1a (First Staff Officer and titular chief – of – staff)
SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Adam Podhradszky
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Herbert Engel (? 1944 – 1 Mar 1945)
1 Ia (Divisional Adjutant)
SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Fritz Ulrich
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Andreas Szinay
September 10 1944: Ferenc Szálasi learns of meetings between Csatay and Winkelmann concerning the formation of SS divisions. Ferenc Szálasi is opposed to the raising of the divisions at this moment in time and makes it known that he will not accept any contract that is signed.
October 10 1944: SS Brigadefuhrer Josef Grassy is nominated as commanding officer of what will become the 25th SS division ,,Hunyadi”. SS – Standartenfuhrer Thomas Muller is nominally in command until the division is up and running.
October 15 1944: Hungarian leader Admiral Horthy is deposed by a coup led by the Germans and is replaced by Hungarian Nazi leader Count Ferenc Szalasi
October 23 1944(6): Hungarian Defence Minister General Karoly Beregly meets HSFFP (higher SS and police commander) Hungary Otto Winkelmann. The raising of several SS divisions of soldiers and officers from the Hungarian army along with non-Hungarian army personnel is discussed. These would have uniforms and equipment provided by Germany.
October 26 1944: Agreement is reached setting out the conditions for the Hungarian SS formations
In among the agreement are the following stipulations:
1.The volunteers are to serve for the duration of the war
2.The strength and size of the Hungarian divisions will be the same as other SS divisions
3.The language of command will be Hungarian, senior officers will be expected to know German
4.Division honour titles will come from Hungarian history
5.The division will be trained in Hungary, troops may be assigned to camps in Germany for specialist training
6.The units will be employed in the defence of Hungary
7.The Waffen SS will provide military equipment, uniforms and arms from Germany. Transport will be provided by the Hungarians
8.Hungarian troops will wear the Hungarian national shield on the upper left sleeve of tunics and divisional cuff title on the left arm.
9.Hungarian males had to be at least 17 and those under 21 need parental permission to enlist.
10.Any volunteers will retain their Hungarian citizenship as stated in the April 14 1944 agreement.
11.Hungarian SS troops will have the same rights as other SS troops
12.Hungarian volunteers are not to be transferred to non-Hungarian SS divisions.
13.If there is a shortfall in the number of volunteers then the Hungarian Defence ministry would provide the remaining men needed to form the division(s)
These are to be split into two groups. ,,Kossuth”, ,,Petofi”, ,,Flip” and ,,Bem” are to be part of the German army and ,,Hunyadi”, ,,Hungaria”, ,,Gombos” and ,,Gorgey” are to be part of the Waffen SS. (7)
October 28 1944: Károly Beregfy Hungarian Minister of Defence issues the order that Hungarians can volunteer for service in the ,,Hunyadi” division even though the SS Head Office has not yet formally acknowledged the formation of the division. The deadline for volunteers is November 20 1944.(8)
November 2 1944: The ,,Hunyadi” division is formed on paper by SS – Fuhrungshauptamt as the SS 1. Hungarian Waffen-Grenadier division with an order of battle of 25 (the 25. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS [ungarische Nr. 1]).. The unit will eventually consist of Hungarian volunteers including a large number of soldiers from the Hungarian 13th Light infantry division, youngsters of Levente Institution (9) and conscripts. Both the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS transfer offices and NCO’s to the division (including 1 SS ,,Adolf Hitler”, 2 SS ,,Das Reich”, 3 SS ,,Totenkopf”, 5 SS ,,Viking” and 7 SS ,,Prinz Eugen”) as do the Hungarian Honvedseg.
Grassy starts to assemble his divisional staffat Zalaszentgrót. These include SS Waffen-Standartenführer Ádám Podhradszky (who as a captain had served under Grassy in the 13th Light Infantry division) andIstván M. Dragolovich who Grassy also knows.
November 3 1944: The ,,Hunyadi” division's divisional staff arrive at Zalaszentgrót by car and wait for the first volunteers' arrivalfrom Budapest.
