On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the battle during the Second World War, the Hungarian soldiers of the Don disaster are honored nationwide, including by commemorative marches in Veszprém and Komárom-Esztergom counties.
Eighty years ago, the Second Hungarian Army, wholly subordinated to the German Army Group South, suffered a crushing defeat at the Don river’s bend. On January 12, 1943, in the freezing cold of minus 30 degrees Celsius, the Soviet army launched a counterattack, and although the poorly equipped Hungarian soldiers fought bravely to the end, they could not win against the hugely superior force. Most of them, about 100,000 soldiers (the exact number is still unknown) lost their lives. The survivors had to walk hundreds of kilometers to get home in the Russian winter.
The national opening of the series of events took place in Zirc, (Veszprém County) on January 10, where a mass and a commemoration ceremony were held.
The Don Memorial March, organized by the Veszprém branch of the Association of Hungarian Reservists, will begin on January 13 in Zirc and return to the same town via four villages. In addition to the reservists, students from primary and secondary schools will also participate. On the second day, January 14, they will pay their last respects to the soldiers who died in the World War at the Vámosi Street Cemetery in Veszprém. The commemoration will end in the afternoon at Táborállás Park in Veszprém.
The commemoration in Komárom is more than just one of many commemorations in the Hungarian countryside.
Since the event took place after the First Vienna Award, the mobilization included men from both banks of the Danube. The Hungarian soldiers sent to the hell of the Don were trained in the Monostor fortress near Komárom and quartered in the local Frigyes barracks.
The memory of the heroic action of the 6th Light Infantry Division and the 22nd and 52nd Infantry Regiments at the Don Bend unites the northern part of Komárom – which is on the territory of Slovakia – and the Hungarian southern part.
The Endresz Group Association from Komárom will honor their bravery with an eventful way of commemoration, a ten-kilometer walk, on January 14, starting at 9 am. People from both banks of the Danube are expected at Jókai Square in front of the Reformed Church in Komárom. The younger generation will also be represented here by cadets from Kempelen Secondary School.
80 years ago, the Hungarian Second Army suffered 100- 120,000 casualties in the uneven battle against the Soviet army at the River Don. The fighting spirit, dedication, pain, and suffering of our troops makes us all bow our heads in reverence. Let us remember our troops who died a heroic death!”
President Katalin Novák wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
This article was originally published on our sister site Ungarn Heute.
Featured photo via Facebook/Sándor Simon-Jójárt