Operation Micki Maus

Mickey Mouse

'Micki Maus' was the German deposition and subsequent abduction of Vezérfökapitány Miklós Horthy de Nagybanya, the regent of Hungary (15 October 1944).

For some time before this, Horthy had maintained clandestine links with the UK and USA with a view to extracting Hungary from the war, and at the end of September 1944 despatched Vezérezredes Gábor Faragho on a secret mission to conclude an armistice with the Soviets, whose advances had brought them close to Hungary’s borders. A Hungarian/Soviet preliminary agreement was signed on 11 October, and the fact of the armistice’s existence was broadcast from Budapest on 15 October, leading to an immediate response from the Germans, the excellence of whose intelligence service meant that they knew exactly what was happening.

Under the overall command of SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, SS-Standartenführer Otto Skorzeny kidnapped Horthy’s son and held him hostage to ensure that the Germans could seize Horthy from his palace without resistance, force him to resign from office and three days later take him by train to Weilheim near Munich. Horthy was later moved to Austria and it was there that he was released by the Americans at the end of the war.

After Horthy’s forced resignation, a pro-German puppet regime was established under Örnagy Ferenc Szálasi and his Arrow Cross Party – Hungarist Movement.