November 4 1944: Beregfy learns that SS Head Office has issued the official set up command for the SS 25. Division ,,Hunyadi” as a Waffen-grenadier division and not a Waffen-Panzer grenadier has he had hoped for. He issues a redefined provision, in which he modifies the Hungarian division's name and states that the ,,Hunyadi” division would be equipped the same as a German Panzer Grenadier Division. The “Waffen-Panzer Grenadier”( „Hunyadi páncélgránátos hadosztályba”) title is used on recruiting posters put up in Hungary.
November 8 1944: Mobilisation of men between 17 and 60 in the Budapest area is announced
November 9 1944: The first of the ,,Hunyadi” division's volunteers board their train at Kelenföldi station in Budapest and later in the day arrive at Mosonszentjános.
November 10 1944: Approximately 12 officers and Lieutenants transfer from SS 1 Hungarian Ski battalion to 25th division ,,Hunyadi” as ,,Hunyadi” is lacking in junior officers with any experience of combat.
Volunteers for ,,Hunyadi” begin to assemble at Zalaergerszeg in southwest Hungary.
Kampfgruppe ,,Deak” is incorporated into 25 SS ,,Hunyadi” (see separate section on Kampfgruppe ,,Deak”). The Kampfgruppe becomes the corner stone of 61 regiment.László Deák becomes CO of 61 Regiment.(10)
November 11 1944:two days after arriving at Mosonszentjános the soldiers from ,,Hunyadi” are placed in barracks.
November 15 1944: Hungarian War Ministry announces that 12 500 men are ready to serve in the division.
November 17 1944: Although a large part of the enlisted men have assembled there is a shortage of Hungarian and German Officers and NCO’s.
November 18 1944: Standartenfuhrer Lorant Bodolay Bodola (11) takes over command of 62. Regiment.
Due to the military situation it is decided to move the division to Bruck (this is later changed) the division numbers approximately 16 700 men.
November 19 1944: Standartenfuhrer Josef Vecsey (Wittenberger) takes over command of 25 SS Ausbildungs & Ersatz Einheiten
November 20 1944: Most of the division (approximately 10 000 men) are now told that they are to transfer to Neuhammer. Most are to be located at Strans and rest at the old camp in Neuhammer (this is part of operation „Hellebarde”)
Approximately 4 000 men from ,,Hunyadi” along with their families leave for Neuhammer.
Standartenfuhrer Bela Peinlich replaces Standartenfuhrer Lorant Bodolay Bodola as commander of 62 regiment. Standartenfuhrer Dezso Magyary takes over command of 63 regiment.
25 Waffen-Schi battalion is raised from Hungarian Mountain troops.
Some troops transfer to Waffen-SS specialist schools.
November 21 1944: The original deadline for joining ,,Hunyadi” having passed is extended due to communication problems. The deadline is moved several times in the up coming weeks.
November 22 1944: The ,,Hunyadi” division absorbs 800 members of the 1st Hungarian SS schi Battalion (12)
November 23 1945: 3 700 men from Zalaegerszeg and 1 000 men from Vasvar leave for Neuhammer.
November 24 1944: The Commanding Officer of the 1st Hungarian SS Schi Battalion arrives at Neuhammer along with most of his Officers and 1000 men. The 800 men absorbed in to the ,,Hunyadi” division are taken back and the Schi Battalion is re-assembled
4 000 men from Tuerje leave for Neuhammer.
November 25 1944:Minister of defence Beregfy dissolves the Hungarist movement's Halálfejes Légió and the members are transferred to the ,,Hunyadi” division.
November 27 1944: Some sources say that 800 men are killed and 650 wounded in a US air attack on a train between Bierbaum and Hartberg transporting the unit to Neuhammer (this action is not confirmed).
November 29 1944: Division numbers approximately 18 000 men.
Parts of ,,Hunyadi” arrive in the area around Zalaszentgrót from Budapestwith some being stationed at Zala.
December 1944: German and Hungarian Military Police units under Captain Marton Zoldi begin to impose order on the recruits at Rajka. (13)
December 1 1944: Last elements of the unit leave the training centre at Zalaergerszeg.
