null General Comment 1/2022 of the Minority Ombudsman on the war care of persons of German nationality deported to the Soviet Union for forced labour at the end of the Second World War

At the turn of 1944-1945, in the period of a few weeks, nearly 32,000 Germans from Hungary were deported to the Soviet Union for forced labour because of their origin or mother tongue.

The complainant, acting on behalf of 70 persons of German nationality living in Békés County, complained that the men and women of German nationality who had been taken to Soviet labour camps when they were young because of their German name or their German origin – now aged over 92, sick and elderly, and the spouses and descendants of those who had died – had not received the war-care benefits they had claimed. He complained that, according to the practice in Békés County, the applications of descendants born after 1 January 1949 were rejected without any substantive examination, taking into account their date of birth. According to the submission, it also happened that, because of different legal practices at different district and government offices, one brother or sister received the benefit while the others did not.

The purpose of the genemral comment of the Minority Ombudsman is to draw the attention of the public and the institutions concerned to the fact that it is essential to accurately identify and learn about the historical and legal background in order to process and (at least partially) remedy past grievances, also in order to fulfil her statutory obligation. In the absence of this, it will not be possible to deal adequately with the serious harm caused in the past – including to nationality communities – either at the level of legislation or at the level of law enforcement, and this will lead to further (legal) harm in the present and in the future.

Following a complex investigation, the Minority Ombudsman recommended to the Minister of Defence, in cooperation with the Minister of Justice, to review the existing legislation on war care and, in the light of the reasons set out in the document and the historical circumstances, to consider facilitating the enforcement of claims by former war invalid dependants, while at the same time eliminating the legal situation which results in the violation of equal treatment. 

Please find here a detailed summary in English or the full text of the general comment in Hungarian can be found here.