When searching for a Hungarian name in The World Remembers display, in the Date of Death search field please enter 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917 or 1918 until you receive a result. We are in the process of obtaining a date of death for each Hungarian soldier from the Military History Institute and Museum in Budapest and until such time as we receive this information, entering different years will assist your search. Please see below, the description of the work the Military History Institute and Museum undertook over the past eight years to assemble the names list.
The Sacrifice of the Hungarian Soldiers in the Great War
With the centenary of the 1914-1918 war, there was increasing interest in the first global conflict, whose history was becoming forgotten. The memories of the fallen, captured or wounded were mainly preserved through family histories. It is understandable that today people want to know more about the fate of their relatives. However, there was no freely queryable database available — so far. Although some attempts were made to collect the First World War losses of Hungary, an overall authentic summary has not been made.
It must be noted that after 100 years this Hungarian database can never be complete, as not all historical sources are still available. We must also be aware that the ‘loss records’ of the military forces of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy—due to various reasons—were not accurate even at the end of 1914, not to mention at the period of the military collapse in November 1918, when the records be extremely incomplete.
The Ministry of Defence Military History Institute and Museum (MHIM) filled this gap with a project that can serve as a European model and of which we can be proud. Because of significant public and professional demand, in 2012 the MHIM started to process the military loss data of soldiers of Hungarian nationality into a queryable database, with special support from the Ministry of Defence. The Sacrifice of the Hungarian Soldiers is the resulting database of the killed, wounded and captured soldiers.
The Creation of the Database
With the support of the First World War Centenary Memorial Committee and the agreement of the (then) strategic partners—the MHIM, the MoD War Grave Care organisations prior to 2016 and the Hungarian National Archives—the MHIM was tasked in 2015 with coordinating the discovery, organization and publication of the data of the losses from Hungarian defence forces between 1914 and 1918, based on scientific source research. Thanks to this agreement and the regular support of the Centenary Memorial Committee, the processing was extended to other loss documents and the project was significantly accelerated.
The database focuses on soldiers with Hungarian nationality. It selects those who were drafted into the army from places within the former Kingdom of Hungary. In these cases, Hungary (Ungarn) was noted in their records. The available sources did not contain information that referred to ‘nationality,’ and so after these many years we could only rely on the place of settlement included in the historical records. Therefore, the selection of names for the database is based only on geographical location.
Besides those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland, we thought it important to also include those who had been wounded or captured, for they, too, had made serious sacrifices.
The processing of data was done by teleworking, and the material received was subjected to two control phases. Data was first recorded in its original language of German, without any change or translation. The data was received monthly in the format of data collection tables and then submitted to content and format control. This included the uniform translation of German expressions, place names and so on. The categories of recorded data were:
- troop (regiment, independent battalion)
- subunit (typically a company)
- place of birth
- year of birth
- type of loss case (killed in action, wounded, prisoner of war)
- time of loss
- reason of the loss (if known)
- place of the loss (if known)
- place of burial (if known)
- indication of source(s)
As a result of the digitalisation and processing work that lasted for more than eight years, there is data for more than 1,500,000 soldiers with Hungarian nationality, of which over 703,000 are cases of death, 528,000 are cases of injury and 341,000 are cases of capture. Due to the records systems of the period, in the case of a fallen soldier, their name might be repeatedly found in the database. Besides the loss records, there could be also regimental death certificates, medical institute death certificates or the cemetery cadastral documents relating to a war grave that may also contain the name of the queried person.
Types of Sources
The compiling of the database and processing work basically relied on six sources:
- list of losses officially published by the Imperial and Royal War Ministry
- death certificates in the Military History Archives of the MoD Military History Institute and Museum
- death certificates in the Austrian War Archives in Vienna (Kriegsarchiv)
- death certificates in the Slovakian War History Archives in Bratislava
- cemetery cadastral documents relating to war graves in the Austrian War Archives in Vienna
- civilian death certificates relating to death events of the First World War in the county member organisations of the National Archives of Hungary
List of Losses
Personal losses of the war involving extreme carnage are in printed form in the Verlustliste (list of losses), in numbered booklets published weekly, and sometimes daily, by the Imperial and Royal War Ministry in Vienna. The necessity of processing is justified since no index was prepared for the more than 700 booklets, which made our queries difficult, or practically impossible, without certain other information. Families requesting queries mostly would not know the time or cause of death of their relatives.
Nearly 400 boxes of First World War death certificates are preserved in the Military History Archives. The certificates are organised by troops. Due to the collection’s lack of an index, queries were almost impossible. Therefore, processing and organising the certificates into a database was necessary. In 2016 we completed the digitalization of 211 boxes of death certificates, during which nearly 60,000 photos were taken.
The work was continued in 2017 with the digitalization of death certificates with a Hungarian connection in the War Archives in Vienna and in the War History Archives in Bratislava. A total of 347 certificates were digitalised with the help of foreign partner institutes, totalling a 58,000-page volume. We extend our gratitude to our foreign partners, the War Archives of the Austrian State Archives and the War History Archives of the Slovakian Military History Institute, for their essential assistance.
Cemetery Cadastral Documents
Only 351 boxes of First World War cemetery cadastral documents survived in the War Archives in Vienna. The documents are sorted by countries and according to the geographical names.
Civilian Death Certificates
To identify the most World War I dead, our search included the exploration of civil administration documents as well as military, in order to create the most complete list possible of losses. The twenty county member institutes of the National Archives of Hungary collected data on the war dead, as well as other relevant information from civilian death certificates in their custody from between 1914 to 1980 and from any settlement records that could be found within the present borders. Approximately eight million family record entries were explored during the data collection.
No other loss database created in the past 100 years presents such a clear picture of the loss of Hungarian soldiers in the Great War. The research and database creation program lasted eight years and is now complete. It was the highlighted program of the First World War Cemetery Memorial Committee for many years. We are proud that this ambitious undertaking was initiated and mainly coordinated by the MHIM, with the sustaining support of the Ministry of Defence, as well as the First World War Centenary Memorial Committee, in cooperation with the National Archives of Hungary and the Budapest City Archives.
The entire database is unprecedented and considered as basic scientific research with significance in the Carpathian Basin.
Ministry of Defence Military History Institute and Museum 2020