Hungarian Defence ministry sets up a recruiting camp at Rajka.
December 2 1944: Standartenfuhrer Odon Magyary takes over command of 25-artillery regiment.
December 5 1944: 2 000 men from Tuerje and 2 000 men (including most of the German personal) from Vasvar set off for Neuhammer.
December 6 1944: The Divisional staff and units from ,,Hunyadi” start arriving at Neuhammer camp
December 7 1945: Troops and volunteers set off from Budapest Keleti railway station for Rajka via Kisbény and Köny
December 10 1944: The number of men from ,,Hunyadi” at Neuhammer camp now numbers 20 567. This number is larger than the German’s had planned for, it is not helped by the addition of a number of men from the 20. SS Division (1. Estonian) being at the camp at the same time. The food that was allocated for the original number of approximately 13 500 is stretched to feed the 20 000 that actually were on the camp. The same applies to accommodation with more than one person using a bed.Around this time uniforms are issued to the division. Those based at Neuhammer receive a uniform but those at Strans are still mostly in civilian clothes.
20 days after being ordered to move, the parts of the ,,Hunyadi” division in Zala start their train journey to Neuhammer,
The Hungarian government orders full mobilisation of men between 17 and 61 and at the various collecting stations (Nagycenk, Rajka, Kisbér etc.) people are asked if they want to go to Germany and fight in the German Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS
Order of battle (20 567 men)
Commander SS - Brigadefuhrer Jozef Grassy
1a Waffen - Standartenfuhrer Adam Podhradszky
1b Hauptsturmfuhrer Herbert Angel (German)
1b Hauptsturmfuhrer Andreas Szinay
Divisional Staff (FP 00 020)
Military Police platoon
Messenger platoon (motorcycle)
Divisional Security/Reconnaissance platoon
Waffen Gren.Rgt. der SS 61 (ungarisches Nr 1) (FP 08 104)
Waffen Artillerie Rgt. der SS 25 (ungarisches Nr 1) (FP 41 777)
Composition I (1-3 battr) 7.5cm PAK (FP 64 266) II(4-5 battr) 10.5 cm (FP 45 525) III(7-8 battr) 10.5cm (FP 65 614} IV(10-11 battr) 15cm (FP 03 527)
Waffen - Standartenfuhrer Odon Magyary
SS Ausbildungs & Ersatz Einheiten 25
Waffen - Obersturmbannfuhrer Josef Vecsey
SS Versorgungs Rgt. 25
SS - Standartenfuhrer Josef Siemensreiter
December 11 1944: P–38 aeroplanes attack a train carrying some of the ,,Hunyadi” division in between Rátót and Szentgotthárd around noon. 29 men die in the course of the attack and another 70 are wounded. They are the division's first official wartime dead.
1 160 men leave for Neuhammer
December 12 1944: Army group South is informed of the ,,Hunyadi” divisions move to Neuhammer by Waffen SS Headquarters.
December 14 1944: The deadline for applications to join the new divisions is extended
December 15 1944: Operation „Hellebard” is now joined by Operation ,,Zuckerdose” to move the Hungarian troops.
The original deadline for applications ends
Mid December 1944:25 flak detachment is sent to SS Artillery training and Replacement Regiment in Munich.
December 18 1944: Feldgrau uniforms along with helmet and bayonets are issued to members of ,,Hunyadi”
December 19 1944: Arms distributed to divisions 61 and 62. This consists of 2 000 K98k rifles, 1 000 P-08 pistols, 100 MP40’s,(14) 50 MG42’s and 25 Gr.W.34 8cm mortars. These weapons go primarily to 61 regiment. Nr 61-grenadier regiment as the most experienced is the first to reach combat efficiency
December 21 1944: Between now and the end of December the following troops arrive at Neuhammer- Remnants of the 16. Border Hunter battalion, a contingent of police, approximately 40 newly appointed Ensigns from the ,,Prince Csaba” cadet school and approximately 100 acting officers (non-commissioned officers) from the ,, Paul Kinizsi” army officer training school. Except for the police non-of the other arrivals have arms.
