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Churches – Holocaust

Christian Churches in three countries of Central
and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust

Budapest, 2016

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A collection of the texts referred to in the book is
available in PDF format on the website of Civitas Europica
Centralis (cecid.net)

Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Education, Research and Documentation

2016 © Civitas Europica Centralis

Published by Civitas Europica Centralis
Responsible publisher: dr. Erika Törzsök, chair
H-1115 Budapest, Szentpéteri u. 10.
Phone: +36 30 904 6164
E-mail: torzsokerika@gmail.com
Web: http://www.cecid.net
This volume was edited by Attila Jakab and Erika Törzsök
Prepress and printed by Y2000 Bt., Budapest
Cover page designed by Ádám Regényi

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Preface
„There is no excuse and we cannot explain what
happened, but we can acknowledge and recount” (Sándor Márai)

The CEC has been engaged in an international comparative research since 2013
on the role played by the historical churches in the anti-Semitism of the interwar
period and the Holocaust with particular attention to the increase of nationalism and
the revival of the denial of the Holocaust in the region.
Following our successful application to the Claims Conference, we launched
our research in 2015 under the title ‘A study of the part played by the churches in
the growth of anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania in the interwar period based on the contemporary press and archive documents.’
The assumption we used in the research as our starting point was that the
countries of Central-Eastern Europe of the post-war period have failed to acknowledge what happened, and as a result, the accumulating wounds of the society have
kept hidden the responsibility of the actors of the age including that of the churches.
Still, “it is not enough to remember the inhuman Nazi regime itself; it also belongs to the full picture how the majority of the society operated at that time. Was it
with a sigh of relief if you were not affected? Or fishing for small benefits at the expense of those persecuted? Or simply looking aside so that – looking for absolution
– you could blame the political leaders for everything? Is it possible that others had
had no part in the things degenerating so much?”, said Chancellor Angela Merkel
in Dachau in August 2013.
Let us quickly add that – in addition to politics – the churches were the actors shaping and influencing the operation of the majority society in the countries
of Central-Eastern Europe in the period investigated. So our research was trying
to find an answer to the question how and to what extent the churches could and
wanted to influence the society and politics in the interwar period, and whether or
not the Christian churches were responsible for and what part they played in the
spread of anti-Semitism in the society. And did all historical churches take part in
the processes leading up the Holocaust to the same extent? What was the part of
clerical anti-Judaism in the deprivation of the Jews of their rights, in the misinforma-

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tion of the population and – at times – in stirring up their meanest instincts? What
were the arguments used by the members of the clergy regarded by many followers as the purest in character and with the greatest influence to grant acquittal and
legitimise the political fury of the age? One of them was László Ravasz, an outstanding personality, one of the most famous and most erudite figures of the Hungarian
Reformed Church.
Let me quote here the arguments used by Reformed Bishop László Ravasz in
his address to the Upper House of the Parliament given after the submission of the
so termed first anti-Jewish law by Count Pál Teleki,:
„That 1938 law restricted the labour and subsistence rights of Hungarian citizens qualified as Jews to 20% in the fields of the economy, culture and civil service
on a racial basis notwithstanding their religious commitment. Therefore I have to
warn the Jewry not to present either active or passive resistance displaying the
behaviour that would provide arguments for the movement they intend to be protected from. I wish they had noticed much earlier that a minority could not be in a
position in the order of a state to exercise the rights and interests of the majority.
It is an ancient law that the good will suffer instead of the evil. That is also true for
the Jewry. What I’ve said on Jews in general, might be painfully unjust for the Jewish individual. He should carry his misery with his head bowed not because he is
responsible or party to the fault, but – just think of this – what a blessing it is to have
innocent sufferers among us! What would happen if there were not any? Innocent
suffering has a power to expiate and improve. We have passed a law that will cause
pain to many people of Jewish descent whether they are Christians or Israelites - the
greatest pain to the noblest and best people of such descent. We, Christians must
never forget this! We must think of them with love and we must feel gentleness and
love towards them without boasting or hurting them by offering it! We must win over
the Jewry as individuals so that they should fight together with us against the fate of
the Jewry, the Jewish complex of mankind! Let this old fate, this old issue, this old
curse be resolved! It is in their interest and in our interest as well. I accept the bill. “
Analysing the clerical press and the archive documents in the interwar period you
can get a clear view of the state of the societies in the different countries, the position of
and the part played by the different religions, and – as state borders kept shifting – the
response given by the clergy to the processes and political changes of the era.
We included in the scope of our research the Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran
churches and the Catholic monastic orders in Hungary, the Catholic, Reformed,
Greek Catholic and Unitarian churches in Romania and the Catholic, Reformed and
Lutheran churches in Slovakia.

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Preface

Three distinct versions of behaviour could be differentiated, which were present
to different extent in the different countries and periods, or in the different churches.
They are the following:
- PASSIVE: adaptive, fitting in with the surroundings, can rather be blamed for
negligence: most members of the clergy belonged to this type in almost all of
the churches studied.
- OPENLY ANTI-SEMITIC: their ratio increased as the state borders shifted;
there appeared a high number of active clerical players affected by the racial
ideology who did not preach Christian love and solidarity from the pulpit and
in the press, and – adopting peculiar dogmatic interpretations – assisted the
politicians to legitimise the anti-Jewish laws and to deprive Jewish people of
their rights.
- SHOWING SOLIDARITY: there were persons within the churches who were
willing to take the risks even coming from their governments by showing solidarity and offering help. They were excellent people who even risked their
lives among the thunderstorm of inhumanity. Their ratio was low.
On the other hand, the case cited earlier is not typical: when a clerical leader is
contributing to the degradation of ethical norms and with that to the loss of morality
among the members of the society in a dual role – as a morally authoritative much
respected church leader and a member of the Upper House of the Parliament.
Nine studies have been completed as the outcome of the research. The lists
of national and local church dailies, weeklies, monthlies and magazines following
the teachings of the different churches and the databases drawn up from them have
been completed. The databases include the authors, titles and publication particulars of the articles and studies related to the Jewry as well as the relevant collection
of texts.
The results of the research indicate to us, people living today, that terrible mistakes can occur and the consequences can be abysmal when morals want to meet
the alleged requirements of real politics. History, unfortunately, can repeat itself.
Because the societies of Central-Eastern Europe have failed to acknowledge their
past, the consequences are grave indeed. Racism, homophobia and xenophobia
have become everyday items recently but especially since 2010. The responses
given to the migrant crisis by the society, the politicians and the churches also feed
on the past.

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The actors today have started to behave eerily like those in the interwar period.
The churches in our region are silent in the best of cases. Pope Francis’s words arrive here in a much dampened form.
So we believe our research is more and more topical with every day. Looking
into the eye of the phenomena revealed may help to provide a humane answer to
the challenges of the present time.

Erika Törzsök
Foundation ‘Civitas Europica Centralis’
chairperson

Budapest, May 2016

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Attila Jakab

The perception of Jews in the
Hungarian Catholic and
Reformed churches’ press and
their attitude towards the
Jewish community between
1919 and 1944
One of the classic questions of theoretical debate1on history writing is to determine
the role of the historian. In my view, the historian makes an attempt to objectively
reconstruct past events from the available sources (often fragmented and/or biased) which themselves are interpretations and narratives. He creates a narrative2, in which
he himself interprets, reinterprets and recounts and tries to identify the causal correla-

1 See e.g., M. Bloch, The historian’s craft. Histography studies, Osiris, Budapest, 1996; Gábor Gyáni, Historian discourses. (On the path of the past, 3), L’Harmattan, Budapest, 2002; Idem., ‘A történetírás fogalmi
alapjairól’ [The theoretic foundations of history writing], in Zsombor Bódy - József Ö. Kovács (editor), Bevezetés
a társadalomtörténetbe [Introduction to social history]. Hagyományok, irányzatok, módszerek [Traditions,
trends, methodologies], Osiris, Budapest, 2003, pp. 11-53; Idem., ‘Történetírás újragondolása’ [Re-thinking
of history writing], Történelmi Szemle 2006/3–4, pp. 261–274; László Lajtai L. (editor), A történetírás mint
tudomány [History writing as science]. Evolution of the historian in the 19th century France, Atelier Könyvtár,
Budapest, 2007.
2 „However, the historian’s freedom to create – is not unlimited and this is in my view the fundamental difference
between a historian and a novelist. – Contrary to the novelist, the historian – can – never write about fictitious
events or fictive dialogues. He must know all previous interpretations directly concerning his topic relevant for
his subject matter and – if he considers himself an expert, he must also reflect to these either in agreement
or– critically. He must attempt to textually support his statements thereby making such statements credible and
acceptable for his readers as well. He cannot be driven by external political expectations nor any other manipulative intentions. A historian can never be told what, how and when to do – the limits of his activity are defined by
his own character and his selection of topic and the selected sources. If he takes account of these consideration
and does not comply with the various conventions told in the professional workshops of the profession and – of
course, at various levels –, he may write a successful book but he cannot call himself a historian.’ Ignác Romsics,
„About the myth of the objectivity of history writing and the unacceptability of making history a myth”, in Idem.,
Múltról a mának [About the past to the present]. Tanulmányok és esszék a magyar történelemről [Studies
and essays about the Hungarian history]. (Osiris Könyvtár. History), Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, 2004, p. 426.

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tion of events, the individual motivations of the players determining the developments,
and the processes that the developments create in the longer term. The following
formulation is to the point: ‘The most historians can do is to establish relationship with
the past, thereby casting light on today’s problems and on future alternatives.’3
In this context, when it comes to the clerical aspects in Hungary during the first
half of the 20th century, press analyses occupy an important position.4 This is where
the perception of the Jewish community, the sentiment and the approach that defined the readers of the clerical press and the public opinion linked to the given historical church that defined between the two World Wars becomes clearly tangible.
We can say that here, we can witness the “daily ecclesiastic anti-Semitism” and its
routes and motivations, which practically never came in the limelight of Hungarian
history writing dealing with the 20th century. A flagrant example for this is Ignác Romsics, who wrote the history of the ‘20th century Hungary’ and therein the history of
the Horthy era5 while not mentioning a single word about the churches. Although in
this period the Catholic Church was practically ‘one of the Horthy régime’s legitimation bases’,6 in return for which it enjoyed privileges and financial benefits. As the
unknown reformed author very suggestively formulated in 1935 in respect of Budapest: ‘While the capital city of Budapest covers all burdens of the Roman Catholic
Church from the taxes we pay to the capital, our church must support itself entirely
from the sacrifices of our believers’.7

Conditions of the clerical press
In 1919, following the collapse of the Republic of Councils , the need and the idea
of building up a so-called “Christian’ country almost immediately appeared in Hungary, which, from the very start, wanted to openly restrict and confine the social and

3 J. Appleby – L. Hunt – M. Jacob, Telling the Truth about History, New York, 1995, p. 9.; quoted by: Iván T.
Berend, Kisiklott történelem [Derailed history]. Central and Eastern Europe during the long 19th century,
MTA Történettudományi Intézet, Budapest, 2003.
4 In that respect, see Tibor Klestenitz, ‘A katolikus sajtómozgalom történetének forrásai’ [Historic sources of the
Catholic press movement] in Margit Balogh (editor), ‘»Alattad a föld, fölötted az ég...« Források, módszerek
és útkeresések a történetírásban [The earth below, the sky above.... Sources, methods and directions in
history writing], ELTE BTK Történelemtudományok Doktori Iskola, Budapest, 2010, pp. 141-159.
5 Ignác Romsics (editor): Magyarország története [History of Hungary] Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 20102, pp.
773-958.
6 Máté Gárdonyi: ‘Üldöztetés és felelősség. A magyar Holokausztról egyházi szemmel’ [Persecution and
responsibility. The Hungarian Holocaust with the eye of the church] in Marcell Mártonffy – Éva Petrás (editor):
Szétosztott teljesség. A hetvenöt éves Boór János köszöntése, [Split wholeness. Celebrating the 75 year-old
János Boór], Hét Hárs – Mérleg, Budapest, 2007, p. 269.
7 ‘Roman Catholic invasion’, Clerical life. Official paper of the Óbuda Reformed Church, Vol. 7, issue 8, October 1935, p. 3.

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by Attila Jakab

economic position of the Jewish people.8 This endeavour - which can be observed
nationwide - was formulated by the official paper of the Czegléd City Christian National Association Party as follows:
‘…we want to break the Jewish rule, but not through pogroms or persecution, but through institutions that will prevent the Jewish people from determining
our rules, from that the Jews define our curriculum in our schools, that the Jews
invade our literature, newspapers, theatres with their intellectual products, that the
Jews grant us loans at usurer interest, that the Jews inflate the price of our food and
industrial goods. And while they live from income without any work, they occupy
leading positions and live a comfortable and wealthy life, the hard working Christian
Hungarian is condemned to live in an unheated room, often suffering from hunger,
wearing shabby clothes, forced to increase the thousands of poor people. The 5%
Jewry must step aside, they must finally learn how to work, they must grab the hammer and must hand over the leadership to those who, due to their weight in terms of
their numbers and historic past and their Christian honesty, really deserve it. This is
what we want in the country, in our town.
We are fighting for fair public life, for improving the life of the working class, for
the development of fair industry and trade, which should be really Hungarian and
Christian; we will fight for alleviating the miserable fate of civil servants, for strengthening small farmers so that the laws protect them so that their houses and a certain
minimum land can never be taken away from them; overall, we are protecting the
thousands of hard working people so that everyone can have a decent livelihood.’9
In respect of the press, the period starting in August 1919 can be regarded as a new beginning, because the period of the Republic of Councils10, with its
drastically restrictive measures, brought about a breaking point in the history of
the clerical press. Overall the period between 1919 and 1921 represents an era
of institutional reorganisation between the new state borders created by the Paris
8 dr. Ferenc Frisch, ‘A zsidóság igazi vára’ [The true castle of the Jews], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 65, 12 December 1919, p. 1; dr. Ferenc Frisch, „A zsidóság igazi vára (Második közlemény)”, [The true castle of the Jews]
(Second announcement)’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 73, 21 December 1919, pp. 1-2.; dr. Ferenc Frisch, ‘A
zsidóság igazi vára [The true castle of the Jews]. III’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 35, 10 February 1920, p. 1.;
‘Interpellációk a zsidó térfoglalásról’ [Interpellations about the Jewish conquest], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue
76, 28 March 1920, pp. 3-4.; Antal Müller, ‘A keresztény iparosság követelései. State public works are given to
the Jews even today], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 88, 11 April 1920, p. 12.; ‘A tisztviselő-kérdés és a zsidóság
gazdasági térfoglalása. Az Országos Gazdasági Tanács terve a nemzetgyűlés előtt’ [The issue of public officers
and the economic position of the Jewry. Plan of the National Economic Council submitted to the Parliament],
Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 139, 11 June 1920, pp. 1-2.
9 ‘Lapunk átvétele’ [Takeover of our paper], Ceglédi Keresztény Újság, Vol. 1, issue 2, 04 January 1921, p. 2.
10 See István Kollega Tarsoly (chief editor), Magyarország a XX században [Hungary in the 20th century]. Volume II: The relevant chapters of the publication ‘Természeti környezet, népesség és társadalom, egyházak
és felekezetek, gazdaság’ [Natural environment, population and society, churches and denominations,
economy] (Babits Kiadó, Szekszárd, 1997) (http://mek.niif.hu/02100/02185/html/235.html);

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Peace Treaties and a period of recovery. This is also true for the press. However,
the difference is significant.
The number of Roman Catholic press publications that appeared during the
Horthy régime is in excess of 700.11 This is supplemented by the 17 publications of
the Greek Catholic Church. Both the contents and the appearance of these publications are rather uneven. However, it is a fact that the Roman Catholic press had
practically national coverage, but mainly through its publications of political nature
it played a rather serious public opinion forming role because it was also in debate
with the non-ecclesiastic political press. Behind this nationwide coverage stands
mainly the Központi Sajtóvállalat Részvénytársaság [Central Press Company Limited
by Shares]12, in the foundation of which Béla SJ Bangha had a lion’s share.
The importance of the Catholic press and the attention paid by the church
leaders is clearly observable in the fact that:
‘Between 1919 and 1944, there was not a single meeting, where the topic of
the press had not been discussed in one way or another. This also indicates that the
majority of the bishops were aware of the significance of the then most important tool
of mass communication. Accordingly, although not willingly, several of them made
substantial sacrifice to maintain the Catholic press and contributed to the utilisation of
the funds to this end. But from the meetings, it clearly transpires that subsidies were
needed because the Catholic press was otherwise not only uncompetitive but also
unviable. Fragmentation and law efficiency prevailed just as in the case of the associations. The Catholic press was not competitive - not only because of its conservatism
and denominational nature compared with liberal papers or government papers - but
also because it tried to serve several interests at the same time. It had to represent
the interests of the church, but in a way that also pleased the government. It was supposed to be colourful but without hurting the taste of the clergy. It was supposed to
discuss social issues without jeopardising the funds provided by capitalists.’13
11 See Dr. János Viczián, Katolikus sajtó [Catholic press ] (http://www.kiss.szalez.ofm.hu/pdf/pdf/katolikus_
sajto__dr_viczian_janos.pdf).
12 See Tibor Klestenitz, ‘Médiaháború 1919-ben: a Déli Hírlap ügye’ [Media war in 1919: the case of the Déli
Hírlap], Médiakutató, spring 2008, pp. 69-80; Idem., ‘Sajtó, felekezet, politika. A Központi Sajtóvállalat első
évei (1919-1922)’ [Press, denominations and politics. The first years of the Central Press Company (19191922)], Múltunk Vol. 1, issue 2009/3, pp. 171-201. (http://epa.oszk.hu/00900/00995/00019/pdf/klestenitzt09-3.pdf); Idem., ‘A tőrdöfés és az újságírók. [The stab and the journalists] Sajtóellenesség a kereszténynemzeti kurzus éveiben, 1919-1922’ [Anti-press sentiments during the years of the Christian national course,
1919-1922], Médiakutató summer 2010, pp. 85-99; Idem., A katolikus sajtómozgalom Magyarországon,
[The Catholic press movement in Hungary] 1892-1932, Complex, Budapest, 2013.
13 Jenő Gergely (edited and selected, and wrote the introductory study and the notes and compiled the annexes),
A püspöki kar tanácskozásai [Conclave of Catholic bishops]. A magyar katolikus püspökök konferenciáinak jegyzőkönyveiből [From the conference minutes of the Hungarian Catholic bishops], 1919–1944, Gondolat, Budapest, 1984, p. 27.

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The mentioned unevenness of the publications means that they were mainly
published subject to the available human and material14 resources. For this reason,
the vast majority of the Catholic and Reformed printed press were congregational
or association bulletins or youth, spiritual or cultural publications which hardly dealt
with public, political or social issues or not at all. Not to mention that many publications were published only for a certain (shorter or longer) period of time. The
number of those denominational publications that appeared continuously during the
Horthy era was rather limited. In that respect, the comprehensive review of e.g., the
Greek Catholic press publications is very instructive because these publications
provide a clear picture of the problems present in both the Roman Catholic and the
Reformed churches: Chrysostomos. Görög katolikus lelkipásztori folyóirat [Greek
Catholic pastoral paper] (Nyírcsászári, 1927–1929); Délmagyarországi Görögkatolikus Élet [Greek Catholic Life of South Hungary]. Görögkatolikus egyházi tudósító
[Greek Catholic clerical bulletin] (Szeged, May 1937 – May 1942); Egyházi Híradó.
A debreceni g(örög) kath(olikus) egyházközség havi értesítője [Greek Catholic parish monthly bulletin] (Debrecen, November 1929 - December 1931); Görög Katholikus Tudósító. Egyházközségi lap (Miskolc, April-December 1921); Görögkatolikus
Élet. Hitbuzgalmi folyóirat (Nyíregyháza, January 1937 - April 1940; Szeged, May
- December 1940); Görögkatolikus Lelkipásztor. Lelkipásztorok lapja (Nyírcsászári,
1927–1931); Görögkatolikus Népiskola [Greek Catholic Public School]. A magyar
Görögkatolikus Tanítók Országos Egyesületének hivatalos közlönye [Official bulletin
of the National Association of Hungarian Greek Catholic Praetors] (Nyíregyháza,
January 1921 - December 1923); Görögkatolikus Tanító. A Görögkatolikus Tanítók
Országos Egyesületének hivatalos közlönye [Official bulletin of the National Association of Hungarian Greek Catholic Praetors] (Sárospatak, 1925–1928); Görögkatolikus Tudósító. A Magyar Görögkatolikusok Országos Szövetsége hivatalos közlönye
[Official bulletin of the National Association of Hungarian Greek Catholic Praetors]
(Nyíregyháza, 1921–1926); Hajdúdorogi Katholikus Ébredés. Görögkatolikus lap
[Greek Catholic paper] (Hajdúdorog, September-December 1932); Jövőnk [Our future] . Görögkatolikus ifjúsági lap [Greek Catholic Couth paper] (Nyíregyháza, April
1923 - May 1924); Kelet [East]. Görög katolikus hitbuzgalmi lap [Greek Catholic
Religious paper] (Miskolc, January - March 1935); Keleti Egyház [Eastern Church.
Tudományos és egyházpolitikai uniós szemle [Scientific and church policy union
bulletin] (Miskolc, 1934–1943); Keleti Fény [Eastern light]. A nyíregyházi királyi
katolikus gimnázium görög katolikus növendékeinek Szent Jozefát Egyesületének
lapja [Saint Josef Association’s paper of the Greek Catholic students of the Nyíregyháza Royal Catholic high school] (Nyíregyháza, 1939–1944); Máriapócsi Virágos
14 A permanently recurring theme of these press publications was the issues and the difficulties due to the decreasing number of subscribers. Not to mention that the Hungarian Catholic press e.g., was not at all a factor
that it should have been given the demographic and social political weight of the church. See Baron Dr István
Kray, ‘Katolikus sajtó-apostolkodás’ [Catholic press apostolate] , Budapesti RK. Egyházközségek Tudósítója
1935, issue 4, pp. 9-10.

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Kert. A Szent Bazil rend hitbuzgalmi folyóirata lelkészek és laikus hívők számára
[Devotional paper of the Saint Bazil order for pastors and lay believers] (Nyíregyháza, September 1925 - March 1932); Szegedi Görögkatolikus Élet [Szeged Greek
Catholic Life] . G. k. egyházi tudósító [Greek Catholic Church bulletin] (Szeged,
November 1936 - April 1937). The Görögkatolikus Szemle [Greek Catholic Bulletin]
can be regarded as an exception. The official bulletin of the National Association of
Hungarian Greek Catholics, social and devotional paper] (Budapest, March 1929 December 1941; Nyíregyháza, January 1942 - March 1944), which appeared for a
fairly long period of time almost continuously.
Within the Roman Catholic context, the Uj Nemzedék [New Generation] (1919–
1944) political daily and its peer paper the Nemzeti Újság, [National Paper] a Christian
political daily (1919–1944), and the Magyar Sion, a Catholic social weekly deserve special attention (1934–1944). From the regional papers, the Dunántúli Hírlap [Dunántúl
News] (Győr, 1919–1945) considered to be first a political daily then a political weekly
and the Fejérmegyei Napló [Fejér County Digest] published in Székesfehérvár which
defined itself a political, social and economic gazette have been analysed.
In terms of the Reformed press publications, there were around 220 such
publications during the Horthy era.15 Just as in the case of Catholic press publications, the above mentioned ones also mainly mentioned the current problems: for
financial reasons and due to moderate interest, the mainly local and regional publications were published only for a short period of time. E.g., Abaúji Egyházmegyei
Értesítő [Abaúj diocesan bulletin] (Gönc, January 1935 - March 1940); Bethesda.
Református hitébresztő egyháztársadalmi munkák lapja [Paper of the Reformed devotional clerical social works]. A városi és vidéki evangelizáció (misszió) és a diakonia
(szegénygondozás, betegápolás, stb.) lapja [Paper of the urban and rural evangelisation (mission) and diaconia (caring for the poor and the ill, etc.)] (Budapest, January
1922 - January/February 1927); A Budapest-Budahegyvidéki Református Egyházközség Értesítője [Bulletin of the Budapest-Buda Hills Reformed Parish] (Budapest,
1935–1936); Budahegyvidéki Reformátusok Lapja [Paper of the Buda Hill Reformed
Community] . Gyülekezeti lap [Congregation paper] (Budapest, October 1938 - February 1940); Debreceni Református Szemle [Debrecen Reformed Bulletin] (Debrecen,
November 1925 - December 1926); Az élet útja [The path of life] . Református vallásos lap (Pápa, March 1937 - September 1939); Hit és szolgálat [Faith and service]
. A Hit és Szolgálat Mozgalmának időszakonkint megjelenő közlönye [The temporary
gazette of the Movement of Faith and Service] (Pécel, Tahitótfalu, May 1926 - January
1927); Kőbányai református egyházi értesítő [Kőbánya Reformed Church bulletin] .
15 The list of the reformed press publications can be compiled based on the following publication: Lídia Wendelin Ferenczyné, A magyarországi hírlapok és folyóiratok bibliográfiája, [Bibliography of Hungarian newspapers and magazines] 1921–1944, Vol. I-II (A–L & M–Zs), Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest, 2010.

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A Kőbányai Református Egyház havi tudósítója [Monthly bulletin of the Kőbánya Reformed Church] (Budapest, April 1930 - October 1939); Magyar kálvinizmus [Hungarian Calvinism] . Reformed clerical, social and ideological magazine (Budapest, February 1934–1938); Magyar őrálló. Politikai és társadalmi hetilap. [Political and social
weekly.] A Protestáns Munkás Szövetség református ágazatának hivatalos lapja [The
official paper of the reformed branch of the Protestant Workers’ Association] (Kispest, April 1932 - July 1932); Olajág. A Magyar Keresztyén Leányegyesületek Nemzeti
Szövetségének lapja [Paper of the National Association of the Hungarian Christian
Girls’ Association] (Budapest, 1921–1927/1928); Pásztortűz. Az északkeleti refornátus értelmiség lapja [Paper of the north-eastern reformed intellectuals] (Mátészalka,
September 1926 - December 1927); Reformáció. Református lelkészek, tanítók,
presbiterek és gyülekezeti munkások lapja [Paper of the reformed pastors, praetors,
presbyters and congregational workers] (Pécel, Tahitótfalu, Sárospatak, 1921–1931);
Református Közélet. A gyakorlati egyházi élet folyóirata [Magazine of the practical clerical life] (Vésztő, October 1934 - August 1939); Szentesi kálvinista lobogó (Szentes,
May 1944 - August 1944); Tolnai magvető. A Tolnai Református Egyházmegye evangélizációs és egyháztársadalmi lapja [Evangelisation and clerical social paper of the
Tolna Reformed Diocese] (Szekszárd, December 1937 May 1939), Zuglói református
egyházi értesítő. A Budapest-Zuglói Ref. Egyházközség hivatalos lapja [Official paper
of the Budapest-Zugló Reformed diocese ] (Budapest, October 1930 - May 1931).
But even within the Reformed community, there were papers with a broader
audience and a more determining opinion-shaping capacity that were published
regularly and during a longer period of time. Such as the Debreczeni (Debreceni)
protestáns lap [The Debrecen Protestant paper]. Egyházi és iskolai heti közlöny
[Weekly bulletin of the church and school] (Debrecen, 1919–1944); Dunántúli protestáns lap. A Dunántúli Protestáns Egyházkerület hivatalos közlönye [The official
gazette of the Dunántúl Protestant Diocese] (Pápa, 1920–1944).
Overall, we can say that both the history of the church and the conditions
thereof during the Horthy era remain unprocessed until today,16 therefore, the analysis of the Catholic and Reformed press regarding the Jewish community also helps
to better understand and clarify the era itself.
16 A PhD. paper unpublished to date discussed a bit more in detail the church conditions of the era. Zsolt Giczi, A
katolikus-protestáns egyházi kapcsolatok fő vonásai a Horthy-korszakban Magyarországon [Main features
of the Catholic-Protestant ecclesiastic relations during the Horthy era in Hungary] (http://doktori.btk.elte.
hu/hist/giczizsolt/diss.pdf. ELTE BTK, Történelemtudományok Doktori Iskola, 2009. Dr. Jenő Gergely, theme
leader DSc) attempted to give a ‘comprehensive’ analysis about the connection that existed between the Christian churches in his paper .. The central topic of his studies was ‘mixed marriages and the reversals closely
related to them’ and ‘the financial support provided by the state for the churches’ and ‘the debates around the
possibilities of citizens of a different faith’. The issue of the reversals poisoned the connection between the denominations throughout the entire Horthy era. See e.g., Tamás Esze: ‘Az igazi reverzális kérdés’ [The true reversal issue], Magyar Út. Világnézeti és társadalompolitikai hetilap Vol. 4, issue 19, 1 October 1935, pp. 4-6.

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Consolidation of the ‘Christian course’17 (1919–1921)
Following the fall of the Republic of Councils, it is absolutely clear that in the contemporary clerical and primarily Catholic press, raising the ‘Jewish issue’ and keeping it on the agenda18 fundamentally served the purpose:
1) of diverting the attention from the unavoidable Paris Peace Treaty;19
2) of making the international Jewish community responsible for the mutilation
of the ‘Christian’ country; and20
3) of making it appear as the resolution of social problems lies within the settlement of the ‘Jewish issue‘.21
However, Catholic anti-Semitism did not start in the years following the lost
World War I; its roots go back a lot more in time already during the era of the first
anti-Jewish law as it clearly transpires from the position of prelate-parish priest of
Zalaegerszeg (the future Cardinal-Archbishop Mindszenty), József Pehm formulated
on the meeting hosting 70 Catholic priests organised in Budapest in May of 1938
regarding the draft anti-Jewish law:
‘We regard to the Jewish issue as a social, economic and ideological issue.
During 50 years, our ancestors and we stood on the side of Istóczy and later on of
the National Party at the peak of the usurer world even when almost everyone was a
17 ‘A keresztény nemzeti gondolat diadala’ [Victory of the Christian national idea], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue
30, 4 February 1920, pp. 1-3; ‘A keresztény kurzus nevében!’ [In the name of the Christina course], Nemzeti
Ujság Vol. 2, issue 71, 23 March 1920, p. 1.
18 The General Support Committee of Hungarian Jews published a proclamation already in October 1919 ‘to the
Hungarian Nation! We have been waiting for weeks for the charge to be silenced blaming the Hungarian Jews
for the anti-national and inhuman crimes under the Bolshevik rule. We hereby turn to the nation and primarily to
our Christian brothers with whom we are on the same side in the camp of Hungarian patriotism’ which proclamation was not really heard. ‘A zsidóság kiáltványa. »Mi fájlaljuk legjobban«’ [Proclamation of the Jewish people.
It hurts us the most], Uj Nemzedék Vol. 1, issue 12, 12 October 1919, p. 5. This was necessary because
the conviction that ‘the leaders and the prophets of the Hungarian Communism were Jews almost without
exception’ was in general prevailing which conviction was turned against the entire Jewish community. ‘The
foreign minister about the elections, the Jewish issue and peace. The Vienna declaration of Count Somssich’,
Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 4, 2 October 1919, p. 3.; ‘Kunfiék – a magyargyűlölők. Buza Barna vádja és védekezése’ [The Kunfis - the Hungarian haters. The blame and the defence of Barna Búza], Nemzeti Ujság Vol.
1, issue 17, 17 October 1919, p. 2.
19 See ‘A halálraítélt Magyarország’ [Condemned Hungary], Uj Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 94, 18 January 1920,
pp. 1-2. The law was basically passed during the period between the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty and its
ratification.
20 See ‘»Az ötös tanács a zsidók kezében.« Egy olasz lap a koncentráció hátteréről’ [The council of 5 in the
hands of the Jews. An Italian paper on the background of concentration], Uj Nemzedék Vol. 1, issue 51, 28
November 1919, p. 4.; Albert Barabás, ‘Izgatás a keresztény Magyarország ellen. Zsidók, szabadkőművesek
és kommunisták egy táborban’ [Agigation against the Christian Hungary. Jews, Freemasons and Communists
in one camp], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 77, 30 March 1920, p. 1; ‘A zsidó világuralom’ [The Jewish world
rule], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 28, issue 11, 15 January 1921, pp. 2-3.
21 ‘Társadalmi bajaink és a zsidóság’ [Our social problems and the Jewish community], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol.
28, issue 80, 10 April 1921, p. 1.

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liberal Jew friend in the entire country. The Christian Party supported by us brought
the only racial law, the numerus clausus, bearing all of the horrible consequences
up till today.’22
In the fall of 1919, Béla Túri, editor in charge of the Catholic Nemzeti Újság
clearly formulated that Hungarian people ‘want to become once again a Christian
nation in their soul and state order’ because ‘our Christian nature… – he writes has anyway been attacked by a foreign spirit de-routing us from our Hungarianness
and Christian culture, which foreign spirit is now ruling’. The readers knew exactly
that this spirit was meant to be understood as the Jewish community!23 In his view,
however, now ‘the will is demonstrated through the magnificence of the racial instinct and the vitality of the national life: discard everything from our national life that
threatens our Christian national existence and create all that yields the conditions of
a new national life.’ In the light of the above, he points out:
‘With obsolete liberal slogans, the nation cannot be misled any longer. And
it cannot be. Through its terrible fate, the Hungarian people have painfully experienced that liberalism does not lead to freedom or well-being but to the breakup of
the nation and to decadence. Liberalism as an economic principle has also failed.
The unequal competition ruined equality. It became obvious that social development cannot be ensured by liberal catch words. The political and legal organisation
of the state is not enough. The society itself must be re-organised. That is the historic task of socialism. (…)
Christian Socialism does not want to destroy but it wants to re-build keeping an
eye on a social approach and the truth of social thinking. It does not want to scare
us with the fire of class hatred but instead it wants to get rid of the outrageous class
conflicts by creating more harmonious life conditions. It wants real democracy where
the will of the Christian nation prevails and the well-being of the people increases. (…)
In this Christian-Social construction work, all those living in this country should
partake embracing a Christian world view and the evangelic morality in this country.
Recognising the threat to our Christian Hungarianness entails the responsibility to
protect the nation and calls for creative work by all those who claim to be Christian
and Hungarian. In this new home-conquering endeavour, the cross is the concurring sword now in the hands of the Christian Hungarians. By saying so we are not
22 ‘Catholic clergy for social reforms. It dealt with the problems of the era at the national meeting and sent a
memorandum to the competent person’, Nemzeti Ujság, Vol. 20, Issue 101, 6 May 1938, p. 5 See also ‘A papság állásfoglalása a nemzeti, szociális és keresztény irány mellett’ [Position of the clergy to support the national,
social and Christian directions], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 46, issue 19, 8 May 1938, p. 2.
23 With regard to this, see e.g., Péter Sáfár, ‘Munkás, ébredj öntudatra!’ [Worker wake up to your awareness],
Csepeli Őrszem Vol. 2, issue 21, 20 May 1944, p. 1.

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proclaiming a crusade, but we become aware that only those things will remain Hungarian that remain in Christian hands. This is why our land, our culture, our press,
our wealth, our industry and our economic life should all be in Christian hands. This
is about the national Genius who came to life so that our entire public life shows a
Christian face and reflects the Christian spirit. We want a new Christian country along
the Duna and Tisza rivers, where each of us can find a home and can make a living.
This is the Christian-Social national programme of the Nemzeti Ujság.’24
In this definition and approach, ‘Christian’ clearly meant ‘non-Jewish’. Here, we
can no longer talk about religious category, but a lot more about a racial category.25
‘Racial life which is not merely a question of physiology, so not simply the
question of physical origin, but rather the result of deep spiritual processes and
traditional experiences, making up reality. This is not an anti-Jewish substance produced during the era of anti-Semitism but the wonderful reality. It comes from the
great secrets of God and nature. And in terms of the race itself, it is an internal force
in the highest form of life: glory stemming from the national life.’26
Along this racial thinking, the right of Jewish people to exist was being questioned:
‘If it is true that the life of humanity materialises in the context of national life,
then among humanity grouped into nations, the Jew, cosmopolite due to racial nature, does not and should not have any right to exist.’27
In 1919, the Catholic church press practically announced that the Jews (the
non-Christians, that is mainly the Jews) do not belong into the Hungarian nation.28
Mainly because ‘a fairly large part of the Jewish people proved to be unreliable from
the aspect of our national interests’:

24 Béla Túri, ‘Programmunk’ [Our programme], Nemzeti Ujság vol. 1, issue 1, 28 September 1919, p. 1.
25 ‘A magyar faj visszaszoritása gazdasági téren’ [Confinement of the Hungarian race in the economy], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 28., issue 241, 23 October 241, p. 1. The anonymous author did not even write down
the world ‘Jewish’!
26 (tb.): ‘A zsidókérdés körül...’ [Around the Jewish issue], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 158, 04 July 1920, p. 2.
27 In the ‘Tárca’ [Portfolio] section, Dr. H. Á., ‘Az állam és a zsidóság’ [The state and the Jewry], Fejérmegyei
Napló Vol. 26, issue 119, 12 October 1919, p. 2.
28 ‘A magyar faj megmentése’ [Salvation of the Hungarian race], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 18, 18 October
1919, p. 2; Béla Túri, ‘A zsidókérdés ’ [The Jewish issue], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 37, 9 November 1919,
pp. 1-2; x., ‘Keresztény Magyarország?’ [Christian Hungary?], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 26, issue 147, 15
November 1919, pp. 1-3; Béla Túri ‘A zsidóság lelki alkata’ [The psychological constitution of Jews], Nemzeti
Ujság Vol. 1, issue 61, 7 December 1919, pp. 1-3; Ákos Mihályfi dr.: ‘Sorsdöntő idők’ [Historic times], Katholikus Szemle Vol. 33, 1919, pp. 289-295; Béla Túri ‘Az egyetlen lehetőség’ [The only option], Nemzeti Ujság
Vol. 2, issue 55, 4 March 1920, p. 1.

