Jány, Vitéz Gusztav. born, 21-10-1883 in Rajka, Hungary, the son of company clerk Sándor Hautzinger and Vilma Jány, Gusztáv Jány, who changed his family name from Hautzinger in June 1924, was to rise to become commander of the 2nd Hungarian Army during the fiercest WW II battles fought by Hungarian troops on the Eastern Front. Jány entered the Ludovika Military Academy in 1902, and after graduating in 1905 as a second lieutenant he was assigned to the Royal Hungarian 8th Infantry Regiment, which at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces. For nine months, starting in late 1908, he attended officer training courses before entering the General Staff School (Vienna) in October 1909, where he spent almost four years. While attending the school, Jány was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on 01-05-1910,and upon graduation in 1912, he was assigned as a general staff officer to the Royal Hungarian 82nd Infantry Brigade. The introverted Jány had no children and exhibited little humanity or compassion. He was a strict Protestant, read the Bible every day and one of his proudest achievements was to establish a Protestant chapel at the military academy. He remained with this unit when World War I broke out, until being transferred to the staff of the Austro-Hungarian XVIII Army Corps in September of 1915. Jány was promoted to captain on 01-01-1915 and continued his career as a general staff officer with the 55th Hungarian Infantry Division until shortly before the end of the war, being appointed to the Hungarian Defence Ministry in September 1918. Jány remained with the ministry at the end of the war, during Hungary’s transition to independent-nation status when the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, even though the new Hungarian government (under pressure from the victorious Allies) ordered the disarmament of the Hungarian Army. During this period Hungary was ravaged by political turmoil, and taking advantage of the situation, the Romanian army attacked Transylvania. At the end of January 1919, Jány was appointed Chief of Staff of the 1st Brigade of the Székely Division, and was still serving in that position when the Communists took power in March of 1919 and the Division became part of the Hungarian Red Army. Jány was not sympathetic to the Communist regime, but as a Hungarian patriot believed it was his duty to remain in the greatly reduced Hungarian armed forces. Near the end of April 1919, Jány was taken prisoner by the Romanians, and remained interned for over 18 months, thus missing out on the action when Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya raised a National Army and overthrew the Communists. Whilst incarcerated, Jány was promoted to the rank of major on 01-09-1919. Upon his release and return to Hungary in November 1920, he joined the new Royal Hungarian Armed Forces and was appointed Chief of Staff of the 1st Mixed Brigade headquartered in Debrecen, innorth-eastern Hungary. He received another promotion – to lieutenant-colonel on 01-09-1921, and in May of 1922 he was transferred to the post of senior staff officer with the Debrecen Military District Command. A year later, Gusztáv Jány became an instructor at the General Staff College, where he remained for almost five years. Promotion to colonel followedon May 01-05-1925 and in May 1928 Jány was appointed Chief of Staff of the 2nd Mixed Brigade. On 01-09-1931, he was named commandant of the Ludovika Academy, a position he was to hold until August 1936. While in that position, he was promoted to the rank of Major General on 01-11-1934. For a period of three months, between August and November 1936, he commanded the infantry oft he 1st Mixed Brigade before his appointment to command the 3rd Mixed Brigade. Jány received further promotion to Lieutenant Field Marshal on 01-11-1937, and in May of 1938 he was named Chief of Regent Horthy’s Military Chancellery and Adjutant-General during the absence of the long-time holder of those positions, Lieutenant-Field Marshal Lajos Keresztes-Fischer, who was filling in as Chief of the General Staff. During the Arrow Cross Party’s coup (15–16 October 1944) Lajos was arrested and imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp by the Gestapo along with his brother, lawyer and politician, Ferenc. Since 1945 he lived in emigration. He died on 29-04-1948, age 64, just two months after the death of Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer, age 67. Following Keresztes Fischer’s return to his old post, Jány was appointed Commanding General of the I Army Corps on 01-02-1939, and when the armed forces were restructured in March of 1940, and three Armies were raised, he was named commander of the new 2nd Army. Jány was to command this army for three and a half years, by far the longest tenure of any of Hungary’s army commanders that served in that capacity during World War II, receiving his promotion to General of infantry on 01-5-1941. This “three-star” General’s rank was later re-designated as Colonel-General in August 1941. Colonel General Gusztáv Jány, Lieutenant General Vilmos Nagy and Colonel General Lajos Csatay on the Eastern Front. In early 1942, Jány led his 2nd Army into action in Russia, but a combination of poor equipment, insufficient preparation, lack of reserves, and the atrocious weather led to the Army’s annihilation along the Don River in the winter battles of 1942-1943, during the battle of Stalingrad
and here with General Italo Gariboldi, commander of the Italian 8th Army (ARMIR) on the eastern front. The 2nd Hungarian Army’s losses were horrendous – of the 250,000 soldiers and support troops, over 100,000 were killed with 35,000 wounded and 60,000 taken prisoner. The remnants of this shattered fighting force returned to Hungary at the end of May 1943. Colonel-General Jány was held responsible for the losses, and was removed from command in August of 1943, retiring three months later. He was to play no further role in the war.
Death and burial ground of Jány, Vitéz Gusztav.
At the end of the war, in May 1945, Jány was captured by the American army, and spent over a year as a prisoner-of war. In the meantime, the new Hungarian government struck him from the rolls of retired officers. At the request of the Hungarian government, the Americans handed Jány over fortrial as a war criminal by a military tribunal, which resulted in a death sentence being handed down in 1947. Jány should have ordered the execution of tens of civilians in Russia. His execution by firing squad took place on 26-11-1947. Since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, many of the sentences handed down by post-war tribunals were overturned, including that of the brave, competent and patriotic Gusztáv Jány. He was officially exonerated and rehabilitated in October 1993. Funded by private donations, Colonel-General Gusztáv Jány’s remains were re-interred in a family plot in Farkasréti Cemetary in Budapest, in late 1994. In January 2002, a memorial to Jánywas unveiled on the grounds of the Military History Museumin Budapest.