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Hungary declared Jewish men of military age “unreliable” conscripts. Instead of being drafted into the regular army Jewish men were inducted into labor battalions. 

These battalions were headed by Hungarian army officers. The men worked in mines, in the forests, and built fortifications. They usually wore their own clothing.

Many Hungarian Jews served at the Russian front. At the battles near the Don River in the winter of 1942-1943, thousands of Hungarian Jewish laborers were killed; thousands of others were captured by the Soviet army. Treated as prisoners of war, the laborers were sent to the Soviet prisoner of war camps, where they lived with many other soldiers and refugees from eastern and central Europe, including German prisoners of war. These Jews remained in the Soviet Union until the peace treaties with Hungary and Romania were signed in 1947. Those who survived- and many did not – hung on for some two years after the end of World War II in May 1945.