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‘Who were the ones who proclaimed Hungarian chauvinism and the hate
speech against the ethnic population the loudest and who were the ones who
shouted the loudest? The Jews! Who were the ones rejoicing with the superiority of
neutrality when Hungarian companies and Hungarian estates failed and fell victim
to the secret nets of the ethnic credit institutions? The Jewish capital! Who laid an
ambush for the national front of Hungarian politics, who were the ones feeding the
counter-arguments and fierce agitation Scotus Viators and the various irredentists?
From the books of Jewish writers and journalists who were the ones who injected
the poisonous ferment of dissolution and defeatism into the rows of the Hungarian
army? The Jews! Who sneaked the Trojan horse of pacifism into the castle of national defence? The Jews! Who had weakened our soldiers, who took advantage
of their efforts, who had undermined our national resistance? The Jews! Who had
been the tradesmen and agents of Central Europe? The Jews! Who started the rats’
uprising to avoid the bitter consequences of the battlefield? The Jews! Who gave in
to every invader, be it Prussian or Romanian? Who were the ones who could always
escape to some safe refuge to protect themselves from the angry crowd? The Jews!
Who are the ones who are able to give alarm signals through the secret channels of
racial solidarity to the Jewish communities of the 5 continents, when there is trouble
in Lodz or Budapest, in Moscow or Beijing? Them, every time and everywhere.’29
The other accusation against Jewish people was the dissimilation in the ‘annexed’
territories,30 which was deemed as the betrayal of the nation as seen from Hungary,
while after the Paris Peace Treaty Hungary attempted to adopt a law about restricting
the number of young Jews that can be accepted to the university (numerus clausus).31
29 ‘Megbízhatatlannak mutatkozott...’ [Proved to be unreliable], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 67, 14 December
1919, p. 1. Regarding the same course of discussion also see: ‘Százezer zsidó memorandumban hívja vissza
a románokat Budapestre’ [A hundred thousand Jews recall the Romanians to Budapest in a memorandum],
Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 28, issue 44, 24 February 1920, p. 2.
30 ‘A magyarok nyomora Erdélyben. ...A zsidók asszimilálódnak a románokhoz...’ [The misery of the Hungarians
in Transylvania. .... The Jews are assimilating to the Romanians], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 46, 22 February 1920, p. 4; ‘A nagyváradi zsidók az oláh megszállás alatt’ [The Jews from Nagyvárad during the Romanian
occupation], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 56, 5 March 1920, p. 5; Bálint Albay, ‘Zsidó beismerés a zsidó árulásról. Az erdélyi zsidóság internacionális. A Felvidéken már csak ‘szlovenszkói zsidóság’ van [Jews acknowledge their betrayal. The Transylvanian Jews are internationals. There are only ‘Slovensky Jews’ in Upper Hungary]. The ‘Unified Jewish Parties’ request the abolishment of the Sunday rest day. Rabbis are organising based
on racial nationalism. Review in the ‘Zsidó Szemle’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 64, 14 March 1920, p. 6;
‘A lugosi főrabbi hazaárulása. Másfél milliót gyűjtöttek a temesvári zsidók az oláh hadsereg javára’ [High treason
of the Lugos chief rabbi. He quickly offers his services to the Romanians. The Jews from Temesvár collected one
and half million in favour of the Romanian army], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 103, 29 April 1920, p. 2; ‘Az erdélyi,
bánáti és máramarosi zsidók behódolása a román uralomnak. Cionista konferencia Kolozsvárott’, [Submission of
the Transylvanian, Banat and Maramaros Jews to Romanian rule. Zionist conference at Kolozsvár] Nemzeti Ujság
Vol. 2, issue 277, 24 November 1920, p. 3; ‘Az erdélyi cionista kongresszus a magyarság ellen. – Van zsidó
nemzeti kultúra és faji törekvés’ [The Transylvanian Ziomist conference against Hungarians. - The Jewish national
culture and racial endeavour existst], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 291, 11 December 1920, p. 2.
31 ‘Ismét bezárták az egyetemet. Az ifjuság gyülése a numerus claususért’, [Reunion of the youth for the numerus
clausus], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 56, 4 March 1920, p. 4; ‘A főiskolai ifjuság tüntetése. Memorandum a numerus claususról’ [Memorandum for the numerus clausus], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2. issue 57, March 1920, Vol. 62,

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Bishop Ottokár Prohászka clearly regarded this law as the weapon of racial self-defence.32 Practically no one really noticed the contradiction between the accusations
and expectations towards the Jewish communities living in the annexed territories and
the anti-Semitism and legal restrictions present in Hungary after the Paris Peace Treaty.
While the Jews have been proclaimed the scapegoats and made collectively responsible for the Republic of Councils,33 naturally other voices could also be
heard. Several have raised their voices claiming that a real realistic Christian renewal would be needed in Hungary for the country to rise and be able to demonstrate a
different type of social quality.34 But what were the tone and the style of those urging
‘the Christian renewal’?
On 14 September 1919, on Sunday, on the holiday of the Glorification of the
Saint Cross the author of the Fejérmegyei Napló put the following question to the
readers: ‘Shall we hit the Jews?’ The answer was clearly yes.
‘Do we need that the scums of a tenacious race that obtained rights only 50
years earlier grab the power to themselves in Hungary and outrageously beat us to
blood with Christian support. Do we need that these beasts profane our God, violate
our churches, eradicate religiosity, patriotism and enthusiasm towards all that is good
from our children’s’ soul and implant godlessness and the imbecility of internationality and the rotten flowers of Devil’s cult. Without this hard lesson we would not have
woken up from the lethargic dream of negligence because although we knew, saw and
understood that the Jews are the rulers in Hungary, we failed to act and instead we
were patiently waiting with our hands folded in our lap for the flood to take us away. (…)
So our Jewish neighbours do not have to continuously paint the phantom of
pogrom on the wall and now in the days of waking up, the slogan crosses the country as a storm: hit the Jew! (…)
p. 3; ‘The numerus clausus has been voted. Jews can access university based on a racial quota. Minister Haller
closed the debate with a grandiose speech’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 224, 22 September 1920, pp. 1-3.
32 ‘Ottokár Prohászka’s grand speech about the protection of Hungarians. Numerus clausus as the weapon in
the racial self-protection war. The Jewish influence falsifies the Hungarian genius. The national assembly enthusiastically demonstrated in support of Prohászka’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 220, 17 September 1920,
pp. 1-3. (see also Dunántúli Hírlap Vol 28, issue 211, 17 September 1920, p. 1.); while previously he was
discoursing about the derailing of the Christian course in connection with the employment of the Jews: Ottokár
Prohászka ‘A keresztény kurzus kisiklása’ [Derailing of the Christian course], Uj Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 147
(225), 20 June 1920, p. 1.
33 Hajós: „Az ifjú tanácsköztársaság” [The young Republic of Councils], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 26, issue 70,
12 April 1919, p. 1.
34 The fraud committed in the name of Christianity is a clear refutation of the above. See Miklós Diószeghy, ‘How
56000 people have been cheated? The ‘Akarat’ cooperative is fooling the people with Christian catchwords.
The country has been enmashed with unfulfillable promises. They promised houses that they could not build
up. Sándor Giesswein left the chairmanship due to the irregularities. Baron Zsigmond Perényi about the scandal of ‘Akarat’’, Uj Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 299 (377), 21 December 1920, pp. 1-2.

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But if we want to take the rein out of the Jews’ hands - and we must do this
because Hungary cannot be anything but Christian - we must hit the Jew, hard and
hell-bent, but not with a stick but with their own weapon. We will beat them if the
now ongoing Christian organisation will not be a flash in the pan, and will be able
to merge the entire Christianity into one strong unity if we do not dispute, and if we
displace them from their dominant positions step-by-step working selflessly, if we
carve into our children’s soul this outrage committed on us, this memento filled with
horror influencing all ages and properly educate them and direct them to professions which the Jews are occupying today.
Let us educate craftsmen, traders, farmers, financial experts, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. give them support in every area possible and a Christian
should befriend only a Christian and let us hit the Jews in this way to make their
soul hurt! Then once we have achieved that, there will not be any more illiterates
throughout Hungary, and the poorest peasant child will not write down the title in the
way I did at the beginning of this article, then we will have given the first hard blow
which will destroy the Semitic rule and the not so Christian call ‘Hit the Jew!’35 will
become unnecessary.
Overall we can say that in the period between 1919 and 1921, the national
Catholic and regional Catholic press dealt a lot more with the Jewish community,
gave news about it and declared their position and opinion than the Reformed press
which had by default a lot more limited press instruments. That naturally also included that mainly the national and regional Roman Catholic papers covered the
news related to the Jewish community,36 including the news concerning Palestine.37
35 Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 26, issue 96, 14 September 1919, pp. 1-2.
36 See e.g., the motion of the Austrian member of Parliament Kunschak on a Christian socialist gathering, where
he proposed the deportation of Jews who immigrated since August 1914, and to declare the Jews to be a
separate nation and exclude the Jews from holding offices and take part in education. ‘Bécsiek a zsidók ellen’ [People of Vienna against the Jews], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 1, issue 12, 11 October 1919, p. 4; ‘Antiszemita
tüntetések Bécsben’ [Anti-Semitic demonstration in Vienna], Uj Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 102 (180), 28 April
1920, p. 2; ‘Antiszemita beszédek az osztrák nemzetgyűlésben’ [Anti-Semitic speeches in the Austrian national
assembly], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 28, issue 100, 1 May 1920, p. 1; ‘Zsidók hozták a bolsevizmust zsidók javára.
Francia író a Magyar antiszemitizmusról. [Jews have brought Boshevism for the benefit of Jews. A French writer
about Hungarian anti-Semitism.], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 170, 18 July 1920, p. 3; ‘Titkos utasítások a
zsidók érdekében. A zsidók a vörös hadseregben is csak a front mögött teljesítenek szolgálatot’ [Secret orders
in the interest of the Jews. Jews in the Red army remain behind the frontlines] Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 213,
8 September 1920, p. 1; ‘A zsidóság a világ veszedelme. Az angol sztrájkokat zsidók kezdeményezték. [The
Jewry are the a threat to the world. The British strikes have been started by the Jews], Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 247, 19 October 1920, p. 1; ‘Anti-Semitism Bund Congress in Vienna. What do we owe to the Awakened?
Anti-Semitism is spreading’, Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 29, issue 58, 12 March 1921, p. 1.
37 ‘Jewish governor in Palestine. Britain throws away the majority principle’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 169,
17 July 1920, p. 2; ‘The Jews also invade the Christian Palestine. The Jews’ greedy conquest. British officers
are helpless’, Nemzeti Ujság Volt. 2, issue 214, 10 September 1920, p. 3.; ‘Palestine’s Christian – Muslim
population against the Jewish state. The indigenous Jews are also opposing the immigration of foreigners’, Uj
Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 222 (300), 19 September 1920, p. 5; Gyula Muraközy in the ‘Külföldi Szemle’ [International review] section, ‘A cionisták Palesztinában’ [Zionists in Palestine], Protestáns Szemle Vol. 33, issue 7,

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Concerning the relationship of different denominations, we should mention
that the Roman Catholic press blamed Dezső Baltazár (†1936) trans-Tisza region’s
Reformed bishop38 with the advocacy of the Jews already in the 1920’s which
shows that the ‘Jewish card’ proved to be a useful discrediting tool within the network of relationships within the Christian churches.39

The era of Prime Minister István Bethlen (1921–1931)
Parallel to Hungary’s consolidation after the Paris Peace Treaty, the public discussion of the ‘Jewish issue’ also somewhat went unrecognised. A suggestive fact is
e.g., is that during this era, the Debreczen Protestant paper did not publish a single
article concerning the Jewish issue.
At the same time - mainly in terms of the Reformed community - the need to
protect the Old Testament was raised as a concern. Bishop László Ravasz e.g., - in
a rather peculiar way - defended the Old Testament by also declaring everything in it
to be God’s revelation that in his view is featured in it as anti-Judaism:
‘This book was made great and eternal by God’s spirit. And God is not Jewish,
and not even Hungarian. ‘Those who read the Bible know that in the entire Old testament the dictum of God is the one that is anti-Judaism; God’s permanent educating
crusade against a rough, hot-blooded and selfish people. The New Testament was
born from this, the writers and readers of which were also Jews in the same way
as the readers and the writers of the Old testament but which is the peaking of the
dictum of God taken over from the Old testament and developed in the New testament. What you have done is although a destructive thought, which clearly serves
faithlessness by negating the authority of the Bible when you claim it to be the
September 1924, pp. 366-369; ‘Názáret papjának szigoru kritikája a Palesztinába vándorolt zsidóságról’ [The
priests of Nazareth strongly criticising the Jews immigrating to Palestine], Ujpesti Református Egyházi Értesítő
Vol. 10, issue 7-8, 1935, pp. 2-3; In the ‘Figyelő’ section: ‘Ahasvérus útja’ [The road of Ahasverus], Református
Élet Vol 3, issue 18, 2 May 1936, p. 161; ‘Angolok, arabok, zsidók a Szentföldön. Ahasvérus új tragédiája’ [The
Brits, the Arabs and the Jews on the Holy Land. The new tragedy of Ahasverus.], Református Élet Vol 5, issue
24, 11 July 1938, pp. 245-246.
38 ‘Dezső Baltazár. His life and moral death. – Political balancing act with frequent about-turns. The convent’s
verification and the black ball’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 2, issue 240, 10 October 1920, pp. 1-2; ‘Balthazár
zsidóbarát…’ [Balthazar is befriending the Jews], Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 28, issue 23, 29 January 1921,
p. 2. The Reformed camp already had to defend themselves in the past against the blame: K. B., ‘Zsidópártolás?’ [Advocacy of the Jews], Debreczeni protestáns lap , Vol. 40, issue 17, 24 April 1920, pp. 65-66.
39 See e.g., Jenő Papp, ‘Kazárok honfoglalása a Hajduföldön’ [Home conquest of the Kazars on Hajduland], Uj
Nemzedék Vol. 2, issue 241 (319), 12 October 1920, p. 3.; issue 243 (321), 14 October 1920, pp. 1-2.; issue 245 (323), 16 October 1920, p. 4; issue 254 (332), 27 October 1920, p. 7. Also see ‘Mi a támadásokra
nem felelünk!’ [We are not responding to the attacks], Ujpesti Református Egyházi Értesítő Vol. 8, issue 4,
1933, p. 6.

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product of the Genius of the Jewish race and thereby want to stigmatise it. Are you
Gentlemen aware as to what you are achieving with this? You take out the greatest
living authority from humanity’s hands. This book, which is the book of life on the
Tierra del Fuego just as in Central Africa, Greenland or the Great Hungarian Plains
and in New York and China. The only book from which history has erased any racial
or temporal stigma, the book which belongs to the entire humanity and therefore,
can be the book of the awakening Hungarians. I kindly ask you to avoid believing
such catchwords. Those who erode the prestige of the Bible, I repeat, either favour
the atheists or become the unaware tool of the clerical propaganda.’40
Lajos Tóth dealt with this topic in more detail in his 3-part article series titled
‘The religious value and meaning of the Old testament from the aspect of the Christian Church’.41 Later on, during the era of the anti-Jewish laws and the Holocaust,
the issue became timely again,42 but the Roman Catholics did not devote any special attention to it.
When it comes to the Roman Catholic and Reformed churches of the Horthy
era it is interesting and worth noting how their approach to the Jewish conversions
changed. This is practically hardly a topic in the Catholic press, while in terms of the
Reformed press the Jewish mission is part of the more general missionary strategy and
activity within the country and especially outside the borders. The external missionary
paper titled Hajnal consistently deals with the relationship of the Jews and of the Christians from 1921 all the way until 1937 and with the issues of the Jewish mission. In that
respect, it is crucial to mention Gyula Forgács, priest of the Scottish Mission who was
very active in that area. After Hitler gained power in Germany, bishop Ravasz himself
gave a speech about the Jewish issue, which appears rather contradictory seen from
today’s perspective. In his speech he emphasised that the ‘solution of Jesus to resolve
the Jewish issue is the mission’ but he differentiated the Jews of the Old Testament and
the contemporary Jews,43 and he also explained that:
‘Any endeavour that urges the establishment of a Jewish state must be supported from the Christian perspective as this is everyone’s birth right. I would say
40 Dr. Ravasz László püspök az ótestamentumról’ [Bishop Dr. László Ravasz about the Old Testament], Egyházi
Híradó (Szeged) 2 May 1925, pp. 2-3. Originally published in issue 14 of the Kálvinista Szemle.
41 Dunántúli protestáns lap Vol. 37, issue 42, 17 October 1926, pp. 181-182.; issue 43, 24 October 1926,
pp. 185-186.; issue 44, 31 October 1926, p. 190.
42 See e.g., Dr. Sándor Czeglédy: ‘Aki az Ótestamentumot elveti, az nem keresztyén. A Második Helvét Hitvallás’ [Those who reject the Old Testament are not Christians. (367.), 15 March 1944, pp. 3-5.; János Tussay,
‘Miért tanítjuk az Ószövetséget iskoláinkban?’ [Why are we teaching the Old Testament in our schools?],
Protestáns Szemle Vol. 53, issue 8, August 1944, pp. 209-215.
43 We can find this distinction also among the Greek Catholics. There, however, the author ‘distinguish between
the Judaism before and after Christ’, Euthymos: ‘Kereszténység és zsidóság’ (Christianity and Judaism), Görögkatolikus Élet (Greek Catholic Life) Vol. 2, issue 10, October 1938, p. 153.

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that the Jews who want to retain their racial and national nature even when dispersed all over the world should hit the road and go to a place where they can find
all the attributes of their own race, language and state life and all of the merits of
their race starts flourishing. Those Jews, however, who have sworn community in
their soul with the people of the accepting state which considers it to be Spanish,
Dutch or Hungarian, those Jews should strive to merge as much as possible with
the soul of that accepting nation, also share their beliefs, be with them and unite
with them both spiritually, physically and mentally. But this is only possible if a better
Christianity, a more conquering, a stronger missionary and evangelical life exists.’44
Bishop Ravasz emphasised the relevance of this mission already in connection
with the voting of the first anti-Jewish law but obviously not without any conditions
and not without restrictions:
‘– It must be emphasised that against any trendy ideologies, the Christian
Church can never give up its missionary vocation and missionary order for the Jews.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to make your disciples every people but the Jews’.
The Christian Church will never give up on its missionary order for the sake of any
racial theory. But at the same time, the Christian Church emphasises that when trying to gain the souls, it is not driven by the assimilation laws but the eternal holy one
Gospel. We do not baptise a soul for it to be assimilated to the club but because we
want that soul to assimilate to Christ.
– Christian churches committed a grave omission when without exercising any
criticism, they took over the people of Jewish religion applying for conversion without
examining the motive of the conversion and they said: the case of your assimilation
is settled. By doing so, we enabled many people to come to the Christian church not
for Christ but for other reasons. When Lord Christ established its church it did not
promise any type of advantage nor reception nor assimilation but he said to take up
his cross and empty the glass that he had emptied. He promised suffering. What he
promised he gives. He gives soul but with the soul he often gives martyrdom.
– The Christian churches should exercise wise moderation when taking over
the Jews. We already have enough bad Christians among our own members, why
should we import a large number from among our Jewish compatriots?’45

44 ‘Ravasz püspök a zsidókérdésről’ [Bishop Ravasz on the Jewish issue], Ujpesti Református Egyházi Értesítő
Vol. 9, issue 5, 1934, pp. 2-3.
45 ‘Victorious Hungarians. The Christian Church did not give up its missionary task towards the Jewish community. Excerpt from dr. László Ravasz’s presentation given at the Mátészalka Conference and his speech in the
Parliament’, Egyházi Híradó (Szeged) Vol. 17, issue 22-23, 4 June 1938, p. 3; From the Parliament speech
of Dr. László Ravasz: ‘The Christian Church cannot give up its missionary task towards the Jewish community”, Református Élet Vol. 5, issue 22, 28 May 1938, p. 219.

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The era of Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös’ (1932–1936)
Hitler’s obtaining power in Germany was also published in the Hungarian Catholic and
Reformed press but the articles reflecting on the German political and ecclesiastical situation mainly formulated the opinion and position on the events concerning the
Christian community,46 and did not deal so much with news related to the Jews.
An exception is the position of Aladár Kontra, Reformed pastor of Óbuda, who
practically compared Hitler to Christ in connection with the events taking place in
Germany:
‘This is the eternal big fight my Brothers, between good and bad, Christ and
Satan. The spirit of the Saviour flew over the German land. The blessed one with
Christ’s soul erupted a beneficial storm only wanting good for the people, caring for
people’s spirit, redirecting the lost sheep to the right path; he no longer wants to
tolerate that they turn freedom into a curse, art into sin celebrating nudity, literature
turned into soul killing pornography and that they turn the schools into ‘informative
institutions’ poisoning children’s’ soul. (…) No wonder that all those who sold their
soul to the evil out of naivety or conscious malignity attack the work of the one wishing to create healing and cleaning with his work. No wonder that those who always
act against him with ancient hate or now hissing with hate as the snake that has
been stepped on and wants to poison and kill.
Therefore, the eternal great fight is going on and its never-ending boil has
reached a turning point. And we are looking forward to its outcome trusting that this
fight will also end with the victory of our Lord and soon the thanksgiving national anthem of a nation with a cleaned soul and strengthened financials will celebrate His
liberating strength. Let it be!’47
In general we can say that the period until 1938 - that is, until the start of the
anti-Jewish law era - is characterised by the phenomenon that the ‘Jewish issue’
and articles dealing with the Jewish community in the press were a lot less frequent; but they were constantly present.48 In the case of congregation bulletins, for
46 E.g., K. B., ‘Horogkeresztes protestantizmus’ [Swastika Protestantism], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 53,
issue 26, 1 July 1933, p. 1; Ferenc Tamás, ‘The difficult hours of the German Christianity especially with respect to the position of Protestantism’, Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 56, issue 4, 15 April 1936, pp. 60-63;
Ferenc Tamás, ‘Mit tanulhatunk a német egyházi harcokból?’ [What can we learn from the German ecclesiastical fights?], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 57, issue 2, 15 February 1937, pp. 20-21.
47 Priest, Aladár Kontra, ‘A nagy harc’ [The great fight], Egyházi élet. The official paper of the Óbuda Reformed
Church Vol. 5, issue 4, 2 April 1933, p. 2.
48 See e.g., János Péter: ‘Krisztushívő zsidók’ [Christ-believing Jews], Református Élet Vol. 3, issue 22, 30 May
1936, p. 200; ‘Filoszemiták vagy antiszemiták?’ [Phylosemits or antisemites?], Református Élet Vol. 4, issue
11, 13 March 1937, p. 105.

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the very local press publications we can say that they did not deal with the Jewish
community and they did not even raise ‘Jewish’ topics not only during the period
extending from 1919/1920 to 1937 but even during the war and the time of the
Holocaust nothing referring to what was happening in the country and in the public
life appeared in these publications. The local/congregation news, spiritual writings,
publications and draft sermons do not give room to dealing with public, social issues. An interesting exception is the Egyházi Élet considered to be the official paper of the Óbuda Reformed Church (between March 1930 and December 1939),
where – despite the obvious anti-Semitism of Aladár Kontra, pastor and member
of Parliament – Jew-bashing gains room in this paper only after the appearance of
the new editor-in-chief, Endre Deák (October 1932) and continuously thereafter in
the monthly publication. In that respect, we can say that the person or the personality of the editor of the given press publication is very determining when it comes
to the Jewish issue. In Catholic circles, this seems to be confirmed in the case of
the Csepeli Őrszem published as a political weekly (1 March 1941 - 22 December
1944), whose editor-in-chief and publisher was initially József Folláth chaplain; then
as from 21 May 1943, János Róbl, canon. This publication regularly featured articles dealing with the Jews.
However, during that era, some contradictory writings also appeared. For example, the writing of Emil Doumergue (1844-1937), a French writer, historian and
theologian titled ‘About the Jewish pogrom’. According to him:
‘…any persecution starts based on Satan’s impulse. But there is one, a single
one persecution that the Jews and only they have no right to blame.
And this is Jewish persecution itself!
We know that when Pilate was reluctant to give Jesus over to the Jews - because he knew that he was innocent - then the official representatives of the Jews
started to shout: Crucify him! Crucify him! His blood on us and on our children!› And
with other words this meant: ‹We take the responsibility for Jesus’ death on us because we know that he is guilty and he deserves death. And should he be innocent
- which is impossible - then God should seek punishment for letting the blood of the
innocent on us and on our children and not on you, Pilate!›
In this way, the Jews concluded an official contract with God about Jesus’
death.
And now what they themselves wanted is happening. The blood of the innocent
falls back onto the Jews and their children as they have solemnly asked it from God.

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Then why are they complaining? And why should Jewish persecutions be
claimed unjust?
There is only one way: the Jews should stop to be Jews and should convert to
Christ. (…)
If the Jews are not right when they are complaining about being persecuted,
then is the world right when the world is blaming the Jews. No. We saw that here we
are talking about a contract between the Jews and God. Therefore, those who do
not believe in God have no right to intervene in this affair.
The Russian pagans have no right to persecute the Jews. But the new pagans
of Germany, those who completely reject both the Old and the New Testament,
have no right to do so either.
Therefore, only the Christians have the right to persecute the Jews.
But do they really have the right to do so?
How would they have such right when the Christians are those people for whom
it is forbidden to persecute? ‹The benign are happy because they own the land according to their inheritance. The merciful are happy because they gain mercy.›
We should not try to be the tool of God’s justice. He can do justice without us.
We should never and nowhere persecute anyone.’49

The era of the anti-Jewish laws (1938–1942)
Clearly the address of Prime Minister Kálmán Darányi delivered in Szeged in April
1937 can be regarded as the initiator of a marked change in the public opinion towards the Jewish community. In this speech, Darányi clearly formulates that there
is a ‘Jewish issue’ in Hungary and we cannot remain blind to this fact. We cannot
simply say that this issue does not exist when everyone feels that it does’. The Prime
Minister basically formulated this issue as an ‘economic issue’ and the core of the
problem is that the Jewish community ‘gained power in the economic life way in
excess of its proportion in the society’. In respect of the Jewish issue, the Hungarian society is irritated by the Galicians filtering in from East with their reclusion and
49 Református Élet Vol. 51, 15 December 1934, p. 405.

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instinctive business greed’. He declared that this issue had to be resolved and the
government would deal with it.50 This speech seems to have broken a dam and the
repercussions of this breaking are clearly visible in the clerical press51:
‘It seems that since Kálmán Darányi Prime Minister clearly said in his speech in
Szeged that we do have a Jewish issue, since then serious and authoritative politicians have been dealing with this issue more and more frequently. They may think
that if the Prime Minister had the right to touch this sensitive topic, then they will not
be blamed with anti-Semitism or ‘incitement’ against the religious community race.’52
However, the unknown author of the Christian political weekly of Győr saw the
issue and mainly the issue of ‘responsibility’ with a bit more subtlety:
‘But let’s look at it: who or what is the reason for the fact that trade has been
practically completely monopolised [naturally by the Jews]? Those who did not like
the profession of merchants and considered the work of an agent as a downgrading
profession. Those Christians who did not help the Christian retailers to get back on
their feet – and from among the Christian tradesmen those who discouraged the
Christian buyers from going to their stores. For this we cannot blame the Jewish community. Once our youth becomes more alert and business wise and have more Christian and national consciousness and the Christian population holds together stronger,
then we will have no more reason to complain about this issue. This issue cannot be
resolved simply by phrases coloured with national slogans and loud threats. To mention only one: how dare such a Christian complain who never even read a Christian
paper, for whom the tabloid press is their favourite paper and who are not satisfied
with the Christian press? Many of the weeping and race protecting Hungarians should
be blamed for this. Let us be honest: the reason why in the country and also in Győr
we must talk about the Jewish issue, the reason for this is the old liberal thinking and
today’s opportunistic Christian Hungarians or at least 50% of them.’53
The author of the Református Élet expresses similar thoughts. In his view:
‘the Hungarian society cannot resolve the Jewish issue because it has been
corrupted with the Jewish soul. Even the leader proclaiming the most anti-Semitic

50 ‘A miniszterelnök szegedi beszéde’ [The speech of the Prime Minister in Szeged], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 45,
issue 17, 25 April 1937, p. 1.
51 A good example of this is e.g., the Magyar Út. A ideological and social political weekly which immediately
published an article although previously it did not publish any article covering the Jewish issue: Béla Pap, A
Galiciai...’ [The Galician], Magyar Út Vol6, issue 17, 22 April 1937, p. 1.
52 – rg. [assumably Gyula Reiner, parish priest, editor-in-chief], ‘A zsidókérdésről’ [About the Jewish issue”,
Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 45, issue 37, 12 September 1937, p. 1.
53 Op.cit.

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catchwords shows a doubtful spirituality in his morality, in his public activities, in the
upbringing of his children, in fulfilling his responsibilities and fails to question the materialist, utilitarian and transcendent truth. A Christian society with a Jewish soul is
not able to pursue a mission against a spirituality that inherited a peculiar spirit after
thousand years of oppression, dealing with money and not respecting the Bible. How
strange is it that even during the era of the bloodiest fights, Hungarian politicians
failed to say out loud what the Prime Minister now simply announced: it is not in the
interest of the Hungarian Jewish community either that people who have no roots in
this land sneaked in from Galicia for profit, make business and gain citizenship. The
Jews who have settled down here and share the same faith as the Hungarians are
also welcoming this reform. How peculiar is it that we have failed to take over – for
19 years - the simplest measure approved by all, one that would be the most efficient
help. We kept knocking on a closed door, until we lost the key to the solution.’54
In the light of all of the above, we can justifiably state that the Christianity of
the Horthy era was very self-conscious not so much in terms of its religion but a lot
more in terms of its national and racial aspect. However, this content was unable to
provide a spiritual and intellectual strength for the contemporary Christianity; it was
indeed made into a form without content, ‘empty catchword’55 which became the
most obvious in the appearances of the Eucharistic World Congress held in Budapest parallel to the voting of the first anti-Jewish laws.56
But the position of József Grősz, Bishop of Szombathely supports the same:
‘I do not have an issue with the Nyilas [Arrow Cross] movement nor in general
with the national socialists as long as they do not turn against Christ and his Bible.
(…) The arrow can go together with the cross as long as it is next to it and not against
it: as long as the Arrow Cross movement adores Christ and its members are believers going to church, we have no problem with them and we do not fight against
them. (…)
We are not enemies of the national idea or of social reforms. We are not encouraging anyone to hit the Jew, but we do propagate that you should love and
support your race.’57

54 ‘A galiciaiak’ [The Galicians], Református Élet Vol. 4, issue 17, 24 April 1937, p. 169.
55 Dr. János Mészáros Budapest archiepiscopal general governor, ‘Reform!... Reform!...’, Budapest RK. Egyházközségek Tudósítója 1935, issue 2, p. 1.
56 See Attila Jakab, ‘»Megszentelt« antiszemitizmus. Eucharistic World Congress and the first anti-Jewish law in
Hungary in 1938.], Eszmélet. Social political and cultural magazine issue 104, winter 2014, pp. 111-122.
57 ‘Speech of Bishop József Grősz on social reforms and the support of the Est papers’, Dunántúli Hírlap Vol.
46, issue 14, 3 April 1938, p. 2. We should re-think the role of Bishop Grősz in state socialism in the light of
this. This is a telling example of a career across several regimes.

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The national secretary of Actio Catholica, dr. József Közi-Horváth offers a clear
example for the racial/national consciousness. He formulated this explicitly:
‘Over the past decades, the Hungarian blood, the Hungarian line and the Hungarian national values were terribly wasted. They tolerated without any action that
half a million Hungarians emigrate and in their place four hundred thousand Galician
Jews filter in the country. With blatant guilty improvidence they let these parasites
occupy the country and tolerated without any action that this foreign community
grabs the manufacturing industry, the banks, the trade, a good part of the land, the
theatre, the press and the leadership of the working class. There are false Hungarians who, out of fear or financial interest, were willing to accept the rule of these
newcomers. The Hungarian Christian society will not accept this. The awakening
consciousness of the Hungarian people is not shouting nor threatening, only declares with grave seriousness that it will not give up until it manages to clean this
country from the sneaked in strangers, as long as the Jewry’s sickening economic
and moral rule is not broken, until it can ensure the rule of the Hungarians in the entire country starting from the small village grocery stores all the way up to the largest
banks, factories, department stores, theatres and press palaces.’58
Contrary to public belief and expectations, the pushing out of the Jews from
the economic life implemented through legislation did not bring at all the assumed
‘quality’ improvement and Christianisation. It turned out that
‘there are some Christian entrepreneurs and businessmen who are unwilling to
accept Christian morality, traditional business fairness or the most fundamental human righteousness as the basic rule of business ethics. These believe that this new
system made the entire Christian Hungarian population a free prey to the toll man of
the economic life who may be Christian in their names and their race but who are
pagan in their soul.’59
The fact that in the debate of the first anti-Jewish law the clearest Christian position was formulated by the founder and owner of the Korunk Szava Catholic paper,
Count György Széchényi says everything about the leaders of the contemporary
Christian Church.

58 József Közi-Horváth, ‘Harc a nemzeti, szociális és keresztény Nagy-Magyarországért!’ [Fight for the national,
social and Christian Great Hungary!], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 46, issue 15, 10 April 1938, p. 1.
59 Dr. Á. Szám: ‘Jó keresztény üzletembereket!’ [Good Christian businessmen], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 51, issue
22, 29 May 1943, p. 1.

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‘From this proposal, I see the spirit of the National Socialism reflected - he
claimed - and this is the main reason I turn against it.’ 60
According to his opinion also formulated in the paper titled Korunk Szava:
‘It is clear that the proposed bill concerns and not only concerns but attacks
such questions that affect the very core of our Catholic belief, that are irreconcilable with our whole ideology and therefore, a Catholic person cannot accept this
proposal with a clear consciousness.’61
It was parallel to the deprivation measures affecting the Jewish community that
the attacks against the Old Testament developed. The Reformed party seemed to
be a lot more sensitive to this issue than the Catholics. Imre Baráth already formulated in May 1938 that:
‘The Bible is a sacred book. We, Hungarian Reformed believers especially love it.
Among our memories coming from our ancestors, many of us keep the sweet
old Bible on the back pages of which maybe our tenth grandfather noted: My son
Gyurka was born last year.
In our childhood we grew up in the spirit of the Bible.
Therefore, we love the Bible until the last hours of our life. (…)
… if we become pastors (…) We read it, explain it all the time. We quote its
words on the occasion of baptism, weddings and funerals.
And one day we realise one big truth. Namely that the two components of the
Bible, the Old and the New Testament both serve two huge saint ideas, that of the
truth and that of love.
The Old Testament is the book of truth and rules. The New Testament is the
book of love, mercy and charity.

60 ‘The meeting of the Parliament: Proposal for the memorial of Szent István about the Parliamentary meeting to
be held in Székesfehérvár - Count György Széchényi: ‘No single position accumulation should have been left
prior to submitting the Jewish proposal’, Nemzeti Ujság Vol. 20, issue 106, 12 May 1938, p. 5
61 Count György Széchényi: ‘About a more efficient insurance of the balance between social and economic
life’, Korunk Szava Vol. 8, issue 9, 1 May 1938, p. 278.

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And so slowly two angels appear on the horizon of our soul; the angel of
truth and the angel of love. And these two angels will drive our ideas and thoughts
throughout our life. Their wings leave traces everywhere we look. (…)
A certain percentage of our domestic Israelite brothers gained huge material
power under the lead of the angel of the Old Testament. But we, Hungarians of the
New Testament became very poor here and there. So today the national voice is
loudly claiming the brotherly distribution of the material wealth accumulated under
the leadership of the Old Testament spirit.
This is a difficult and tough debate, for us Hungarian Reformed believers. It is
a hard and difficult debate because we know the Bible and life.
True enough it is a painful debate but one with many lessons. Instructive because our own life experience drives us to the thought, to the truth that the Bible is
an eternal holy creation, holy book.
The world famous creation of the many presumptuous great geniuses can become trash and can get annihilated; the Bible, our ancestors’ favourite book, will
remain the holy book in all times.
It is based on this book that the human society can be re-built again and again
in all times.’62
The above quotation clearly shows that they assessed and interpreted the deprivation of the Jewish people practically as a ‘fair re-distribution’. The protection of
the Old Testament as being the holy book and divine revelation did not entail any
verbal contribution in any form whatsoever in the interest of the Jewish community.
Not least because István Szintai Reformed theology student e.g., connected the
‘prophetic’ anti-Semitism with the anti-Semitism of the contemporary Hungarian Reformed circle:
‘A follower of the Reformed Church - seeing that the Jewish spirit is against
his church and the truth of God – cannot be but anti-Semitic. The defence of Truth
is our obligation. Not the extremities but the facts can make a person anti-Semitic.
The Jews themselves! Read the Old Testament to the end and you will see their own
prophets had been the greatest anti-Semites.’63

62 Imre Baráth, ‘Ótestamentom – Újtestamentom’ [Old Testament - New Testament], Debreczeni protestáns lap
Vol. 58, issue 5, 15 May 1938, p. 109.
63 Szintai István, „Református antiszemitizmus” [Reformed anti-semitisme], Egyházi Élet Vol. 10, issue 5, May
1938, p. 2.

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In 1938, the Greek Catholic author also protected the Old Testament; and he
even contested that the Old Testament belonged to the Jews:
‘The Jews were the involuntary carrier of God’s will and therefore, they were
not the ones who produced the holy book. On the contrary, the majestic ideas of
those holy books - which are also the foundations of Christianity - are very far away
from the spirit of the Jews. Or did the Old Testament Jews not prove sufficiently that
these writings are not originating from their soul when they were ready to oppose
even God for these ideas. We must know that the Bible of the Old Testament is not a
Jewish product, but the creation of God. And that Christ is originating from the Jews
by blood - there is no reason for us to say: if he was a Jew we have nothing to do
with him, we do not want to hear about him! Because wasn’t Christ the living God at
the same time? And God is above races and especially the bad qualities of races. In
Christianity, blood relation does not count anyway. (Luke. 8, 20.)
After Christ, the role of the Jews ceases in connection with Christianity. Only
a handful of them are left for the New Testament, the group of apostles and disciples who were cleaned from the real Jewish spirit and filled by God’s soul. The rest
spread all over the world and no longer guided by God’s hands followed their own
path corresponding to their true nature.’64
Sándor Czeglédy (1883-1944) Reformed pastor expressed similar opinions:
the Old Testament belongs to those believing in Christ. This already happened after
the deportation of the countryside Jewish communities!
‘instead of being the creation of the soul of the Jewish race, the Old Testament gives evidence from start to end for how God and the people are fighting
against natural racial morality and racially determined religion; how God wins over
human thoughts and concepts so that the advice and the judgement of that God
finally achieves triumph, (…) From certain aspects, we can boldly say that the
Old Testament is one of the most anti-Semitic books of the world because what
it contains is the very contrary to what the racial spirit of the Jews (– or the racial
spirit of any nation –) could produce from itself. The Old Testament is neither the
book of the Jews nor that of Hungarians - because the Old Testament is the book
of God. (…)
The post-Christ Jewry retained the Old Testament but it is a dead book for
them, a closed book, a truth covered with a veil. (…) Let’s not make the Old Testament the Bible of the Jews! Because the Old Testament is ours, the possession of
64 Euthymos: ‘Kereszténység és zsidóság’ [Christianity and the Jewry], Görögkatolikus Élet Vol. 2, issue 10,
October 1938, p. 153.

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the spiritual Israel, it belongs to those who sing the psalm of David together with
their spiritual fathers, with the galley-slaves, with the reformers and those who still
believe and embrace that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah of the Old
Testament even during these anti-Christian times.’65
With the progress of time, the clerical press also placed emphasis on strengthening the influence of the church over the working class at the expense of the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions.66 Within the Catholic community, it tried
to attain this by propagating the order by vocation and by claiming the necessity to
radically exclude the ‘exploiter’ Jews from the economy as much as possible and as
soon as possible. The titles of the articles published in the papers clearly reflected
the anti-Jewish uproar. For example:









‘Hungarian goal: ‘Resolve the Jewish issue’. The sins of the Jews. The
Jewish spirit must be eradicated! The only solution: order by vocation’;67
‘The industry must be freed from the Jewish rule!’;68
‘Enough of the Jewish capitalism which only threw the leftover to the
working class. Great speech of József Közi-Horváth on the cultural evening of the people’s movement in Magdolnaváros’;69
‘The life of the working class in an industrial city, where Jewish tradesmen
and pub owners pocket the money of the workers. Commerce of Csepel
in Jewish hands’;70
‘Fischer provides work for the Jews but not for the Hungarians’;71
‘A city where you cannot even buy a pin on the occasion of Jewish
holidays’;72
‘A Jewish woman from Újpest makes young girls work in her workshop
from 7 in the morning till 8 at night’;73
‘Why and how did the turn-of-the-century Hungarian workers become international? Who is responsible for letting the Jews grab the developing
trade union life?’;74

65 Dr. Sándor Czeglédy: ‘Fight against the Old Testament. We should not make the Old testament the Bible of
the Jews because it is ours, it belongs to those who believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah‘, Reformed
Future, Vol. 5, issue 35, 30 August 1944, p. 1.
66 See e.g., In the section ‘Munkásszemmel’ [With the eye of a worker] Józef Árvai leather industry worker:
„A zsidókérdésről” [About the Jewish issue], Magyar Út Vol. 11, issue 37, October 1942, p. 84.
67 Új Rend vol. 2, issue 3, 18 January 1941, p. 3.
68 Új Rend vol. 2 issue 4, 25 January 1941, p. 1.
69 Új Rend, vol. 2 issue 7, 15 February 1941, p. 5.
70 Új Rend, vol. 2, issue 10, 8 March 1941, pp. 1-2.
71 Új Rend, vol. 2 issue 18, 3 May 1941, p. 7.
72 Új Rend, vol. 2, issue 21, 24 May 1941, p. 5. This city is Ungvár.
73 Új Rend, vol. 2, issue 25, 21 June 1941, p. 6.
74 új Rend , vol. 2, issue 32, 9 August 1941, p. 5.

