December 1944: With the planning of a second Hungarian SS division by SS Head Office and the Hungarian Ministry of Defence it is decided to set up a so-called Inspectorate for the divisions.
December 20 1944: Waffen-Obergruppenfuhrer der SS Jeno Ruszkay is assigned to Berlin (he stops in Berlin until early January 1945). The SS Head Office offers him the position of Inspector General of the SS forces in Hungary. Ruszkay is not a member of the SS at this time
December 28 1944: Ruszkay learns that the 26th SS ,,Hungaria" grenadier division is to have a German military commander. The Germans try to stop Ruszkay from appointing a Hungarian commander for 26. ,,Hungaria”. Due to Ruszkay’s intervention a Hungarian, Waffen-Oberführer der SS Zoltan Pisky is temporarily appointed commander of 26. Division. ,,Hungaria”. German commanders are usually appointed to command Waffen grenadier divisions.
January 8 1945: Ruszkay and his staff set off for Vienna where they enter into negotiations with Winkelmann. Szalasi is not happy with the appoinment of Ruszky as Inspector General as he regards Ruszky as to pro German and after the Germans refuse to remove Ruszky Szalasi strips Ruszky of his Hungarian citizenship.
January (early) 1945: XVII. Army corps is formed to control the formation and deployment of the Hungarian SS Divisions. Its headquarters are based at the SS training ground at Neuhammer. The army corps's temporary commander is Waffen-Obergruppenfuhrer der SS Ferenc Feketehalmy-Czeydner, his chief staff officer is Waffen-Oberführer der SS László Deák (Only the Ia, IIa and O1 positions are filled by the end of the war) Feketehalmy-Czeydner never occupies his position because of his illness
(MTI Archives) (www.fotomuzeum.hu)
Ferenc Feketehalmy-Czeydner Jeno Ruszkay
February 1 1945: Ruszkay is promoted to " SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS" according to one source.
February (early) 1945: Waffen-Oberführer der SS Deak and approximately 200 men from SS XVII. Headquarters set off for the Oldenburg and Kloppenburg area to prepare the relocation of the Hungarian SS divisions leaving Neuhammer camp as a result of the Soviet advance
February 5 1945: Ruszkay along with Jozsef Grassy and Laszlo Deak meet Standartenfuhrer Joachim Ruoff in Pieskow am Scharmützelsee. They complain to Ruoff about the lack of equipment and training the Germans have given the Hungarian SS division. They also complain about the lack of food and items such as field kitchens to feed the men, they also mention that many men still do not have the basic equipment such as bayonets, spades, helmets, camouflage uniforms, tents or even pay books.They also comment that that the Hungarian units have been moved from one combat area to another. Ruoff acknowledges that the Hungarians have legitimate complaints but points out that they cannot provide enough equipment for German divisions never mind the Hungarian ones. Ruoff eventually issues a command for ,,Hunyadi" and ,,Hungaria" to move to the Munich area but is unable to provide rail transport due to the Allied air attacks resulting in a march for the 2 units.
February 6 1945: XVII. Army corps headquarters is now based at Grossenhain.
February 7 1945: XVII. Army corps headquarters is now based at Meissen and remains so until February 14 1945.
February 14 1945: A new agreement is reached between Hungary and Germany regarding the Hungarian SS divisions. Among the 15 points in the agreement are - the divisions will bear names chosen by the Hungarian Honved Ministry, the Commanders, Officers and NCO's of the divisions will be Hungarian, Hungarian will be the command language, the divisions remain a part of the Hungarian Honved Ministry, the divisions will take an oath the the Hungarian head of state, Hungarian chaplins will provide the spiritual care for the divisions and that although part of the Waffen SS they will retain the Hungarian flag and only fight Russia.
February 15 1945: XVII. Army corps headquarters is now based at Altdorf and remains so until March 1 1945.
February 20 1945: Ruszkay is ordered to leave Vienna and report to Berlin again, once there he receives a rank of Waffen-Obergruppenführer der SS und General der Waffen-SS, and is appointed the Hungarian SS corps' inspector general at the same time. His office is to be at Baden near Vienna.
March 1 1945: At Baden, in a castle, Ruszkay sets up his command headquarters, which becomes the SS Magyar corps Főfelügyelőség (Generalinspektoriat der ungarischen Waffen-Verbände der SS). Other than arriving at the castle no appointments are made
March 2 1945: XVII. Army corps headquarters is now based at Burghausen and remains so until May 2 1945. Whilst here, a start is made on organising the various sections of the staff corps. This numbers about 260 men and was to have the following structure
Field Gendarmarie Platoon
Staff Security Company
(only the Interpreter, signals and motorcycle platoons are complete by the end of the war)
March 20 1945: Whilst at Baden Ruszkay orders that no party membership is required by Hungarian SS soldiers. Also during March Ruszkay as Inspector General of the SS Hungarian corps enters into discussions with Winkelmann, primarily to choose a commander for 26. SS Division ,,Hungária” and eventually they decide that Grassy will become the ,,Hungária” commander.
March 21 1945: Grassy becomes commander of 26. SS Division ,,Hungaria”
Early April 1945: Because of the Russians Vienna offensive Ruszkay and his office moves west towards Kremsmünster where they try unsuccessfully to contact SS Head Office. Ruszkay goes into Salzburg to try and contact the local SS leadership. When in Salzburg SS Head Office orders Ruszkay to Berlin.
