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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31Poland and Hungary: Jewish Realities Compared$
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François Guesnet, Howard Lupovitch, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764715

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764715.001.0001

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On the Margin of a Historic Friendship

On the Margin of a Historic Friendship

Polish Jewish Refugees in Hungary during the Second World War

On the Margin of a Historic Friendship
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31

Tamás kovács

Liverpool University Press

This chapter begins by outlining the historical relationship between Hungary and Poland. It then studies how, in the autumn of 1939, in the wake of the Polish defeat at the hands of Nazi Germany and the USSR, the Hungarian political leadership decided to admit Polish military and civilian refugees, including a number of Jews, into the Kingdom of Hungary. One factor which led the Teleki government to admit Polish refugees into Hungary was its desire to remain in power. The policy could also be justified on moral grounds; it was in accord with the country's policy of maintaining a balanced relationship with the Western Allies and the Nazis; and it reflected public opinion which was pro-Polish, a sentiment further amplified by the Hungarian press. However, although the assistance granted to Polish refugees and the facilitation of their further emigration is a clearly positive chapter in the history of Hungary, there was also a dark side to the story. A number of everyday practical problems had to be resolved almost from the first day of the war and as the refugee crisis unfolded.

Keywords:   Hungary, Poland, Nazi Germany, USSR, Hungarian political leadership, Polish refugees, Jewish refugees, Teleki government, emigration, refugee crisis

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