A relatively recent addition to the Holocaust Story has been the claim that at least 80,000 Jews were shot to death on the banks of the Danube River in the Hungarian capital of Budapest at the end of 1944 and early 1945. The bodies were, so the allegation goes, then thrown into the river.
According to the Holocaust Storytellers, these victims were Jews apparently selected from within the city at random by members of the then ruling Arrow Cross Party.
This is how the official Israeli holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, describes the events:
“Nearly 80,000 Jews were killed in Budapest itself, shot on the banks of the Danube River and then thrown into the river.” (“Historical Background: The Jews of Hungary During the Holocaust,” At the Last Moment: The Tragedy of Hungarian Jewry, Yad Vashem, January 2014).
The “evidence” used to “prove” this allegation is restricted to a handful of dubious “survivor” accounts, and one or two photographs. These are reviewed below.
Before that, however, it is worthwhile to understand that there are two major practical problems with the entire “mass shooting along the riverside” allegation.
Problem 1: The Physical Issue of 80,000 Bodies in the Danube
Firstly, the sheer space which 80,000 bodies would occupy, would quite literally block the Danube River, which flows through central Budapest.
The space which 80,000 bodies would take up would be around 368,000 square feet. Now it is not, of course, claimed that 80,000 bodies were dumped into the river all at once, but the cumulative effect would be the same, even if the river current washed many bodies downstream.
At some point, somewhere, a huge mass of corpses would have shown up which would make up an unquestioned body of evidence, and would be on record. There is no such evidence at all.
Secondly, the amount of ammunition needed to shoot 80,000 people would be immense. The Arrow Cross executioners would have had to use at least 80,000 rounds (if they were all clean “one shot” executions), and probably more. This would amount to well over 2,240 pounds (1,016 kilograms) of lead being dumped into the river. This would also leave an impossible-to-hide trace.
Problem 2: The Length of Time the Arrow Cross Controlled Budapest
The second major physical problem with the “mass shooting” in Budapest story is the reality that the Arrow Cross Party only had physical control of the city from 15 October to 26 December 1944—a total of 72 days.
This is because the Arrow Cross was appointed as the ruling party on October 15, following the deposing of Hungary’s long-time leader Admiral Horthy (who wanted to surrender and join the Soviets against Germany). The advancing Soviet Army surrounded and laid siege to the city on December 26, and the resultant battle was one of the bloodiest sieges of the entire war. The city surrendered on February 13, 1945, after the last Hungarian and German army units had been squeezed into a small pocket on the Castle Hill side of the river, away from the city center.
Fighting conditions, including bombardment by land artillery and constant Red Air Force air attacks would have made it impossible for “massacres” to have been carried out during the siege.
This means that if the claim of 80,000 shot dead and thrown into the Danube is true, then the Arrow Cross men would have needed to shoot dead 1,112 Jews per day, every day, or 46 per hour, 24 hours a day—if they worked full time at doing nothing else. This is highly unlikely, and such a round-the-clock massacre would leave thousands of witnesses and a huge body of evidence—all of which is absent.
“Eye-Witness” Accounts—The “River was Red with Blood”
One of the most widely quoted “eye-witnesses” to this mass shooting of 80,000 Jews is Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, who was ten years old at the time. According to Ozsváth’s account:
“Two Arrow Cross men were standing on the embankment of the river, aiming at and shooting a group of men, women and children into the Danube—one after the other, on their coats the Yellow Star. I looked at the Danube. It was neither blue nor gray but red. With a throbbing heart, I ran back to the room in the middle of the apartment and sat on the floor, gasping for air.” (“From Country to Country: My Search for Home” in Alvin Rosenfeld, ed., The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008, p. 185–186).
This account is far-fetched, to put it mildly. To claim that the Danube had “turned red” with blood is clearly a fantasy.
Another widely quoted “eye-witness” was one Tommy Dick, who claimed to have been shot in the jaw instead of the head during one of the executions. Somehow, he survived—or so he claimed. His account is worth quoting in full, because it describes how the bodies were supposedly disposed of in the Danube:
“I remember the commander shouting, ‘Shoot!’ For just a second, a very long second, nothing happened. One couldn’t just stand there waiting to die. So I turned my head to watch the person on my right getting killed. In that moment, the Nyilas [Arrow Cross man] behind me pulled the trigger, clearly aiming at the base of my skull. He stood no more than a metre behind me. Somehow, as I turned my head, the bullet shattered my jaw instead of my skull. I have no recollection of the next moment. I was standing right at the water’s edge. I must have either fallen forward from the force of the bullet, or perhaps the Nyilas behind me gave me a kick that landed me in the river. I don’t remember falling. I must have passed out for a second or two but the ice cold water of the Danube in December revived me instantly.” (Getting Out Alive, Tommy Dick, The Azrieli Foundation, 2007).
Dick died in 1999, but for some mysterious reason, his “memoirs” were only published in 2007. This convenient fact prevents any cross-questioning of the claims. His description, however, of the victims supposedly standing so close to the river bank so that the “force of the bullet” propelled them into the water, or that they were “kicked” into the river, is important when the “photographic evidence” is reviewed.
