VERITAS Research Institute for History and Archives

Book premiere

15 November 2017

The new book Billnitzer Ernő Két világháború emlékei (Ernő Billnitzer: Fighting through Two World Wars) will be introduced by Attila BonhardtNorbert Számvéber and Sándor Szakály at the Stefánia Palace – Military Cultural Center on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017.  

As a soldier Ernő Billnitzer saw with his own eyes the events of the first half of the 20th century that altered Hungarian history. In the book we accompany a calm, sober and self-reflective man on his journey as an eyewitness to significant events, which we frequently and surprisingly see from new points of view. His recollection provides us with unique insights into the military events and tactics of WWI, the patriotic defense of the borders by the Republic of Councils and the twists and turns of the Treaty of Trianon.    

During WWII Ernő Billnitzer spent the lion’s share of his time working on forming Hungarian assault artillery, units equipped with Zrínyi assault howitzers. He would eventually lead these men into battle and receive his adored nickname of “Uncle Bill” from them. In October – November 1944, he held important leadership positions during the battles in Budapest. He stayed in the capital even as it was being encircled and shut off, and participated in the breakout on February 11th, 1945. Many of the details of the breakout are known to us through his recollections.      

This book may be considered as two separate works. Ernő Billnitzer’s story is accompanied by a foreword and various comments throughout the text by Attila Bonhardt, Director of the Hungarian Military History Archives. These provide context as the reader moves from the Austro-Hungarian Army fighting in WWI to the Hungarian Army in WWII. Of particular interest are the introductory notes on the lives of various officers. The book is also rich in photography, with many never-before-seen photographs, including of the Zrínyi assault howitzer.

The book is highly recommended for modelers.   

Location: Stefániai út (Road) 34-36, Budapest

Date: 5:30 PM on (Wednesday) November 15th, 2017


Pictures of the event