histories of the war years had to conform to the Communist Party line. Originally allied with Germany to defend itself against Bolshevism, Hungary saw its army decimated in 1943 and was subsequently invaded - and occupied - by the Soviets. Now fifty years after the closing of the Iron Curtain, the memories of those who endured those years can finally be shared. Cecil Eby has compiled a historical chronicle of Hungary's wartime experiences based on interviews with nearly a hundred people who lived through those years. Here are officers and common soldiers, Jewish survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, pilots of the Royal Hungarian Air Force, Hungarian prisoners of war in Russian labor camps, and a host of others. We meet the apologists for the Horthy regime installed by Hitler and the activists who sought to overthrow it, and we relive the Red Army's siege of Budapest during the harsh winter of 1944-45 through the memories of ordinary citizens trapped there.
Cecil D. Eby is a retired Professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is the author of eight books, including Comrades and Commissars: The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War (Penn State, 2006).