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











Béla Láng: ‘So be it! The Jews manager don’t like the [journal] New
Order’;75
‘The Jewish Pestvidék Gőztéglagyár [brick factory] employs children under the age of 14;76
‘The Jewish brick factory of Vásárosnamény owes its workers nearly
6,000 Pengő. Continuous infringements under the rule of the Jewish
Katz factory manager who declared that he is the ruler within the factory’.
– Why did workers not receive any family wage allowance?’;77
‘Reversed selection at the expense of the Hungarian workers and industry officials. The faith of Hungarian workers and officers should not depend on Jewish and semi-Jewish bosses’;78
‘Development of the Hungarian workers (The honest story of 60 years of
battle, disappointments and results of the working class). Who is responsible for the breaking away of the working class from Christianity? When
the parish priest depended on the Jewish alderman…’;79
István Csurgai: ‘Kulcsár and Huppert, a Jewish dyer, is reluctant to provide paid holidays for their workers after one year in the job’;80
János Nádasi: ‘How Jewish property owners want to divest the Debrecen-based Vocational Organisation from its home?’;81
‘Viktor Vajna from Páva, executive chairman of the Industrial Section of the
Baross Association talked about the pressing urgency to abolish Jewish
capitalism‘;82
‘Hiding the Jews and Christian liberalism’. Reflektorfényben a szappanos,
vasas, rongyos zsidók és gyászmagyarok”.83

But when preparing the balance of the anti-Jewish law’s era we can draw the
sad conclusion that lower strata of the population and mainly the workers did not
gain anything whatsoever with the anti-Jewish laws. They tried to explain in vain
ideologically that the materialistic ‘Jewish spirit’ had disappeared from the economic life but the facts and everyday experiences simply contradicted that statement.
There was nothing surprising or extraordinary in this because this is exactly what
happened already in the 1920’s.84
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84

Új Rend, vol. 2 issue 33, 16 August 1941, p. 3.
Új Rend, vol 2, issue 34, 23 August 1941, pp. 1-2.
Új Rend vol. 2, issue 37, 13 September 1941, p. 3.
Új Rend vol. 2, issue 40, 4 October 1941, p. 5.
Új Rend, vol. 3 issue 6, 7 February 1942, p. 5.
Új Rend, vol. 3, issue 13, 28 March 1942, p. 5.
Új Rend, vol. 3, issue 18, 2 May 1942, p. 3.
Új Rend, vol. 3, issue 22, 30 May 1942, p. 5.
Új Rend, vol. 3 issue 33, 14 August 1942, p. 3.
Cooperative commerce. II. Are we disappointed with cooperatives? III. Cooperatives are more expensive
than the Jewish stores”, Fejérmegyei Napló Vol. 27, issue 230, 8 October 1920, pp. 1-2.

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All the more so as the anti-Jewish laws had some unforeseen consequences as
well. Such is for example the evolution of the Strawman system. Here we are talking
about Christians, who for various (e.g., financial) considerations provided help for
the Jews and, in the assessment of the contemporary press, who circumvented the
‘endeavours serving Christian interests’ of the anti-Jewish laws, and acted against it
or played it out. So the Strawman is the person, who:
‘In spite of the spirit of the law, he promotes the Jewish endeavours to remain
in the economic life even if only in the background, and to ‹survive› the <non-permanent› conditions. The Jews try every possible way not to give up their business and
not to lose their connections and opportunities. It is very natural that all this could
happen only at the expense of Christian Hungarians: and the Strawman - who gives
his name but the Jew works in the background - is supporting this. (…)
Whether the Strawman helps the Jew for financial advantages or simply out
of ‹favour›, is not relevant! He anyway commits a crime against his own Christian
brothers because it hinders or averts their livelihood and prosperity. They are fake
Christians because for Judas money, they give a hand for the Jews so that they can
continue to oppose the re-setting of the economic life. The Strawmen linked their
fate to that of the Jews, so when we call them Strawmen it is very lightly put. In reality - they are traitors!
Therefore, it is in the interest of the nation to act against the Strawman without
mercy. The best would be to give them the same treatment as the race they serve
- the Jews.’85
We can say that mainly the period between 1938 and 1942 can be regarded
as the period of complete moral failure and loss of credibility of the Hungarian
Christian churches; for which one of the ‘most apparent phenomenon was the silence of Christians’.86 We can discover a very marking appearance of this silence
for example in the Debreczen Protestant paper or in the Lelkészegyesület, the
official bulletin of the ‘National Reformed Pastors’ Association’ or in the Dunántúli
Protestant Paper , which papers, following the passing of the first anti-Jewish law,
did not publish a single article on the Jewish topic. One of the major problems
during the period until 1944 for the paper of the Debrecen diocese was the case

85 „Ki a stróman?”[Who is the strawman],Új Rend, Vol. 3, issue 21, 23 May 1942, p. 6. Also see: „Az anyagelosztási kérdések és a strohmann rendszer a debreceni bőriparosok nagygyűlése előtt” [Material distribution issues and the Strawman system before the general meeting of the Debrecen leather manufacturers],
Tiszántúl, Vol. 1, issue 1, 4 February 1941, p. 5.; (Ő): „Stróman”[strawman], Magyar Út , Vol. 10, issue 12,
20 March 1941, p. 2.:
86 László Gaudy: ‘A megfélemlített keresztyénség’ [The threatened Christianity], Protestáns Szemle Vol. 48,
issue 11, November 1939, pp. 521-523; here: p. 521.

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of the reversals87; for this paper, the Jewish issue did not exist. From the Catholic
aspect, we can similarly mention e.g., the Egri Egyházmegyei Közlöny, the semiofficial paper of the diocese (Eger, 1919– October 1944.), which was edited by
theology teachers or the Jelenkor, a social, political and cultural paper.
All of this, however, is not valid for the Roman Catholic press publications which
had a larger reading audience. When analysing these publications, it becomes clear
that the failure and loss of credibility mainly happened because the restrictive measures
and deprivations affecting the Jewish community did not result in any resistance on
behalf of the churches; they more or less agreed with these measures and, willingly or
not, they contributed to the Hungarian society becoming fine-tuned to the Holocaust.
Not to mention that the Roman Catholic national media continuously kept the ‘Jewish
issue’ on their agenda and reported the Parliamentary debates of the anti-Jewish laws
(especially the first two ones) to the readers,88 mainly voicing negative opinions thereby
significantly contributing to an anti-Jewish (we could say anti-Semitic) social feeling.89
A very tangible example of this provocation is an excerpt from the Parliament
speech of Ferenc Rajniss given in April 1942, which suggests e.g., for the Roman
Catholic workers of Csepel that despite any restrictions and deprivation, the Jews
are still better of:
87 Debreceni Őrszem, ‘Reverzálisügy’ [The case of the reversal], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 58, issue
10, 15 September 1938, p. 234; ‘A debreceni református egyház reverzális mérlege’ [The reversal balance
of the Debrecen reformed church], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 59, issue 2, 15 January 1939, pp. 1-2;
‘A debreceni reverzális-ügy’ [The reversal case in debrecen], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 60, issue 11,
1 June 1940, pp. 89-90; ‘A reverzális-ügyről (Hozzászólás)’ [About the reversal case (Comment)], Debreczeni
protestáns lap Vol. 60, issue 14, 15 July 1940, p. 115; Dr. Tóth Dezső, ‘Ötvenéves a reverzális-törvény’ [The
reversal law is 50 years old], Debreczeni protestáns lap Vol. 64., issue 5, 30 January 1944, pp. 36-37. The
same is valid for the Egyházi Híradó of Szeged.
88 See e.g., ‘The anti-Jewish law. The speech of bishop László Ravasz in the Parliamentary debate’, Keresztyén
család Vol. 19, issue 17, 23 April 1939, pp. 1-4; ‘Serédi hercegprimás, Glattfelder püspök és Imrédy miniszterelnök beszéltek a Felsőház egyesített bizottságában’ [Serédi hercegprímás, bishop Glattfelder and Imrédy
Prime Minister talked in the joint committee of the Parliament], Nemzeti Újság Vol. 20, issue 114, 21 May
1938, pp. 1-4; ‘A zsidókérdés. [The Jewish issue.] Dr. Ravasz László püspök felsőházi beszéde’ [The speech
of Bishop Dr. László Ravasz in the Upper House], Református Élet Vol. 5, issue 23, 4 June 1938, pp. 236239; ‘Dr. Ravasz László püspök a zsidótörvényről’ [Bishop Dr. László Ravasz on the anti-Jewish law], Református Élet Vol. 6, issue 4, 22 January 1939, p. 35; ‘Nagy vita a felsőház egyesített bizottságaiban a zsidójavaslatról. [Big debate in the Parliament’s unified committees about the proposed anti-Jewish law.] Általánosságban
elfogadták a javaslatot, de a részletekre külön szövegező albizottságot küldöttek ki’ [The MPs accepted the
proposal in general but a wording sub-committee was dominated to work out the details], Nemzeti Újság Vol.
21, issue 75, 1 April 1939, pp. 1-5; ‘A zsidójavaslat a felsőház előtt. [The Jewish Bill before the Parliament.]
A hercegprimás és a miniszterelnök beszéltek a vita első napján. [The Cardinal and the Prime Minister talked on
the first day of the debate.] A javaslat történelmi szükségesség – mondotta Teleki Pál’ [The proposal is a historic
must – said Pál Teleki], Nemzeti Újság Vol. 21, issue 86, 16 April 1939, pp. 3-5; ‘A zsidókérdés. [The Jewish
issue.] Details from the Parliament speech of Bishop dr. László Ravasz given on 17 April’, Református Élet Vol.
6, issue 17, 23 April 1939, pp. 174-175; ‘The Cardinal Primate explained the Church’s position concerning the
marriage proposal. The Parliament has accepted the proposal in general. Chapter 9 was voted with the modifications of the sub-committee’, Nemzeti Újság Vol. 23, issue 163, 19 July 1941, pp. 3-4 and p. 6.
89 See e.g., László Tóth, ’Antiszemitizmus?’ [Anti-Semitism?], Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 50, issue 13, 28 March
1942, p. 1.

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If a Jewish company must lay off its agent based on the anti-Jewish law, then
the Jewish HR boss of the agent tells him: Dear Mr. Rózsa, we have to fire you so
you have no other choice but to get to other companies for which you can act as
agent because in this case we can continue employing you. Namely a Jewish agent
who is employed by three companies and not one, has no reporting obligation according to the anti-Jewish law. Therefore, we force the Jew to earn 3,600 or 3,800
pengő instead of 1,300 pengő per month.’90

The issue of the baptised Jews
The race-based anti-Jewish laws caused peculiar problems for the Christian churches: what shall happen with the Christians qualified as Jews? Apart from some nice
words, these doubly marginalised people - approximately 70,000-80,000 of them
- did not receive any protection whatsoever.91 A sudden increase in the number of
Jews wanting to be baptised generated problems and fears in the Christian Church.
János Tihanyi, parish priest of the Mohács downtown church proposed to suspend
the baptism of Jews in two of his writings when it became known that the second
anti-Jewish law is under preparation.92 In the background of this phenomenon was
the general conviction that the majority of the Jews wanted to be baptised only for
some ulterior motives. As Bishop László Ravasz formulated in 1934: ‘the Jew converted only out of interest will always feel a stranger among us, no matter with how
much love we receive him. We do not need converted or joined Jews we need the
ones who embrace the love of God.’93
In this era, the following formulation of Imre Révész, bishop of the Trans-Tisza
Reformed Diocese, who was otherwise not questioning the necessity to ‘resolve the
Jewish issue fast and in the most radical way’ can be regarded as peculiar:
‘The Hungarian Reformed Church must protect those Jews who really embrace
the values of Christ through their speech, life, actions and suffering (the number of
whom is of course a lot less than those baptised only with water) just as the believing
Christians coming from Jewish-non-Jewish marriages even if the Reformed Church has
90 „Nem is olyan rossz a zsidóknak...” [Jews are not suffering that much], Csepeli Őrszem Vol. 2, issue 20, 15
May 1942, p. 2.
91 See dr. Gyula Glattfelder, Bishop of Csanád: ‘Fény az utvesztőben’ [Light in the labyrinth], Nemzeti Újság Vol.
21, issue 98, 30 April 1939, pp. 1-2.
92 In the section ‘Mailbox of the New Generation’: ‘Beware of the Jewish conversions!’, Uj Nemzedék Vol. 20,
issue 283, 14 December 1938, p. 4; In the section ‘Mailbox of the new generation’: ‘Beware of the Jewish
conversions!’, Uj Nemzedék Vol. 20, issue 290, 22 December 1938, p. 4.
93 „Ravasz püspök a zsidókérdésről”,[Bishop Ravasz on the Jewish issue] Ujpesti Református Egyházi Értesítő
Vol. 9, issue 5, 1934, p. 3.

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to pay a high price for this in order to protect them from terror and brutality whenever
and wherever the Church can do so within its own, exclusively spiritual possibilities.
And the Hungarian Reformed conscience must protest in the name of Christ against the
perpetration of any injustic and inhuman actions that are unjust (in reality these actions
are against God) if such terrible actions are being committed against the members of
Jewish families who did not convert to Christ but otherwise they decently keep the Ten
Commandments of God and have rendered useful services for the nation and who have
been trying benevolently to assimilate to the Hungarian nation for several generations.’94
In the Reformed context, an interesting phenomenon is that in addition to helping
the baptised Jews, the Church looked at the hardship of the Jews as a kind of missionary
opportunity which was in no way in harmony with the main stream of the contemporary
political jurisdiction. The Roman Catholics did not even try this and did not even really
deal with the issue. It is telling that in order to protect Catholics affected by the anti-Jewish laws, it was not the Catholic senior clergy, but the converted Baron Móric Kornfeld
who established the Hungarian Saint Cross Association, first patron of which was the
Achbishop of Kalocsa, Count Gyula Zichy († May 1942), then the Bishop of Győr, Vilmos
Apor. However, Zichy had to bitterly experience that his efforts were met with ‘indifference, and resistance from all sides and by the cynical attitude of state power’. 95
The issue of providing spiritual care for the converted Jews also came up in the
Reformed circles.96 However, in 1941, the Reformed Church failed to respond and
did not take any steps either.
All in all we can say that the Hungarian ‘early Christians’ 97 practically expected
the Christian Jews to prove their Hungarianness by silently tolerating their deprivation; and only be baptised if they are willing to take on suffering and even martyrdom for Christ.98 After the first anti-Jewish law, this was clearly formulated in the
Reformed circles:

94 Néhány testvéri szó az új esztendőre. [A few brotherly words for the new year.] From Bishop Dr. Imre Révész”,
Egyházi Híradó (Szeged) Vol. 18, issue 2, 14 January 1939, p. 5.
95 Jenő Gergely, ‘The Hungarian Catholic Church and Fascism (with special regard to the period between 1930
until 1944)’, Századok 1987/1, p. 44.
96 A Presbyter: ‘Zsidók között egy munkásszázadban. Alakuljon egyesület az áttért zsidók további gondozására’
[Among the Jews in one workers camp. An association should be founded for the further care of the converted
Jews.], Református Jövő Vol. 2, issue 2, 11 January 1941, pp. 1-2; Sándor Uray: ‘Válasz a Zsidók között egy
munkásszázadban. – Alakuljon egyesület az áttért zsidók további gondozására’ [Response to the article Among
the Jews in one workers camp. An association should be founded for the further care of the converted Jews.],
Református Jövő Vol. 2, issue 4, 25 January 1941, p. 1.
97 ‘In today’s usage, this were simply means a person whose grandfather or grandmother was never Jewish or at
least noone recalls it - or: it cannot be proved.’ J. T.: „Ki az ‘őskeresztény’?, Protestáns Szemle Vol. 48, issue
3, March 1939, p. 162.
98 See Béla Pap, „Levél egy »református zsidóhoz«” [Letter to a reformed Jew], Magyar Út Vol. 7, issue 17, 28
April 1938, p. 1.

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‘The mission cannot be stopped but the Church cannot be a simple shelter
used by those escaping the storm for some time and then leaving it once the
storm has passed. From among those who were converted in 1919, many returned to Judaism in later years. (…) The Church of Christ cannot play around
with its sacred missionary task. It cannot promise social advantages to anyone.
There is only one possibility for anyone to join the community which is to seek
the living Christ. The Reformed Church of Christ has already had enough bad
reformed and indifferent members, we should not increase their number. (…)
The Church must prepare the joining souls with prayers and serious service
that enable them to find the route leading to Golgotha. All the more because the
catechism and the spiritual preparation of today’s Jews show the most deplorable picture. From the wonderful treasures of the Old Testament, it gives almost
nothing to its people. The soil of those converted to our religion displays empty
forms and a spiritual draught.’99
We can say that for the expressed expectations, Dr. Miklós Halász gave a response in his writing titled ‘Those who believe and those who are loyal will stop. Letter to the »Reformed Jews«’100 which writing practically calls the people to assume
the expected sufferings.
In the fall of 1943, the Reformed Church issued a circular (5772/1943) on
the topic of providing care for the people converted from Judaism. According to this
circular:
‘As the organisation of the missionary committee of our universal convent, a
sub-committee titled ‹Jó Pásztor› [good pastor] has been operating independently for
over a year now primarily responsible for providing spiritual care for the Jews converted from Judaism to our Reformed Church. To provide information about this blessed
work, we hereby want to emphasise that the work of this committee does not only
involve the spiritual caretaking of the converted but also their social assistance.
The ‹Jó Pásztor› sub-committee performs evangelisation work in Budapest to
educate the converted souls in the context of congregations where it holds regular
meetings in the Reformed parish of Szabadság Place.
In addition to this, its main duty is to take care of the connection with the people serving in labour camps in Hungary and across the border, to care for their fate

99 In the ‘Figyelő’ section: „A zsidó áttérők kérdése”, Református Élet Vol. 5, issue 48, 26 November 1938,
p. 465.
100 Keresztyén család, 29 January 1939; Magyar Út, 28 January 1939; Egyházi Híradó (Szeged) Vol. 18, issue
5, 4 February 1939, pp. 3-4.

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and help them in all of their needs. The committee provides advice for their current
issues, proceeds on their behalf to protect their interest and provides financial aid.
The funds for the financial aid are provided by the donations of church members. Donations must be sent to the account of the sub-committee kept at the National Mortgage Institution.’101

Deportations and the Holocaust (1944)
Following the occupation of Hungary by the German army and the setting up of
the Sztójay Government, contrary to the Reformed press publications, which were
characterised by discrete silence,102 the readers of certain Roman Catholic national
press publications were informed on a daily basis about the restrictive measures
and deportations affecting the Jewish communities. In this, the paper Új Nemzedék
definitely stands out which, as of the end of March 1944, practically flooded the
readers by articles covering the above topic. It was absolutely clear from these articles that the Jews are physically excluded from the life of the society. Deportations
were practically coded into the series of measures:






‘The Council of Ministers adopted the decrees on the resolution of the
Jewish issue’‘;103
‘Five important decrees in the official paper about the settlement of the
Jewish issue. Jewish households are not allowed to keep Christian employees. Jews cannot be lawyers, civil servants and may not hold any
public office. The membership of Jews in the Press Chamber, Theatre
and Movie Chamber must be cancelled until 30 April. Vehicles in Jewish
ownership must be reported. As of 5 April, all Jews must wear a differentiating sign. Who is to be regarded as a Jew? Who are exempt from the
obligation to wear the yellow star?’;104
‘Restrictions on the travel of Jews’;105
‘Government Decree on the data supply obligation of Jews holding a radio licence’;106

101 Dunamelléki Egyházkerületi Közlöny Vol. 21, issue 11, 1 November 1943, pp. 83-84.
102 See e.g., the Egyházi Híradó of Szeged, Református Élet, which was published in 50 thousand issues, the
Protestáns Szemle.
103 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 72, 30 March 1944, p. 1.
104 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 73, 31 March 1944, p. 3.
105 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 78, 6 April 1944, p. 5.
106 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 79, 8 April 1944, p. 4.

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107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119

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‘Until 30 September, every Jewish white-collar worker must be laid off’;107
‘The inventory taking of the locked Jewish stores in Kaposvár has
started’;108
‘Until the 30th of April, Jews must report all of their properties’;109
‘The Jewish elderly home of Sopron has been evacuated. In Sopron, the
surrendering of radios and cameras has started’;110
‘The dissolution of Jewish associations’;111
‘Roundups in Győr of Jews not wearing the yellow star’;112
‘Jewish stores closed down and their inventory locked. A store manager
is appointed in the stores that are important for home defence and public
supply reasons. Until further notice, the employees will receive their remunerations. The surrender of the radio stations owned by Jews and their
relocation has been ordered’;113
‘Decree on the repeated settlement of the food supply to Jews. The per
capita serving of Jews is 300 grams of sugar, 300 grams of sesame oil
per month and 100 grams of beef or horse meet per week. They can only
receive milk if they have A or B vouchers. They may not be supplied any
butter, eggs, rice or poppy seed’;114
‘Until 3 May, the Jews must return their public supply vouchers’;115
‘No Jews can remain in any white-collar position’;116
‘Out of 279 stores, 116 were held by Jews in Eger’;117
‘The Jews are listed again for the purpose of food supply’; ‘Cooking fat
stocks held by Jews must be surrendered’;118
‘Jews from Kassa have been relocated to a closed area’; ‘A Christian girl
has been relocated because she walked in the street hand in hand with a
Jewish woman wearing the yellow star; ‘Cancellation of Jewish members
from the Tűzharcos Association’; ‘Jews of Makó are not allowed to leave
their apartments at night’;119

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 80, 11 April 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 81, 12 April 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 85, 17 April 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 86, 18 April 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 87, 19 April 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 88, 20 April 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 89, 21 April 1944, pp. 1-2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 90, 22 April 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 91, 24 April 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 92, 25 April 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 93, 26 April 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 94, 27 April 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 95, 28 April 1944, p. 8.

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120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129

„New decrees and measures against the Jews”;120
‘Jewish employees do not receive cooking fat vouchers normally provided
in weapon plants’; ‘Affidavits reviewed ’; ‘Jews segregated also in Ujpest’;
‘Jews in Szeged are assigned forced temporary shelters’; ‘A gift - or the
rescue of Jewish assets?’;121
‘Jews wearing the yellow star are banned from visiting public baths’; ‘In
Szeged 260 Jewish stores closed down’; ‘The food vouchers of Jews
replaced’; ‘In Pécs, Jews must surrender their bicycles’;122
‘145 pharmacies in the countryside and 45 pharmacies in Budapest held
by Jews are now offered to the public’; ‘The milk vouchers of the Jews’;123
‘Production supervisors appointed at the top of Jewish held leather factories”; ‘In Kolozsvár and Szászrégen, the segregation of Jews started’;
‘Where will the Jews from Kispest be relocated?’;124
‘The capital city laid off 417 Jewish functionaries, employees and workers. The detailed report of the deputy Mayor about the execution of the
measures related to the Jews’; ‘What is the amount involved for the obligation to place the cash held by Jews in custody?’;125
‘What type of blocked and third-party goods stock must the Jewish stores
surrender between 8 and 20 of May’; ‘3,000 applicants for the 150 Jewish held stores in Sopron’; ‘6,000 applicants in Kassa’;126
‘New measures taken to handle the assets of Jews who left behind their
valuables; ‘The Debrecen and the Komárom Chambers deleted 34 and
31 Jewish lawyers respectively from their membership’;127
‘The appeal by a competent place: We should not bother the authorities with
requests aimed at taking over Jewish stores, and the assignment of Jewish
goods stock and Jewish stores nor for the assignment of company managers!‘;
‘Unification of the decrees pertaining to Jews subject to special treatment’;128
‘The living quarters for the Jews have been designated in Pest county’;
‘In Vas County, 93 Jewish properties below 5 hectares have been transferred into Christian ownership’;129
‘The name plates of 1,260 Jewish lawyers will be removed in Pest… The
Chamber also deleted 377 certified lawyers and 38 deputy lawyers’;

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 96, 29 April 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 97, 1 May 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 98, 2 May 1944, p. 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 99, 3 May 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 100, 4 May 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 101, 5 May 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 102, 6 May 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 104, 9 May 1944, p. 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 108, 13 May 1944, p. 10.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 109, 15 May 1944, p. 8.

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130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142

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‘Nearly half a million Pengő was found in the office of the Jewish synagogue of Kolozsvár’;130
‘What type of official licences will be taken away from the Jews?’;131
‘Deletion of the Jews from the countryside law chambers’; ‘Jews cannot
be patent representatives’;132
‘In Ujpest, the relocation of Jews starts as of Monday’; ‘He set fire to his
factory then committed suicide’ (Ede Grünfeld, brick factory owner);133
‘Jews are not allowed to visit night clubs, and are only allowed to eat in
restaurant in segregated places’; ‘The licences issued for photographical
activities, advertising and press publication businesses issued for Jews
are being cancelled’; ‘Decree on the obligation to report and place into
custody the assets of Jews who lost their exemption’;134
‘In which industries are the activities of Jews restricted’;135
‘The reassignment of Jewish homes will start in Kolozsvár on Friday’;136
‘6,000 people submitted requests to obtain clothes taken away from
the Jews in Szatmár’; ‘The Jews of Sopron surrendered their bicycles’;
‘31 Jewish lawyers and 10 Jewish lawyer trainees were deleted from the
Law Chamber of Komárom’; ‘What licences shall be taken away from the
Jews?’; ‘Jews expelled from the stock exchanges’;137
‘Decree on the inventory taking, identification and professional caretaking
of the locked up works of art of Jews’;138
‘Until 4 of July, the tobacco production licence granted to Jews must be
withdrawn’; ‘54 Jewish lawyers deleted from the Kaposvár Chamber’;139
‘Decree on the withdrawal of police authority licences from Jews’;140
‘The Minister of Finance ordered the inventory taking of the strongboxes
held by Jews;141
‘The Eger Law Chamber deleted 52 lawyers, while the Law Chamber of
Szeged deleted 160 Jewish lawyers from their name list’;142

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 110, 16 May 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 111, 17 May 1944, p. 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 112, 19 May 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 113, 20 May 1944, p. 2.
In the same paper, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 114, 22 May 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 115, 23 May 1944, p. 2. So on this Tuesday, they most likely already knew that
the deportation of the Jews of Kolozsvár would start on the 25th.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 116, 24 May 1944, p. 2. Deportation of the Jews of Szatmár started on 19 May.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 117, 25 May 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 118, 26 May 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 119, 27 May 1944, p. 9.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 120, 30 May 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 121, 31 May 1944, p. 5.

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143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154

‘Jews were listed in 33,000 Jewish buildings in Budapest’;143
‘A government commissioner has been appointed to draft a uniform solution aimed at resolving the property issues of the Jews’;144
‘Jewish cafes closed down in Budapest’;145
‘Since 19 March, the parties’ competition has had no more raison d’etre
- said Andor Jaross Mayor of Szombathely on the occasion of his investiture. Getting rid of all Jews in Hungary is not a programme, it is a fact’;
‘Jews can buy food stuff from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and household items from
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Budapest’; ‘In Szombathely, 780 apartments became
vacant thanks to the evacuation of the Jews’;146
‘The Jews are not allowed to shop in stores in Ujpest and Rákospalota on
holidays’;147
‘The Jews have to surrender their bicycles between 15-21 of June’;148
‘The segregation of the Budapest Jews is implemented at a fast pace’;149
‘Who will receive the stores of the Jews?’;150
‘The decree on the evacuation of the Budapest Jews will be published
in the coming hours. The buildings where Jews can reside have been
designated‘;151
‘Until 21 June, the Jews of Budapest must move into the designated buildings. The Mayor’s decree on the forced relocation of Jewish inhabitants
has been published. The list of the empty apartments will be posted on
the gates’; ‘Kispest will use the Jewish buildings for the purpose of public
institutions”;152
‘For the time being the Mayor’s Office does not accept any request claiming the reassignment of Jewish flats. A decree issued by the Ministry of
the Interior regulates the rental of the evacuated apartments”;153
András Papp : ‘Megay government commissioner gives a statement to Uj
Nemzedék on the fate of the closed down Jewish stores and the locked inventories. The goods inventory of Jewish stores will be distributed in 2-3 weeks’
time. What will happen to the furs of Christians stored in Jewish stores?’;154

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 123, 2 June 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 124, 3 June 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 125, 5 June 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 126, 6 June 1944, pp. 3-4. Evacuation meant in reality the relocation of the
Jews into the ghettos.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 128, 9 June 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 130, 12 June 1944, p. 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 131, 13 June 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 132, 14 June 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 133, 15 June 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 134, 16 June 1944, pp. 1-2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 135, 17 June 1944, p. 6.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 137, 20 June 1944, p. 5. This problem concerned more than 20,00 fur coats.

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‘Until 4 July, the official business permits of the Jews will be revoked’;
‘Distribution of the shoe inventories of Jewish shoe tradesmen’;155
‘Jewish doctors must mark their name plate with a yellow star’;156
‘The fur items owned by Christians and stored by Jews must be reported.
Appeal of the leather material management government commissioner’;
‘Today the inventory taking of the movables found in Jewish apartments
must be finished’; ‘A library containing several thousand books was found
at the rabbi of Ungvár’; ‘The synagogue and the Jewish school must submit
their registers’; ‘In Ujpest, the Jews without the yellow star will be listed’;157
‘The second list of Jewish writers has been published’;158
‘Takeover of the goods inventory of Jewish food retailers’;159
‘What will happen to the closed Jewish stores’;160
‘Important decrees and government measures: Jewish army pensioners
will be reviewed. Jews living in mixed marriages must report themselves.
Jews baptised before 1 August 1941 must also report themselves’;161
‘The distribution of Jewish textile stores and inventories is starting’;162
‘In the greater Budapest area, 196,241 Jewish people exchanged their
food vouchers’;163
‘Apartments can be claimed in the following order: between 14 and 20
July: families of frontline soldiers, between 21 and 25 July: army pensioners, between 26 and 28 July: homeless people and between 29 July and
3 August: the sub-tenants of Jews’164
‘Resolve the Jewish issue’;165
‘We have the same problem and the same fate: The Jewish issue’;166

Following the deportation of Jews living in the countryside, as from the summer of 1944, the Hungarian newspaper readers could definitely deduct that Hungary is not expecting the deported Jewish citizens to return to Hungary. This became
obvious mainly from those titles that provided information about the liquidation of
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 138, 21 June 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 140, 23 June 1944, p. 6.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 141, 24 June 1944, p. 6.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 142, 26 June 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 143, 27 June 1944, p. 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 146, 1 July 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 147, 3 July 1944, p. 7.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 149, 5 July 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 150, 6 July 1944, p. 3.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 153, 10 July 1944, p. 7. By that time, the deportation of the countryside
Jews and the relocation of the Jewish communities in Budapest into the yellow star buildings was practically
finished.
165 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 154, 11 July 1944, p. 3.
166 Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 155, 12 July 1944, p. 4.

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Jewish assets. E.g.:
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‘So far the goods inventory of 600 Jewish textile stores has been handed
over into Christian hands’;167
‘The sales of the goods inventory and equipment of Jewish wood, wood
product, furniture and building materials traders’;168
‘The distribution of the locked up Jewish furriers’ and fur inventories is
starting’;169
‘The sales of the good stock of the locked up Jewish food and mixed
household product stores ‘;170
‘The goods stock of the Jewish stores in Győr are being sold to Christian
tradesman’171
Banner headline: ‘The inventory of assets of Jewish stores is taken until
30 September’ and in the section ‘Report of the Csepeli Távirati Iroda’:
‘The goods and material stocks of locked Jewish stores are being sold’172
‘Christians can reclaim their belongings stored in the locked up Jewish
leather and shoe stores’;173
‘Decree aimed at facilitating the land registration of Jewish estates used
for estate policy purposes’;174
‘The implementation of the decree issued in connection with the evacuation of the Jews has been suspended’; ‘Jews are being used for home
defence works’;175
‘The review and suspension of Jewish exemptions ’176
‘The Arrow Cross Party is in charge of transporting the movable assets
from the Jewish apartments’177

At the very beginning of September 1944, Géza Lakatos, Prime Minister practically made it clear that the practical measures aimed at the final resolution of the
Jewish issue are only temporarily suspended but the political leadership did not give
up the intention to implement the final solution.

167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177

Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 165, 24 July 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 173, 2 August 1944, p. 4.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 191, 24 August 1944, p. 5.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 193, 26 August 1944, p. 5.
Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 52, issue 35, 2 September 1944, p. 2.
Csepeli Őrszem Vol. 2, issue 37, 9 September 1944, pp. 1. & 2.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 204, 9 September 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 205, 11 September 1944, p. 8.
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 238, 20 October 1944, p. 2.
Dunántúli Hírlap Vol. 52, issue 44, 4 November 1944, p. 3.
Csepeli Őrszem Vol. 2, issue 50, 15 December 1944, p. 2.

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‘I know full well - said the Prime Minister – that the expulsion from the public
life of Hungarian speaking elements of an alien race, threatening the public and
especially our just fight has not yet been finally settled. Let me reassure the public
that we intend to ensure using any means possible the intellectual and economic
supremacy of the Hungarian race but in line with the gallant Hungarian mentality, we
want to do that in a human way such as required by our higher goal in line with our
agreement concluded in that respect.’178
Parallel to the deportations, Christian churches were faced with an increasing
number of Jews who wanted to be baptised. Because this created fears, both the
Roman Catholic and the Reformed churches wanted the conditions of baptism to
be made stricter, although in reality there were no mass applications179:
‘The Synodic Council already regulated the admission of those converting into
the Reformed Church in May of last year. According to the decree, it is not the
parish priest but the Presbytery which decides whether to approve or decline the
admission request of the converting person. If the Presbytery decides to accept
the candidate, it will then send the person wishing to be converted for a preparatory training. Such training has to be conducted at least for one hour each week
for at least 6 months if the person to be converted comes from another church or
from another Christian denomination. If the convert comes to our church not from
a Christian religion, then this training shall last twelve months. Those converts who
violated the moral norms (e.g., they live in civil partnership) cannot be accepted for
conversion until they discontinue the immoral situation. The converting person shall
receive a conversion certificate only after the baptism, conversion, that is, after his/
her solemn admission to the denomination.
Lately, huge numbers of people not belonging to the Christian denomination
requested their admission to the Reformed Church claiming that at the Evangelical Church their request to be baptised may be accepted already after 20 hours
of preparatory education and they are even baptised and they are asking that the
Reformed Church should also proceed similarly. In respect of the conversions, the
Reformed Church and the local Roman Catholic Church strictly comply with the
178 We must do everything in our power to survive. In his radio speech, Prime Minister Vitéz Géza Lakatos used
strong words against defeatism and announced strong measures for the collaboration of the internal forces.
We want to continue ensuring the intellectual and economic supremacy of the Hungarian race by any means
possible’, Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 199, 2 September 1944, p. 2.
179 See in the section ‘Szerkesztői üzenetek’ [Editors’ messages]: ‘Zsidóinvázió’ [Jewish invasion], Gyöngyösi
Katolikus Tudósító Vol. 16, issue 4, April 1944, p. 8. According to the report: ‘In 1943, there was 1 baptised Jew, in 1942, there were 2, in 1940, there were 2, in 1939 there were 2 and in 1938 there were 3
baptised Jews in the Szent Bertalan parish’. ‘Over the last two decades, the data confirm 125,781 religious
conversions and of these, only 30,774 were Jews who left Judaism’ ‘In the section ‘Jelek és magyarázatok’
[Signs and explanations], Protestáns Szemle Vol. 49, issue 1, January 1940, p. 23.

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legal regulations prescribed by their own clerical authorities and can only consider
accepting the large number of people wishing to change their religion if these people prove to be immaculate in every respect and take part in the required education.
A very interesting phenomenon is that every candidate wishing to be converted to
our religion considered the time required for the preparatory education too long and
left by saying that together with their family they will convert into the church where
they are taken over in a shorter period of time because in their new situation it is very
urgent that they obtain the baptism certificate.
Until today, 8 Reformed brothers who live together with a non-Christian person
in a mixed marriage reported their leaving of the Reformed Church and their intention to convert to the Evangelical religion. They think that they can simply avert the
consequences of the existing government decrees and can gain certain benefits for
their spouses. Because switching religion and denomination without any conviction
may represent the evasion of existing laws, the Hungarian Reformed Church shall
not provide any assistance for this. For this very reason, it is the duty of our Church
to thoroughly examine every conversion case and to verify that this is not only a fictitious conversion and that the applicant to be converted wants to enter the church of
Jesus Christ for a real spiritual need.’180
Due to the news spread about the massive conversion intention of Jews during
the last days of July 1944, the Magyar Kurir, a semi-official Catholic paper raised the
question with the Budapest Archiepiscopal Municipality as to what is the situation
in that respect? To this question, the Municipality issued the following statement:
‘Christianity is a sacrament and it can only be provided for adults after proper
preparation and the recognition of a serious intention expressed by the person to
be baptised. However, fulfilling the two above requirements takes a longer time.
Considering the large number of candidates, those who are waiting to be baptised
will have to wait a lot more than 3 months, after attending proper education and
after having assessed their serious intention. For that very reason, no functionaries or private persons should turn to the Budapest Archiepiscopal Municipality
for receiving authorisation to be baptised urgently because after the relocation
decree (23 June 1944) it cannot issue any such authorisation for those who applied in the parish office, with the exception of some special cases e.g., serious
illness). The request to be baptised of those who did not apply in the parish office
and claim to have received the education by private individuals may not be taken
into account.’181
180 Ujpesti Református Egyházi Értesítő Vol. 19, issue 5, May 1944, pp. 2-3.
181 ‘A budapesti érseki helytartóság ujabb nyilatkozata a megkeresztelkedésről’ [Another declaration of the Budapest Archiepiscopal Municipality about baptism], Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 167, 26 July 1944, p. 3.

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A few days later, the Új Nemzedék Catholic daily publishes the following:
‘Esztergom, 29 July.
The Magyar Kurir reports:
The office of Hungary’s Prince Primate mandated the semi-official Catholic
press agency, the ‹Magyar Kurir› to publish the following:
– The priests and pastors of parishes and ministries are hereby warned by the
competent ecclesiastical authority in connection with the recent and frequent baptism requests that the position of the Church must be strictly complied with in the most
conscious way in that respect. Therefore, those who apply to take on the holiness
of Christianity should be treated with sufficient prudence in terms of keeping the required duration of their education. The required term of the catechism - which is even
more necessary in view of the current number of applicants - must be extended until
the parish priest competent to carry out the baptism or his authorised representative
ascertains that the applicant does not only have the necessary religious knowledge
but also has a serious intention and desire to join the Church of Christ.
Therefore, the Sacrament of Christianity can only be given after the conscious
maintenance of appropriate trial period, for those who are not simply hoping to receive a certificate of baptism, but the mercy of Christ bringing peace to their soul; so
as not to increase the number of the so-called birth certificate Christians and those
who do not want to share community with the Church of Christ. It is also natural that
due to the education of the applicants, neither the holiness of the church nor the
piety of Christian believers can suffer any harm.’182

Conclusion
In the light of the Roman Catholic and Reformed press, we can say that the ‘Jewish issue’ present throughout the Horthy era served in reality a single purpose: it
attempted to create a national cohesion against the Jews playing the role of the
scapegoat and enemy thereby diverting attention from the social problems that the
political elite was unable - and in reality unwilling - to solve (e.g., poverty, scarcity of
land). Not to mention that the national Christian ideology qualified everything as un182 ‘A hercegprimási iroda közleménye a plébánosokhoz és a helyi lelkészségekhez a megkeresztelkedésekre
vonatkozóan’ [Announcement of the Prince Primate’s Office to parish priests and pastors regarding baptism],
Új Nemzedék Vol. 26, issue 170, 29 July 1944, p. 5.

