Count Fidél Pálffy de Erdőd (6 May 1895 Svätý Jur – 2 March 1946 Budapest) was a Hungarian nobleman who emerged as a leading supporter of Nazism in Hungary.
After service in the First World War he lived on an estate in Czechoslovakia before returning to Hungary, where he was left bankrupt by the Great Depression of 1929.
He founded a group called the Hungarian National Socialist Party in 1933 and later merged it with two similar groups under Sándor Festetics and Zoltán Meskó. By 1935 Pálffy had assumed sole control of this group, although it failed to prosper as support drifted to Gyula Gömbös. Devoid of influence, Pálffy turned to Germany and became an agent of the RSHA. Seeking to regain the initiative he worked variously with László Baky and Ferenc Szálasi in an attempt to launch a pro-German party. He finally achieved this goal in 1941 by relaunching the Hungarian National Socialist Party with Baky, although the party was considered conservative when compared to the Arrow Cross Party.
World War II activism and execution
Pálffy was considered by the SS to be a suitable candidate to lead Hungary, although ultimately the choice was not approved. He also became an important contact for Wilhelm Höttl during his work on behalf of the SS in Budapest. Ultimately, as Minister of Agriculture during the period of Nazi dominance, Pálffy was held to be guilty of collaboration and was hanged for treason in March 1946. His execution did prove somewhat controversial however because, beyond his pro-Nazi writings and his membership in Szálasi's government, there was little evidence of any crimes he had committed. Nonetheless, Pálffy was one of the first members of the government to face trial. The novelty of the case, as well as his status as a member of one of the country's leading noble families, counted against him and he was sent to the gallows.
- ^ a b c d e Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 287
- ^ The Politics of Genocide – The Holocaust in Hungary Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Richard Breitman, Norman J. W. Goda, Timothy Naftali & Robert Wolfe, U.S. intelligence and the Nazis, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 266
- ^ Istvan Deak, Jan Tomasz Gross & Tony Judt, The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 243