Nagybaczoni-Nagy, Vilmos°

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NAGYBACZONI-NAGY, VILMOS ° (1884–1976), Hungarian general and minister of defense. In 1942 Nagybaczoni-Nagy was appointed minister of defense. At that time Jews were excluded from the Hungarian army and were drafted into the labor service. Their situation was at times intolerable, particularly at the Russian front. When Nagybaczoni-Nagy assumed office, he reviewed the labor battalions at the front and immediately ordered an improvement in their conditions. Claiming that labor service was the same as military service, he abolished the discriminations against Jewish draftees and their families, then in force through anti-Jewish legislation. He ordered officers and commanders "when dealing with Jews to refrain from showing their personal feelings, and not to increase work norms and discipline by unlawful means." Nagybaczoni-Nagy expressly forbade attacking or humiliating Jews in public. He was concerned with the release of the sick and invalids, with healthy and sufficient food, a daily eight-hour rest, and with the personal cleanliness of the members of the labor battalions. In addition, he gave his attention to the religious needs of the draftees, e.g., the keeping of the Jewish festivals, as well as allotting sufficient time for donning the phylacteries. Nagybaczoni-Nagy did not hesitate to put on trial officers and commanders who behaved with cruelty.

Following repeated pressure by the Arrow Cross opposition in the Hungarian parliament, Nagybaczoni-Nagy was forced to resign. After the German occupation of Hungary (March 19, 1944) Nagybaczoni-Nagy was arrested and deported to Germany. His memoirs for the years 1939–44 were published in 1946 under the title Végzetes esztendők ("Crucial Years"). In 1967 Nagybaczoni-Nagy was recognized by *Yad Vashem as one of the *Righteous of the Nations.


E. Karsai (ed.), Fegyvertelen álltak az aknamezőkön, 2 vols. (1962).

[Baruch Yaron]