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national and un-Christian, everything that had to do with left wing, liberal or democratic ideas this - in the view of the contemporary church - was mainly represented
by the Jews or the atheists of Jewish origin. We want to quote Jenő Gergely:
‘The subjective factors for the Christian national ideology to conquer so many
people include the low level of political education of the people, the lack of democratic traditions and practices and mainly the ideological instability of certain groups
of intellectuals and the fact that they could easily be influenced.’183
We can say that the leading strata of Hungarian society in the post-Paris Treaty Hungary, affected by traumas, suffering from existential uncertainty and going
through a national identity crisis found the ideal cause and explanation of all their
problems in the Jewish community; at the same time, the society released itself
from all responsibilities. Christian churches in Hungary did not act against this, on
the contrary: they supported and underpinned this trend in every respect.184
The socially radical and national Christian Hungarian extreme right coming into
being in the social and mental environment successfully linked the hate of capital with
anti-Semitism thanks to the international economic crisis erupting in the 1930’s. The
social conquest of this political direction led to the so-called ‘őrségváltás’ [change of
guard] forced by laws which could only be achieved by the ‘lawful’185 exclusion of the
Jews from the economic and cultural life. The positions ‘freed up’ in this way could
be ‘legitimately’ occupied by the members of the ‘Christian national middle-class’186
with popular roots, exclusively based on their origins. This meant that the ‘true Hungarian’ could obtain positions he could never hope for before, independently from
his knowledge or performance and later on - in 1944 - they could ‘legitimately’ (practically without any penalty) dispossess the properties of the (annihilated) Jews.187
And the Christian ecclesiastical leaders were approving all of this and assisted the
events with tacit passivity.
This certainly explains that after the end of World War II, Christian churches
were the first ones who refused to face the past; they rejected all responsibility and
183 Jenő Gergely, Katolikus egyház, magyar társadalom 1890–1986 [The Catholic Church and Hungarian society 1890-1986], Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, 1989, p. 100.
184 See e.g., In the ‘Őrtoronyban’ section: ‘The jewish issue (Részlet Révész Imre püspök újévi nyilatkozatából)’
[The Jewish issue, excerpt from bishop Imre Révész’s New Year declaration], Lelkészegyesület Vol. 32, issue 2, 14 January 1939, pp. 10-11; László Ravaszó: ‘A zsidótörvény’ [The anti-Jewish law], Lelkészegyesület
Vol. 32, issue 5, 4 February 1939, pp. 33-34.
185 This the the key and miracle word of Hungarian legal reasoning!
186 ‘Keresztény magyar középosztály’ [Christian Hungarian middle-class], Nemzeti Újság, Vol. 20, issue 85, 15
April 1938, pp. 1-2.
187 See Gábor Kádár - Zoltán Vági, Hullarablás. A magyar zsidók gazdasági megsemmisítése [The economic
annihilation of Hungarian Jews], Hannah Arendt Egyesület – Jaffa Kiadó, Budapest, 2005.

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instead of reviewing their behaviour displayed during the era of Jewish persecution,
they immediately placed the saving of Jews in the forefront.188 Already at the very
beginning of 1946, József Mindszenty, Prince Primate clearly separated himself
from everything that happened prior to 1945 (anti-Jewish laws), and especially in
1944 (deportations and massacres).189
According to the statement of George Santayana ‘those nations who do not
learn from the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat every mistake of the
past‘.190 But to learn this lesson we must first explore our past and we must then
face it. When it comes to the attitude of Hungarian Christian churches towards the
Jewish communities between the two World Wars, this exploration is not even in the
initial stage, it is merely in the preparatory stage.

188 See Dénes Sándor, ‘Az egyház és az üldözöttek’ [The church and the persecuted], Új Ember Vol. 1, issue 4,
2 September 1945. Also see ‘Az egyház és a zsidóüldözés’ [The church and Jewish persecution], Új Ember
Vol. 3, issue 17, 27 April 1947, p. 6. We should also mention Albert Bereczky, ‘A magyar protestantizmus a
zsidóüldözések ellen’ [Hungarian Protestantism opposing Jewish persecution], Traktátus Református Kiadó
Vállalat, Budapest, 1945.
189 For details please, refer to „Katolikus Magyarország:. A Bíboros-Hercegprímás szilveszteri rádióbeszéde:
The New Year’s radio speech of Cardinal Prince Primate], Új Ember Vol. 2, issue 2, 13 January 1946, p. 2.
190 Quotes Randolph L. Braham: ‘Gondolatok a magyarországi holokausztról hatvan év után’ [‘Ideas abut the
Hungarian Holocaust after 60 years], in Judit Molnár (ed.), ‘A Holokauszt Magyarországon európai perspektívában’ [Holocaust in Hungary in the European perspective], Balassi Kiadó, Budapest, 2005, p. 32.

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Analysis of the articles on Jews
published in Hungary’s
Lutheran press between
1920 and 1945
This paper consists of four sections. The first is a brief introduction offering an overview of the press documentation analysed. The second section outlines the situation of the Lutheran church between 1920 and 1945. The third, major, section
analyses the press sources, by creating a typology by genre, citing examples and
offering analyses. The conclusion contains a short summary of the work.

Overview
According to a Lutheran source1 from the middle of the period analysed, the number of dailies, weeklies, monthly magazines and ad hoc but registered newspapers
published in Hungary in 1936 was 1,897. This is a rather hefty figure, of which the
number of clerical magazines was about 258. Out of these 258, the shares of major
churches were as follows: 126 publications were Roman Catholic, 56 were for the
Reformed Church, 26 were Lutheran, 13 were published by the Reformed and the
Lutheran churches together, and 19 were Jewish.
One of the most important weeklies of the Hungarian Lutheran church was
’Evangélikus Élet’ (’Lutheran Life’), a weekly published by Országos Luther Szövetség (National Luther Society) of Budapest since 1933 on clerical social, internal
mission, cultural and political topics.
It is important to mention the religious people’s paper entitled ’Harangszó’ (’Tolling’) founded by Béla Kapi – bishop of the Transdanubian Lutheran Diocese – in
1 Evangélikus élet: 1936/50. dec. 20., pp. 378-80, Dr. H. Gaudi, László: Az egyházi sajtó (The clerical press)

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1910, which was published in Körmend and Szentgotthárd, in Szombathely after
1929, and in Győr after 1931. This was the paper of the Dunántúli Egyházkerületi
Evangéliumi Egyesület (Lutheran Society of the Transdanubian Diocese), actually the
official paper for the ’Dunántúli Luther-szövetség’ (’Transdanubian Luther Society’).
’Keresztyén Igazság’ (’Christian Truth’), a clerical and social magazine in protection of faith published in Sopron after 1934, is important because some important theologians of the age published in it, and several other periodicals make
references to these articles.
Another publication worth mentioning is the ’Protestáns Tanügyi Szemle’
(’Protestant Pedagogical Digest’) published by the Lutheran and Reformed churches together after 1927 as the official journal of the teacher societies of the two
churches.
However, even with these publications, it can be said in respect of the entire period between 1920 and 1945 that the Lutheran church had no press products such
as Katolikus szemle (’Catholic Digest’), Magyar kultúra (’Hungarian Culture’), Vigília
(’Vigil’), Új kor (’New Age’), Korunk szava (’Word of our Age’) for the Roman Catholic
church, i.e. major papers indispensable for orientation in everyday Catholic life.
The bibliography compiled earlier2 contains a list of periodicals between 1920
and 1945 made up of seventy-seven items. This is a relatively large volume of publications compared to the number of Lutheran people in Hungary, because in 1920,
the rate of the followers of the Lutheran church decreased from 7.1 to 6.2 per cent
as a result of the detachment of German-speaking and Slavic-speaking followers.
This means 497,000 people, 6.2 per cent of the total population, and 730,000
people or five per cent of the total population in 1941.
A large portion of the printed press deals with spiritual and cultural topics,
containing parish programmes, sermons, congregation services and Christian guidelines. Many of the papers were developed for age characteristics, including a
number of youth magazines for educational and pedagogical or self-education purposes. Some of them survived only a few issues, and the bulk were published outside of Budapest.

2 In the framework of research, the first item to be completed was the list of national and local clerical dailies,
weeklies, magazines and periodicals produced in the Lutheran spirit or by the Lutheran church in Hungary between 1920 and 1945; this was followed by a bibliography of articles dealing with or concerning Jews in some
way. The bibliography data contain the title of the periodical, the year of publication, the year of issue, the date,
the column (if found), the author’s name or initials (if found), the title or lead and the page number. This way, some
three hundred and twenty (320) articles were found, on which this paper is based.

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What is relevant for the topic of this paper, however, is limited to the few magazines available nationwide, referred to above. Actually, the core of the analysis
is based on articles in those magazines. They contain relatively distinct writings of
different genres.

The Lutheran Church (1920–1945)
The comprehensive analysis of the Lutheran press literature calls for learning about
the historical background of the Lutheran church at the age. Below is a brief overview of the situation.3
The 1920 peace treaty of Trianon detached the Lutheran blocks of Slovaks
in the Upper Land (Felvidék), Saxons of Transylvania and Germans in the Southern
Land (Délvidék), which brought a complete change in the territorial situation of the
dioceses. Compared to what was determined by the Carolina resolutio4, each of
the four Lutheran dioceses5 shrunk considerably. The Tisza and the Cisdanubian
Dioceses suffered considerably great losses as a result of the detachment of areas.
On the other hand, the Bányai Diocese – despite the loss of Upper Land areas –
contained more than one-third of the newly defined country, and about half of the
remaining Lutheran population.
However, the distribution by nationality improved nationwide as well as in
respect of the Lutheran church. In 1910, 54.5 per cent of the total population,
and only 31.9 per cent of Lutherans were Hungarian. In contrast, 89.6 per
cent of the total population and 68.9 per cent of all Lutherans were Hungarian
in 1920.
Many people moved within the newly defined borders from areas that were
detached from Hungary, many of them ministers, teachers and white-collar people
who lost their existence, so the number of people working within the church also
increased. Bishops had to make arrangements for their accommodation and livelihood. This offered an opportunity to set up missionary centres in addition to the
existing dioceses, primarily where the number of Lutherans increased. This is how
3 In presenting this, the relevant data set out in ’Magyarország a XX században’ (Hungary in the 20th century’)
(Babits kiadó, Szekszárd, 1996-2000, editor in chief: István Tarsoly) is used as a basic source. Internet source:
http://mek.niif.hu/02100/02185/html/251.html
4 Decision issued by Charles III on 21 March 1731 to regulate the Protestant church situation and religious
practices.
5 These are the Bányai, the Cisdanubian, the Transdanubian and the Tisza Dioceses. Saxon Evangelists in Transylvania organised a completely independent national Lutheran church in Transylvania, which is not affiliated to these.

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subsidiary and branch dioceses and ’missionary congregations’ were organised
alongside the parent congregations.
At the same time, Lutheran church leaders were intensively seeking contacts
with peer churches and church associations abroad in order to avoid isolation, and
to be able to join the community. Along with Hungary’s recognition, the Hungarian
Lutheran Church was also able to let the world know of its existence. This resulted
in having the executive board meeting for the Lutheran World Assembly in Budapest
in 1927, after which the Finno-Ugrian ministers’ congress was also held in the city in
1937. The series of deaconess societies and mothers’ houses being founded were
the fruits of intensifying internal missionary life. The church’s missionary activities
were performed on a broader basis, the standard of sermons increased and their
theological background became clearer.
More than a hundred Lutheran churches or houses of worship were built nationwide, partly in order to ensure spiritual support for the scattered Lutheran population, and partly to satisfy the needs of larger congregations. Though the economic
situation deteriorated later on, the next period was also characterised by a series of
successful construction projects.
As a consequence of the Trianon peace treaty, the Lutheran church lost the
vast majority of its teaching institutions. 17 of the 25 Lutheran clerical secondary
schools and four of the six teacher training institutes remained in the states to which
the territories detached from Hungary were added. As the Czechoslovakian government allowed only the lyceum (grammar school) to operate in Eperjes (Presov), the
Legal Academy was moved to Miskolc, under the jurisdiction of the Tisza Diocese.
Only a single Lutheran academy of theology remained in Sopron. After a few years
of uncertainties and attempts, the deed of foundation by Hungary’s governor elevated the Faculty of Lutheran Theology of Sopron to the rank of university as part of
the Erzsébet University of Sciences of Pécs. The teaching team was supplemented
by professors taken over from Pozsony (Bratislava) and Eperjes (Presov). The composition of this staff and the high degree of preparation and theological orientation
of young teachers appointed later on ensured that biblical and Lutheran theology
was able to grow roots here.
During these years, 400 of the over four thousand clerical schools were operated by the Lutheran church in Hungary. The majority of teachers also served as
clerks, helping children to grow into the congregation and society after leaving
school. The work done by schools was supplemented by the activities of various
clerical societies that supported practical Christianity. Most of these were ecumenical, such as scouts, the Keresztyén Ifjúsági Egyesület (Christian Youth Society,

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Hungarian abbreviation: KIE) or Magyar Evangéliumi Keresztyén Diákszövetség
(Hungarian Lutheran Christian Student Society, Hungarian abbreviation: MEKDSZ),
which supported the evolution of Lutheran community life. Other activities to be
mentioned include Országos Luther Szövetség (National Luther Association), and
the work done by women’s societies to preserve traditions.
While internal missionary work, awakening, spiritual renewal and the renewal
of faith shaped the Lutheran church’s image, official leaders were busy trying to ensure the autonomy and legal independence of the church in the reborn Kingdom of
Hungary. Ministers had public authority in all places, from the smallest village right
up to Parliament, and held positions in municipality agencies, county legislature
committees and were even elected as deputies.
The provision of the kongrua, i.e. the allowance for priests, aids for the clerical
university and the dioceses and schools, the nearly total coverage of the costs of
religious education, support for the construction of church and school buildings
were signs of the government’s appreciation for the church.
The synod convened in Budapest in 1934 attempted to settle the situation
that has evolved after World War I to ensure adaptation to the situation. The major
achievements of this legislative exercise were the settlement of the legal status of
missionary congregations, the extension of women’s voting rights, the introduction
of the concept of presbytery on all levels, regulation of ecclesiastical court operation and through that strengthening of church discipline for church members, and
extension of the powers of the universal assembly.
A new magazine was added to the roster of Lutheran press in place before (Harangszó, Evangélikus Élet /Lutheran Life/, Evangélikusok Lapja /Lutherans’
Gazette/, Lelkipásztor /Pastor/), because a magazine calling out to Lutheran intelligentsia was launched in the year of the synod; it was Keresztény Igazság (Christian
Truth). Its editors were theology teachers Károly Prőhle and Károly Karner.
Just as members of the Lutheran church were overrepresented in the front lines
of Hungary’s freedom fight in the 19th century (Kossuth, Petőfi, Görgey), there are a
number of Lutherans among the best of 20th century Hungarian culture. To quote just
a single example: the Corvin Chain award for merit, established in 1930, was awarded to 23 people by 1944. They include medical professors Sándor Korányi and Tibor
Verebély, linguist János Melich, and poet Sándor Reményik, who were all Lutherans.
Several of Hungary’s Nobel Prize winner scientists (Jenő Wigner, John von Neumann,
György Harsányi) studied in Lutheran ecclesiastical schools, primarily at Budapesti
Evangélikus Főgimnázium (Budapest Lutheran Main Grammar School).

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Signs of the church’s internal renewal include the publication of the new Agenda (Raffay’s handbook for ministers, 1932), and the new service procedure introduced on the Advent of 1936. Over the centuries, the characteristic Lutheran
liturgy of service has lost features and became similar to the puritan procedure of
the Reformed Church. This was particularly true for Hungarian-speaking congregations, because Slovak- and German-speaking congregations conserved traditions
better. The new reform in liturgy aimed to bring back the original Lutheran elements
of service in practice. Initially, the reform encountered resistance in several places,
though the movement was conjoined with the effort to make church service uniform
throughout all of Hungary.
It is important to mention the adult education centres organised on the basis
of mostly Finnish and Danish examples, which set the goal of educating young farmers. The youth mission institute that became known to the public under the name
Tessedik Sámuel Népfőiskola (Tessedik Sámuel Adult Education Centre) as the first
Lutheran institute of this kind, combined with a dormitory, was opened in Nagytarcsa in 1938 under the control of minister Gábor Sztehlo as a youth mission institute.
Afterwards, five-month winter adult education courses were offered to young farmers in Orosháza (1940) and Gyenesdiás (1942), while the Phoebe society organised similar courses for girls.
Many of the people who saw working class life from close up or from the inside
turned towards worker groups. Writings on the social contradictions of the age were
published in Lutheran clerical press as well.
On the eve of World War II, the First Vienna Award adopted by an arbitration court
composed of Germany and Italy awarded areas populated by Hungarians in Czechoslovakia to Hungary; two years later, the Second Vienna Award was adopted in a dispute
between Hungary and Romania, which reassigned Northern Transylvania along with
Sekler Land, Oradea and Cluj Napoca, to Hungary. At the same time, Hungary and
Germany concluded a minority agreement under which the German ethnic group was
given special rights, and Volksbund became its only organisation. Hungary’s army joined in the attack launched by the German army when it invaded Yugoslavia in 1941. The
Hungarian army occupied Backa, the Baranya triangle and Prekmurje. The Southern
Territory was again under Hungarian administration. The Lutheran church encountered
the ethnicity issue once again. In the Volksbund spirit, the German congregations of
the Backa wanted a separate organisation and intended to have a self-government,
with the help of the Hungarian ministry of culture. They addressed a memorandum to
the church leadership in which they distanced themselves from Germany’s Confessor
of the Faith Church, although they addressed some criticism to German Christians (Deutsche Christen) as well. The German minority in the Backa region consisted of nearly

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half a million people, a goodly portion of whom were Lutherans. The church leadership
and bishops went about addressing the problem very prudently. Having experienced
this, minister of Kelenföld Lajos Wolf (or, by his Hungarianised name, Lajos Ordass)
published a contrary opinion under the title Válasz (Answer), but the matter kept getting
postponed, and became obsolete after the war.
As anti-Semitism grew increasingly fierce, thousands of Jews converted to various Christian churches, and the Lutheran church also had to take steps to prepare people for conversion. Many called for theoretical theological clarifications,
and practical steps were also taken. Gisle Johnson, the missionary of the Jewish
mission of Norwegian Lutherans delegated to Budapest, worked particularly hard
in this field. Hungary’s Lutheran church has a lot to thank him for. His outstanding
achievement is the holding of the International Hebrew-Christian Alliance assembly
in Budapest in 1937; the Association of Jews Who Believe in Christ of Hungary was
a member of the Alliance at that time.
One year later, in 1938, the Upper House of Hungarian Parliament adopted the
first, and then, the second act on Jews to ’prevent the dissemination of Jews in
public life and the economy’. Bishops Béla Kapi and Sándor Raffay first protested,
but later accepted the act. Different statements were published in the press, but
both ministers and secular authors distanced themselves from extremities. Many tried to find ways to help the people threatened. They agreed to hide those who were
persecuted, sometimes even the church buildings were used as hiding places.
When news on deportations spread, Bishop Raffay raised his voice in the interest of the persecuted, but this protest failed to become louder and more universal.
Minister of Kelenföld Lajos Wolf had very good personal relations with the Swedish
embassy and its officer for the Red Cross, Valdemar Langlet. They provided the
minister with ’safe conducts’ for the persecuted, which he used to save a lot of
lives. On assignment from the Protestant bishops, Lajos Wolf intended to persuade
Prince Primate Jusztinián Serédi to issue a common pastoral letter, but his visit to
Esztergom bore no fruit in this respect. Eventually, universal supervisor Baron Albert Radvánszky and Bishop Béla Kapi submitted a memorandum drafted together
with representatives of the Reformed Church to Prime Minister Döme Sztójay. On
25 June 1944, a common Protestant pastoral letter was compiled and signed,
but the government prohibited it from being read out loud from lecterns. In the
letter, the signatories explained that the inhumane deportations, ’the innocent
blood shed will bring a horrible judgement on our people’s head (…) We call upon
the congregations to exercise penitence, and all Hungarian people to be meek under God’s mighty hand and to pray to Him, and ask God to show his merciful and
heartening grace to the Hungarian nation’.

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Although the increasing censorship deleted opinions that openly opposed
the misrepresentations from the columns of clerical papers and periodicals, it was
unable to prevent faithful Christian thinking and true Christian behaviour, the acts
of love. The names of András Keken, minister at the Deák Square church, and of
Gábor Sztehlo, who saved the lives of several hundred children and adults particularly during German occupation and the siege of Budapest with the help of the
International Red Cross and the embassies of Switzerland and Sweden, are just
examples. Their self-sacrificing charity service was appreciated and evaluated by
the church leadership and public only well after their death. However, it was not
just the two of them in Budapest; others also hid the persecuted elsewhere, rescuing and saving them in the spirit of Christian brotherly love and faith in Christ.
Some provided baptism certificates or some other form of help in exchange for something or for money. However, they were few in number, and in extreme cases,
church superiors instituted disciplinary procedures against those who abused the
situation. In his memoires, Bishop Lajos Wolf, who protested against German occupation by turning his name into Hungarian as Lajos Ordass, gave a sober picture
of the situation: ’While the Hungarian government adopted one law after another
against Jews under political pressure from the Germans, the Hungarian people
were not anti-semitic!”
The war brought immense destruction and suffering for the congregations as
well. 60 per cent of church buildings were damaged, several completely destroyed
or became impossible to use (Vecsés, Hatvan, Budavár, Óbuda, Kőbánya etc.).
The damage to ministers’ homes and school buildings was even more extensive. To
give the figures, 190 church buildings, 149 vicarages and 48 congregation houses
needed to be restored.
As the war approached, bishops issued newsletters encouraging ministers to
stand their ground, though dire rumours spread about the actions of Soviet troops
against priests and the church. Bishop Zoltán Turóczy of the Tisza Diocese, the first
area where enemy troops appeared, wrote in his pastoral letter: ’Now is the time
when it will become obvious who built his whole life on selfishness in secrecy, and
who on faith. As far as I am concerned, to give you certainty, I would like to instil on
you that in my opinion, a shepherd’s place is with his herd.”
Most ministers acted accordingly, and the number of those forced to leave their place of duty on account of family or health conditions or the deportation orders of
authorities was very low. Bishop Turóczy also remained in his place. The Temporary
National Assembly convened in the oratory of the Calvinist dormitory in Debrecen
on 21 December 1944, and elected Béla Zsedényi, teacher of the Miskolc Lutheran Academy of Law, as its chairman. The Temporary National Government’s delega-

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tion that set out to Moscow to sign a treaty on truce on 28 December was headed
by Minister of Foreign Affairs János Gyöngyösi, also a Lutheran.

The Press Materials
The materials investigated show a diversity in the genre of articles and studies on
Jewry. The complexity of the pieces, that is, the ecclesiastical and government,
social and cultural areas concerned by the articles, their appearance in the relations
between state and church, and the way they present the domestic and international,
particularly the German situation, prompted the application of a phenomenology
method for determining the types of articles.
The following categories are distinguished:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Writings on Jewry
News on Jews
Jewish-Christian topics
Positions
Clerical and political events related to Germany
Short writings to create an ambience
Book reviews

While it is possible to distinguish several sub-genres within each of the categories, a decision was made to keep their number manageable to facilitate an
overview. Naturally, many articles, writings, reportages or studies fit more than one
category. In case of the examples cited, focus was on the main message, which
helped to classify publications.

1. Writing on Jewry
This, rather broad, category can be broken down into sub-classes. They include:
1.1.
1.2.
1.3.
1.4.

Articles on theology issues
Articles discoursing on the Jewish issue
Writings on Zionism
Short publications citing examples of Jewish life

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1.1. Articles on theology issues
These deal with the Old Testament and the Jewry from a theological perspective. The data base contains one or two pieces, mostly published in Keresztény
igazság (Christian Truth). an example to be cited is Ernő Urbán’s Harc az Ószövetség ellen6(Fight against the Old Testament), which makes the point that attacks on
the Old Testament include many misunderstandings, are superficial and biased.
The author believes the reason for this is that the attackers are not familiar with the
Old Testament. Overall, the article defends the Old Testament. It highlights the close unity and relationships between the Old and the New Testaments, and makes the
important statement that what is important in the Old Testament is God’s representation, rather than the racial aspects it might have. It is about the story of God, taking
place within a people, and through that people, for the entire world.
1.2. Articles discoursing on the Jewish issue
Károly Karner, teacher of Lutheran theology and editor of the magazine,
addresses the complexity of the problems associated with the issue in his article
Zsidókérdés (The Jewish issue)7. His starting point is that many articles create a
misconception that the root of all troubles is that the Jewish issue has not been resolved. His fundamental question is: why has Jewry evolved into an issue? He first
presents the generally widespread views that 1) Jews are an alien race; 2) they have
expropriated business life, narrowing life opportunities for Hungarians; 3) they are
overrepresented in Hungarian intellectual life, which they alienated with their way
of thinking. One of the arguments is that Jews have been separated from heathen
peoples in Ancient Times as well, which was how they were able to survive. However, hatred of Jews arose on account of this separation. However, he identifies the
assimilation and emancipation of Jews as the cradle of anti-Semitism. Influenced by
enlightenment, this ethnic group started to mingle better with European peoples,
and emancipation, i.e. the elimination of restrictions stemming from the Jews’ guest
rights and their emancipation opened up the road to business for them, in parallel
with which, however, hatred against them gradually gained ground. Another factor
fuelling the fire of anti-Semitism is the theory that Jews are a lower race compared to
European, which determines defence for the latter. Karner defines the Jewish issue
as a religious problem that is not resolved by anti-Semitism. That is, from a Christian
perspective, it is the Jewry that rejects Christ. This means that Jews who remain true
to their faith are forced to withdraw from God’s words of calling spread by Christ.
The more faithful a Jew is, the more faithless he is from a Christian perspective. This
secret to the existence of Jews may be perceived and pronounced without invoking
6 Keresztény igazság (Christian Truth), 1935/4. April, pp. 78-80
7 Keresztény igazság (Christian Truth),1937/5. May, pp. 123-129

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judgement on their own heads only by Christians who actually believe. ‘There is no
innate force that could secure us against the growing of evil in ‘Christians’ with no
faith. The presumed good characteristics of the ‘Nordic race’ or the mystical power
of inherited ‘blood’ that is supposed to determine character help the German ‘new
heathens’ just as little as we are helped by the version of these concepts wrapped in
Hungarian national colours.’ In other words, Karner believes this religious problem
will not be resolved either by anti-Semitism or by Zionism. Christians should start
working on their own, by becoming increasingly Christian.
In a later article8Karner underlines that ‘the sources of crisis in Hungary’s life:
the land issue, banking capitalism and the issue of ethnic minorities cannot be regarded as being subject to the Jewish issue.’ He elaborates on the roots of anti-Semitism, and states that one of its reasons is that Jewish refugees amassed in the
north-western counties of Hungary as a consequence of the persecution of Jews in
Russia in the 1880’s, which also contributed to the Tiszaeszlár case9. Afterwards,
the experience of World War I and the proletariat’s dictatorship and the anti-Semitic
ideology of the Third Reich greatly encouraged its dissemination. As regards the
religious approach to the Jewish issue, Karner emphasises that the Hungarian or
Russian soul and people are no exceptions to this when they lose their religion. Rejection of Christ brings about the same social problems everywhere, and the purity
or strength of blood or race offers no protection against the deterioration of social
conditions. He declares that ‘the fatal mistake in National Socialism’s anti-Semitic
thinking lies in the myth of blood, the statement that the supremacy of a race is
sufficient protection against straying.’ On the other hand, this is where Christianity’s
responsibility comes to light. If National Socialism opts to solve the Jewish issue
this way, it is also an anti-Christian solution, e.g. by virtue of the attack on the Old
Testament. However, this will turn it into what it wants to avoid. Ultimately, he draws
the conclusion that rather than liberal humanism, philo-Semitism, hatred of racial
ideology or street anti-Semitism, the church should voice the word of the Gospels.
‘In contrast, it should demand the healthy solution: suppressing the Jewish lifestyle
in public life, elimination of irresponsible mixing with Jews (because mixing is an
ever-present opportunity for the infiltration of Jewish lifestyle), cleaning the business
and intellectual career paths and, the absence of which makes all efforts worthless:
the enforcement of a Christian lifestyle rooted in faith in all domains.’

8 Karner, Károly: A zsidókérdés veszedelmei (Threats of the Jewish issue), Keresztény igazság, 1938/6. June,
pp. 163-168
9 The Tiszaeszlár case was a criminal law case that took place in Tiszaeszlár and later in Nyiregyhaza in 1882–
1883, in which the Jews of Tiszaeszlár were accused of having ritually murdered a Christian girl. The case soon
became a battleground for Hungarian political forces, attracted great attention throughout Europe, and had a
great impact on the future of anti-Semitism in Hungary.

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An article by József Hamvas10 deserves mention; he believes the reason for
the crisis of the Jewry is that it entered the territory of eliminations. Out of the centuries of liberation, the 16th century brought about the liberation of conscience; the
18th, the liberation of thinking; the 19th, the political freedom of the individual; while
the 20th century, liberation from the slavery of economic traditions. As all liberation
attempts oppose the existing order, economic liberation is opposed to big business
and big landowners, owned by Jews in many states to a great extent. Therefore,
whoever attacks economic order attacks the Jews as well.
Finally, László Dezséry’s article A mi szocializmusunk (Our Socialism)11 is highlighted in this category, according to which in its Hungarian version, the Jewish
issue is nearly one with the issue of Capitalism. They are dependent on each other,
and the Jewish issue can be resolved only by eliminating Capitalism, and one way
of eliminating Capitalism is the campaign against Jews according to the author. He
makes a remarkable statement that ‘many people believed they hated Jews. In essence, however, Hungarian little men hate Jewish property.’ This, in turn, is a sign
that a social revolution has begun, and the author believes it would take place even
if that particular government does not remain in power.
1.3. Writings on Zionism
The magazine Harangszó features quite a few articles on Zionism. They are
mostly news about the Zionist movement, its essence12 and the Jews living in Palestinian territory. For instance, they report on how the life of Jews develop during
the 1920s and 1930s, or that the first Jewish radio station started to broadcast in
the English, Hebrew and Arab languages13. The articles include some that report
on the number of Jews in the world14: according to Zionist figures, there were 4.5
million Jews living in the United States, 3.1 million living in Poland, 3.6 million living
in Russia, 1 million living in Romania, 600,000 living in Germany, 500,000 living in
Hungary, 400,000 living in UK territories, 300,000 in Czechoslovakia and Austria,
and 130,000 in Palestine in 1925.

10 Hamvas, József: A zsidóság válsága (The crisis of the Jewry), Evangélikus élet, 1938/8. 19 February, pp.
8-9
11 Dezséry, László: A mi szocializmusunk (Our Socialism), Evangélikus élet, 1944/25. 17 June, pp. 5-7
12 Harangszó: 1924/20. 11 May., A cionizmus (Zionism), p. 157
13 Harangszó: 1935/52. 22 December, Határokon túl: Palesztina… (Beyond borders: Palestine…),p. 433
14 Harangszó: 1925/51. 20 December., Külföldi hírek. Palesztina…(Foreign news. Palestine…),p. 407

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1.4. Short publications citing examples of Jewish life
This category contains writings that bring examples of Jewish life. Such articles include news about collecting donations, the patriotism for Jews in Hungary
that may set an example for Hungarians, in which there are no differences between
Hungarians and Jews15; a prayer for the Prince Primate16, or on the cultural history
of Jewish beekeeping17; and on the wandering Jew18.

2. News on Jews
This is a rather broad category, mostly with brief news and reports. They are often
a couple of sentences long in the foreign news column of the papers. They can be
classified into two important groups:
2.1. News on Jews
This group contains shorter or longer writings taken over from the Jewish magazine Egyenlőség (Equality). An example for this is the article in Harangszó on
Jewish esprit de corps, by presenting the amounts collected to support college students in the Israelite community of Békésgyula.19 They also include short news on
Jewish criminals.20 Reports on conferences also fall in this category.21Publication
of figures on the number of Jews, or of an item according to which in Germany, 29
of the 18,000 Lutheran ministers are of Jewish extraction, may also be classified
here.22
2.2. News on the persecution of Jews
The papers analysed contain many news articles on the persecution of Jews
abroad. These are brief items of one or two lines, from highly diverse locations such
15 Harangszó: 1923/31. 29 July, Korképek: A miskolci zsidó társadalom… (Images of the age: The society of
Jews in Miskolc…) p. 245
16 Harangszó: 1927/19. 8 May, Ujdonságok: Könyörgő ima… (New: Prayer…), p. 162
17 Rácz, Sándor: A zsidók méhészete (Beekeeping by the Jews), Harangszó, 1932/32. 7 August, pp. 259-260
18 Sz. J.: A bolygó zsidó (The wandering Jew), Harangszó, 1935/2. 6 January, pp. 9-10
19 Harangszó: 1924/25. 15 June, Kórképek: Kicsiny, alig 200…(Diagnoses: Small, barely 200…), p. 197
20 Harangszó: 1925/8. 22 February, Ujdonságok: Még a hitközségi adót is elsikkasztják…(New: Even parish
tax is embezzled…), p. 63
21 Harangszó: 1929/30-31. 28 July, Ujdonságok: A nemzetközi orthodox zsidókonferenciát…(New: The international orthodox Jewish conference…), p. 239
22 Harangszó: 1933/48. 26 November, Határokon túl: Zsidó származású lelkészek…(Beyond the borders:
Ministers of Jewish extraction…), p. 393

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as Romania, Transylvania, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, etc. For instance, the
teaching supervisor of Szatmár had the earlocks of Jewish children chopped off.23
Or, a report that Jewish medical students in Cluj Napoca may only perform autopsies on Jewish bodies.24In Saxon Lutheran churches, the use of the Jewish words
amen and hallelujah is forbidden, and must be replaced by Das walte Gott, Gelobt
sei der Herr.25
Evangélikus élet publishes more news of this sort, but supplemented by opinions and brief commentaries as opposed to Harangszó, as can be seen in a report
on an assault: ‘Beating the defenceless, the white, the coloured, the Jews is not this
kind or that kind of crime, it is simply and deeply a crime. The fact that no state and
Parliament solution has been found to the Jewish issue for over a year is a criticism
to the world. It could have been resolved within a couple of months. This is a horrible crime by and liability of the administration. We have many more important issues
to take care of.’26
News from Romania include an item stating that the Jewish church is barely
tolerated in Romania, and may perform services only in cities where the number of
followers reaches four hundred, or in villages where this number is two hundred.27
A Western European item from Switzerland: Swiss clerical papers publish several complaints that ministers dare not hold lectures in support of the Jewish issue.
The papers propose that the Jewish issue should be discussed in the light of the
Bible.28
A 1933 article reports on persecution of Jews in Germany as well, protested by
the German government and German Jewish groups. The writer adds, ‘If what they
report is true, one should indeed protest in the name of human culture, because
persecution organised on a religious or racial basis is barbaric in any case.’ On the
other hand, he adds, ‘It is, however, wonderful to experience the great Jewish solidarity concerning this “affaire”…’ 29

23 Harangszó: 1924/13. 23 March, Külföldi hírek: A szatmári tanfelügyelő levágatta…(Foreign news: Teaching
supervisor of Szatmár…), p. 104
24 Harangszó: 1923/43. 21 October, Ujdonságok: Csak zsidó hullákat boncolhatnak…(New: Only Jewish
corpses may be autopsied…), p. 319
25 Harangszó: 1933/44. 29 October, Határokon túl: Németország…(Beyond the borders: Germany…), p. 357
26 Evangélikus élet: 1939/6. 11 February, M.: Bomba robbant (Bomb explodes), p. 4-5
27 Evangélikus élet: 1940/45. 9 November, Külföldi hírek: A román kultuszminiszter…(Foreign news: Romania’s minister of culture…), p. 5
28 Evangélikus élet: 1942/2. 10 January, Hírek: A svájci egyházi lapok…(News: Swiss clerical papers…), p. 6
29 Evangélikus élet: 1933/10. 2 April, Figyelő: “Azt írják a külföldi lapok…”(Observer:’Foreign papers report…’), p. 6

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3. Jewish-Christian Topics
Once again, this is a rather broad category containing several articles and studies,
of which four will be highlighted, as they point in the same direction.
The first is a report on a conference30 to be held by the alliance of Jews who
believe in Christ, in Budapest. The conference is held every three years, and the
venue was Budapest after London, between 5 and 10 July 1937. The author believes this occasion offers a Christian solution inspired by Christ to the Jewish issue.
It started with the foundation of the Krisztushívő Zsidók Szövetsége (Association of
Jews who Believe in Christ) in Hungary, and of the International Hebrew Christian
Alliance in the UK. As the Bible is the basis shared by Jews and Christians, the only
common denominator may be found by accepting Christ’s message of grace. The
conference discussed the issues of Jewish-Christian colonisation in Palestine and
Poland, of establishing a Jewish church that believes in Christ, and the general
situation of Jewry in the world. Improvement should be sought by spiritual elevation
and rebirth in Christ according to the conference.
An article on the Jewish issue from a Christian perspective expresses criticism
of those having converted from Jewish faith. The author states converts are unrooted because they do not have a clear idea on and are not familiar with the world of
the Old Testament. Therefore, one objective of a responsible Christian mission may
be to convert the Jewry. Church jealousy also comes up, because he criticises
those who find conversion to the Lutheran faith is rather lengthy and decide to go to
another Christian church where they are accepted more easily. Finally, he devotes
a few lines to an experience that points out the sensitive contradictions of the issue:
‘I recently sat by the bedside of a patient. A young woman. She has been Lutheran
for a few years only, she was a Jewish girl. We take time to discuss serious matters.
She prays, in her own fashion, she says. She confesses she does not go to our
church. She has never taken the Lord’s Supper. After a brief pause that followed my
question on why this was so, she lifted her weary eyes on me and said, ‘You know…
one is born Jew… then converts… then is despised by the Jew and is not accepted
by the Christian!’ 31
In another piece taken over from Misszió (Mission) papers by Evangélikus élet,
a statement by a missionary minister says, ‘I see conversions less as a movement
motivated by interest, their underlying reason is the total and final failure of Jewish

30 Evangélikus élet:1937/26. 27 June, A nemzetközi zsidó-keresztény szövetség konferenciája (Conference
of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance), p. 205
31 Evangélikus élet: 1938/29-30. 23 July, S-z-ó: A zsidó kérdés egy másik oldalról (The Jewish issue from
another side), p. 6-8

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religious life and the collapse of religious Jewry.’ He thinks the trial period that takes
months is hypocritical, and suggests it should be the initial stage of a new life instead. This requires an internal awakening, but acceptance to Christianity should be
hindered by racial concerns according to the anonymous interviewee.32
Finally, let us cite Tibor Schulek’s piece A hazai zsidókeresztényekről (On Hungarian Jewish Christians)33 from Keresztény igazság, which explains that the Lutheran church accepted about twice as many Jews as the Roman Catholic church by
baptism as regards the proportion of the two churches. He specifies guidelines for
behaviour with Jewish Christians for the church. They include better management of
the sacrament of baptism, a long trial period, praying for these people with love. And,
albeit the state may set categories such as Roman Catholic Jew, Calvinist Jew, Jew
of other churches, designating them as Christians of the Jewish race complete with
church, Christianity may not resign from sharing the Gospels with Jews as well. Finalyly, he explains that the few who are Jews in their faith are the ones who really suffer.