December 22 1944: Training begins. Due to the lack of weapons the men are split into morning and afternoon shifts and share the weapons.
December 23 1944: The 25. Attack Artillery Company is replaced in Budapest by a guard detail and so avoids being surrounded.
22 801 Hungarians are at Neuhammer after transferring to camp. The number of men arriving at the camp ease after this date.
December 24 1944: Russians surround Budapest
December 25 1944: Division receives 27 2.5-ton trucks.
December 26 1944: P–38 Lightning aeroplanes attack a train between Bécsújhely and Németújvár which is carrying part of the ,,Hunyad” division towards Vienna from Körmend. 797 men die while another 600 are wounded. The 523 Hungarian military hospital's ambulances transport the large part of the wounded to the local Faludy Ferenc Gymnasium. German doctors handle a small amount of the wounded in Graz
December 28 1944: It is announced that a second Hungarian division is to be set up. 8 000 men from ,,Hunyadi” are to used as the nucleus for the new division.
December 29 1944: The ,,Hunyadi” Division receives 100 machine pistols, 50 light machine guns, 25 Gr.W.34 8cm mortars, 5 Pak 40 7.5cm anti tank guns along with 3 000 panzerfaust’s, 1600 bicycles(15) thus increasing the divisions armament by 25 – 30%.
December 31 1945: Neuhammer is visited by SS Brigadefuhrer Fanzlau and Gruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger and they inspect the ,,Hunyadi” division. The honour guard consists mainly of gendarmes (16)
1 25. Division ,,Hunyadi” may originally have been allocated the number 22 as an order of battle but was “re-numbered” to make room for 22. Division ,,Maria Theresia”. This may explain the Volkdeutsche division plans for ,,Hunyadi” that are mentioned in several sources.
4 Standartenfuhrer Thomas Muller being listed as commander may only have existed on paper as by November 2 1944 the Hungarian Defence Ministry had named Grassy as the commander of the division. Muller’s role as commander was annulled on November 9 1944.
5 He took over as temporary commander whilst Grassy was incapacitated due to a car accident late in the war
6 A date of October 20th 1944 is mentioned in one source
7 These were named after Jonas Hunyadi (ca. 1385 – 11/8/1456) a Hungarian military leader who in 1456 defeated a Turkish army that lay siege to Belgrade), General Lajos Kossuth (Hungarian uprising 1848-49), Sandor Petofi (19th century poet), Gyorgy Flip (Hungarian general), Josef Bem (Hungarian general), Artur Gorgey (Hungarian general) and Gyula Gombos (Hungarian Prime Minister). In the end only ,,Kossuth”, ,,Hunyadi” and ,,Hungaria” are formed.
8 The address to apply for service in ,,Hunyadi” was Budapest, District I, Szent György tér 3, II. em. 24
9 The “Levente” was similar to the “Hitlerjugend” but differed in respect of political and ideological training
10 This was a temporary measure. It was hoped that he would become a commander of one of the Hungarian SS divisions. He attended a divisional training course at the war academy in Hirshberg, which he graduated from at the end of December 1944.
11 Bodola was I battalion commander at the same time
12 These 800 men had been transferred by rail to Neuhammer without its commander and most of its officers. They had arrived on 10th November. Due to a misunderstanding the 1st Hungarian Schi Battalion was broken up and assigned to various parts of ,,Hunyadi”. Please see section on 1st Hungarian Schi Battalion
13 The Military police were issued regular Waffen SS uniforms. They were also issued with a bilingual board, on it was the crowned Hungarian coat of arms. Their field cap was German and they used the sickle feather and the Hungarian gendarme badge. They were armed temporarily until the setting up of the ,,Hunyadi” field police platoon. Because of his methods of restoring discipline Zoldi is later asked to leave the division by Grassy.
14 Hungarian sources state MP-40’s while other sources state MP-44’s
15 Another source lists the equipment as 55 MP-44’s, 21 light machine guns, 3 heavy machine guns, 171 pistols, 5 Pak 40’s, 1600 bicycles and 3000 panzerfausts
16 Allegedly this was filmed and shown in Hungarian cinemas as a newsreel one week later