“Photographic Evidence” Relies on “Caption Interpretation”
As is the case with so much other “photographic evidence” of the holocaust story, the “evidence” is largely based on the post-war captions given to the pictures by Holocaust Storytellers.
The two examples below, both from the US Holocaust Museum, illustrate this tactic.
The first USHM photograph, titled “Execution of Jews along the banks of the Danube river” is captioned “Arrow Cross Party members execute Jews along the banks of the Danube River. Budapest, Hungary, 1944.” This photograph appears to show a genuine execution, but the caption does not say why these Jews were being executed: was it a random murder, or was it a judicial execution for looting? We will never know.
The second, titled “Aftermath of a shooting along the banks of the Danube river,” shows a group of seven bodies on the ground, some distance from what appears to be the river. The official USHM caption reads: “This photograph shows the aftermath of a shooting along the banks of the Danube River in Budapest. Members of the pro-German Arrow Cross party massacred thousands of Jews along the banks of the Danube. Budapest, Hungary, 1944.”
This, like the first photograph, does indeed appear to show the result of an execution, as the background tree branches (visible on the right hand side of the picture) appear to be the same as in the first photograph above.
While the circumstances of these two pictures are unclear, what they do show is that the location—some distance from a river bank, contradicts the “eye-witness” accounts, which claim that the Jews were shot so close to the river bank that the “force of the bullet” (or a “kick”) was enough to propel them into the river.
The bodies in the USHM “photographic evidence” would have had to be dragged to the river by the executioners and thrown in, and therefore, were obviously not part of the claimed “mass executions.”
2019: Israeli Sonar Search of the Danube Finds Nothing
The vagueness of the shooting allegations—and the clear lack of any real evidence—obviously concerned the Holocaust Storytellers so much that they decided in 2019 to launch an official search for the remains of these 80,000 Jews supposedly thrown into the Danube.
The search, started after three years of preparation, was conducted by the official Israeli search and rescue organization, ZAKA. That organization was chosen because it also specializes in missions to find bodies for burial in accordance with Jewish customs.
The ZAKA divers were assisted in their search by a “brand new sonar device, which can descend to a depth of 150 meters and scan within 130 meters, quickly identifying objects and transferring the information and exact location to the device operator.” (“75 years after the mass shooting of Jews into the River Danube, Budapest, ZAKA divers attempt to retrieve their bones for burial,” ZAKA, 14.01.2019).
The operation was started on January 15, 2019, with ZAKA Special Units commander Haim Outmezgine launching the sonar scanner in an area of the Danube River “identified” as the major “execution” spot.
Predictably, the search found absolutely nothing: no bullets, no bones, no remains of any sort. As recounted in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a “sonar scan of the bottom of the Danube River in Budapest revealed no human remains.” This came after weeks of build-up which involved much discussion on whether the mass of remains which they expected to find should be left alone or raised and reburied, with some Jewish leaders demanding that the expected pile of bones should be left alone. (“Sweep of the Danube riverbed finds no bones of Holocaust victims,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 16, 2019).
Clearly disappointed with the negative findings, ZAKA announced that they would conduct a second search in February 2019. This however, was called off after “discussions,” and the entire project abandoned.
Although no reason was given, the reason is clear: further searching was pointless, as the most likely spot to find any remains had proved negative. Further searches were equally likely to find nothing.
It was a severe embarrassment, as the search had proven that there is zero physical evidence of 80,000 Jews having been shot and thrown into the Danube. Given the amount of claimed victims, the amount of ammunition which would have had to have been expended, and the personal effects which would have remained, this can only mean that the entire episode has been invented.
US Holocaust Museum Slices 60,000 off the “Victim” Total
Finally, it is worth noting that, as usual, the Holocaust Storytellers cannot get their stories straight on this matter.
While Israel’s Yad Vashem claims 80,000 Jews were shot and thrown into the Danube, the United States Holocaust Museum (which, it will be recalled, was chartered by an Act of Congress, receives US taxpayer funding, and employs over 400 people) has casually sliced 60,000 off this number, and claims that 20,000 Jews were shot and thrown into the Danube.
The USHM provides no explanation for why this figure has been cut by two-thirds, although the reason is clear: the 80,000 figure is preposterous, even by Holocaust Storyteller standards. Although 20,000 “sounds” better, it is of course just as preposterous as 80,000, for the reasons outlined above.
Summary of the “Danube Shootings” Story
In summary then, the following conclusion can be made about the Danube shooting claim:
1. It is likely that some Jews were executed near the banks of the Danube River towards the end of 1944. While it is possible that some of these executions were random murders, it is more likely that they were the result of judicial orders for looting or other crimes.
2. The number of victims of such executions is completely unknown, as evidenced by the widely varying claims (between 80,000 and 20,000) by the Holocaust Storytellers. Given the time frame and conditions in the city, even the lower claimed figure is obviously a gross exaggeration.
3. There remains absolutely no physical evidence of such a massacre, either then or in present-day times, something which would be absolutely impossible if 80,000 (or even 20,000) bodies had been thrown into the river in the middle of Hungary’s largest city.
As a result, it is safe to say that the entire event is yet another fiction in the web of deceit which makes up the Holocaust Storytellers’ lies.