4. Position
The fourth category consists of positions of bishops and the official views of the
church. But even within this group, it is possible to separate two subgroups, the
personal or official opinions of country and church leaders, and those that stress
the official positions of the church.
4.1. Statements by country and church leaders
A report from 1921 in which Prime Minister István Bethlen discusses anti-Semitism in a speech: ‘(…) a certain part of Jewry had strived to dismantle Christian faith
and historical traditions for financial reasons, by which it occupied an exceptional
position in economic and social life. (…) We cannot give an exceptional position
to the Jewry in the economy, but we need to ensure a livelihood, the freedom of
development, equal treatment and complete safety to persons and property to all in
Hungary. The vast majority of the Jewry is far from the destruction referred to earlier,
but made the mistake of failing to combat this smaller part of Jewry.”34
32 Evangélikus élet: 1939/10. 11 March, Lapszemle: “A Missziói lapok márciusi száma…” (Press digest: the
March issue of Mission papers…), pp. 10-11
33 Schulek, Tibor: A hazai zsidókeresztényekről (On Hungarian Jewish Christians), Keresztény igazság,
1938/5. May, pp. 139-144
34 Harangszó: 1921/51. 18 December, Bethlen a felekezeti békéről és az antiszemitizmusról (Bethlen on peace
between churches and anti-Semitism), p. 411

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A report from the Hungarian National Assembly of 1925, which contains a noteworthy sentence by István Bethlen on our topic: ‘If crimes are committed by Jews,
they must be disciplined, however, not because they are Jews but because they
committed a crime.”35
Statement by Bishop Béla Kapi: ‘However, we cannot close our eyes to the
fact that, in addition to several useful measures, the so-called Jew bill contains provisions that lack the true spirit of Christianity. (…) The truth is that the bill makes a
deep cut in the body of the Christian church, and disturbs its legal certainty.”36
The following report relates the positions of high powers.37 High church representatives including the Prince Primate, László Ravasz and Béla Kapi, all spoke
out against the act on Jews. According to the latter, the opinions of high church
representatives should have been heard on a bill that concerned churches, before
the House of Representatives where churches had no representation decided on
the issue. The state should be intent on filling its basic institutions with a Christian
spirit. ‘It is the spirit not the race that dominates, it is the spirit that should permeate the nation.’ Hungarians may not push tens of thousands half of whose blood is
Hungarian into ghettos. A strict law on marriages was necessary, but the matter of
half-bloods should be settled wisely.
Another issue38 cites Bishop Dezső Kúthy’s report to the assembly of the Cisdanubian Diocese: ‘Our church (…) raised its voice in the interest of Jews in general
and of Jewish Christians in particular against all procedures it felt compelled to
protest as the nation’s living conscience and the guardian of God’s eternal laws.
(…) Though the church’s heart aches for not having reached all the goals it set out
to achieve, it has made all efforts it was capable of, and its conscience is clear,
having done everything possible in the current situation.’ As regards the Jewish
issue, the church stands in the battlefield between two opposing forces, between
the mandatory power of its Godly mission, and the unfavourable opinion of a part
of the public. It took into account only the former in its actions. It may not open the
gates to a conversion movement, but then it may not close the gates to a normal
rate of conversions.

35 Harangszó: 1925/11. 15 March, Heti krónika: A magyar nemzetgyűlés… (Weekly chronicle: The Hungarian
National Assembly…), p. 86
36 Evangélikus élet: 1939/4. 28 January, Az égi csillag nyomán, D. Kapi Béla püspök körlevele a nemzeti
egység védelméről, hiányairól és a zsidótörvényjavaslatról (On the path of the celestial star, newsletter by
Bishop Béla D. Kapi on the protection and shortfalls of national unity and the Jew bill), pp. 4-5
37 Dyl: A felsőház (The Upper House) ,Evangélikus élet, 1941/30. 26 July, p .1
38 Evangélikus élet: 1944/38. 16 September, pp. 2-3, Kúthy Dezső püspöknek a dunáninneni egyházkerület
közgyűlése elé terjesztett jelentéséből: Az egyház a háborúban (from the report submitted by Bishop Dezső
Kúthy to the assembly of the Cisdanubian Diocese: The church in war)

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Finally, a citation from Bishop Béla Kapi’s report made to the assembly of the
Transdanubian Diocese from the same year of 1944:39’We are convinced that solving the Jewish issue is a political task and its execution is an administrative duty,
that is, it is the duty of politicians and government factors. (…) In written and verbal
discussions with the government, we made a request that Jews who have converted to Lutheranism should be released from the obligation to wear the yellow star,
should be able to employ Christian household staff, should have a separate council
organised for them, and the measures should be executed in a Christian spirit.’ The
government made a promise that these Jews would be permitted to wear a cross in
addition to the yellow star. The summary of Kapi’s position for ministers is that they
should strive to protect the spiritual life of church members of Jewish extraction.
New converts may be accepted only after serious preparation – this is a reference
to his 1938 paper – and only those whose past, personality, spirituality and firm
knowledge of the church’s teaching guaranteed that they would really be followers
of our church’s faith should be accepted. Convert candidates should receive six
months of education using a presbytery, which should consist of at least 60 lessons. This was to be free of charge, and if there was a member of the candidate’s
family who was already Christian, the candidate should be referred to that church.
‘Our church does not reject its missionary task in respect of Jews but will not lend
itself to serving selfish, individual needs. Our church is to defend the true value of
the sacrament of baptism entrusted to it by God.’
4.2. Articles reflecting the church’s official positions
The next piece presenting the church’s manifold ‘responsibilities to speak’
emphasises the responsibility for the words of the church40. The church has to
speak to the state, to Hungarians, to followers, to its converts, to church members,
to Jews, to those about to convert, and to God. The author says they have warned
the government not to turn racial issues into a religious act. And, as it turned out, it
was impossible to define who was Jewish in religious terms. ‘Is it not ridiculous that
Jew converts are Christian on 31 December 1938 but already Jews on New Year’s
Day, regardless of the holy water?’ Hungarians wanted to have no Jews accepted to
the church, but ministers’ offices are filled with a serious quest for God and spiritual
battles. Hungarians may not repeal the missionary command of Christ. The Jews
asked the church to put pressure on the government to ease the law. However, the
church is responsible for spreading the word and serving God, it may not interfere
with state matters. When converted Jews asked for protection, the church did what

39 Evangélikus élet: 1944/40. 7 October, pp. 2-3.o., Kapi Béla püspöknek a dunántúli kerület közgyűlése elé
terjesztett jelentéséből: Az egyház nemzeti szolgálata (From Bishop Béla Kapi’s report submitted to the
assembly of the Transdanubian Diocese: National service by the church)
40 Dyl: Zsidókérdés előlről (Jewish issue from the front), Evangélikus élet, 1941/24. 14 June, pp. 2-3

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it could, saying their fate was no better than that of the first Christians. The act on
Jews has not been prepared in either intellectual, spiritual or theoretical respects.
This article is likely to have been authored by László Dezséry, who writes the
following in another piece41: Our solution for the Jewish issue lies where it, in our
understanding, lies concerning all issues: with Jesus Christ. He can give consolence, leadership and grace, but cannot become a legislator, an employment centre
or a racial biologist. It is the secularisation of our world that twists the instruments of
administering secular matters from the church’s hands. The difference in the value
of races is doubtful, and is against the Bible. The Old Testament may confess to
the protection of the Jewish race based on a divine plan, which is why it is a sin for
Jews to fight today. Mixed marriages may be prohibited only if we know who a Jew
is. If our Christianity holds that even a robber and murderer may be converted, why
cannot we assume that the Hungarian half will prevail in half-bloods?
The report by Evangélikus élet on the Unitarian church’s decision is interesting. According to this news item, the Unitarian church accepted no Jewish converts and protested that other Christian churches were lawfully accepting Jewish
converts after careful preparation. The author of the item believes this to be an
internal matter for Christian churches that accepts converts to the community of
those who believe in Christ, and it was just exactly the Unitarian church that had no
competence to protest or consent to this.
42

5. Religious And Political Events Concerning Germany
This category contains news related to Germany, German church events, articles
dealing with Germany’s policies. Three of these are highlighted.
An article dated 193343, on Hitler and Hitlerism from the perspective of a German Lutheran minister. The point of the article is that Hitler’s person and activities
are so deep-rooted among German Lutherans that they cannot be just dismissed
with a wave of a hand.

41 Dezséry, László: Félvér-amnesztia (Half-blood amnesty), Evangélikus élet,1941/26. 28 June
42 Vkm. Szóvátesszük (Raise the issue), Evangélikus élet, 1944/35. 26 August, p. 4
43 Egy németországi evangélikus lelkész Hitlerről és a hitlerizmusról (A German Lutheran minister on Hitler
and Hitlerism), Evangélikus élet, 1933/21. 25 June, pp. 4-6

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The next article reports on the congregations and events of the Confessing
Church.44 It describes the leadership of the Confessing Church45 and analyses its
relationship with the church committee. It also writes about the background to the
situation, the starting question of the analysis is whether a church connected to the
state can be a Christian church at all. The majority of German Christians (80 per
cent) voted in favour of the Aryan Paragraph of 1933, and the issue of confession
of faith arose when the minority withdrew, this was when resistance began to spread. The author asks whether this resistance would last only until order is restored,
although the church should be a church confessing its faith to Christ and preaching
the Gospels, without organisation.
The third study outlines the history of establishing the German Christians
(Deutsche Christen), and as it is closely related to the topic – the Confessing
Church was formulated in opposition to it -, here is a brief outline of its essence.46 The paper analyses the stages of creating German Christians. The first stage
commences in 1933, after Hitler comes to power, under the slogan Gleichschaltung (unity) in the Reich. The 28 partial churches are organised under a single
Reichsbischof, and German Christians want total influence, the response to which
is the Barmen Declaration in 1934. The new Reichsbischof inserts Lutheran youth
into Hitlerjugend, but no new Constitution is drafted. The second stage is the age
of confessing synods, of which the Barmen synod is the most important, where
teachings of the German Christians are declared to be wrong. The third stage is
the Reich’s Ecclesiastical Committee’s (Reichskirchenausschuss) age, when the
intention was to find a central solution to the matter. The committee was composed
of clergymen from different groups, so that the Confessing Church now found itself
opposite the state and the governing party. This caused a rift in the Confessing
Church, some members of which encouraged negotiations while some rejected it.
However, the committee resigned, rolling the story to its fourth stage when government power intervened even more. The final conclusion of the article is that this
was only possible because the state power found a church that was fundamentally
dissolute. On a positive note, however, it remarks that the Gospels might become
the focus of attention in the church after all this commotion.

44 A német hitvalló egyház valóságos arca (Berlini munkatársunktól) (The true face of the German Confessing Church /From our Berlin correspondent/), Evangélikus élet, 1936/6. 9 February, pp. 42-44
45 The Confessing Church was the organisation of German Protestant churches that took an organised stand
against the German Evangelic Church set up by the German Christians in 1933. The six key points of the
church were formulated in Barmen in 1934, under the spiritual guidance of K. Barth.
46 Scholz, László: Az evang. Egyház helyzete Németországban I-II. (The situation of the Lutheran Church in
Germany, I-II) 1937/24. 13 June, pp. 189-191, and 1937/25. 20 June, pp. 195-96

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6. Short writings to create an ambiance
This is a transitional category in many respects. Many of the articles classified
here could fit into one or another of the previous categories, yet they went into a
separate category of their own because they cite arguments concerning the issue
of the Jewry, pro or con.
An example for this is the brief news item taken over from daily Az Est (The Evening) , according to which press editorial offices received a confidential directive
not to use the words Bethlehem and Nazareth because they recall the Jewry. If the
news is real, the Lutheran editor adds, it is typical of the revolution in which all lose
their wisdom and judgement. If it is not true, it is typical of the spirit often demonstrated by the paper in question.
47

An article from 193448 discusses the conflict between the Roman church and
the German government based on the front-page article of London paper The Evening Standard. The Pope49 openly rejects the theory of racial discrimination by saying, ‘Jesus, son of David, is a pure descendant of the Jewish race himself’. In reaction, German newspaper Völkische Beobachter states that the Pope’s grandmother
was a Dutch Jew named Lippmann. The London paper adds that according to the
German theory, the Pope is not part of the Aryan race.
It might be worthwhile to mention a reportage of the age, written in the form of
a dialogue, as it may offer lessons.50 The people interviewed are a converted Jewish
mechanic and his family, and the report shows the economic difficulties of the age
coincide with the little man’s situation in a way that affects his existence.
Then, there is a reflection from 193851 on Samu Stern’s pamphlet entitled Zsidókérdés Magyarországon (The Jewish issue in Hungary) published by Fiatalok Országútján (Road of the Young). ‘It is Christian Hungarians who stand face to face
with the Jewry who rejected Christ and, along with Christ, the Christian lifestyle,
social morals and human approach with a universal decision of the people.’

47 Evangélikus élet: 1933/49. 31 December, Figyelő: “Az Est…”(Observer: The Evening…), p. 5
48 Evangélikus élet: 1934/17. 29 April, p. 6, Figyelő, K-ny H-ó: A londoni Evening Standard…(Observer: The
Evening Standard of London…)
49 Pius XI, Pope between 1922 and 1939
50 Evangélikus élet: 1938/38. 24 September, K.P.: Az érdekeltek oldaláról… I. A zsidókérdés, (From the side
of the stakeholders… I. The Jewish issue), pp. 6-8
51 Evangélikus élet: 1938/15. 9 April, p. 11, Stern Samu: Zsidókérdés Magyarországon c. füzetéről…(On
Samu Stern’s pamphlet ’The Jewish issue in Hungary’)

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Being a Jew is not a matter of race or religion, it is a matter of spirituality. This
is what an 1942 article proposes. 52Selfishness, profit-mongering, exploitation, aptitude to live in sensuality. The author adds, ‘we are not free of these, either.’ Often,
when a Jew is replaced by a Christian, he attempts to learn rather than eliminate
the traits objected to in Jews. More roughly, with more greed and less skill. ‘Well, it
takes practice to be a ‘Jew’, after all’, the author sighs. His final conclusion is that
the ‘Jewishness’ that prompted outrage and the acts on Jews lies in a hedonistic
and immoral spirit with no conscience and chasing the pleasures of the world, in
short, the spirit of no Christ.
The following lines were published in May 1944:53 “Prohibition of the writings
of Jewish authors was greeted with joy. (…) However, the books that, though works
of Christian authors – be they Hungarians or foreigners – may corrupt the soul with
destructive thoughts and descriptions pursuing eroticism just as similar works by
Jewish authors should also be banned. (…) A sin must be identified as a sin, no
matter who commits it.’ In the age of destruction and war, the author believes state
intervention in private life is inevitable, individuals should stay silent now because
the fight is on for the nation.

7. Book reviews
Finally, there was a need to create a category for reviews of works relevant
to the topic in some way, whether by presenting the German situation, discussing
Jewry or the relationship of Christianity to Jewry. A few short examples:
The first is a review of a paper by Professor Kittel, professor for the Old Testament at the University of Tübingen entitled: A zsidókérdésről (On the Jewish
issue).54 He thinks the Jewish issue to be the most urgent and topical at the time
of writing his paper, in 1934. He warns about anti-Semitism as something that is
contrary to the Gospels of Christ in all respects, and yet is unable to deny the harmful influence of modern Jewry on the German people’s soul. He demands that the
Jewish issue be resolved on a Christian religious basis, relying on positive facts,
i.e. the termination of the Israelite-Jewish state in 70 A.D., and most recently, the
emancipation of the Jews. He also discusses failed attempts at solutions such as
pogroms, Zionism and assimilation, but guest rights might resolve the issue. Jews
52 Evangélikus élet: 1942/13. 28 March, pp. 3-4, Bé. Gé.: Ne folytassuk ugyanott…(Let us not continue
where we left off…)
53 Evangélikus élet: 1944/19. 7 May, p. 5, vkm: Szóvátesszük (Raise the issue)
54 Dr. Szlávik, Mátyás: Kittel: A zsidó kérdésről (Kittel: On the Jewish issue), Evangélikus élet, 1933/39. 22
October, p. 6

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should be granted the same rights in the German Reich as the Poles, the Danes
or the French. He emphasises his ambivalence: salvation comes from the Jews,
but the Jewish sin of Christ’s death made the Jewish people stateless, blinding it
to God’s purpose and religious mission, which is the tragedy and shame of this
people.
Another book published in 1934 was Miksa Fenyő’s study on Hitler. The article
offers a brief review of the book.55 The book itself is a fierce polemics against Hitlerism. Its ecclesiastical aspects are important because it addresses Catholicism and
Protestantism separately. It describes the fights entered by the Third Reich from an
Evangelic perspective. Fights are fought against three opponents: the Germans,
the Jews and Catholicism. It is set in political prophesy according to the review, but
this carries the threat that if the prophet’s vision was not good, it would have been
better not to write the book.
Another important review was published in Keresztény Igazság.56 According to
the review, Herrmann Steinhausen’s Die Judenfrage eine Christenfrage expresses
the opinion of the other side in a world of anti-Semitism. It offers an ambivalent evaluation, saying ‘hatred of Jews undermines the Christian position.’ ‘Acting against
the truth is a sin, and this should be heeded by all who have an active influence on
how the Jewish issue turns out. (…) With regard to the Jewish threat to the public,
we are often willing to accept behaviour that commits unfair acts and denies Christian spirits to be verified by this threat. This is not amenable and even threatens the
urgent solution to the Jewish issue.’
Finally, let us have a review the brief summary of which might serve as the motto of our topic and analysis. This is the review of Walter Grundmann’s Christentum
und Judentum57. A book made up of a series of studies, which are the output of a
German research exercise looking at the influence of Jews on clerical life. The Lutheran reviewer declares the following: ‘(…) it is dangerous for theological research
to serve topical matters – even if the results it brings to light after serious research
work are edifying.’

55 Evangélikus élet: 1934/6. 11 February, Új könyvek, recenzió: G.L.: Fenyő Miksa: Hitler, Tanulmány, A Nyugat
kiadása (New books, review: G.L.: Fenyő, Miksa: Hitler, a study published by Nyugat), p. 4
56 Keresztény Igazság: 1940/12. p. 22 Könyvszemle: r: Steinhausen Herrmann: Die Judenfrage eine Christenfrage (Book review)
57 Keresztény Igazság: 1941/12. December, pp. 339-340., Könyvszemle: Grundmann Walter: Christentum
und Judentum (Book review)

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Conclusion
The volume58 in which Sándor Raffay – who later became a Lutheran bishop – writes
the following was published in 1917, i.e. before the period analysed: “The essence
[of the Jewish issue][…] lies in the conflict that actually exists between Jewry and
the traditional national life, culture, language, objectives, direction and customs.”
All in all, it may be said that the articles scrutinised reflect this conflict. The
contradiction appears in the national and local clerical dailies, weeklies, magazines
and periodicals of the Lutheran church/spirit published between 1920 and 1945 in
articles, studies and papers of diverse genres.
It is important to emphasise that the majority of the articles approach the issue
from the essence of the Christian faith, and see the possibility of addressing or
resolving the situation in a dimension – of religion, of spirituality, of morality – that
cannot form the subject of objective scientific investigation or can do so only at
great difficulty. Nevertheless, it may be stated that the articles reviewed are mostly
moderate and opinion-leading articles from the perspective of Christianity.
In this sense, the issue was not overexposed. The impression is that the topic
appears moderately among all the other social and cultural topics discussed. This
is interesting because – and, perhaps, may be explained by the fact that – out of
Christian churches, the highest number of church members with one Israelite grandparent or parent were found in the Lutheran church. According to issue no. 4-5 of
the 22nd year of Magyar Statisztikai Szemle (Hungarian Statistical Digest), ’[…] based on the 1941 census: there were 725,007 Israelites in Hungary, and 61,548
Christians one grandparent of whom was Jewish, and of them, 22,962 had one
Israelite parent. This makes up 0.44 per cent of Christians. The ratio for Unitarians:
1.23 per cent, for Lutherans: 0.92 per cent (6,704 out of 729,288 Lutherans). The
rate is 0.49 per cent for Roman Catholics, and 0.45 per cent for Calvinists.59 The
factors underlying this nearly one per cent ratio might warrant further investigation,
but possibly, the relatively moderate tone is a consequence of this as well.
This paper concludes with a citation from Sándor Raffay’s brief piece mentioned above, which we believe to be a true reflection of the Lutheran press’ attitude
concerning the topic in the age investigated: “The Jewish issue cannot be resolved
by social or legislative reform. Just as it was generated by the Jewry, the path to the
58 A zsidókérdés Magyarországon, a huszadik század körkérdése, (The Jewish issue in Hungary, the poll of
the 20th century), A huszadik század könyvtára (Library of the 20th century), A társadalomtudományi társaság
kiadása (published by the society of social sciences), Bp. 1917, p. 125
59 Reference to this is made in the 1944/35. 26 August issue of Evangélikus élet, in: Dr. I.: A zsidószármazású
keresztényekről, (On Christians of Jewish extraction), p. 5

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solution can only be found by the Jews themselves. Hungarian society has never
hated Jews, and lifted individual excellent Jews of merit next to and even higher than
itself with particular attention and love. Jews have an obligation to themselves and to
Hungarian society, and even to the Hungarian nation, to merge with Hungarians in
serving the national interests and working towards the material and intellectual progress of Hungarians evolving on a national basis; to quit preferring cosmopolitism and
capricious imitation of the West; and to become an understanding, truly patriotic
and unselfish brother: and the Jewish issue will resolve itself.”

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The part played by the press of
religious orders in how
anti-Semitic opinion was
formed and public discourse
evolved in Hungary from
1920 to 1945
This study intends to contribute to the research of the responsibility of the CentralEastern European Catholic Churches for the Holocaust by introducing the topic
identified in its title. I will discuss the press publications of 6 religious orders
selected as a sample out of the 46 settlements of monks operating in Hungary
in the period discussed in three units identified by the chronology of their establishment, the nature of their lifestyle and social responsibility. First, I’ll draw up
the activity of the Monastic orders - the Benedictines and Cistercians, which had
been established in Hungary the oldest, then the Dominicans, Franciscans and
New Age Jesuits partly also originating in the Middle Ages, and finally the religious
orders and religious associations actively involved in welfare work organised to
mitigate the adverse impacts of the social changes in the new age established in
the 19-20th centuries. This is followed by an introduction of relevant texts from the
press publications selected for our study.
The multi-faceted research into the history of anti-Semitism leading up to the
Holocaust in Hungary including studies of the economic and spiritual history, theology and church history allows me to disregard a detailed analysis of the age and
the wider social context; on the other hand, the spiritual and organisational background of the Hungarian Catholic Church and the religious orders operating in
the period seem to be justified to be drawn up due to their weight and opinion
forming role.

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Rome and the Jews in the 19-20th centuries1
The overture of the new age anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church was one of
the first measures of Pope XII by which he forced the Jews of Rome back to the
ghetto in 1823. ‘To control the obstinate Jews’ he re-introduced the institution of
forced listening to catholic preachers, he ruled that permits had to be obtained to
leave the ghetto and the city, he required - among others - discriminating signs to
be worn, he banned the use of hackney carriages and the employment of Christian
servants and introduced forced baptisms. He had the Procurator of the Dominican
Order write a pamphlet in 1825 on the sins of the Jews,2 which was not only a compendium of several-hundred-year-old accusations, but also included the germs of
anti-Semitic topics voiced in the 20th century: The Jews are God’s murderers driven
by a mindless lust for profit, there is no evil act they would not carry out. They wash
their hands in Christian blood, they burn churches, they tread on the sacred host…
kidnap children to draw their blood, they rape virgins’ and so on, ‘they are pickpockets, thieves, swindlers, assassins’, ‘they strive to fool the Christians all the time...
wherever they live, they are a state within the state. Unless Christians act fast, the
Jews ‘will successfully demean them into serfdom. Woe on us, if we turn a blind eye!
The Jews’ rule will be hard, unmalleable and tyrannic…”3
The accusation of Jewish ritual murders to be found in medieval popular beliefs
was started to be spread again all over Europe in the middle of the 19th century by
publishing, translating and duplicating dubious obscure documents.4 The ‘educational office of the church’ - which was unable to engage in a meaningful debate with
atheism and secularisation - worded more and more false and tendentiously inimical
judgements relating to the opinion of people thinking differently, on sciences and
Bible interpretation, on democracy and the public morals. The church established
itself - paradoxically - what it had blamed the rulers of enlightened, absolutely monarchies for, i.e., pushing back the church into the sacristy, by an extreme enhancement of the feeling of being threatened. Scared of liberalism, positivism and popular

1 I have used the following works to study the antecedents of the issue: Assmann, Jan: [Herrschaft und Heil:
Politische Theologie in Altegypten, Israel und Europa], translated by Zoltán Hidas, Atlantisz, Budapest, 2008.;
Bultmann. Rudolf: [History and Eschatology] transl: Dezső Bánki. Atlantisz, Budapest, 1994; György Geréby:
Isten és birodalom. [God and Empire.] Politikai teológia. [Political theology.] Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 2009;
Kertzer, David I.: [The Popes against the Jews. The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism] transl:
Rudolf Komáromy. Ulpius-ház, 2003; Küng, Hans: A katolikus egyház. [The Catholic Church], transl: Péter Zalán, Európa Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 2005; Lafont, Ghislain: [Histoire théologique de l’Église catholique], transl:
Marcell Mártonffy. Atlantisz, Budapest 1998; and György Tatár: ‘Egy gyűrű mind fölött’. [One ring above all.]
Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 2009.
2 Jabalot, Ferdinando: Degli ebrei nel loro rapporto colle nazioni cristiane. V. Poggioli, Roma, 1825. further editions 1826. reference by Kertzer, 435.
3 Kertzer, p. 86
4 Kertzer, pp. 197-214, 274-303.

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movements and as a result of the crisis of the church state,5 the participants of the
First Vatican Council convened in Rome in 1869 believed to re-establish respect
and their former power by declaring the Pope’s infallibility and the centralisation of
the church administration.
European Catholics in the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th
centuries were surrounded by a closed denominational environment having its own
ideology.6 They hardly noticed how much the office structure of the church was bureaucratic and centralised, since the organisational forms of the church were centralised and modernised at the same time, and the clergy isolated from the ‘world’
as much as possible made up a disciplined group. All that together constituted a
closed ideological system, which legitimised both keeping a distance from the modern world and other denominations and the monopoly of an unalterable interpretation of the world. The anachronism in the development of the church and modern
society became apparent at the time of the reign of Pius IX (1846-1878). In the
same decade when Darwin published the theory of evolution, the Pope announced
the dogma on the immaculate conception of Mary (1854), and the Syllabus errorum
modernorum (A collection of modern mistakes, 1864) published as an appendix
to the encyclic Quanta cura was clearly a rejection of contemporary science and
any dialogue with culture. The books banned for Catholics included Copernicus
and Galilee, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Locke, Hume and Kant, Rousseau and
Voltaire, Taine, Montesquieu, Heine, Victor Hugo,7 Flaubert, Zola and many others. It was unavoidable for modern scientists, philosophers, intellectuals and artists to keep a distance from or leave the church and it was not infrequent that a
scholarly monk teacher continued his work either at some university or academy
or in some oriental mission far from the inquisitors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith looking for heretics. The same motives were usually not worded in
the clerical indignation for the spread of secular ideas. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903)
somewhat mitigated the opinion of his predecessor announcing the infallibility of
a Pope regarding modernity, democracy and liberal freedom rights, on the other
hand, he took special care for the operation of censorship, and over a thousand of
his documents included the condemnation of demonic forces attacking the church
5 When the Italian national state was established in 1870, the centre of the Catholic Church, the Papal State
ceased to exist, its estates were nationalised and Pope Pius IX and his successors lived in voluntary imprisonment in the Lateran Palace. That state of affairs came to an end with an agreement reached with the Italian State
in 1929 and the establishment of the State of the Vatican.
6 This paragraph is based on Chapter VII.9. of Hans Küng: A katolikus egyház rövid története [The short history
of the Catholic Church], (pp. 220-239.)
7 One of the readers of MK wrote the following in Budapest in 1925 on the novel Les Miserables by V. Hugo:
‘It is sold so unbelievably cheaply …, that we have to think that the Satan has its hand in it and this cheapness
must have some background. … When my wife started to read it, we saw it immediately that the teachings of the
Catholic Church were put on the pillory. I returned it immediately to the book seller saying that it must be a book
banned so we must not read it. … the book is available at every family. It is spreading unimaginable poison.’ A
reader to the editor-in-chief. From our mailbox. MK XIX/3, 2 November 1925.

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or freemason conspirators.8 Still having realized the church had to establish a new
attitude as a result of the social changes in the world. The Rerum novarum published in 1891 indicated for the faithful that the church may assist them in overcoming their problems. His successor, Pope Pius X (1903-1914) did not only return to
the conservative line taken by Pope Pius IX, but condemned all reform ideologies
depicting them as ‘modernisms’. He hindered the work of reform theologians, exegetes and historians striving to reconcile Catholic teaching and modern sciences,
he sanctioned the church intellectuals (indexing them, excommunicating them or
dismissing them). The index and the Syllabus listing the mistakes of the modern
age remained and an obsolete oath (1910),9 forced on all members of the Catholic
clergy was introduced, which meant a total rejection of a dialogue with the world.
The reactionary-inquisitorial line of Pope Pius X returned at the time of Pope Pius
XII, while the shameful enforcement of the oath had remained in force until 1965.
Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) promoted the practical distribution of ‘World Conquering
Christianity’ by establishing missions internally and in the Far East and by building
up a network of Actio Catholica. He had churches built in Palestine on the scenes
of the operations of Jesus.10 In his encyclical Mortalium animos in 1928, he banned
Catholics to participate at the Lausanne Ecumenical Conference planned in 1929.
In 1933, he did not take action against the persecution of the church by German
National Socialists and the internment of several Catholic priests, and how could he
have criticised the active discrimination of Jews and the pogroms organised against
them when the legal provisions depriving the Jews from their citizens’ rights used
pattern the church itself had implemented when it had been able to. His circular
beginning Mit brennender Sorge published in 1937 was too diplomatically worded
to make any impact. Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) was the last representative of the
medieval anti-reform and anti-modernity paradigm, who followed faithfully the line
of Pope Pius IX after the War announcing the second ‘infallibility’ dogma of Mary
(1950). Pacelli when he was a papal nuncio urged Brünning the Catholic German
Chancellor already in 1931 to enter into coalition with Hitler’s Party (because Brünning was unwilling to do so, Pacelli broke with him), then entered into an imperial
concordat with the Nazi regime already in July 1933 without any imperative reason
encouraging in that way the Catholic population, the resisting conference of bishops and the clergy to fit into the Nazi regime. He did not object to the ban of the
German Catholic organisations (1933), or the racial laws of Nurnberg (1935) or the
occupation of Austria (1938); he did not object to the attack on Poland and on the
start of the war, either. He received continuous information about mass murders
from 1942, but he only expressed generalities in two short addresses commiserating on the fate of those ‘unfortunate people’. He did not only abandon Jews but also
8 Kertzer, 404.
9 For the full text, cf. www.katolikus-honlap.hu/regi2/konyvtar2/antimodernista.htm.
10 FK V/4, April 1925; report on church buildings in the Holy Land in 1924.

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Jewish-Christians, the converted, the European Catholics and bishops saving Jews
acting in their interest or unwilling to collaborate with the Nazis. His silence resulted
in falsely shaping the conscience of many Christians, therefore, the destruction of
masses of people.

The Hungarian Catholic society and the Jews
in the 19-20th centuries
Similarly to the centuries-long European tradition of anti-Semitism, in Hungary also
the anti-Judaism of Christian teachings laid the foundations for the antagonistic feelings against Jews for hundreds of years. In Hungary in the modern age, the failure of
the struggles for national independence was compensated either by self-flagellating
defeatism and an apocalyptic vision of the death of the nation or by the construction of national glory and supremacy to be built on the mythical idea of a heroic
past. The narcistic view on the history of the country (and of the nation) rooted in
the age of Romanticism left little chance for a sober deliberation of the facts. In
such a frustrated state of the mind, even the most significant Hungarian thinkers of
the reform age, count István Széchenyi (1791-1860), ‘the greatest Hungarian’ (by
the way, a client of Rotschild and Wodianer banks) and the writer and member of
Parliament Ferenc Kölcsey (1790-1838) found the main source of every difficulty in
the Jews, because they considered the increase of the ratio of Jewish population
and their advance in the economy to be the biggest threats to the progress of the
Hungarian nation. ‘Széchenyi has said of the newcomers wedging themselves in
relying on Hungarian hospitality that »the country will not always become richer by
them and they many times harm Hungarians as a splinter and they have refused to
mix with them at least until now and it may never be«. This time I only wish to apply
this to the foreign ideas, the ideas smuggled across the Hungarian borders by every
kind of monkey-types willing to imitate but unable to create anything original, with
which they want to beguile the country. It is a futile endeavour. … Cold wit is saying
to me: do not listen to the beguiler who deprives you of your soul in the dark as a
lurking thief in a theatre emptying your pockets. Based on the rule of two by two, it
is not difficult to answer who we should believe? Is it the Pope who had been joined
with Hungarian history for 900 years or those of whom Széchenyi has said almost a
hundred years ago that they are the splinters in the body of the nation? What would
he write today if he saw the splinter grown into a log?”11

11 Dr. Aldár Krüger: A pápai gyászév. Előadás a Mária Kongregáció nagygyűlés díszülésén (II. rész 151-155.) [The
papal year of mourning. Address at the meeting of the Great Assembly of the Mary Congregation (Part II, pp.
151-155] MK Vol. V, 1911-1912, pp. 152-153.

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A resident contributor to the paper of university students called Maurinum
found verification of his anti-Semitic views with Kölcsey: ‘I only want to point out now
how much Kölcsey had not been an unrealistic dreamer, when he had seen the
peril represented by the Jewry hundred years ago and painted the realistic situation
with almost modern colours. Kölcsey dealt with the Jewish issue in an address to
the meeting of Szatmár County in 1830, …in which address he appears for us as
the first Hungarian researcher of villages. He speaks about the income, the burdens and the indebtedness of the peasants and considers one of the reasons for
that in the multiplication and increasing economic weight of the Jewry. He points
out although Jews pay the taxes but they take back double from the farmers. They
have in their hands the cattle trade as well as the trade in wine and palinca (brandy).
He goes on to say: »There may be no more dangerous sources of the poverty of
the taxpaying people than the obvious growth of the Jews. The people’ census in
1804 found 2,290 Jewish men, while there were 2,872 found in this noble county
in 1826; accordingly, the Jewish community increased by 582 men and if we count
the women as well, by at least 1,164 souls at a time when the number of Christian
taxpayers declined by over 16,000. There is nobody here among the members
of the noble county sitting here who would not think of the fate of neighbouring
Galicia when hearing about such multiplication of the Jews. It is far from me to
rely on panic mongering spread by the reports of Eisenmenger and others. But
I can sincerely mention the horrible image produced by Pr. Schulze on how Galicia had declined by the sons of Israel as seen by the whole Austrian empire.«’.12

The liberal Hungarian leadership of the age of dualism (1867-1918) opened
the gates for the advance of economic powers and for free enterprise. The Jews
forced for many centuries of adaptation could make better use of the opportunities
offered by a liberal state than their Christian compatriots.13 For many of them, social
integration was a sincere ambition. Thanks to their quick acknowledgement of the
situation, their knowledge of languages, their education and talent, they could become members of the middle and upper-middle classes in one or two generations
and quickly adapted to the habits of their class. Conversion to Christianity was a
path to assimilation. ‘The requirement that Jews should become Christians arose
in ancient times; that was the debate around the Messiah… The acceptance of the
12 Dr. Pál Svéda: Kölcsey Ferenc és a zsidókérdés. [Ferenc Kölcsey and the Jewish issue.] Maurinum V/3,
February 1939, pp. 4-7.
13 ‘The economic decline of our Christian Hungarian people. Written by István Miklóssy. In this social-political
study the well-known author points with a painful feeling of patriotism to the destruction of the Hungarian middle
classes and the continued wealth accumulation of foreigners already at astonishing measures by taking into account the statistical data of different counties. Everybody who is devoted to the rescue, survival and well-being
of the patriotic Hungarian small and medium sized land owners and wants to do something for it can read this
book with a lot of profit.’ Budapest, Stephaneum 1913. Price 3.-K.[n.n.] Bibliography. (book review) MK Vol.
VI, 1912-1913, p. 256.

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Messiah then the requirement of baptism were followed - from the beginning of the
19th century - by a new presentation of the old idea: the Jews should adapt to the
Christian state. We accept the Jews as citizens if they become Christians or if at
least they assimilate to the Christian state. If they do not: they are enemies and you
have to treat them as enemies. At that time, not religious conversion was the number one requirement but social assimilation. We accept if somebody is of Jewish
descent or even if he is a Jews provided he adapts to us. In everything. He should
be a Jew but so that he stops being a Jew…’14
The efforts of the Jews of the middle or upper-middle classes for assimilation were received with indifference mixed with reservations and sometimes with
contempt by the majority society,15 while their conversion was heartily accepted
by the churches.16 Many financed the building of churches or the establishment of
charity institutions with major foundations and cash donations, they practiced their
faith with sincere devoutness, and they were the officers of religious societies and
congregations and loyal self-sacrificing workers of the church.17

14 Géza Komoróczy: Másodlagos antiszemitizmusok. [Secondary anti-Semitism.] http://beszelo.c3.hu/masodlagos-antiszmitizmusok (19.02.2016)
15 János Gyurgyák: A zsidókérdés Magyarországon. [The Jewish issue in Hungary] Osiris Kiadó, Budapest,
2001, pp. 530-534, 557., Katalin Fenyves: Képzelt asszimiláció. Négy zsidó értelmiségi nemzedék önképe.
[Imaginary assimilation. The self-image of four generations of Jewish intellectuals.] Corvina, Budapest, 2010,
150-167.
16 Károly Kanter particularly encouraged the conversion of Jews. Cf. József Tiefenthaler: Budapest apostola.
Kanter Károly élete 1853–1920. [The apostle of Budapest, Károly Kanter’s life.] Szent István Társulat, Budapest, 1942.
17 An example: Magda Szemző (Kőszeg, 1907 - Szombathely, 1988) teacher of Hungarian and French. The
families of assimilated Jewish parents (Dr Sándor Szemző lawyer and Szidónia Kabos) changed their names in
1894 and in 1904 and converted to the Catholic faith. Mrs. Sándor Szemző, born Szidónia Kabos was a member of the National Federation of Hungarian Women and the Szombathely group of the Saint Crown Federation
of Hungarian Women. Those were mass organisations operating as civil federations representing conservative
values (the latter was a legitimistic league formed in 1926 to promote the cult of the members of the ousted
royal family), in addition to their patriotic and propaganda activities, they were engaged in welfare, teaching
and cultural work. Magda Szemző studied first in the girls’ primary school of the Dominican sisters, then in the
Sárvár Roman Catholic girls’ school, the young ladies’ seminary of the Sacré Coeur order of nuns at Pressbaum
(Austria) (1919-1921), then in the girls’ high school of Szombathely (1921-1925), at the chair of Hungarian
and French of PPTE (1925-1930), and at the Sorbonne of Paris (1929-1930). She had been a high school
teacher at Szombathely from 1930. She was the treasurer of the Youth Mary Congregation under the patronage of Blessed Margaret of the Árpád House then its first assistant (1921-1925), a member of the Szombathely
organisation of the Party of National Unity, and chairperson of the Szombathely Girls’ Group of the National
Federation of Hungarian Women from 1936. As a volunteer, she took part in child and youth care (organising
and operating day-care centres and holidays). In accordance with Government Order No. 1610/1944 dated
28 April 1944, she was forced to move into the Szombathely ghetto at the end of May. Her environment and her
students learnt then that the scope of the anti-Jewish laws also applied to her. Together with 17 other prisoners,
she wrote a letter from the ghetto to Sándor Kovács requesting the opportunity of daily communion. She was
deported to Auschwitz on 4 July from there she was taken to a military factory at Hessisch-Lichtenau. Following
8 months of forced labour and several occasions of ‘death marches’ she returned as the only member of her
family deported ‘without any hatred or fanatism’ (…) ‘she had no feeling of revenge or anger’. Krisztina Kelbert:
Magda Szemző. Arcképcsarnok. Híres szombathelyi nők. [A hall of portraits. Famous women of Szombathely.]
Szülőföld könyvkiadó, Szombathely, 2014.