April 1 1945: Ruszkay issues orders so that all the ,,Hunyadi” detachments at the various training schools can return to the main body of the division
April 10 1945: Ruszkay learns in discussions at SS Head Office of plans to split up the Hungarian SS Divisions. It had already been decided that ,,Hungária” should be split into 30 sections/companies and that they would be distributed among other Waffen SS divisions. A similar fate was in store for the ,,Hunyadi” division which they would divide into 40 sections/companies and distribute to other Waffen SS divisions. Ruszkay after lengthy bargaining manages to stop the command being sent to SS 26. ,,Hungaria” to dissolve and gets the troops from ,,Hungaria” transferred to the SS 25. ,,Hunyadi” division. While at SS Headquarters as well as the inspector general position Ruszkay is also appointed as the Hungarian SS Divisions commander-in-chief as well so Ruszkay becomes the head of SS XVII. Waffen Army corps.
Mid April 1945: Ruszkay joins the Hungarian divisions, and Waffen-Oberführer der SS László Deák takes over the management of SS XVII. Waffen army corps headquarters'. On several occasions the German high command asks Ruszkay to make his Hungarian divisions available to fight against the Western Allies. Ruszkay refuses these requests, referring to the Hungarian – German agreement. The Waffen-SS temporarily sends some field gendarmes under German command to the Hungarian divisions.
Hungarian leader Ferenc Szalasi holds a conference in Salzburg to examine the state of the Hungarian SS divisions (Szalasi stays in Mattsee, near Salzburg, in Gasthof Seewirt) After the conference the XVII. Corps commander Waffen-Obergruppenfuhrer der SS Jeno Ruszkay is instructed to contact the American forces to arrange the surrender of Hungarian divisions. Ruszkay after talking at SS Headquarters manages to stop the Hungarian divisions from going to the Czech border to work on fortification works and allow for them to move in a south-eastern direction. Ruszkay also gets promises that the Hungarian divisions would be fully armed.
April 30 1945: The control of XVII. Corps passes from SS Main Office to Hungarian Defence Ministry.Oberfuhrer Deak issues an order that men from ,,Hunyadi” and ,,Hungaria” should assemble in Burghausen on May 1 1945.
May 1 1945: Due to him not taking an oath to Szalasi Waffen-Obergruppenführer der SS Ruszkay is dismissed from the position of Inspector General of the Hungarian SS divisions.
May 2 1945: XVII. Corps Headquarters sets up near Burghausen in Bavaria. Ruszkay tries to contact the American forces. He leaves in a car bearing a white flag along with his orderly, a bugler and a radio operator. They are un-armed. They eventually find the American forces but are taken prisoner. The radio is broken during this journey and Ruszkay is unable to contact the Hungarian Divisions to order them to cease fighting.
May 5 1945: American forces surround the XVII Corps Headquarters at Gmunden.
May 6 1945: Ruszkay surrenders the XVII Corps Headquarters along with the Hungarian SS divisions to the American forces. András Podhradszky and Gerő Temesváry sign the surrender document. 37572 men and 877 horses surrender to the Americans. The Hungarian SS Headquarters stay in the Attersee area until June 1945 helping the US forces with sorting out the surrender and dispersal of the Hungarian troops.
The soldiers of the Hungarian SS Units are ordered to collect their soldbuchs. Around 1/3 of the Hungarian SS soldiers surrender to US forces with the rest mixing in with refugees. Over the next few days most of the remaining Hungarian SS soldiers are rounded up by US forces. Oberfuhrer Laszlo Deak is ordered to destroy the rest of the documents which he does with petrol and then commits suicide by shooting himself in the head (2)
Organisation/Order of Battle
Stabs-und Korpstruppen Nr.117
SS-Flak Abt. 517
SS-Korps-Sicherungs-Kp. 517 Arko XVII Waffen-Armeekorps der SS
Commanders of XVII. Waffen Armee Korps der SS (ungarisches)
Waffen-Obergruppenfuhrer und General der Waffen SS Vitez Franz Feketehalmy-Czeydner
Waffen-Obergruppenfuhrer und General der Waffen SS Vitez Eugen Ruszkay-Ranzenberger
Waffen-Standartenführer der SS Wenke (commander SS Flak Abt. 517 - ungarn nr.1 - 01.04.1945 - ??.04.1945) Waffen-Obersturmbannführer der SS Béla Novák (commander SS Flak Abt 517 - ungarn nr.1 -??.04.945-??.??1945) Waffen-Hauptsturmführer der SS vitéz János Titely (commander I company SS Flak Abt. 517 - ungarn nr.1 - 01.04.1945-??.??.1945)
Waffen-Hauptsturmführer der SS Alajos Görlich (commander II company SS Flak Abt. 517 - ungarn nr.2 - 01.04.1945-??.??.1945)
Arm shields in the Hungarian colours of red – white – green.
Collar patches of the letter ‘H’
Cap cockades of red – white – green instead of the German eagle.
Arrow cross and crowns Corp signs
The original plan for the formation of the four Hungarian SS units was to be as follows -