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Jelentés Berlinbe 2012-2013 (vegleges angol).pdf

Jelentés Berlinbe 2012-2013 (vegleges angol).pdf

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Final Report
Final Report

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Published by: Civitas Europica Centralis on Oct 26, 2013
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1
Approaching Regions in East-Central-Europe
 
Final Report Grant 2012-275
The relationship between the historical churches and the Jewish communityin Czechoslovakia and Hungary from 1920 until the Holocaust
 
 
2
Grant No: 2012-275
 – 
Final Report
The relationship between the historical churches and the Jewish communityin Czechoslovakia and Hungary from 1920 until the Holocaust
‘History only exists if we know about it, if we talk about it.’
1
 
Work hypothesis and historical context
(summary of the relevant literature)The research assumed as its starting point that despite the considerable Holocaust literature,
the investigation of the responsibility of the so-
termed ‘historical’ churches (Catholic,
Reformed, Lutheran) and the social part they played in the anti-Semitism evolvingbetween the two World Wars has not been researched properly to date
.
2
The lack of elaboration is certainly also due to the fact that lacking basic research the history of thosechurches in the 19
th
and 20
th
centuries is not really known either in Hungary or in Slovakia.For instance, histories of church parishes based on historical sources are missing. On the other hand, no works discussing the relationship of religion and politics in depth andcomprehensively have been published since 1990, either.
3
 The comparison of the two countries
 – 
Hungary and Slovakia
 – 
is mainly justified by the factthat their histories have been strongly intertwined. Their territory had been part of the sameunion of states (Austro-Hungarian Monarchy) before World War I; they shared all historicevents affecting the Carpathian basin in the 20
th
century, being members practically always of 
the same alliances (Hitler’s Germany, Soviet and EU
-NATO); and churches have beenmaterial factors of politics and identity in their societies.In the period when the two countries belonged together (approximately in the 1880s) aconviction permeating and defining Catholic (Christian) discourse appeared, according towhich the economic and cultural dominance of the Jewry was u
ndoubtedly ‘the essence of the‛Jewish question’ in Hungary
.
4
From that, it is logically concluded that the question had to be
‘answered’ or had to be ‘solved’, which perfectly matched the social picture of Europe
defining the second part and the end of the 19
th
century. On the other hand, it is also importantthat the Christian institutions in the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, particularly the CatholicChurch, clearly opposed modernity, liberalism and democracy which features were identifiedwith freemasonry and the Jewish community. The same tradition was inherited in practice by
1
 
Géza Komoróczy:
 Holocaust. A pernye beleég a bőrünkbe.
[Soot burns into our skin.] (Osiris pocket library),Osiris, Budapest, 2000, 134.
2
Similarly the anti-Semitism of certain Hungarian social-professional categories (e.g., civil servants, physicians,engineers, university professors, and the gendarmerie!), or the part played by them in the Holocaust have not been investigated properly.
3
A go
od example is the works of mainstream Hungarian historian Ignác Romsics:
 
 Magyarország története a XX. században
, [The history of Hungary in the 20
th
 
century], Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, 1999; Idem: „A 20. századiMagyarország”
[Hungary in the 20
th
century] ,
in Ignác Romsics
(chief ed.):
 
 Magyarország története
, AkadémiaiKiadó, Budapest, 2010;
Idem:
 A 20. század rövid története
 
[The short history of 20
th
century], Rubicon-
Ház,
Budapest, 2011.
4
 
László T. László:
 Egyház and Állam Magyarországon 1919– 
1945
[Chur 
ch and State in Hungary], Szent IstvánTársulat, Budapest, 2005, 277
.
 
 
3
the church institutions (Catholic, Reformed or Lutheran) of the Slovak territories becoming part of Czechoslovakia in some form, which justifies a comparative historical study in itself.After World War I, the history of Hungary and Slovakia (as part of Czechoslovakia) can be
said to ‘diverge’ moving along different ways of development. This, naturally, created a new
situation for the Jewish community of Hungarian language and culture taken over byCzechoslovakia. It had to re-establish itself in its relationship both to the new state and to thenational minority Hungarians.
5
At the same time, the (Hungarian and Slovak) Christianchurches and any political formations based on the Christian ideology and keeping a kind of alliance with them were forced to establish a certain form of behaviour.In 1918/1920, the Hungarian society had to face at the same time the partition of the
historical, ‘national’ space and an appearance of a need
and efforts for modernisation. In themidst of existential (economic-social) uncertainty and the dissolution of the traditional values,Horthy, in fact, re-
established ‘order’. He retained the idea of the historical orders and
feudalism (in 1930, e.g., the Hungarian aristocracy possessing all power consisted of 526families), strengthened the Christian social ideology, on the other hand, he expanded the previous notion of the nation, which had been in fact a notion of the nobility, to the whole othe popul
ation. It was necessary because the Hungarian ‘nation’, in fact, struggled with
 problems of national and social identity. The combination of blood (national) and spirit(Christian), in fact, resulted in an organic national ideology, in which national and religiousmyths had been intertwined. (It is extremely interesting that a similar process occurred inRomania on the extre
me right: Vasgárda/Garda de Fier [Iron Guard]
). In fact, theuncertainties of the
“petite
bourgeoisie
and the middle strata of the society were hidden behind the process in Hungary, while the ratio of people of Jewish descent was significantamong the middle and high bourgeoisie. The national injuries and the racist idea of the nation,in fact, downgraded the actual social problems and simply re-
classified them as the ‘Jewishquestion’! It had been all the more possible because the national
-Christian ideology regardedeverything considered left-wing, liberal or democratic to be un-national and un-Christian,which was mainly represented and controlled by atheists who had been mostly Jewish or of 
Jewish descent also by the opinion of the church.’ The lack of political schooling of the
masses, the lack of democratic traditions and experience and mainly the ideological insecurityand susceptibility of certain groups of the intelligentsia can be mentioned among the
subjective causes why the Christian national ideology could gain wide acceptance.’
6
 The Hungarian national concept of the Horthy regime was
ab ovo
based on racism. That is proved by the law
numerus clausus
in 1920 (Act XXV/1920), which also applied to convertsin the practice of the Hungarian College of Physicians and which was considered a correct
interpretation by Kunó Klebelsberg, Minister of Education in 1927. Previously, however,
anaide-
mémoire of the Hungarian government addressed to the League of Nations had made itclear that ‘legislators’ interpretation emphasised that the Hungarian State regarded Jews
converted into the Christian faith Jewish rather than Christian even if their documentsdisplayed Christian as their religion. It did not acknowledge the legitimacy and legal
5
 
See e.g., Ungár Joób: „A magyar zsidóság” [Hungarian Jewry], in Borsody István (ed.):
 Magyarok 
Csehszlovákiában
[Hungarians in Czechoslovakia]
 , 1918
 – 
1938
, Az Ország Útja kiadása, Budap
est, 1938;
 Igazságot a felvidéki zsidóságnak!
[Justice to the Jewry of the Uplands], Pesti Lloyd, Budapest, 1939; KovácsÉva: „Választói magatartás mint a nemzeti identitás mutatója Kassán a két világháború között” [Voters’
 behaviour as an indicator of national identity in Kassa between the two World Wars],
 Regio
1993/4, 77
 – 
106.
6
 
Jenő Gergely,
 Katolikus egyház, magyar társadalom
[The Catholic Church and the Hungarian society]
1890
 – 
1986 
, Budapest, 1989, 100.

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