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The assessment of wealth and social assimilation of Jews significantly financing economic progress resulted in the jealousy of the civil society.18
The gentry living on loans from the Jews, mediocre Christian students, entrepreneurs unable of innovation or traders miscalculating could not criticise their
Jewish competitors all the time for their better results or for their own misery, so
jealousy, contempt on ‘racial’ basis, slander, demonization, moral annihilation or
contesting their belonging to the human race were an easy defence at hand. Envy
develops hidden because it besmirches those who clearly admit it to themselves.
The envious will make use of every opportunity if somebody else will speak for them
or provide arguments for them to hide their appalling sins. That is how they can hide
their mean anger under political programmes, under elated concepts such as justice, the law and fairness, the interests of the nation, or they can find self-justification
in scientifically founded theories. A series of regulatory measures under legislation
allowed Christian citizens in Hungary to look at the Jews’ deprivation of their rights
with their arms folded and anti-Semitism openly advertised in the church press gave
them justification to do so with a clear conscience. The head of Hungarian Christian denominations were unwilling to unite even to take a united step for their own
followers, the Christian Jews,19 while several laymen, believers, priests or prefects
of religious orders saved people from spring 1944 listening to their conscience.20
First people they had a relationship with and later others asking for shelter. The official Catholic leadership was waiting for a statement by the Pope and while Cardinal
Serédi published his circular with a scandalous text in it: „…We do not deny that
part of the Jewry had a destructive influence over the Hungarian economic, social
and moral life. It is a fact that the others did not combat their co-followers in that
regard’21; the countryside of Hungary had already become ‘free of Jews’.
18 The basis of the following train of thought: Aly, Götz: Warum die Deutshen? Warum die Juden? Gleichheit, Neid
und Rassenhass 1800-1933. Fischer Vlg, Frft/Main, 2012, 277-301. In Hungarian: Befejezetlen történet.
[Unfinished story.] translated by Ágnes Gádor. 2000. Irodalmi és társadalmi havi lap, 25/12, December 2013,
pp. 3-13.
19 Braham, Randolph L.: The Christian churches of Hungary and the Holocaust in: Studies on the Holocaust. I.
Balassi Kiadó, Budapest, 2001, pp. 9-36 (14-21).
20 The prefect of the Verbites of Kőszeg accepted the second generation Catholic Sándor Görög, an 11-year old
student of Szombathely-Kőszeg, in April 1944 before the ghetto was set up and his family deported. More on it:
an interview made with Sándor Görög (1933-) pharmaceutical researcher, university professor, member of the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2002: Marianne Dobos: Akkor is karácsony volt [It was Christmans then]
(1944). Bíbor Kiadó, Miskolc, 2002 , pp. 270-276.
21 Braham, op-cit, 21. György Kiss, Catholic priest commented as follows: ‘So Cardinal Serédi - in June 1944
when the Jewry of the countryside and many tens of thousands of Jewish-Christians had already been deported
from the country tortured physically and mentally, humiliated, pressed into cattle wagons and the majority had
been killed before that pastoral letter was published - divided the Jews of Hungary into two parts. One part was
guilty because it had been exercising a destructive influence on Hungarian life while the other party was guilty
for being silent… What follows from this? It follows that …the whole Jewry should be condemned. The Arrow
Cross followers and the Hitlerists are saying the same… It is possible those people thought: it was only the way
to settling the Jewish issue that differentiated them from the church people!’ in: Sándor Szenes: Befejezetlen
múlt. [Unfinished past.] Private edition, Budapest, 1994, p. 283.

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The religious orders in Hungary
The institutions of male and female religious orders - as part of the Roman Catholic
Church - operated in a context continuously changing in different societies.
Their relationship – in accordance with the founders of the different groups
of monks, the goal and circumstances of their foundation, the regulations of the
orders (regula and statutum) and the actual demands, political and social structure of a given society changing with the times - may vary from complete isolation
spent in prayer, physical or spiritual work and contemplation thorough the active
service provided to individuals and groups suffering from needs in a civil society up
to the spread of the Christian belief (pastoral work, education, mission), sometimes
supporting public political goals. Their social responsibility is supported by the sotermed members of the third order (Oblates of both genres with the Benedictines
or Tertiaries with the Franciscans) organised from among civil members committed
themselves to the ideas of an order by taking a vow and sometimes organised in civil
communities acknowledged and supervised by the respective churches. In the period studied, the above forms of religious orders were present in Hungary: 18 male
orders with 109 houses, 28 female orders maintaining 336 cloisters.22
In the texts of the publications of religious orders, which were highly different
regarding their content and style, you can clearly follow how Catholic spiritual trends
that used to be different or even contrasting got contaminated discussing the relationship of a Cristian State – because Hungary between the two World Wars was
that in the aspirations of the Catholic Church - and the Jews,23 and how you could
make anti-Semitic declarations without uttering the word ‘Jew’. In that period,
the terms foreigner, of a different race, not-one of us, freemason, liberal, socialdemocrat and communist were embedded in the vocabulary of the popular political discourse having an effect up to now as each other’s synonyms. Their content
would include everything considered to be immoral, sinful, evil, savaged or rotten
to the core by those using the concepts in a political context.

22 Ádám Somorjai OSB: Cesare Orsenigo és Angelo Rotta apostoli nunciusok szerepe a magyarországi szerzetesrendek apostoli vizitációjában 1927-1935, [The part played by Apostolic Nuncios Cesare Orsenigo
and Angelo Rotta in the apostolic visitation of religious orders in Hungary 1927-1935] in: András Fejérdy
(ed.):Magyarország és a Szentszék diplomáciai kapcsolatai, 1920-2015. [The diplomatic relations of Hungary and the Holy See 1920-2015] (METEM könyvek), METEM, Budapest – Balassi Intézet Római Magyar
Akadémia, Róma, 2015, 211-226 (216-220).
23 Cf.: Friedrich Stahl: Der christliche Staat. Berlin, 1847 (2nd ed. 1858) referred to by: Gáza Komoróczy: Másodlagos antiszemitizmusok. [Secondary anti-Semitisms] http://beszelo.c3.hu/masodlagos-antiszmitizmusok
(2016.02.19.)

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The teaching orders
Regarding their operations and social responsibility, the western type religious orders established by royalty, the Benedictines (OSB) and the Cistercians (O.Cist.)
settled in this region the earliest (A. D. 996, 1130 and 1142) constituted a separate
group. Due to different reasons, their operations were terminated several times in
the course of the centuries. In order to ensure their presence and to retain the
assets required for their operations, they undertook the operation of secondary
schools from the beginning of the 19th century. The Benedictines operated 5 secondary schools in 1920 (Győr, Esztergom, Pápa, Kőszeg and Sopron), 8 in 1944
(the above plus the ‘returned’ Komárom, Budapest and Pannonhalma), the Cistercians maintained 5 secondary schools in 1940 (Eger, Székesfehérvár, Pécs, Baja
and Budapest), the latter also in charge of the spiritual supervision of several university students’ hostels as well.
Other groups of monks undertaking a major part in the education of the elite in
the period reviewed included - in addition to the Benedictines and the Cistercians
- the Premonstratensians, the Pius (Budapest, Kecskemét and Szeged) and the
Jesuits (Kalocsa and Pécs).24 The high standard of education, the excellent teachers, the open and tolerant spirit and up-to-date pedagogical methods, well-furnished
laboratories rendered the secondary schools of the religious orders attractive also
for converted Jewish students. In addition to students usually coming from the middle or upper-middle classes, the city schools also accepted commuting students
who were poor but talented. The monk-teachers were also responsible for organising the life of the boarding students, community building and education external to
the school. Their pedagogical goal was to establish in their students a demand to
make efforts to reach even higher and higher spiritual levels and maintain it at all
times. The members of the orders did not only deal with scientific or scholarly work,
research, tertiary and secondary education, leading secondary school and university boarding houses, organising civil societies and operating popular schools, but
through their contacts with their students, their families and the organisations of former students their mentality had both a direct and an indirect impact on the political
stance and ideology of the members of the middle classes. The monk-teachers of
the age were at the highest level of the hierarchy of intellectuals, many of them were
scholars and scientists, members of the academy whose authority was unquestionable also outside their church. The prefects and teachers of religious orders maintained personal relations with high ranking bureaucrats, government officers, civil
servants and the members of the officer corps who had been their students, which
24 Taking into account that in the period reviewed the Society of Jesus was not primarily present in the public life
of the Catholic Church, their press activities are described among the religious orders engaged in pastoring
and missionary work.

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could mutually shape their attitudes. In political issues, they refused to take sides
publicly; the primes of the orders of the orders were responsible for the necessary
public part to be played.
The Benedictine periodical Pannonhalmi Szemle [Pannonhalma Digest]25 was
in charge of informing the Catholic intellectuals living in the attraction of European
erudition. The column ‘Tanulmányok’ [Studies] reported on the scientific/scholarly
achievements of the members of the order and published opinions on topical issues
of the most diverse branches of philosophy, theology and the social and natural
sciences; the essays and short reports of ‘Figyelő’ [Monitor] responded to topical social and cultural events quite frequently with a critical edge and the column
‘Könyvek’ [Books] compiled with a spectre unique in the domestic press – with
several dozens of items from time to time – published reviews of mainly foreign and
secondly Hungarian professional literature in the order of library regisration. Benedictina was the column of the news of the order, events, press releases, oblatus/
oblata societies and the schools’ issues.
The Order of Saint Benedict was the only religious order in Hungary that was
exempt from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary, and this freedom and independence as well as its lively contacts with the Benedictine congregations of the world
shaped its spiritual horizon and its attitude to Hungarian reality. The nature of the
periodical and its bi-monthly publication allowed for a visionary review and assessment of the ecclesiastical and social processes, theological and spiritual trends in
the world by looking at them from a distance, contemplating responses, and selecting the adequate tone of those polemies from time to time.
Mayer Sixtus published a review of the issue of racism. His study Biological
and ideological implications of the racial issue undertook to introduce the topic fully
and retrospectively.26 Following a thorough description of the scientific results of
biology and genetics, he stated with reference to the racial theory built on blood:
‘According to the fanatics of the racial idea, the most treasured asset of any nation
is its genetic stock inherited in its blood’. He expressed his reservations and criticisms as follows: ‘Today – due to technology and civilisation - the strong internal
communication of mankind and its mixing has reached such degrees that no sharp
borders can be found among them. So we must see that even according to biology,
the race is one of the most diverse natural values that can only be defined with dif25 Published 5 times a year from 1925 – on 15 February, April, June, October and December - for the service
of the Hungarian Catholic culture and the Benedictine spirit. Editor-in-chief Dr. Viktorin Strommer and Jákó
Blazovich from Vol. XIII, issue 4. Responsible editor: Dr. Ernő Mihályi. Published by the Pannonhalma Saint
Benedictine Order. Permanent columns: Studies, Monitor, Books and Benedictina. The volumes reviewed:
from 1937 Vol. XII, issue 1 to 1944 Vol. XIX, issue 2 (37 issues)
26 PhSzle, issue XII/3, June 1937. pp. 195-207.

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ficulty, and it is not a greater value than culture or language. Therefore, to make it
the leading principle and measure of the values of an individual person or of whole
nations, i.e., the foundations of an ideology cannot be made.’ He meditates on the
interaction of inherited features and the environment using the peoples of the USA
as an example; he considers the human race as one and always speaks about different groups of peoples as types. ‘The peoples of Europe today do not belong to
the same type, on the contrary, they are compounds of very multi-coloured but
harmonised types, which came into being through crossing types that had not
been pure by themselves in the course of their history. So, for instance, Ugrian,
Turkish, Alpine, Dinaric and Baltic types took part in building up the Hungarian
people.’ Speaking of the mixture of minority peoples with majority ones he advises:
‘This naturally does not mean an underestimation of the values of a foreign type,
which may in itself be even more outstanding. You cannot set up an objective order
of values of the types anyway; it can only be relative, i.e., one or another can be of
higher or lower value from the perspective of a specific type’ and such a distinction
‘is definitely harmful and dangerous’, and the principle ‘cannot mean the exclusion
of a foreign type from the obligation of philanthropic love.’
The topic of race also appears among book reviews in the same issue.27 The
author introduces the comprehensive book by German biologist Hermann Muckermann on the history of the human race, the trends of genetics, the rules of the
development of races and on the position of racial studies. He quotes the author,
according to whom ‘a homogeneous racial composition of the German people is
impossible; you cannot speak of one race or pure race either in their case or in the
case of any other people … races were mixed already at the beginning of historic
times’. The author ‘specifically rejects… the effort to set up criteria to establish
the spiritual basis of racial differences. There are no spiritual features of that kind,
or at least they are unknown today.’ He emphasises ‘every race is of the same value
and therefore, the different aspects of the evaluation of races are rejected. (…) The
virtue of the northern race so much emphasised and glorified today, e.g., a skill of
initiatives and creation, can be found in other races in the same way’. The author
does not deal with the statements of Hermann Muckermann relating to the Jews.
The two studies published in June 1937 complete the topic of racial theories in the
issues of Pannonhalmi Szemle reviewed.
The topics of new paganism, new barbarism, the ‘romantic national idea’
and nationalism always appear together with the criticism of ideologies or political
trends that are harmful for the Catholic Church.

27 Dr. Géza Karsai: Hermann Muckermann: Gundriss der Rassenkunde. (The foundations of racism) Paderborn,
1935. (Book review) PhSzle Vol. XII/3, June 1937, Books. Racial studies, p. 236.

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A study by Jákó Blazovich: In the drift of anti-intellectualism28 ‘reporting on the
9th international conference of philosophers’ quotes Huizinga:
‘»The culture that wants to set the tone today does not only disregard reason
but the thing beyond reason (vom Intelligiblen), to the benefit of things below reason,
the inclinations and instincts. It opts for the will. … a barbarisation has started when
in an old culture, which created the transparency and clarity of thinking in the course
of many centuries, the magic and fantastic starts to ascend and blur concepts in the
mist of ardent instincts«. …Anti-intellectualism starts to take such measures that we
have to speak of a life threat to the whole of our culture. Hardly a generation ago,
Prohászka justly accused the age of the overdoing of intellectualism, and today …
the whole of our cultural life is drifted to the extremes of anti-intellectualism with a
stronger and stronger driver. »Der Mythos hat den Logos verdrängt« (The Myth has
ousted the Logos)…We are in the drift of a pecuniary neo-Romanticism, which is
threatening for the future of the whole western world’.
You can guess although it is not obvious that the above test, as a criticism of
the ideology of German national socialism, is directly linked to the encyclical Mit
brennender Sorge by Pius XI, which can be considered a rather belated reflection
on the establishment of Hitler‘s German-Christian religious movement in 1933 - that
can only be regarded as Christian due its anti-Semitism - and on the open persecution of the German Christian churches launched at the same time.
On the threshold of the World War, Jeromos Szalay29 evaluates the nature and
players of official Hungarian politics in his essay „Now, the passion milling the country has put on a cloak in the national colours. (…) In our days, mad men and utopists
very often govern peoples. And the dumb ones, who always have a need to adore
some idol, swap their traditional idols for those of the new faith, new superstition.
This leading group is reinforced by the adherence of a social stratum that comprises
of medium or lower talents of the intellect, aggressive countenance, peremptory
and priggish attitude believing to be infallible. This is a component that can ensure
victory for all trends.’
An indignant criticism of any opinions questioning the system-specific antiSemitism of the Catholic Church is an example of the unreflected anti-Semitism
of the Christian-Catholic middle classes: ‘In Germany, Austria and quite often in
this country as well Catholicism is accused in a peremptory style of being friendly
with the Jews. You need to be unaware of the masses and have the indelicacy of
28 PhSzle Vol. XII/4, October 1937, pp. 241-253.
29 Dr. Jeromos Szalay: Az idők sodrában. [In the tide of times.] PhSzle Vol. XIV/1, February 1939, Figyelő [Monitor], pp. 40-45.

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an agitator to say so. The Austrian Christian Socialist Party was famed for its antiSemitism. In Hungary, only the Catholic Peoples’ Party was anti-Semitic, the clergy
was against the provision of equal rights for the Jews, marriages of Christians and
Jews, etc. And where were the fathers of those accusing now the Church with
friendliness to the Jews in those fights? The Church stood on the grounds of natural
rights at that time and it is standing there now. People who do everything to use the
Church for their own means will do everything both covertly and openly by speaking
of a political church; but because it is not political to their benefit, they promise to
lead it back to the right path.’
The above is a clear reference to the fact that in the debate of the first antiJewish law in the Upper House in 1938, Cardinal Jusztinián Serédi and the bishop
of Csanád Gyula Glattfelder objected to both the principle of collective responsibility
and criminality and the declaration of the sacrament of baptism to be null and void
with a government order (despite all of that, they voted for the law acknowledging
a ‘necessary evil’30). ‘Sacristan’s exaggeration! …Mass history at the time of one of
the biggest crisis of our history. … It would be worthwhile to search for a dynamic
component; what part has been played by a static component, the moral and spiritual mediocrity of those happily arrived in evoking this dangerous spiritual state. It
is certain that the immeasurable cult of mediocrity, an obstinate insistence on positions and sharing them with one’s relatives and friends are the most effective drivers
of this passion.’
In the jubilee Saint Steven Year and maybe as a result of an address by Prime
Minister Kálmán Darányi in Győr on 5 March 1938,31 the voice of political Christianity and militant Catholicism appeared even in Pannonhalmi Szemle. With reference to Saint Steven, any topic and opinion may aspire to be legitimised; the
national conscience is full of the apotheosis of the Holy King. Tihamér Vanyó mediates the message of Saint Steven to the contemporary Catholic Hungarian intellectuals going into details surpassing legends on the correct and proactive religiosity,
the modern and social bourgeois spirit, the ‘original, Hungarian spirit being an end
in itself’:32 ‘We cannot find any duality or rift in the character and life story of our

30 Jenő Gergely: A magyar katolikus püspöki kar, az apostoli szentszék és a Soá. [The Council of Hungarian
Catholic Bishops, the Apostolic Holy See and the Shoa.] in: Gábor Hamp - Özséb Horányi - László Rábai (ed.):
Magyar megfontolások a Soáról. [Hungarian considerations on the Shoa.] Balassi Kiadó, Budapest – Magyar
Pax Romana Fórum – Pannonhalmi Fóapátság, Győr, 1999, pp. 94-95.
31 He stated that ‘There is a Jewish issue’. And it is one of our unsettled public problems. And if it is unsettled, I
can only regard a planned and legitimate settlement to be possible. I think the essence of the issue is that the
Jewry living within the borders of the country has a disproportionately big part to play in certain branches of the
economy due to its specific disposition and situation but also partly due to the inactivity of the Hungarian race‘
(János Gyurgyák, op.cit. p. 136).
32 Dr. Tihamér Vanyó: Szent István szól hozzánk… [Saint Steven speaks to us] PhSzle Vol. XIII/3, June 1938,
Figyelő [Monitor], pp. 204-213.

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King, Saint Steven … Only a belated attitude not knowledgeable about history may
say his activity was contrary to the so-termed racial Hungarian interests.’ Speaking
of the dark side of the bourgeois spirit and the rise of the middle classes, he leaves
no doubt about who are to blame in the style of the sensational press he otherwise
despises. ‘The figures of knights and monks, philosophers and poets are replaced
by the bourgeois driven by a desire for world power, the conqueror, the organiser and the profit-man. He looks onto the world from the self-conceited vantage
point of the powerful, the rich and those enjoying carnal pleasures from his life-box
furnished with a calculating mind, artificial and devious taste and overwhelming
riches. The Golden Calf is his Lighting Sun… However, it is a specific disadvantage
of our development that due to historic reasons, our bourgeoisie has been mainly
put together from foreigners, so it is rootless in this land and among our people
not only because of its ideology but from a national aspect as well. … This liberal,
unbelieving, immoral and frivolous spiritual environment mocking everything that is
noble and holy has been poisoning the minds of the emerging Hungarian intellectuals for decades…’
Reviving the ‘original Hungarian spirit that is an end in itself’ is the token to develop our ‘peculiar racial features’, ‘fantastic skills’ and ‘magnificent opportunities’. ‘A
free military lifestyle is one of our most characteristic features … More military spirit
on a modern but Hungarian basis!... The arms of the soldiers of Saint Steven were
used against two internal and three external enemies... In it, there is a symbol of the
mission of the Hungarian sword. Internally: it must smite all who attack the foundations of Saint Steven’s Hungary and want to be free from the power of the Crown
and the head of state. Externally: the Hungarian sword has a mission in the north,
east and south; as for the west, it regards with respect the nation that has given the
empire of Saint Steven missionaries and valuable cultural initiatives, which has bled
and built jointly with us in this land.’
There is no doubt that the ‘respect’ mentioned above is addressed to the German Empire annexing Austria a few months earlier. In the following years there would
have been major reasons for this attitude to be re-valued in the communications of
the order. With regard to the tensions between the relations of Hungary and Slovakia, we could welcome the study by Villebald Danczi on the 19th century Slovakian
national revival written in 1943,33 which was closed with a surprisingly exemplary
elevation: ‘Now on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of L.S.S. [Litterata
Slavica Societas], we wish the Slovak Catholics and nation to use their national
conscience launched with wise moderation and certainty for giving so much beauty
and goodness to the Slovak people and Europe from its national soul’, if we did not
know that this national conscience built with ‘wise moderation’ was rooted - at least
33 PhSzle Vol. XVIII/3, June 1943, pp. 194-198.

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partly - in attaching the independent Slovak State to the German sphere of influence
and was already burdened with the deportation of 57,628 Slovakian Jews when the
study was published.34
All press publications linked to the Cistercians were addressed to one or
other age groups of the students of the order.35
The Híradó [News] was a circular-type periodical publication issued in a relatively low number for information of small groups of the student society. The reports
and letters by students living in villages around the city included vivid descriptions of
the consequences of the war on everyday life, which was not so far away due to the
bombings. In summer 1942, the adult men were all missing from the villages, so the
holidays were spent in work. To replace the adults fighting on the fronts (because
even the farm servants were drafted) children worked on all farms and around the
houses while the municipal magistrates obliged students to perform the most different tasks. They worked in offices, in the forest, on road building or as supervisors
of threshing and compulsory delivery.
In 1943, the academic year only started at the end of October. The editor of
the paper advised students to repeat the curriculum, to be austere, to make efforts
to be perfect, to love God and their fellowmen, to help the poor, the sufferers and
the deserted, to study the book of rules of the congregation and he also thought it
was time to speak about the war: ‘It is God’s punishment on humanity that has abandoned him in masses due to self-adoration, the love of money, for the sake of carnal
pleasures, due to moral leniency, levity, egotism and enmity. (…) We must placate
the benign God who has been gravely harmed!’
In April 1944, the academic year is finished; in addition to earlier jobs, the students serve as operators of telephones, radios and telegraphs. In their letters, the
opinion of their employers appears: ‘That really friendly nation that almost took the
Carpathian Basin under its protection, seemed to be repugnant to many in the first
days of their entry. … It has become obvious by now that we have to take hold of the
34 Graziano, Ingrid – István Eördögh: Jozef Tiso és a szlovákiai holokauszt. [Jozef Tiso and the Slovakian Holocaust] METEM, Budapest, 2006, pp. 51-93. (78-79); Ilona Mona: Margit Slachta, Corvinus kiadó, Budapest,
1997, pp. 146-149.
35 Hiradó. [News] The summer bulletin of the Mary Congregation of the High School Saint Steven of the Cistercians in Székesfehérvár. Published periodically. Ed by: Dr. Rafael Marschall. O. Cist. Vol. IV, issue 1, July
1942 to Vol. VI, issue 4, August 1944 (10 issues). Maurinum. The periodical of maurinist university students.
Published bi-monthly from October to June. Edited by: Tibor Kecskés, Zoltán Miklós. Published by: dr. Damján
Vargha O.Cist. Saint Maurice Collegium, Pécs. Vol. III, issue 1, October 1936 to Vol. V, issue 5, June 1939.
(15 issues). Pécsi Szentföld. [Pécs Holy Land] Paper of Cistercian alumni. Published monthly. Edited by: Dr.
Lajos Helvey. Private edition. Duplicated manuscript. Vol. III, issue 7, September 1938 to Vol. IV, issue 7,
August 1939. Pécsi Szentföld. [Pécs Holy Land] Paper of Cistercian alumni. Social monthly. Edited and published by: Dr. Lajos Helvey. Budapest Vol. I-V, March 1940 - November 1944 (altogether 68 issues)

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hand of our great ally strongly to be able to survive this threat that is unprecedented
in our history.’36
Ordered to patrol together with the gendarmes, students took part in searching
for the soldiers on the allied airplanes that have been shot down: ‘we have been trying all day to catch the Negroes in hiding. (…) The gendarmes took the pilot having
catapulted out of a plane shot down to the village hall: he was a Jew.’37 At this publication, the responsibility of the person editing the paper can be raised who in the
same issue in May 1944 encouraged his students as follows: ‘When the life of our
nation, our life and our survival are at stake, the only path we can take is to fight on
the side of the allied Germany and work for its victory. (…) An Holy Hungarian spirit
should be our everyday programme! Self-sacrifice, apostolic attitude for the victory
for the home country!’ 38
Maurinum was the paper of the Saint Maurice Collegium of the Pécs University launched in 1934 to shape and strengthen the Christian ideology of the
Catholic students. The paper was written and edited by university students, some of
them also published in other papers as well. As it turns out from the articles getting
through the filter of the editor, they are interested in current politics in accordance
with their age characteristics and social position, they shape their opinion adapted
to the normative Catholic organs and time their publications accordingly.
On the 10th anniversary of the death of Ottokár Prohászka excerpts from his
vocabulary randomly put together sound funny from the mouth of students of law in
their 1st or 2nd years: ‘The Levantine morals of liberalism … have made Hungarian
social life unbearable producing high capitalism and the proletariat. The souls have
been supressed by arrogance, egotism, indifference to the faith, godlessness.’39
The cult of Prohászka was reinforced using specific typographic solutions. His
statement considered the most important was published at the bottom of the page
separated from the main text with a line as a motto: ‘The Jewish business spirit is the
murderer of morality’ (Prohászka)40

36
37
38
39

Hiradó [News], Vol. VI, issue 1, 1 May 1944, p. 8.
Op.cit. 10.
Op.cit. 3.
Béla Károly: Pálmaág Prohászka sírjára. [A palm on the tomb of Prohászka.] Maurinum Vol. III/4., April 1937,
pp. 53-55. The same a few pages later: ‘The efforts of Hungarian national socialism must be grown from the
soil of religion and moral because religion is the most dynamic popular organising force that can reinforce
the national idea. (…) In an international and cosmopolitan liberal age, religious indifference was present
together with the destruction of the national and racial values; today the national idea must go hand in
hand with dogmatic Christianity and religious life.’ (op.cit. p. 77.)
40 Op-cit. p. 66.

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Following the address by Prime Minister Darányi in Győr on 5 March 1938,
similarly to other media, Maurinum also sought it necessary to word its opinion on
the relationship of the church and the Jewry, which principally was identical to the
teaching of the church: ‘The anti-Semitism of Catholic Christianity is already 1,900
years old. The division and opposition of Christianity and the Jewry started on the
first Good Friday when the proud Jews were shouting to Pilate washing his hands:
Christ’s blood on us and our children. The curse has been conceived and the rift
has become full with the resurrection of our Lord Christ. Since that time, the Jewry
striving for world power and waiting for its Messiah and Christianity announcing the
idea of »one pen one pastor« have been two opposite camps. One of the two enemies must win and the other must fall. Because we believe in Christ, we say: the
Jewry must fall. The only question is how. And that is the driving point. Justice and
love must lead us in the solution. …it is not enough to flagellate Jewish sins in the
Jews but we must eradicate them from ourselves and from our brothers...’41
As the Hungarian Life Movement was established on 6 January 1939 and the
youth of the Maurinum joined it, an enthusiastic report was published: ‘We want to
live a Hungarian life on the Hungarian land. A Hungarian life on the ancient Hungarian
land. (...) We want: A new Hungary. Nationalistic society. Military spirit. Racial consciousness, racial protection. Spiritual reform. Christian unity. Evangelical warrior
love. Simplicity. Humility. Social reform. Free careers for all Hungarians. Economic
reform. Hungarian land for the Hungarians. Fight to overcome poverty. Work and the
respect of work. The purity of public life. Overcoming the hunger for profit. Extermination of abuse. One and only awe-inspiring Hungarian will. Hungarian life.’ 42
The university group of the Hungarian Life Movement held a debate on 15
February 1939. The ‘Jewish issue’ is already in good hands, but the German minority in Hungary are the new enemy. A series ‘Schwabisch in Hungary’43 is launched.
The author states bitterly ‘He who criticises them or their statistics is a »friend of the
Jews«”.’ Béla Imrédy, the founder of the Hungarian Life Party ‘a benefactor of the
country, patron of little men and poor Hungarians’ paid a visit to Maurinum. ‘We celebrated Christianity, the Hungarian spirit and ourselves in Béla Imrédy.’ 44
‘The new press law is a major step in the purge of Hungarian life. It strives to
stop poisoning the spirit of the people in the name of freedom with spiritual nourishment that is not for them and foreign to its soul and ancient natural taste and with
41 Zoltán Miklós jogh: Maurinum, Vol. IV/4, May 1938, p. 80.
42 G. V.: Maurinisták a kopjafás zászlók alatt. [Maurine students under the banners.] Maurinum Vol. V/3,, February 1939, pp. 18-20.
43 Text on the history and topical national policy by Gyula Matúz on Schwabisch hegemony. Maurinum Vol. V/4,
May 1939, pp. 9-10.
44 (-) Vol. V/4, May 1939, p. 3.

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presenting the facts in such a way that is intended to serve corruption and the world
power of the Jewry planned in an evil way and not particular about its means. However, the law must also be implemented: and we need Christian journalists for that.
The »Maurinum« is of a great service in that field when it offers latent talents to be of
use for our people when they have gained well-founded knowledge.’45
Pécsi Szentföld [Pécs Holy Land] differs from the other two publications both
in its content and tone. It explicitly declares its independence from Maurinum, a paper also linked to Pécs.46 Its editor, authors and readers are former students of the
Pécs Roman Catholic High School of the Zirc Cistercians. At the start of the paper
in 1934 most of them are 60-70 years old, already inactive, and they used to be
students of the school founded in 1843 between 1880-1900. The first volume is
rather a circular duplicated for internal use. The typical genres of its nostalgic tests
are obituaries and memoires, reports and chronicles of church events. The ‘social
monthly’ printed regularly from 1940 publishes historical, local historical, church
and order history papers, and interviews with schoolmates in high positions on topical issues,47 as well as book reviews and responses to some topical event.
Some of the former high school students at Pécs were obviously personally
affected by the acts of war in neighbouring Yugoslavia, which used to be a caption area of the school. The fact that Hungary concluded an eternal agreement of
friendship with Yugoslavia on 27 February 1941, then marched there on the side
of the German army on 11 April and annexed one of its parts, meant ‘divine justice’
for the smug author of Pécsi Szentföld: ‘Southern Baranya has returned (…) it was
prepared by a spiritual revision following much suffering, since we have been taken
out of the blindness of a liberal philosophy, from open faithlessness, freemasonry,
from judaication by those sufferings and we were driven back to the path of Saint
Steven’s concept: the thousand-year-old alliance of faith and country.(…) God has
given us realisation as a reward.’48 In the August issue, a soft reprimand arrives: ‘My
brother, do you want to stop the truncatedness of our country? First, you should
make your soul complete and build it up into a whole!’49

45 Pál Svéda dr.: A megtett út… [The road taken ...] Maurinum Vol. V/5, June 1939, pp. 17-20 (20.)
46 Ed by: PSz Vol. III/7, September 1938
47 PSz Vol. II/11, November 1941, Elemér Pongrácz: Jó kézben van a magyar légvédelem. Látogatás Kishindi
Komposcht Nándor tábornoknál (az Országos Légvédelmi Parancsnokság vezérőrnagya) [Hungarian air defence is in good hands. A visit to General Nándor Kishindi Komposcht, the major general of the National AntiAircraft Command].
48 dr. László Gálos: Délbaranya visszatért. [Southern Baranya has returned.] PSz Vol. II/5, May 1941, pp. 1-2
49 Elemér Pongrácz: Serlegbeszéd a Pécsi Ciszterci Öregdiákok Budapesti Csoportjának 150. vacsoráján. [Toast
given at the 150th dinner of the Budapest Group of the Pécs Cistercian Alumni] PSz Vol. II/8, 4 August 1941.

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There were only three intolerant, discriminative and anti-Semitic writings in
the 68 issues reviewed. I suppose one of the reasons for that can be found in a
text by Gyula Hagyó Kovács, the governor of the Cistercian order published in
October 1942.50 Following the Trianon peace treaties, the order had to give up
part of its estates for settling the Hungarians streaming into the country from the
formerly cut-off parts, and the amount of redemption was immediately invested
into enterprises. At Nagyvenyim, on the estates of the order, a starch and oil
plant was established and stocks were purchased.51 ‘In this way, the Cistercian Order is in the front line providing guidance and understanding the call of
the times that the Hungarian land-owing gentry must not keep a distance from
industrial interests if it is serious in wanting that such industrial interests should
be exclusively Hungarian both in capital and slowly by slowly in management as
well.’ Settlements were established on the estates of the order and enterprises
by servants were helped with funding. The order spent 50,000 Pengő on welfare every year.
In March 1943, the editor-in-chief was the author of a celebratory article on
15 March, which - in strong contradiction to the happiness in 1848 over achieving the ‘freedom of the press’ - was celebrating the blessings of press censorship introduced in August 1940 - albeit with some delay. ‘The destructive press
had driven us to the revolution of the asters, so into Trianon and into the March
of the Republic of Councils. (…) The soul of honest people had never before
been oppressed so much. The freedom of expression meant destruction for
them. That horrible period of villainy, cruelty and idiocy has passed as a terrible
dream. Then in the days of Christian revival, the press has returned to its noble
mission. (…) The sanctuary of press has been cleaned of the profiteers, the
sellers of pigeons have been removed from its hall .… we do not have to defend
ourselves against journalists of the gun in the field of our press figths, because
they are no more!’52
In the next April issue of the paper, dr. Aladár Krüger was involved in geo-political considerations on account of the decay of France and Russia: ‘The whole country was supressed by the interests of the community of freemasons in one place and
by the community of mainly Jewish clowns in the other place … The Christian idea
50 Gyula Hagyó Kovács: Akié a falu, azé az ország. [Who owns the village, he owns the country.] PSz Vol. III/10,
October 1942, 3 skk.
51 The Zirc Cistercian Order had interests in the following companies: Hungária Egyesült Gőzmalom [Hungária
United Steam Mills], Kalocsai Margit Gőzmalom [Kalocsa Margit Steam Mills], Dunaföldvári Kendergyár [Dunaföldvár Hemp Plant], Magyar Bauxitbánya Rt [Hungarian Bauxite Mines], Salgó-Tarjáni Kőszénbánya Rt [Salgó-Tarján Coal Mines], Rimamurányi Vasgyár [Rimamurány Iron Factory], Egercsehi Kőszénbánya [Egercsehi
Coal Mine], Magyar Általános Hitelbank [Hungarian General Credit Bank].
52 Dr. Lajos Helvey: Nemzeti dal vagy internacionalizmus? [National anthem or internationalism?] PSz Vol. IV/3,
March 1943, pp. 1-2 (2).

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is one that can make peace between the individual and the community, between the
man and the state. A Christian state only has equal citizens.’53
The contemplations of an anonymous author were published for 20 August:
‘Using the words of the Gospel of the national holiday, we request the patron God
of Hungarians to keep away the horrible ghost of paganism from Mary’s country in
all its forms. Let him remove the socialism of Asia from us just as well as the neopaganism of morbid European doctrines. It was a year ago that the eastern front
demanded terrible sacrifices from the country of Hungarians. The young life of our
deputy governor. Let this sacrifice be the atonement for old sins. Let the Almighty
save our nation in the hour of peril and let the beauty of the glorious holy Right Hand
retain the empire of the first apostolic king in its wholeness!’54
The publication is silent about the 2nd Hungarian army’ destruction in JanuaryFebruary 1943 at the river Don, in the same way as the issues in 1944 were silent
on the entry of the German troops and the deportation of the Jews. There is a ban
on assembly, the Budapest Group cannot hold its monthly meeting, Dr Vilmos Vizer
cannot deliver his toast. The old gentlemen are sitting in the Zöldfa Restaurant of
Spolarich in silence. In August, the editor makes his farewell as befits a Cistercian student by quoting Kisfaludy: ‘No, not the enemy, his own son has caused his
wounds.’
The last issues reduced to 4 pages in October and November are filled by the
Pro Patria columns.

Orders established for the dissemination of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church
In addition to living evangelical life, the order of preachers, the Dominicans (O.P.)
have considered their main mission to spread the Catholic faith since 1221; the
followers of Saint Francis, the Franciscans (O.F.M.) have been striving for solidarity with the poor since 1233 and the Society of Jesus (S.J.) have been ardent on
obedience to the Pope since 1552. The members of the orders had no institutional
or personal property, no land and covered the costs of living from donations. They
were jointly characterised by keeping daily connection with the civil society in the
course of their pastoral work, they took part in popular missions and their civil helpers and supporters were connected to the orders in an organised manner.
53 dr. Aladár Krüger: Egyéniség és közösség. [Individuality and community.] PSz Vol. IV/4, April 1943, p. 2.
54 PSz Vol. IV/8, august 1943, p. 6.

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The Dominicans, who were engaged in the highest level of theology and the
education of sciences in medieval Europe, operated five monasteries and vicarages in Hungary in our period (Szombathely, Kassa, Vasvár, Sopron and Budapest).
In addition to the pastoral service, they were engaged in retaining and activating
men in the church, they took part in organising male pilgrimages, Catholic high assemblies and popular missions. They mainly recruited the membership of the civil
organisation operating under their leadership called Credo Association, which was
of several thousand members, mostly on these occasions.
The attraction of the movement organised for Catholic men - as opposed to
the definite class structure of the civil society and of the associations of the Jesuits
organised on missionary basis - was its expressed democratism.
Credo,55 the official paper of the association was initially an internal bulletin. It
reported on topical events, the development of the organisation, then as its membership suddenly increased (it had 2,000 members in 14 organisations 2 years
after establishment56) it also published educational series of articles on the history
of the order and of the church, life skills guidance for men, edifying short stories and
plays. The editor-in-chief of the paper, Kornél Bőle O.P. was a speaker of Catholic
mass rallies much sought after, his speeches were also printed.
Since it was launched later and in a lower circulation than similar papers, it
tried to meet the modern task of being a press apostle with increased devotion.
Mixing its metaphorical language with populist exclamations, it is drifting and inciting its readers further and further away from obligatory Christian love to open antiJewishness.57
It is diligently searching for and takes over from other publications if necessary
news items or debunking facts about the fraudulent attacks of the enemy without
using the word ‘Jew’ even once. ‘In response to a question by H., as well as to
avoid forgetfulness, indifference and frivolity and also to inflict wounds on certain
55 Periodical for Catholic men. The official paper of Credo Association. Published between April 1923 and August
1947 in principle monthly (sometimes bi-monthly). Editor-in-chief and publisher: Kornél P. Bőle O.P., Ágoston
P. Márk O.P. from 1943, Bertalan P. Badalik O.P. from 1945. Publisher and owner: The Monastery of Saint
Dominic. Budapest. Permanent columns: Watchtower, From Heart to Heart, Face to Face, Mailbox. Newsideas, Vol. I, issue 1, April 1923 to Vol. VI, issue 12, December 1928. (68 issues).
56 László Kubányi: Beszámoló a díszgyűlésről. [Report on the celebratory meeting] Credo Vol. II/6, OctoberNovember 1924, pp. 116-117.
57 ‘All Catholics know very well that Christ and Marx, Catholic faith and social democracy cannot fit in the same
soul! You cannot serve such two masters at the same time! Beware! The slogan is: out with them from the
village! Because benevolent Catholic people do not need their scams or evil mischief! (p.k.) Credo, Watchtower. Church News. Vol. I, issue 1; ‘Revolting defamation of religion keeps the public opinion of the city
[Zalaegerszeg] in uproar…!(-) (news item taken over from the 22 June 1923 issue of Új Nemzedék) Credo Vol.
I/2-3, august 1923

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consciences, we list who have been representing and (unfortunately!) still represent
the Hungarian press to a large extent: Ferenc Molnár – Neumann, Dezső Szomori –
Mór Weiss, Emil Szomori – Manó Weiss, Lajos Bíró - Emil Blau, Menyhért Lengyel
- Lefkovits, Tamás Kóbor - Adolf Biermann, Sándor Nádas - J. Neumann, István
Szomaházi - Arnold Steiner, Andor Miklós - Ármin Klein, Béla Révész - Ármin Reicher, Henrik Béla – Ohajem Bernstein, Andor Adorján - Mochem Leckenbach, Sándor
Kemény - Kohn, Ede Kabos – Rosenberg, Károly Sebestyén – Schossberger, Pál
Kéri – Krámer, Szaniszló Tímár – Schwarzberger, Oszkár Jászi - Jakobovits, László
Lakatos – Wellner, Pál Farkas – Wolfner, Füzesséri Fabinyi - Izidor Forschner, Jób
Bede – Rosenberg, Dániel Jób - Dávid Ziffer, Andor Gábor – Greiner, Jenő Molnár
- Jakab Müller, Péter Újvári – Pinkász Neuwelt, Dezső Erdőssi - Dávid Ehrenwald,
Imre Berkes - Izidor Bergl, Ottó Bernát – Singler, Tamás Emőd – Fischer, Ernő
Szép – Schön, Miklós Lázár – Léderer, Ferenc Göndör – Náthán Krausz. And for
this reason, the Catholic masses happily purchase the writings of such people!’58
A few months later, seemingly lacking any topicality: ‘Who wrote the newspapers in 1918? Out of 30 journalists of Est, 25 were Jews, the ratio was 18/20 for
Nap, 25/19 for Újság, 10/18 for Budapesti Hírlap, 19/23 for Déli Hírlap, 7/7 for
Friss Újság, 15/20 for MTI , 16/20 for Népszava, 23/23 for Neues Pester Journal,
12/12 for Neues Politisches Volksblatt, 32/32 for Pester Lloyd, 16/20 for Világ.
So 211 were Jews out of 250 in total. That was then. Who can be blamed for this
high degree of ruin? And today who reads those papers? 5,271,976 Roman Catholics (175,274 of them of the Greek Catholic denomination), 1,670.,44 Calvinists,
497,012 Lutherans, 50,990 Greek Orthodox, 6,224 Unitarians, 473,310 Jews
(most of them in Budapest!), 10,487 other (including 4,187 Baptists, 1,773 Nazarenes). Well, are not we buying the rope ourselves for our own hanging when we
pay an order such papers? The reader should decide whether they are the bigger
traitors and destroyers of the country or us, the readers of the papers.’59
The question arises how much the religious life of Catholic men were made
more complete if they learnt from the paper that the author of the most popular Hungarian youth novel or the intendant of Vígszínház changed his name from German
into Hungarian or was possibly a Jew?
The time has come to speak openly. First Béla Bangha Jesuit father is quoted:
‘The solution of the Jewish issue would be the following: The Jews should cease to
be Jews if not in a religious sense but in any case by fully overcoming their identity
and (I make efforts to avoid the word »racial«) class egotism. They should be honest
and good Hungarians just as our Germans and (mostly) Slovaks were, and then anti58 (-) Credo Vol. I, issue 4, November 1923, p. 17.
59 Beszédes számok. [Telling figures. ](-) Credo Vol. II issue 2, March 1924. Watch Tower, p.45.

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Semitism will suddenly come to an end. But as long as they are hiding the problem
instead of solving it, the most important foundation of reconciliation and making
peace, i.e., respect will be missing.’60
Reconciliation is missing on other fronts as well mostly among Christians:
‘There are signs indicating that we are sliding downwards in our revival expected to
occur in the spirit of Christ’s Christianity! ...poor, doped people mock, spit on and
make rude remarks to the servants of God everywhere; Jews and freemasons grinning behind their hands are making the rope for a final »suspension« of the Christian
course; Those in power help our Protestant fellowmen with the highest efforts into
every position, job, action, etc., and at the same time, the Catholics miss every
opportunity being late under beautiful pretexts with the slogan of holy peace and
unity…’61
Finally, the big disclosure comes on how the Jewry conspired with the freemasons to achieve the world power of Jews. The publication of such an absurd
text construed from the remnants of beliefs, creeds, teachings and false teachings
raises the issue of the editor’s responsibility and suitability. The following quotations
provide a summary of its essence: ‘…the Jewry has recognised and acknowledged
the opportunities of organisation and power in freemasonry and have done all preparations to shape freemasonry to their own image. (…) ‘Freemasonry is playing such a
big part in the world domination policy of the Jewry and its plans that we first have to
argue the whole history and development of the Jewry, because we can only understand them in that way. The maelstrom of huge and mystic ideas dawn on us when
we deal with the part played by the Jewry; with the question what place the Jewry has
taken in the plans of God, in world history. What kind of a fate are they carrying on
their dark and stooped shoulders? The Jews of ancient times had a three-fold task:
to maintain the faith in the one God and the Messiah, to have the Messiah born out
of their midst and that salvation should be executed on him by sacrificing him on the
cross. (…) so that they could maintain the faith in the Messiah in the whole world, God
has given them high skills of trading, with which they became the first trading nation
already in the old world and had connections with all nations of the Earth… The Jews
have fulfilled their mission, maintained the faith and the desire for the coming of the
Messiah. The race had to survive so that the Messiah should come from them. That
is why God has given them the unprecedented racial strength that even today resists
ever effort for assimilation; and even if they mix with other races, they shape them
to their own image. So the Jewry had remained in racial clarity until the times of the
Messiah, but at that time - according to the plans of God - it lived in diaspora, i.e.,
dispersed all over the world, so that it could implant the soul of all nations with the
60 Taken over from Magyar Kultúra) Credo Vol. I/4. November 1923, p.10.
61 Kornél Bőle O.P.: Fel a gátra! [Up to the dam!] Credo Vol. II. issue 4, July-August 1924, p.65.

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belief in the Messiah. But when the Messiah arrived, who came was not who was expected; he was expected to come as a powerful king to liberate them from the tyranny
of the Romans. That belief lead them to mistake Christ for somebody else, to crucify
him and so to implement all technical details of salvation. It was there that the soul
and history of the Jewry turned around… From that time on, the Jewry have become
representatives of all anti-Christian efforts and what is called anti-Christianism using
an artificial term besides the part played in the whole world history. (…) The Christian
peoples of the Middle Ages looked at them as generations of God killers and closed
them into ghettos … and restricted their freedom in every way, and such an oppression - 1,800 years old - forged them into one with terrible force and made that people
living dispersed in the world united. They were living silently in the ghettos and they
were waiting. And in the meantime, secretly from generation to generation, they were
hoarding gold, riches, and made plans to acquire world domination when their time
comes. And it came in the 18th century, at the beginning of economic and state
liberalism, when provided with equal rights in every respect and using the unused
energies of 2,000 years they plunged into obtaining power greedily. The work they
have been doing for about 100 years is fantastic. It is so big that it is unprecedented
in world history: a nation of 15 million, which could retain its racial nature for 2,000
years having no home and living dispersed (where are the other small nations of Europe who lived 2,000 years ago?), jumped into the height of power from the greatest oppression with one spring. Do not be ashamed and do not deny: today Jewish
money and business interests dictate everywhere today; the naked and lewd morals
of the Jews find expression in clothes, books and dances. We cannot but assume the
existence of some uniform central directive so that this unmatched interesting event of
history could happen, and in fact, research in the field has justified it in every respect.
… The objective is to lay the foundations of a Jewish world empire under the rule of a
king from the tribe of King David through a world revolution breaking out as the whole
world becomes freemason. The material and spiritual rule of Jews over Christians.’62
The traditional service of Franciscans was the spiritual care of city population
and assistance to the poor. They operated in two provinces of the order in Hungary
between the two World Wars. The Capistran province provided parish pastoral work
in 26 cities and villages (Baja, Budapest-Országút, -Pasarét, -Hűvösvölgy, Csongrád, Debrecen I-II, Dunaföldvár, Eger, Gyöngyös (and Mátraháza), Hatvan, Jászberény, Kecskemét, Máriagyűd, Mátraverebély-Szentkút, Mohács, Nyíregyháza,
Pécs, Salgótarján, Siklós, Simontornya, Szécsény, Szeged, Szigetvár, Szolnok and
Vác) while the Marian did so in 18 places (Andocs, Búcsúszentlászló, Esztergom,
Felsősegesd, Kapuvár, Nagyatád, Nagykanizsa, Pápa, Budapest, Sümeg, Székesfehérvár, Szombathely,Veszprém and Zalaegerszeg). They took part in popular missions, organised pilgrimages and contributed to the upkeep of places of worship.
62 (Vindex) A szabadkőművességről. [On freemasonry.] Credo Vol. IV. issue 6-7, June-July 1926, pp. 114-118.

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Already in the Middle Ages, civilians attracted to the spirituality of Saint Francis gathered next to Franciscan communities; they were people who wanted to live according to the guidance of the Gospel, while maintaining their secular status. Those
brotherly communities were organised into regular societies in time. The members
of the order - in accordance with the rules of Tertiaries - take a vow after a year of
trial period; they take a name of the order, wear the clothes of the order or other
signs of the community. Their slogan is: Peace and work!
The 3rd order of Saint Francis, the Tertiaries have very strong historic traditions
in Hungary. In 1942, the 245 groups operating next to the monasteries in the two
provinces had about 26,000 members including many parish priests. Their paper
Ferences Közlöny [Franciscan Bulletin],63 is outstanding among the publications
of religious orders reviewed by carrying an objective reflexive attitude and a mild,
moderate and wise tone in addition to its varied content and visionary thinking. ‘we
are convinced that the spirit of the 3rd order fully permeated by the wisdom of the
Gospel will greatly contribute to the improvement of individual and public morals,
as it happened at the time when Saint Francis announced to the world God’s country in words and actions… If we investigate the religious, moral, cultural and social
problems of our age, we can find the analogy of those features in the social life of
the century of Saint Francis. Similarly to the present desolate situation, at that time
three typical factors covered the life of individuals and indirectly that of this society:
the lack of love, the indifference to religion, the immeasurable greed and its natural
consequence, an orgy of immorality! … We want to fight against mean pessimism,
materialist thinking and social egoism. We preach the struggling humanity faith, resignation and love… Our goals are peace and work.’64
The magazine is characterised by a sincere search for truth regarding the issues
of faith and religious exercises. A typical example of that is the objective description of
the debate generated around a publicly known ‘miracle’ - unquestionable still today with respect to the House of Mary at Loreto. ‘As a respected Piarist scholar remarked,
the historical credibility of the legend cannot impact the great respect provided to our
63 Ferences Közlöny. [Franciscan Bulletin] Published monthly from 1920. Owner and publisher: Balázs P.
Borsányi O.F.M. Gyöngyös, editor from 1927 to 1935, responsible editor from 1936 - 1941: Mór P. Majsai
O.F.M.,. Editorial office and publishers: Budapest I. Publishing owner: The Franciscan province named of
Capistran Saint John. Columns: Krisztus útján [On Christ’s way], Terciárius vademecum [Tertiary vademecum],
Rendi élet [Order life], Kritika [Criticism], A terciárius ifjúság levelesládájából [From the mailbox of Tertiary
youth], Krisztus közelében [Near Christ], Rendünk világkrónikája [Our order’s world chronicle], from 1942
Magyar Barát. Ferences Közlöny. [Hungarian Friend. Franciscan Bulletin.] Published monthly. Edited by: Dr.
Ince Dám O.F.M., Published by: The Franciscan province named of Capistran Saint John. Gyöngyös. Vol.
XXII, issue 1, March 1942 to Vol. XXIV, issue 11, November 1944. Publishing office from February 1944: Vác,
Ferencesek. (altogether 52 issues)
64 FK Vol. V/1, January 1925, p. 3. László Haner: A Ferences Közlöny célkitűzése (a Közlöny Irodalmi Estjén
elhangzott előadás szövegéből) [The mission of the Franciscan Bulletin (quoted from an address given at the
Literary Night of the Bulletin].

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Virgin Mother there and it has not changed the privileged position of Loretto at all. We
should however be aware that all scholars made statements against credibility. ….
The stories about the origin of the cult are falsifications from the 17-18th centuries.
… The Church and its followers are not disturbed by that, the belief in the legend and
the adoration of the Holy Virgin is important.’65
In 1938, when the press media were loud with the apology of the theological
foundations of anti-Semitism, the Ferences Közlöny contemplating on God’s intentions reiterates the circumstances of the origin of the Bible. „»Happy is the one
who will not be outraged in me.« Not today but already 1,700 years ago Marcion,
a Greek philosopher was outraged by the Old Testament and tried to eradicate it
with every means. Especially two things seem to be outrageous: why God entrusted
the Jewish people with writing the Holy Script and why did he not give it to everybody as fortune for the taking?! In his excellent book »Christianity or racial religion«
Dr. Klemm wrote the following: »Man cannot argue with God, he cannot make him
accountable asking why he wanted to make a revelation to humanity through the
Jews.« And if that happened: »it is man’s obligation to accept the world of God in
good faith, because that world has a nature beyond nations and races and applies
to everybody.« (pp. 111-112). God had freedom to choose and confided in the Jewish people for his words. He could have done so with the Egyptians, or the Elamites
or the Greeks to make them the carriers of his revelations. We can only deduce
why he exercised this great mercy with the Jews. Maybe it was because they have
the strongest racial phenomena and 18 million Jews dispersed in the 4 corners of
the world stand as a unified camp today among powerful nations. And the reason
why we can only say »Jewish Bible« is because it reflects the features, virtues, sins,
and way of speaking, poetry and soul of the chosen people. In other words: God
wanted to communicate his laws, the means of his mercy and his eternal truth to
the whole humanity and used the sons of that Semitic peoples’ race to implement
his plans in the same way as we choose one of many candidates at an election to
fill a certain part or position. And it is a scandal for many: Why has God chosen the
Jewry and why not us or our ancestors? A soul seeing to the depth of things will not
be shocked by this question. Because the important thing is: That God has given
the revelation. It is not so important whose hands were used to have it written down
and forwarded it to us. So the Bible is not a »Jewish Bible«, but it is God’s word. It
is true he has placed it in the hands of men and had it written in Hebrew letters, but
the Egyptian cunei form writing or the Chinese symbols could have been the carrier
of the revelation just in the same way.’66

65 FK Vol. XVIII/7, July 1938, p. 218
66 Anzelm P. Szabados O.F.M.: Isten szava emberkézben. [God’s word in man’s hands] FK Vol. XVIII/3, March
1938, pp. 87-89. (87-88.)

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As if the Franciscan father would specifically enjoy introducing the manifold
and varied work of Tertiaries in Italy instead of raising the example of some Catholic
saints to its Hungarian readers: ‘God-fearing Tobias of the Jews lived in captivity in
Assyria. He lived for others and did the good deeds everywhere. (…) Should you
be the Tobias of the New Testament like many Tertiaries in Italy! In them the divine
Saviour walks among us acting good.’67
The only text in which the names of politicians are mentioned at all is the following:
‘Today, so many people think their desires, hopes and ideas are embodied in
Hitler or Mussolini… How much more we could see it in Christ and in his life! This is
preached by Saint Francis and His spirit.’68
I have only found one text mocking or offensive to the Jews in the 52 issues
of he paper reviewed: ‘World Encyclopaedia. Published by Enciklopédia Rt. Budapest, 1925. Seeing the title, you take in hand this nicely printed volume of almost
a thousand pages with great expectations. The concept of an »encyclopaedia« includes everything the world has knowledge of today. This encyclopaedia however,
is more a ‘khon-lexi’ and take it as everything that smells of garlic. It has a lot of that
indeed. Cecil Tormay and Béla Bangha are disposed of in 6 lines, but it writes columns about Lenin even printing his stupidly evil portrait. It is indeed a breviary of the
liberals warmly offered to Jewish trainee conferenciers Its title is »World Encyclopaedia«. Well I do not know, is it only leftist things that make up the world? Anyway it
would be much better if the highly adored Isro-Indian calibres mentioned in it would
appear next year in an encyclopaedia of »the other world«.’69
The Society of Jesus (the Jesuit Order) was established to spread the Catholic faith all over the world with absolute obedience offered to the Pope. They wore
civilian clothes and lived in a loser framework than the communities of monks so
that the success of their mission should not be hindered by clothing separating the
different groups of clerics from the lay followers. Their long training period, high
level of education acquired in the most varied branches of sciences in addition to
theology, their excellent skills for adaptation and openness to topical themes and
methods such as the flow of information made their services indispensable in diplomacy for the Popes. Because of their exposed position, their operations have come
across several crises.

67 Lőrinc P. Forintos O.F.M.: A terciáriusok csendes tevékenysége. [The silent activity of the Tertiaries] FK Vol.
XVIII/6, June 1938, pp. 176-177.
68 Szilveszter P. Sall OFM. FK Vol. XVIII/5, May 1938, p. 148.
69 Lajos Laurisin. Kritika [Criticism] column. FK Vol. V/3, March 1925, p. 149.

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The Jesuit Order has been present in Hungary since 1561 with interruptions
of several decades. After being established in 1909, the independent Hungarian
Jesuit province considered its main task to get the social leading position of the
Catholic Church to be acknowledged. In the period discussed they operated 7
houses: Budapest (2), Kapornak, Mezőkövesd, Kalocsa, Pécs and Szeged; of the
264 members 87 are priests, 104 are seminarists, 73 are helping brothers and 10
members worked in foreign missions. Their areas of operation included teachingeducation, pastoring, popular missions, building nationwide organisations and, first
of all, press-apostleship.
Their activity of social organisation covered the whole Hungarian Catholic
society and regulated almost all walks of life. Despite their relatively small infrastructure, they performed huge tasks, beginning from the organisation of church
construction at workers’ colonies to organising peoples’ colleges and courses
aimed to increase the spiritual and professional knowledge of the holders of micro
and small lands.
Since their establishment, their most important civil organisation the Congregation of Mary70 was built in every period including the period reviewed on
a regional basis corresponding to a strict division of social classes and duties
and intended to integrate the whole Hungarian Catholic society in its efforts.71 Its
members committed with an eternal vow are instructed by a rule of books about
their obligations,72 their virtue exercises and the operation of individual associations. They were expected to prepare annual reports on their cultural and social
activities registered every month and forward it to the Budapest head office of the
nationwide organisation. The head office encouraged every congregation to have
its own home, with a chapel, a meeting hall, a library; they should arrange theatrical performances, popular educational courses, take part in creating jobs and the
dissemination of the media.

70 On its establishment in 1564, its structure, operation and Hungarian history, cf.: Antal Mohl: A Mária-kongregációk története különös tekintettel hazánkra. [The history of the Congregations of Mary with particular
attention to our country] Győr,1898.
71 So for instance, there is a Congregation of Mary for the gentry girls of Miskolc, for the gentlemen of Budapest,
for the small clerks of Budapest, for the girls applied in commerce at Székesfehérvár, for the ladies of Kolozsvár, for house servants, for universities, for church organisations, secondary schools and scouts, for priests
from 1910 and for the officers of the Royal Hungarian Army from spring 1944.
72 ‘Codification of the principle of authority (section 44 of the book of rules): »obedience to God, to the Church, to
superiors«.’ A. Lotz: Prohászka Ottokár hagyatéka [The legacy of Ottokár Prohászka] MK Vol. XX/9, May 1927; ‘If
I want to be a loyal son of my Church, an exemplary Catholic, I only have to study the book of rules and will learn
everything even how I should behave at an outing’. Love the book of rules! MK Vol. XV/5, January 1922, p. 5.

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The periodical of the same name, Congregation of Mary (hereinafter: MK)73
published a regular selection of the reports of different congregations. Let us have
an example of the report by the Congregation of Mary: A Congregation of adult girls
under he patronage of Saint Margit of the Árpád House named after the Holy Virgin
of Immaculate Conception at Békéscsaba. Annual report: membership 60, meeting and prayer every second week, common holy mass and communion in white
clothes at 10 church holidays during the year and once a month. ‘Our virtue exercises by monthly records: self-restriction 1,300, perfect sorrow 1,300, meditation
1,200, spiritual reading 300, holy communion 700, attendance at weekday holy
mass 500, visitation of sacristy 500, charity 250. In six months we have sold 5,000
copies of Új Lap and Szív újság.’ They had five performances, the income of which
was used to cover the costs of educating 3 war orphans for a year.74
Building the organisation and documenting it, the accurate keeping of records
and statistics are regularly returning important topics in the paper.75
‘…this institution [the Congregation of Mary] is to unite Catholics of a strong
faith and strong spine in the adoration of the Virgin Mary, to strengthen in its members the virtues of Christian morality and enthusiastic patriotism, to awaken religious
feelings and patriotism, uniting all into one camp but not attacking anybody, but
curb - by defending itself, its truth and ideals - the unfortunate trend that wants to
tear the faith in God, the insistence on Christian morals from our soul and the love of
our country and the Hungarian race and respect to our ancestors from our feelings.
The congregation wants the weeds to be eradicated and famous Pannonia to be a
flourishing garden again.’76

73 Religious periodical. (Religious illustrated monthly from the 21st volume and religious illustrated monthly from
the 22nd volume). A magyarországi Mária-kongregációk Közlönye. Kiadja a Budapesti Jézus Társasági Rendház. [Bulletin of the Congregations of Mary in Hungary. Published by the Budapest House of the Society of
Jesus] Published monthly except for July and August. Edited by: Béla Bangha S.J. (Vol. XIII-XVII and Vol.
XX-XXXIII), Lipót Fiedler S.J. (Vol. XVIII-XIX), József Vid S.J. (Vol. XXXIV-XXXVII), László Varga S.J. (Vol. XXXVIII) Editorial office and publishers: Budapest VIII.; Columns: Kongregációi élet [Congregation life], Hitvédelmi
Csarnok [Religious hall], Hírek [News], Hírek a missziókból [News from the missions], Szerkesztői üzenetek
[Editors’ messages], Ifjúsági rovat [Youths column], Levelek egy leánykongreganistához [Letters to a girl member], Mária-tisztelet [Adoration of Mary], Szűz Mária a művészetben [Virgin Mary in the arts], A leghíresebb
Mária-kegyhelyek [The most famous shrines of Mary], Őrtorony [Watchtower], Külföldi Hírek [Foreign news]
etc. Vol. XIII, 1 special issue, October 1919 – Vol. XXXVIII, issue 4, December 1944 (258 issues).
74 MK Vol. XIV/8, April 1921, p. 14.
75 Book indispensable in leading the Congregation: The manual of the Congregation of Mary, The records of the
Congregation of Mary, Log book of council meetings, Log book of the congregation, Virtue sheets, statistics
MK Vol. XXIV/7, March 1931, p. 121; Statistics: The periodical appeared in 18 thousand copies before the war,
now it is only 5,500 copies MK. Vol. XVII/1, 1 September 1923, p. 4.
76 A Mária-kultusz – nemzeti tradíció. Szölgyémy Ferenc előadása a kongregáció díszgyűlésén. [The cult of Mary
- national tradition. Address by Ferenc Szölgyémy at the ceremonial meeting of the congregation] MK Vol. VI
[September 1912 . June 1913] p. 167 (164-167).

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The author probably means by ‘that unfortunate trend’ the introduction of state
registers and the admittance of the Jewish religion in 1895. Since both laws were
adopted despite the veto of the church, the Catholic Church considered their introduction a major violation of its interests and considered they were the completion
of a process started with the emancipation of Jews in 1867. And the ‘weeds’ obviously was the presence of Jews in Hungarian society. A metaphoric wording is not
alien to the age, its phrases could be easily deciphered by the readers trained on
the political publications of the leading orator of public fights, Ottokár Prohászka,
the bishop of Székesfehérvár (1858-1927). That church author and orator committed to social issues from its youth, a leading figure of political Catholicism, put the
blame on the ‘Jewish merchant spirit’ for every trouble of the country in his fervour
to save the nation: ‘»we want to prevent that Hungary should be a land of Jews…
we want to help good willing Jewry of a national feeling to assimilate to the national
Christian society«”’77
A follower of his and successor in his struggle to save the nation - who was a
generation younger - was the Jesuit monk, Béla Bangha (1880-1940). He blamed
the Jews collectively for our participation in the war, the collapse, the coerced
path taken by internal and foreign policy, and - after the Republic of Councils
and the trauma of Trianon - not only for economic problems but also for Bolshevism, the intensive secularisation following the war and modernity. At variance
from Prohászka ‘he rather emphasised ideological struggle and represented militant Catholicism to the end’. ‘Both in their public roles and in front of the Catholic
public, they were committed warriors or even programmers of the politics termed
as Christian-national course.’78
When Béla Bangha announced the programme of re-building a Christian Hungary in autumn 1919, he declared his views clearly: ‘Christianity is not only a religion
and an ideology but also a social system. … Here we have the best opportunity for
Christianity to show what it can achieve and to take the total reorganisation of the
society in its own hands. … Up then, you warriors of the Virgin Mary! Let us lead our
compatriots to the cross and the Motherland will be saved!”79

77 Máté Gárdonyi: Az antiszemitizmus funkciója Prohászka Ottokár és Bangha Béla társadalom- és egyházképében. [The function of anti-Semitism in the image of society and church by Ottokár Prohászka and Béla Bangha] in: Judit Molnár (ed.). A holokauszt Magyarországon európai perspektívában. [The Holocaust in Hungary
in a European perspective]. Balassi, Budapest, 2005, 193-204 (195-196). On the role of Prohászka, see also
Krisztián Ungváry: Értelmiség és antiszemita közbeszéd [Intellectuals and the anti-Semitic public discourse],
Beszélő 2001/6.
78 Máté Gárdonyi, op.cit and the same: A keresztény kurzus programja Bangha Bélánál. [The programme of the
Christian course with Béla Bangha] Studia Wespremiensia Vol. IX, 2007, pp. 25-36.
79 MK Vol. XIII, special issue, October 1919, p. 16.

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The motto: ‘Those who do not listen to the Mother Church should be pagans
and publicans to you’ was outlined in every issue of MK; to be interpreted: as unrepentant in sin, the lowest of the low in society and despised among people.
Bangha considered Christian anti-Semitism a correct and necessary attitude,80
and considered the doctrine of Hungarian national superiority based on the racial
theory and termed new-paganism to be a competitor of Christian anti-Semitism.81
‘I deem it necessary to strongly outline the unfortunate un-Christian and pagan features, fluctuations and cults that have gained momentum in many university
movements, associations and societies - in student groups deemed to be Christian
- mostly over the past few years. A racial idea, the protection of the race, nationalism or national awakening: they are all excellent but if they are disconnected from
God’s idea and the Catholic Christian religious ideology, they will be paganism in the
fullest sense of the word, whatever nice cloak they appear in. … Nationalism and
Catholicism are contrasted with unbelievable frivolity and ignorance, and a daring…
phraseology is used to draw the most superficial and most shameful consequence,
i.e., Catholicism is an enemy of the Hungarian national and racial idea.’82
For the same reason he published - already in November 1934 - a dramatic
report on the persecution of the church by the Nazi dictatorship.83 But in the next
issue of December 1934, he comments the burning of books in Germany with concord: ‘Many believe it is a comedy, … a silly idea, the frivolous bragging of petty
bourgeoisie drunken on power and its own strength. (…) We do not think it is a comedy even if many authors worth burning were left on the list of the non-dangerous,
and even more books worth for the stake were forgotten on bookshelves’ because
‘there are indeed works and authors that have a murderous impact on the state, the
nation, the race, the morals, the faith and decency and those who are responsible
for guiding and protecting others have a serious obligation and duty to defend not
only the uncritical masses but everybody from them. That is why burning books is
not a comedy, it is something with which Hitler sent the world an unusual warning
that cannot be deemed modern but it is, certainly, effective.’84

80 ‘To be anti- Semitic or an anti-Communist are correct things, but they are not Christianity yet.’ A nagy ébredés
[The big awakening]
(-) MK Vol. XIII/2k. November 1919, p. 2.
81 cf.: Aladár Krüger: Turán hí, jöjjetek! [Turan is calling, come along!] MK Vol. XVIII/6, February 1925, p. 5.
82 Dr Antal Lotz: Az Egyetemi Mária Kongregáció hivatása. [The mission of the University Congregation of Mary]
MK Vol. XVIII/1, September 1924, pp. 4-6 (5-6).
83 Sándor Meszlényi (Salzburg): A horogkereszt alatt. [Under the swastika] MK Vol. XVIII/3, November 1934,
pp. 4-6.
84 József P. Vid S.J.: Égő könyvek világánál. [At the light of burning books] MK Vol. XXVIII/4, December 1934,
pp. 4-5.

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The Christian union required to re-build a Christian Hungary was only manifest
in phraseology: ‘… from a practical perspective, Catholics and Protestants must
cooperate. And mainly for two reasons. Firstly, because one by one and divided
we would be too weak against destruction, the Jewry and the organised army of
social democrats, their attacks and encirclement. The Christian socialist workers’
organisations, for instance, can hardly take up fight against the red flood engulfing
everything. (…) With regard to the media, our Christian papers can only break the
ice against the Jewish media… if they unite their forces in the field of the press to
protect their joint political and economic interests. (…) That union cannot relate to
issues of faith and church discipline.’85
Later on, however, MK speaks about Protestants in the tone of sometimes
competition and sometimes resentment or even anger: ‘We have found that the
Catholics’ fate is poor these days. Although the ratio of Catholics and Calvinists
is 62% to 21% even in the truncated Hungary, a disproportionately higher number of the followers of the Reformed Church receive high positions. Catholics can
hardly make a move while Protestants are noisy to complain about their alleged
grievances.’86
In his editorial, Béla Bangha speaks about the adoration of Mary and condemns
the pessimism of Protestants.87 Uncle Laci huff and puff in an indignant and sarcastic voice that the followers of the Reformed Church are in the lead everywhere,88 the
editor publishes drafts of apology dialogues separately for boys and girls to provoke
debates with their Protestant friends about the adoration of Mary,89 and there is a
competition for the missions too: ‘we have to use all our power to prevent Protestantism from overtaking us in the conquest of land and to ensure the Church of Christ
the place among pagans that is its due for its divine origin and eternal truth’.90
Speaking of mixed marriages, it uses the verbal phraseology of the counterreformation: ‘Those who enter into a mixed marriage, or are willing to convert to the
Lutheran faith for their spouses, to marry in a Lutheran Church demonstrate a soul
that will not recoil from even the gravest sin. Rejecting the true religion is one of the
most serious sins… we can hardly believe it can be committed by a member of the
congregation.’91

85
86
87
88
89
90
91

‘Christian’ and ‘Catholic’ movements. (-). MK Vol. XIII/8-9, May-June 1920, pp. 4-7 (5).
MK Vol. XV/3, November 1921, p. 10.
MK Vol. XIV/8, April 1921, pp. 2-4.
MK Vol. XVII/1, September 1923, pp. 11-12.
MK Vol. XVIII/2, October 1924, pp. 12-13.
(letter from China) MK Vol. XXI/8, April 1928, p. 128.
(-) Editor’s messages: MK Vol. XX/6, 1927, pp. 17-18.

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‘Why does not the Church issue a ban on mixed marriages without reversals?
Because it assumes two things of the Catholic party: 1/ he or she is not committed to religious neutrality according to which every religion is equally good
(Baptist, Pentecostal, Unitarian, etc.), 2/ he/she assumes the Catholic party is
convinced his or her religion is the only true one, loves his or her future children
honestly and is not so heartless or unchaste in his or her soul to throw them to a
denomination that - according to his or her conviction - would lead the children
to false paths in religion, the most important question of life. So those that are
shocked on reversals are either indifferent to the religion, godless or heartless or
cruel to their children.’92
Influencing the hearts was not neglected either: a short story entitled A false
step by Mária Blaskó, an author of sentimental short stories, didactic plays and
children’s books is a real Catholic thriller: a child born into a mixed marriage and
baptised to be Protestant dies in the cradle, while the other members of the family
perish as well. 93
By emphasising the superiority of Catholicism, Bangha does not only hinder
the cooperation of Protestants and Catholics supportive of the politics of the national course, but he is unable to collaborate with the other Catholic movements of
organisations either. In answer to a reader’s question, he wrote - intentionally misunderstanding the question (and so overreacting and feeling insulted ‘with reason’):
‘The congregation may not be organically subordinated to any other association
(e.g., Altar Society), because it is an independent church body, what is more, a high
body approved by the Pope’, and according to CIC 723 ‘it should not be aggregated
into another dependent organisation’.94
Bangha is trying to object, but in the end he has to acknowledge he cannot
avoid contact with the movement Actio Catholica (AC) established on the initiative
of Pius XI. He allows Zsigmond Mihalovics, the national director of AC to publish in
his paper ‘a call for the general mobilisation of lay people’. Although AC only wants
to set up its organisations at the parishes of the diocese, it also wants to be an ‘elite
team’ such as the congregations of Bangha.95
A militant protection of the faith and a call for leadership appears in the paper
in new genres. Civil movements had already arranged mass performances of artistic expression in the first decades of the century to transfer and learn the ideology
92
93
94
95

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Religion letter box (-) MK Vol. XXXVII/4,, December 1943, p. 11.
MK Vol. XXIII/8, April 1930, pp. 149-152.
MK Vol. XX/10, June 1927
New Crusade! MK Vol. XXVII/2, October 1933, pp. 30-33.

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eventfully, and to promote the community forming power of similar thoughts and
emotions by communicating them expressively.
The obligatory drawings by Lajos Márton are replaced by art-deco typography
and graphics, with a totalitarian vision on the front page: masses march in orderly
rows in the rising sun towards a unified Christ-Mary emblem; inside, there is type
setting typical of dailies, differentiated font size, columns and textboxes, military
commands between lines, rhymes of an apologetic content with several verses to
increase confidence for ‘reciting in chorus or for private use’. The refrain: ‘I am a
Catholic boy! ... and I want to win, to win, to win! (…) my faith is the only one to save,
the only true and holy one.’96 is encouragement to ‘occupy key positions for forming
others’ opinions’. ‘…we are fighting for the millions of souls and the huge enemy
camp threatening the church of Christ is working with trained and fanatic leaders
and we can only confront them using similar weapons’97
‘Hungary must become an exemplary state through the collaboration of Church
and state, because it is impossible that in the country of Mary the power of the state
and that of the church of Christ cannot show mutual respect! … The empire of Mary
surrounded by the Carpathians must victoriously advertise the rule of the national
spirit and soul above the different peoples, races and languages!98
Following the re-annexation of Northern-Transylvania, there is no doubt ‘what
is the mission of the Hungarian nation by God based on the principle of Regnum
Marianum? It must be the role model country for Christian morals, the role model for
jurisdiction, the role model for social justice, the role model for religious tolerance
and efforts for religious homogeneity, the role model of the collaboration of church
and state, the role model of the brotherly community of peoples with different languages and cultures and the roles model for national independence’.99
It is an accidental coincidence, but the voice of self-conceit assured in its victory appeared in the days of the pogrom to become known as the ‘Újvidék blood
shed’: ‘We are soldiers, the new soldiers of the eternal fight of new times. (…) Where
we appear on the plane of love with the parachute of meekness, songs, flowers,
sunshine and spring will be our alleys. (…) Brothers! We are fighting for life.’100

96
97
98
99

MK Vol. XXXIV/2, October 1940, p. 11.
MK Vol. XXXIV/1, September 1940, p. 8.
MK Vol. XXXIII/8, April 1940, p. 9.
Ankétvázlat a regnummarianumi Magyarországról. Kateketikai feldolgozás [Draft on Hungary of Regnum Marianum. To be processed in Catechism] MK Vol. XXXIV/2, October 1940, pp. 11-12.
100 MK Vol. XXXV/5, January 1942, p. 7.

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At the beginning of the period reviewed, MK was inciting against the Jews without regard to content or context in the most diverse genres and styles. The editorin-chief Béla Bangha was probably the author of writings published anonymously.101
Let us have a lengthier quotation personally by Bangha: ‘Jesus is alive among us
today but… his enemies are also alive…. The Passion did not cease to be, it is still
continued today. The name of the murderers of Christ is different today ... but their
role is the same, their arms are the same and their military tactics have not changed.
That which is called Caiaphas in the Gospel; the synagogue is still here today and
it is fighting against Christ with not less anger than at that time, with a difference
that it has taken a different name now and it is hidden by the seemingly innocent
names of »democracy«, »liberalism« or »freemasonry«. However, its banners still
wear the words: »Death to Jesus of Nazareth: to his memory, to his person, to his
teachings, to his institutions, to his church and his followers!« »Let us tear him from
the earth of the living and let his name not be mentioned any longer.« (Jer. II.19.) …
As 2,000 years ago, also today, he is surrounded by the scribes: the rationalists,
the free thinkers, the atheists…; the Sadducees are also here… the philosophers
of materialism, the adoration of earth and blood; …and then here is Herod, the
incestuous tyrant, ... with a whole army of people drowned into sensual pleasures
living only for their lecherous desires for whom - as the apostle says - their bellies
is their God. We have here this army around us: journalists, authors of novels, film
makers, playwrights and the whole legion of bohemians who ridicule Christ and his
servants rudely in the media, in novels, in the theatre, on the film or in painting; they
throw mud at him. (…) We should not act as the disciples who … like Saint Peter
at the time of the martyrdom of Christ liked to get warm at the fire in the court of
the enemies of Christ and was terribly scared that two sharp-tongued servants of
Caiaphas - public opinion and the media - will say to them… »Well, you also are with
Jesus of Galilee, are you also a clerical?«.”102
Reviewing all issues of 25 volumes of MK, it can be stated that threats of the
aggression of the Jews were reduced in time just as the ridicule of Jewish women
or a generalising high-handed contempt of the ‘Jewish morality’. Side by side with
collectively condemning the Jews, positive evaluation of individual people or groups
occurs relatively frequently. Part of them are narcissist descriptions of the compas101 A keresztény sajtó diadalútja (-) [The triumph of the Christian press (-)] MK Vol. XIII/2, November 1919, pp.
7-8; A kongregáció és az erkölcstelen divat (-) [The congregation and immoral fashions (-)] MK Vol. XIV/7,
March 1921, pp. 4-5; A kongreganisták és az olvasmány (-) [Congregationists and readings] MK Vol. XIV/10,
June 1921, pp. 1-4 (3, 4); ‘az erkölcstelen tánc’ Laci bácsi [Jámbor László S.J.]: Levelek egy leánykongreganistához. [‘The immoral dance’ by Uncle Laci (László Jámbor S. J.): Letters to a girl-congregationist] MK Vol.
XV/5, January 1922, pp. 12-13 (13); ‘…a zsidó sajtó jórészt keresztény pénzen irtja a kereszténységet?’ (-) [...
do the Jewish media eradicate Christianity using mostly Christian money] MK Vol. XVI/10, June 1923, p. 5.;
A világi apostolkodás intézményes művelése a kongregációban (-) [The institutional operation of lay apostolate
in the congregation] MK Vol. XX/6, February 1927, pp. 4-6 (6).
102 Béla Bangha S.J.: Krisztus királysága a XX. században. [The Kingdom of Christ in the 20th century] MK Vol.
XXIII/2, October 1929, pp. 21-23 (22-23).

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sion of Christians trying to hide the ignorance, misery or clumsiness of the poor
Jew;103 while most of them are about the bitter truth of comparing them to indifferent, uneducated Catholics who have lost their religion and moan in their impotence.
Monks with a more alert conscience first accused themselves, their followers
or ‘the thinking of patrons and the high clergy’ impatiently at the beginning, then
they had to acknowledge the impossibility of achieving their goals – the edge of
anti-Semitism remains but it is getting duller:
‘… love must begin with the brother. … Out in the big world those who follow
identical goals always keep together; you cannot imagine stronger union and mutual
support then the assistance provided by freemasons, Jews and socialists to each
other. What they are doing out of interest, we Congregationalists should do to each
other out of a nobler reason?’104
‘…The importance of Christian socialism is voiced at every assembly of the
Congregationalists, still it is suffering lacking material and moral support. In my village, we had to let go the members organised with so much difficulty, because
there was not anybody to act as secretary. Congregationalists in the Casino playing
billiards! You are responsible for the souls who go astray in this way! … We should
learn from the freemasons! With them every lodge has its own task. One of them
supported the Galilei Group with all its power, another one was poisoning the soul of
primary school teachers by subscribing on their behalf to »Világ«, the third one was
working on establishing contacts abroad, the fourth kept alive anti-militarist ideas,
etc. (…) … we can do nothing without organisation and united work. Our forces will
be divided if everybody is engaged in everything. That is the reason why Regnum
Marianum, 66% Catholicism cannot be seen in this country.’105
One of the clearest and bravest analyses is by a lay author:
‘Our community has a major drawback - indifference to scientific and art propaganda. If you take the trouble to observe the audience of a concert in a major city

103 József Hitter S.J.: Mit olvassak? [What shall I read?] MK Vol. XXII/4, December 1928, p. 64; A zsidó fiú
gyónása. Lenoir Louis, ft. tábori lelkész feljegyzéseiből fordította Benz-Csáky Ilona [The confession of a Jewish boy. Translated from the notes of Lenoir Louis, chaplain by Ilona Benz-Csáky]. MK Vol. XVI/5, January
1923, pp. 8-9; a szegedi ifjúmunkás Mária Kongregációba „jobbérzésű zsidó fiú” hiába kéri felvételét [a
‘Jewish boy of benevolence’ asked in vain to be admitted into the Congregation of Mary of young workers
at Szeged] MK Vol. XVI/6, February 1923, p. 14; pökhendi kongreganista fiatalember a vonaton kötekedik,
fenyegetőzik három „szegény Juda-ivadékkal”. [an insolent congregational youth is bantering and threatening
three ‘poor descendants of Juda’ on the train] MK Vol. XXI/10, June 1928, p. 151.
104 A testvéri szeretet ápolása a kongregációban (-) [Brotherly love in the congregation (-)] MK Vol. XVI/9, May
1923, pp. 4-5 (4).
105 Alexius: Világi apostolkodás. [Lay apostolates] MK Vol. XXI/3, November 1927, pp. 45-46 (45).

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you will find that the denominational ratio of those present is usually opposite to that
of the population. The Jewish community is represented the strongest, followed by
the Protestants and Catholics, who are the majority of the population, only come
at the end. And approximately the same is true with regard to supporting sciences.
Readings, lectures, scientists or artists usually cannot rely on mass interest on our
part even by those who are in the crowd at every popular meeting with their political
competence (?) … The real reason is the lack of proper interest. There is an indifference to culture our community has been lulled into by the way of thinking of patrons
and the high clergy in the field of church matters, and parallel to that, it has made
us give up having demands in the area of the arts and shouldering moral and mostly
material obligations to promote them.’106
‘It is interesting how much the Jews and even the Protestants are more selfconscious: they will not examine if this or that paper fully satisfies their individual
taste but if the paper is defending their stance, they will stick to it to the end; otherwise they make up a front against it. When shall we Catholics be as smart and tightly
knit as those sitting on the other bank?”107

‘The special obstacles of social reform in our country:
- the astonishingly high degree of lack of a national feeling of solidarity (…);
- there has been not one of our excellent politicians who have also been a leading personality capable of educating the nation (…);
- a passivity so typical of our race, an abundance of conservatism that can
hardly be understood, which is usually identical to the weakness of thinking and of
the will (temperament? lack of education? poor education?); there is no endurance,
people will wait to join the winner with no criticism (…);
- our gatherings lack content, they lack the depth of realism, if we want to say
or make something new in our Hungarian globe, we simply copy something we have
seen abroad’ (…);108
“Love your work smart! Start studying every day at the same time… And if you
still have time after the mandatory school lessons, educate yourself, have ambitions! Learn languages, make experiments, read! Copy the example of many Jewish
boys!’109

106 Dr István Muntyán: Mit tehetnek a kongregációk a katolikus kultúra védelmében? [What can congregations
do to protect Catholic culture?] MK Vol. XXI/4,.December 1927, pp. 53-54.
107 Az őrtoronyból (-) [From the Watchtower (-)] MK Vol. XXV/5, January 1932, p. 70.
108 Szociális klub. [social club] László Varga S.J.: Vol. XXVIII/2, October 1934, pp. 8-10.
109 Gyula Tornyos S.J.: Dolgozzál! [Do your work!] MK Vol. XXX/2, October 1936, pp. 15-16 (16.)

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‘I am not a friend of the Jews. The Jewish issue needs to be settled. On the
other hand, I cannot see clearly whether it is correct from a Hungarian and Christian
perspective that a Jewish boy who is more excellent than most Christians is humiliated in our class without any personal reasons? Is it reconcilable with the taste of
a gentleman what my brother who is a university student told me: in one morning
somebody announced loudly in the crowded hall of the university that Jewish boys
should retire to the last row? (…) No. – This cannot be reconciled with the noble
taste and Christian spirit of true Hungarians. There are more serious conditions of
solving the Jewish issue in life: studying and ambitious work. That is how you must
overcome the Jews. The other is just a comfortable lie and self-deception. And
maybe a cheap opportunity to become popular in the eyes of paltry people.’110

The religious orders of welfare activities
Most of those orders were established in the 19th century to solve the grave social
problems resulting from the economic and social changes in Western Europe by
building up a network of care. The congregations consisting almost only of women
and the members of associations established in response to the increase of the
population in the peaceful decades of the beginning of the century, the regional
restructuring of the population, the pragmatic political will to mitigate mass misery
in the cities, a latent demographical-political intention realised in the increase in the
number of religious positions and manifested Christian mercy were in direct daily
contact with those they cared for, they were engaged in proactive welfare work.
They could settle in Hungary with the permission of the relevant bishop of the area.
Supervised by the local Ordinary and their prefects their main activities included
institutional and family care for the sick, the poor, as well we the operation of nursery schools, primary schools, day-care centres, shelters, orphanages and soupkitchens.111
In Hungary monks and nuns engaged in caring for the sick were active in 84
hospitals between the two World Wars. They also worked in asylums, caring for the
disabled and the fatally ill, at distant settlements, in slums and prisons. Several orders had Sunday events for children, boarding houses for boy and girl apprentices
and houses for endangered youths. They worked as employees with no personal
salaries, the government or private institution utilising their work had to provide for

110 (-) Hitvédelmi levélszekrény [Religious letter box] MK Vol. XXXIII/7, March 1940, p. 22.
111 More in detail on this, cf.: Molnár Sándorné dr. Erzsébet Szolnoky: Halálfogytiglan életre ítélve. Szociális
tevékenységű szerzetesrendek. [Condemned to life until death. Religious orders of welfare operations] Novadat, Győr, 1991.

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their living in cash directly forwarded to the order. They covered the expenses of
their community from the dowry of wealthier members, from tuition fees in higher
schools for girls and from donations. They have devoted their life to the service of
their fellowmen in need. Except for the Social Mission Society (S.M.) and the Society of Social Sisters (S.S.S.) they did not deal with politics or public affairs at all.
The former was established in 1908 promoted and supported by Ottokár Prohászka
to enforce modern church social teaching. Prohászka recognised that his ambition,
the reconstruction of a Christian and national Hungary, the ascent of a ‘glorious
ideology’ cannot be hoped without social reforms targeting the whole society and
the social responsibility taken by women, therefore - in contrast with the conservative, anti-modernist paradigm of the world church - he supported within the church
the issue of women’s social responsibility, self-organisation and interest representation by ‘baptising’ the secular emancipation movements of women. Members of the
Society who believed that the material elements of a nun’s life: the discipline of a
cloister, the rigid regulations of the life of the community, the differentiating clothes
of the order and the ban on public participation in political life would hinder their
work of shaping society quit the order in 1923 and - while keeping their religious
vows - stepped out into the world reinforced with a Benedictine spirit. Many of them
earned the money required for their start by working abroad for several years. They
did not operate a house of the order, the members made their living engaged in
salaried jobs and the members had to pay pension insurance. Their financial independence was the token of the freedom of their conscience and the only way to
avoid being vulnerable. They spent the donations on helping the poor and to cover
the expenses of their welfare and educational work. They adapted their lifestyle to
the life and time management of working women including their social, teaching or
organisational work. Their leader, Margit Slachta was a Member of Parliament in
1920-1921 representing the Christian National Unity Party, then she was an apostle
of the Christian revival of political life. Led by her they fought without compromise
against the ideas of national socialism, the war and all kinds of discrimination; they
represented a Christian-social idea based on the values of Christ and they emphasised the personal responsibility of Christians for the fate of those persecuted at
every time and in every situation.
‘Beloved Sister! … Do you want double divine help for your beloved ones
among the perils? Accept in your heart the fate of others particularly of those who
are difficult to accept in your heart in that way… Accept in your heart a person in a
labour camp who has been excluded from the community of brothers by the spirit
of the age. Be brave enough in these perilous times to expel indifference, the lack
of love and hate from your heart, be brave enough to recognise as your sister that
other mother and her son in the depth of your heart, be brave enough to adopt her
pain and help carry her cross… And be brave enough to act. Be brave enough to

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ask and urge a relative who is commander of a labour camp to be a superior to those
controlled by him he would like to have for his son in the front line or in the captivity
of the enemy. Tell him the eternal words of Christ: the measure you use will be used
on you in return. The Lord will act like this. He will strike or have mercy, spare or
turn away as you are pitying or cruel…’112 Their monthly the Word of the Soul was
banned on 15 April 1944.
These women’s orders placed themselves under the organisational or spiritual
leadership either of some male order or under the personal spiritual guidance of a
member partly to have their regulations accepted and party to shape their spiritual
and religious life and their service. There were several orders, societies and associations termed in the church nomenclature ‘congregatio religiosa’ that were established encouraged and initiated by one or another committed monk with a strong
social conscience. They worked under the spiritual leadership of the Benedictines
(the Social Mission Society, the Society of Social Sisters and the Society of the
Daughters of Saint Benedict), the Franciscans (the nuns of Saint Elisabeth, the
Franciscan Mary’s Missionary Sisters, the Daughters of Saint Francis of Assisi and
the Sisters Caring for the Poor) and the Jesuits (the Society of the Virgin Mary, the
Society of the Heart of Jesus or the Daughters of the Heart of Jesus) and several
civil social associations organised on a religious basis (KALOT, JOC). Such relationships of the religious orders were characterised by mutual assistance to each other.
Only a few orders operating with missionary commitment and engaged in social educational teaching or organisational work, such as the Social Mission Association and the Social Sisters Society dealt seriously with the publication of the
media. The rest were mostly small religious publications appearing in a low number,
occasional prayer sheets, brochures, bulletins, newsletters or school yearbooks
with the function of internal information, spiritual leadership, reinforcement of the
community and dissemination of religious, church and order historical knowledge.
Out of them the bulletin of the Salesians of Don Bosco has been selected for the
purposes of this study.
The Salesians of Don Bosco (S.D.B.) have been active in Hungary since
1901. They regard it as their mission to save orphaned, poor or endangered boys
providing them with training and helping poor worker families. In the period reviewed, they operated an orphanage in Óbuda from 1920, a Boys’ School and
Printing House at Rákospalota from 1924, a boys’ educational institute and vocational school at Esztergom-tábor from 1925, boys’ educational homes in Újpest and
Visegrád from 1927, vocational school and boarding school in Szombathely from
112 Quoted from the New Year Letter of Sister Marguerite 1 January 1943. A Lélek Szava [The word of the soul]
1943/1, pp. 3-4.

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1929, and a secondary school boarding house in Gyula from 1932. In 1933, they
had 123 members of the order who had taken the vow in 9 institutes including 36
priests, while the number of Novices was 20.113 When it was dissolved in 1950, the
Salesian order in Hungary had 250 members.
Their newsletter the Bulletin of the Don Bosco Salesian Works Salesian Digest114 mainly reported on the events of child care and child rescue, the life of the
order and the Salesian institutes.
No anti-Semitic statements, remarks or indications were found in any of their
publications.

113 Katolikus Lexikon IV [Catholic Encyclopaedia IV], p. 207,
114 Published irregularly. Edited by: László Ádám, Mihály Lipcsey. Editorial office and publishers: The Association of Salesian Workers. Budapest III. Beginning from September 1925 the address of the editorial office:
Rákospalota-Clarisseum, the address of the publishing office: Budapest III. Vol. V, issue 4, December 1922
to Vol. VII, issue 5, October 1925 (13 issues).

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The Jewry as reflected by the
ecclesiastical press of Southern
Transdanubia (1919-1944)
1. The situation of the Jewry in Southern Transdanubia during the
World Wars
Thanks to the opportunities that have opened up gradually after the 1840’s, Jewish
communities with a high population and a well-functioning set of institutions have
evolved in Hungary’s Southern Transdanubian cities (for instance, in 1920, Jews
made up 8.1 per cent of the total population in the city of Pécs1), whereas they settled in country towns and villages at a much lower rate by 1920.
Jews were an integral part of the region’s economic life; their location and opportunities were determined mostly by the economic structures that have evolved by
the turn of the century. Most of them worked in trade; in cities, they were wholesalers and resellers, while in smaller settlements, they made their living as grocers. A
large number of them became lawyers, journalists and publishers or doctors, and
had the greatest influence on the local society as members of the élite intelligentsia.
A lower number of them found a living in large industries or in agriculture, as land
lessees. Being well-trained professionals with capital, they played a more significant
role than warranted by their number, got involved in finance and lending, and many
families established family ties with leading representatives of large banks.2
Conditions changed for the more difficult in the 1920’s compared to the earlier
period, primarily for traders. The Trianon peace treaty deprived them of important
purchase and sale opportunities, and the policy of developing and strengthening a
Christian trader community emerged within the local élite as well. However, Chris1 VÖRÖS 2004. p. 47
2 For Tolna County: SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 55-73 – For Siklós: RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 292-294 – For Mohács:
RADNÓTI 2012, pp. 152-160 – Nationwide: GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 190-191

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tians had much less capital and practice, so Jews were able to hold on to their
positions for the time being, although they slipped down on the list of the largest
taxpayers of the given county.3
The numerus clausus Act adopted in September 1920 had similarly lopsided
consequences. Though disputes over compliance with the Act led to regular student movements and disturbances and the anti-Semitic press regularly accused
the university of circumventing the law, its impact was barely felt at the time, as
Jews in white-collar careers were not suppressed.4 The Zionist association of Pécs
launched trade courses for those who were unable to enrol in university due to the
numerus clausus.5
In parallel with this, the number of Jews declined significantly in all cities of the
region. In Pécs, the ratio of the Jewish community compared to the total population
decreased to 5.5 per cent in the course of two decades, and their number decreased by over 250 persons in absolute terms. Many decided to test their fortunes
in larger cities due to economic difficulties, and the willingness to have children
faded after the 1920’s.6 In addition, assimilation picked up speed: after the 1920’s,
conversion to Christianity became massive in Tolna County, while there are only
a few examples known of conversion to Judaism, most of these justified by family
reasons.7
In spite of this, however, the internal life of Jews in Southern Transdanubia may
be described as well-functioning stable communities, a high standard of education,
solidarity, and the continuation of traditional forms of giving help. A Chevra Kadisha (Holy Society) was set up in each synagogue, with Israelite people’s schools,
Talmud societies and Talmud schools operated in a number of towns. Charity and
patient assistance societies and hospices serviced those in need of care, and the
forms of supporting deprived students also functioned well.8
However, the individual Jewish communities and organisations were unable
to set up a joint forum. During the final days of Serbian occupation, the Zionist Society of Pécs launched two newspapers, which survived only a few issues. In the
early 1930’s, the Pécs synagogue made two attempts to launch a newspaper. The
3 RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 292-295 – SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 62-66
4 SZILÁGYI, pp. 1994-95 – The ratio of Jewish university students began to decrease already before World War I.
GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 195-196 – This, of course, does not alter the fact that several excellent representatives of
the intelligentsia left Hungary due to the Act. SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 70
5 Appeal to Jewish college students. D, year 11, issue no. 75 (2 April 1921), p. 3
6 For Pécs: VÖRÖS 2004, p. 47 – for Siklós: RADNÓTI 2007, p. 291 – for Mohács: RADNÓTI 2012, p. 150 – BRAHAM
1988.I., pp. 67-68
7 RADNÓTI 2012, pp. 160-161 – SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 74-77
8 SZILÁGYI 1994-95, pp. 245-247 – RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 311-317

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only newspaper that lasted somewhat longer was the Ifjúsági Értesítő (Youth Bulletin) published between November 1936 and July 1939. The last time the Jewish
community of Pécs attempted to launch its own newspaper was in June 1939.9
Thus, members of the Jewish communities either subscribed to national magazines
or – quite many of them, it appears – to the Christian newspaper called Dunántúl
(Transdanubia).
Jews became accepted and were even equal members of the local communities, despite the recurring friction and the undeniable anti-Semitism that existed.
A good example for this is that during World War I, the Israelite school of Siklós
accepted Christian pupils as well, while the Lutheran grammar school at Bonyhád
exempted Jewish pupils from tests to be taken on Saturdays.10 The József Kiss night
held in Pécs also goes to demonstrate the Jewry’s social status, as the event was
held in the grand hall of Hotel Pannonia, a highly impressive central location, for
charity purposes, and participants represented the city’s élite intelligentsia.11
Jews took an active part in societies and social exchanges, while synagogues
urged members to adopt the Hungarian ways in several places. The shifting of focus
on the Hungarian language rather than German can be seen clearly after the middle
of the 19th century: teachers were required to speak excellent Hungarian and to
teach in the ’Hungarian spirit’. In addition to language use, the frequent Magyarization of names also testify a strengthening of national consciousness.12
However, relations were far from unperturbed; news on conflicts ending in
physical violence and street atrocities occurred regularly from the early 1920’s. The
first big clash took place in June 1922, when a group of young Jews got into a fight
with some local members of Ébredő Magyarok Egyesülete (Society of Awakening
Hungarians) at the Sétatér in Pécs.13 A similar incident took place in Mohács in January 1923,14 followed by individual clashes in Siklós and Szigetvár later on.15 Late in
9 SURJÁN 1992.
10 RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 317-318 – SZILÁGYI 1994-95, P. 247
11 A pécsi izraelita nőegylet Kiss József estje.(József Kiss night of the Israelite women’s association of Pécs) D,
year 12, issue no. 18 (22 January 1922) p. 5
12 SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 74-77
13 Ébredő zsidóság vagy zsidó ébredés (Awakening Jewry or Jewish awakening). PE, year 17, issue no. 127 (7
June 1922) p. 1
14 Mohácson szombaton megverték a zsidókat (Jews beaten in Mohács on Saturday). PE, year 18, issue no. 5 (9
January 1923) p. 1 – Csendélet Mohácson (Still life in Mohács), PE, year 18, issue no. 7 (11 January 1923) p.
2 – A bicska (The penknife). Mohácsi Hírlap, year 13, issue no. 2 (14 January 1923) p. 4
15 Siklóson zsidó-ébredők garázdálkodnak (Awakening Jews vandalising Siklós). PE, year 18, issue no. 55 (9
March 1923) p. 2 – A szigetvári éjszaka zsidó ébredői (Awakening Jews of the Szigetvár night). PE, year 18,
issue no. 181 (11 August 1923) p. 2 – „Az éjszaka rejtelmei”. Országos botránnyá nőtt a szigetvári felfordulás.
(’Mysteries of the night. Pandemonium in Szigetvár escalates into national scandal) Szigetvár, year 2, issue no.
32 (12 August 1923) pp. 1-2

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May 1924, in the heat of the battles around numerus clausus, two groups launched
a coordinated attack on entertainment locations frequented by young Jews as well
in Pécs.16
The early 1930’s brought a substantial change in the Jewry’s situation. The
economic crisis, followed by the Nazis coming into power, intensified the anti-Semitic feelings that have existed earlier; it is no coincidence that there were smaller or
larger atrocities against Jews taking place on a regular basis, and not just in connection with numerus clausus. In July 1930, the garden and mortuary of the Israelite
graveyard of Pécs were forced open.17 Early in 1934, unknown perpetrators stuck
yellow spots and signs on shops in Jewish ownership, broke in shop windows and
pulled down shop signs several times. 18 On another occasion, the windows of the
hospice house of the women’s association were broken in.19
The systemic discrimination and oppression of the Jews started in the late
1930’s with the adoption of the anti-Jewish Acts.20 The 1st Act stipulated that the
proportion of Jews in liberal professions and in trading, finance and industrial companies may not exceed 20 per cent on a religious basis. The 2nd anti-Jewish Act
reduced this quota to six per cent, and already on a racial basis, excluded Jews
from public administration and justice, and stipulated that Jews were not allowed
to trade with products subject to state monopoly (such as tobacco, alcohol, salt,
petroleum).21 In the autumn of 1940, local administrative decrees prohibited sales
by Jews of Pécs and of Baranya County in national fairs.22 However, the Christian
16 Újabb ifjúsági zavargások (New disturbances by youth). D, year 14, issue no. 125 (1 June 1924) p. 3
17 Betörők a temetőben. Kifosztották az izr. temető ravatalozóját (Burglars in the graveyard: Mortuary of the Isr.
graveyard looted). D, year 20, issue no. 150 (5 July 1930) p. 3 – Péntekre virradó éjszaka betörtek az izr.
temető ravatalozó termébe (Mortuary of Isr. graveyard broken into Thursday night). Pécsi Napló, year 39, issue
no. 150 (5 July 1930) p. 3
18 Sárga folttal ragasztották tele tegnap a pécsi zsidók üzleteit (Shops of Pécs Jews labelled with yellow spots
yesterday). D, year 24, issue no. 1 (3 January 1934) p. 3 – A pécsi zsidó hitközség feljelentése ismeretlen
röpcédula ragasztók ellen (Synagogue of Pécs files complaint against unknown persons for posting flyers). D,
year 24, issue no. 16 (21 January 1934) p. 8 – Antiszemita izgatás Pécsett. Az elmúlt éjjel ’zsidó’ feliratú cédulákkal ragasztották be egyes üzletek kirakatait (Anti-semitic incitement in Pécs. Windows of certain shops were
labelled with flyers saying “Jew” last night). D, year 24, issue no. 66 (23 March 1934) p. 2
19 Beverték az Izraelita Nőegylet szeretetházának ablakait (Windows of Israelite women’s association’s hospice
broken). Pécsi Napló, year 43, issue no. 16 (21 January 1934) p. 8
20 On anti-Jewish Acts and their local impact in detail: RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 296-299 – SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991,
p. 63
21 Bevonják a pécsi és baranyai zsidó italmérési engedélyeket (Drink sales licences of Jews in Pécs and Baranya
withdrawn). D, year 29, issue no. 221 (27 September 1939) p. 5
22 Kitiltották a zsidó árusokat a pécsi országos vásárokról, piacokról és búcsúkról (Jewish sellers banned from
national fairs, markets and saint’s day’s fairs held in Pécs). D, year 30, issue no. 237 (17 October 1940) p.
4 – Közfogyasztási árúk forgalomba hozatalában csak arányszám szerint vehetnek részt a zsidók (Jews may
take part in the distribution of goods for public consumption only on a pro rata basis). D, year 30, issue no.
239 (19 October 1940) p. 2 – November 20-tól kezdődően a baranyai vásárokon, piacokon és búcsúkon sem
árusíthatnak a zsidó árusok (Jewish sellers may not trade in fairs, markets and saint’s day’s fairs held in Baranya
County as of 20 November). D, year 30, issue no. 261 (16 November 1940) p. 6

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traders who took their places had neither the appropriate capitals nor the contact
network, so popular articles were often difficult to purchase, and several small settlements suffered from a shortage of goods. For this reasons, the authorities put up
with Jewish traders as resellers for a while.
In parallel with this, the acquisition of land by Jews was made more difficult,
and they had to report land already in their ownership,23 and in 1942, a bill was
enacted on the forcible acquisition of Jewish landholding. Although demand for the
confiscated estates was not high in Pécs at the time, Christians tried to purchase
manifold the quantity of land available in Mohács.24 Concurrently with the restrictions applicable to them in economy, Jews were deprived of their political clout as
well. Based on the 2nd anti-Jewish Act, Jewish members of judiciary committees
had to be expelled; the judiciary bodies of the county and of Pécs city carried this
out in August 1939, which was followed by the ’purification’ of the assemblies of
villages as well.25
Exclusion of the Jews from social life became full-fledged after 1941. As a racial law, the 3rd anti-Jewish Act prohibited marriage between Jews and non-Jews,
and punished sexual relations as ’racial blasphemy’. In response to the increasing pressure from Germany and demands of the extreme right, laws discriminating
against Jews were adopted one after the other in the course of 1942. First, the
Israelite church was degraded into a recognised church, then Jews who were to be
drafted were relieved from armed service, and the institution of labour service was
created.26 Mohács became the regional distribution centre for the distribution of
labour service draftees, obliged to wear a yellow armlet.27
In financial terms, the Jewish traders and industry craftsmen who gradually
lost their existence drifted to the periphery of their local communities, although they
retained their earlier connections in most settlements. For instance, at the end of
1939, three respected members of the local Israelite community were elected as
council members of the Air Defence League set up in Siklós.28 However, the se23 Pécsett is be kell jelenteni a zsidó tulajdonban lévő mezőgazdasági ingatlanokat (Agricultural property in Jewish ownership in Pécs to be reported as well). D, year 29, issue no. 223 (29 September 1939) p. 3
24 185 pécsi földingatlanra 135 igénylő jelentkezett (135 claimants for 185 land properties in Pécs). D, year 29.
issue no. 288 (19 December 1939) p. 5 – A mohácsi 400 hold zsidó birtokra 800 igénylő jelentkezett (800
claimants for 400 acres of Jewish land). D, year 30, issue no. 7 (11 January 1940) p. 5 – Baranyában 6.899
hold zsidóbirtokot írtak össze (6,899 acres of Jewish land registered in Baranya County). D, year 30, issue no.
80 (10 April 1940) p. 3 – Eddig 1500 hold zsidó birtokot vontak eljárás alá Baranyában (1,500 acres of Jewish
land subject to proceedings in Baranya County to date). D, year 30, issue no. 221 (28 September 1940) p. 5
25 Törölték a zsidó virilistákat a pécsi városi bizottsági tagok sorából (Jewish virilists deleted from roster of city
committee members of Pécs). D, year 29, issue no. 203 (5 September 1939) p. 4
26 GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 162-165, 171.
27 On the organisation of labour service: BRAHAM 1988.I. pp. 238-294 – GONDA 1992, pp. 214-219
28 RADNÓTI 2007, p. 299

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ries of atrocities made the atmosphere increasingly unbearable: in March 1941, the
Pécs hospice building’s windows were broken in, and an attack of vandalism struck
the graveyard of Mágocs in August 1943.29
Orders concerning Jews were adopted practically incessantly after the German occupation. It became immediately obligatory to wear the yellow star of David,
then, on 14 April 1944, the requirement was introduced to report the assets of Jews
and to foreclose those assets; by the end of the month, 230 shops were foreclosed
in Pécs. In parallel with this, the origin of city employees was reviewed, and soon,
the bar association cancelled the membership of Jewish attorneys-at-law. During
the same weeks, food rations for Jews were also reduced.30
On 19 April 1944, the southern border zone was declared to be an area of
military operations, so that authorities could start to ’remove Jews from the border
zone on an urgent basis’. In a few days, Jews were moved involuntarily to appointed
places of residence in the districts concerned. People were then transported to
the collecting camp at Barcs from the gathering points in a few days, and were
transported to Auschwitz via Sopron on 26 to 28 May. The Hungarian administrative
staff carried out this campaign on an explicit demand from Germany but without any
remarkable objections, in a calm and careful manner.31
Segregation of Jews started somewhat later in county seats and districts outside the border zone, and this exercise was organised and managed by the Hungarian authorities. The decision to move the Jews of Pécs to a mandatory place
of residence was published in the daily Dunántúl (Transdanubia) on 28 April. The
closed ghetto of Pécs was set up near the railway, and 3,400 Jews were moved into
what used to be the homes of 600 Christians moved out. Serious problems were
caused by crowding and the shortage of food, and the constant humiliation, repeated searches and round-ups also wore out people’s ability to resist, causing many to
collapse and commit suicide. Conditions were similarly bad in the Mohács ghetto
that held 1,169 people.32 The ghetto area in Kaposvár was specified on 12 May,
and altogether 3,000 to 3,500 people were moved here by the end of the month.
Smaller ghettos were set up also in the villages of Tab and Nagyatád as well.33

29 Beverték a zsidó szeretetház ablakait (Pécs Jewish hospice windows broken in). D, year 31, issue no. 66 (21
March 1941) p. 6 – Ismeretlen tettesek vandál pusztítása a mágocsi zsidó temetőben (Vandalistic destruction in
Jewish cemetery of Mágocs by unknown persons). D, year 33, issue no. 183 (14 August 1943) p. 5
30 RADNÓTI 2007, p. 301 – VÖRÖS 2007, p. 245 – For laws and decrees from a national perspective: GONDA 1992,
pp. 221-222 – GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 176-178
31 RADNÓTI 2007, pp. 301-302 – VÖRÖS 2004, p. 48
32 VÖRÖS 2004, pp. 48-50 – VÖRÖS 2007, pp. 246-251
33 KOVÁCS 2004, pp. 53-54 – On the ghettoisation and deportation of Jews outside Budapest: GYURGYÁK 2001,
pp. 179-180

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At the end of June, ghettos were sealed off everywhere, and forcible deportation commenced in the early days of July. The Jews of Baranya and Tolna Counties,
altogether some 6,000 people, were collected in the Lakits Barracks in Pécs, and the
Jews of Somogy were transported to Kaposvár. People were first put on trains on 4
July, and the last trains left the Pécs railway station two days after that – on the same day
when Hungary’s governor stopped the deportation of Jews living outside Budapest.34
A large part of the administrative apparatus carried out the instructions received
from high up dispassionately, without any intention of resistance. Although the Lord
Lieutenant of Baranya County, Mihály Nikolits, submitted his resignation after the
occupation, the minister of interior did not accept it. Lajos Esztergár, Mayor of the
City of Pécs, also remained in his post, and albeit the government’s policy was contrary to his conviction, he did not impede the execution of the decrees on Jews and
the organisation of the ghetto.35 Instances of substantial resistance were scarce: in
Szekszárd, the mayor refused to carry out the instruction to set up a ghetto, so there
was no ghetto in that city.36
Very few locals stood by the Jews. Christian members of trade guilds were
rather pleased with the elimination of competition due to personal conflicts and
business interests. Only a few agreed to even keep the valuables trusted to them,
and even fewer had the courage to help Jews sealed in ghettos by providing them
with food; for instance, in Villány, József Hohmann took food to the Jews gathered
in the synagogue during the night.37 The ambivalent conduct of the churches is illustrated by the fact that while several priests and ministers stood up for the Jews,
some ecclesiastical organisations and communities demanded Jewish land property for religious purposes.38
A very small portion of the Southern Transdanubian Jews survived World War
II. By April 1945, only 267 of the people forcibly deported and drafted for labour
service from Pécs returned home. Out of the 245 Jewish population of Siklós, altogether four deportees and 12 labour service draftees survived.39 In Tolna County,
synagogues were re-organised in three places, while in Somogy County, there were
eight synagogues operating four years after; 360 of the Kaposvár Jews returned
home. Many survivors chose not to return to their homes and tried to start a new life
in either Budapest or abroad.40
34
35
36
37
38
39
40

BRAHAM 1988.II. pp. 72-78 – KOVÁCS 2004, p. 54 – VÖRÖS 2004, pp. 50-51 – VÖRÖS 2007, pp. 252-256
MOLNÁR 2012, pp. 467-475
SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, pp. 85-86
BŐSZE 1993, pp. 85; 87 – KOVÁCS 1970, pp. 69-71
KOVÁCS 2004, pp. 52-53
MOLNÁR 2012, p. 482 – RADNÓTI 2007, p. 303
FÜZES 1993, p. 173 – KOVÁCS 2004, p. 54 – SZILÁGYI-SCHWEITZER 1991, p. 86

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Distribution of the region’s population by religion
(% / persons)
1937*
Pécs

1943**
Baranya

Pécs Diocese

Roman Catholic

84.083

51,630

82.264

205,122

78.534

539,646

Greek Catholic

0.259

159

0.071

173

-

-

Calvinist

5.215

3,202

10.738

26,776

6.727

46,227

Lutheran

2.894

1,777

5.349

13,337

10.871

74,697

Orthodox

0.251

154

0.576

1,437

1.597

10,976

Israelite

6.563

4,030

1.002

2,500

1.790

12,303

Baptist

-

-

-

-

0.364

2,503

Nazarene

-

-

-

-

0.117

795

0.735

451

-

-

-

-

other, unknown
Total

61,03

249,345

687,147

* Tizenhárommillió magyar él a Földön (Thirteen million Hungarians living on Earth). D, year 27,
issue no. 285 (16 December 1937) p. 4 – The Calvinist paper published essentially the same figures
four years earlier (with the single substantial difference that it was aware of a Calvinist population
of 460 more in Pécs): Pécs város lakósainak felekezeti megoszlása (Distribution of the inhabitants of
the city of Pécs by religion). PRL, year 14, issue no. 1-2 (5 February 1933) p. 6
** Az 539.646 katolikust számláló pécsi egyházmegyének... (The Pécs Diocese of 539,646 Catholics…)
D, year 33, issue no. 47 (27 February 1943) p. 2

2. Ecclesiastical press in Southern Transdanubia
During the 1920’s, ecclesiastical press was rather rich, partly due to the traditions
from the age of Dualism41, with papers representing practically all trends in Catholicism. The weeklies and magazines that served the needs of the smaller Calvinist
and Lutheran communities added colour to this palette. However, subscriber figures
evolved unfavourably, so that in December 1922, Father Béla Bangha found with
regret that Christian press was far from operating in a satisfactory manner in Pécs:
’When, after the National Army marched in, I was here to deliver an address on the
press, I saw a healthy Christian press in Pécs. Now, however, I have to find that there
is a great decline in this field.’42 No wonder that the scourging of ’destructive’ ’Jewish’
press and its readers was a constant topic in Christian press for the next decades.
41 The beginnings of Catholic journalism in Pécs in the age of Dualism were discussed by Zoltán Dávid Pap: PAP
2016. – For the Pécsi Ujlap paper, see also: KEREKES 2002, p. 1
42 Father Bangha on Pécs, workers and the press. PE, year 17, issue no. 289 (20 December 1922) p. 2 – The
development of subscriber figures gave rise to concerns: ’today, the number of Jewish papers sold in Pécs
is nearly twice as high as Christian papers sold’, a publicist of Pécsi Est (Pécs Evening) found. Szociális
tanfolyam. A sajtó (Social course. The press). PE, year 19, issue no. 69 (22 March 1924) p. 4

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Dunántúl (Transdanubia) emerged as the most relevant paper, all the more so
because it was the only one of clerical dailies to be published all the way throughout the era. It was launched in 1911 with the mission of providing high-standard
information and defending Catholicism: ’we need an independent, outspoken, wellinformed Catholic newspaper with a fair tone and abundant contents, which immediately refutes the devious and biased allegations, jokes, distortions and sensationalist articles written for the sole purpose of bringing Catholics down.’43
Rather than standing for a narrow-minded religious seclusion, the paper testified to a patient and open spirit. As formulated by one of its authors, ’Heathens,
Jews, Protestants, Hindus and Negroes are my brothers in faith if they follow their
own religion in good faith, because my church’s soul is more extensive than its
body.”44 Dunántúl remained true to the original concept and did not embody the approach of rigid ultramontane Catholicism later on, either.45 The editorial published
on the 30th anniversary of the paper in 1941 stated that ’The programme we announced remained unchanged. […] we will remain who we are: Hungarian, patient,
lovers of humanity, seekers of the truth, Catholics.”46 The paper regularly published
communiqués of the most variegated societies and clerical communities, and news
on the most successful programmes – without taking exception to the Israelite women’s association or even the Zionist society.
Dunántúl intended to speak to the widest groups, published extremely diverse and
high-standard content that competed with Budapest newspapers, while remaining independent from political parties, surviving only on subscriptions and advertisements.47
The journalist staff clearly considered the paper’s professional standard and, mainly, the
consistency of its values to be the key to its popularity: ’The Christian masses in Pécs
and its broader vicinity noticed and understood the good intention, and came under
the colours of Catholic Dunántúl in a way that could only lead to victory as a result of
the unity of the paper and its readers.”48 Therefore, Dunántúl emerged as the most authoritative paper of the entire region, a factor that shaped the positions of broad groups.
The editors were forced to give up the paper’s independent identity and the
values so consistently represented until then in the spring of 1944. Following the
43 Call for share subscriptions from 1991, cit: KEREKES 2002, p. 2
44 see: KEREKES 2002, pp. 6-7
45 The much more radical Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító (Catholic Correspondent of Pécs) regarded this with incomprehension or with slight disdain. In connection with Dunántúl’s theatre critics, a journalist wrote, ’even
its greatest enemy (as if there were any) cannot say it is clerical, that its theatre criticism is aligned to the
Catholic view of the world, that it is not understanding with the „modern” drama industry.’ PKT, year 6,
issue no. 4 (24 February 1928) p. 5
46 Harminc esztendő (Thirty years). Dunántúl, 25 March 1941 (31/69) p. 1
47 KEREKES 2002, p. 12
48 Harmincéves a Dunántúl (Dunántúl is thirty years old). PKT, year 19, issue no. 4 (1 April 1941) p. 2

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German occupation, it promoted the ’brothers in arms’ relations and the sharing of
the same fate between Hungary and Germany, justifying the common battle against
Bolshevism, the ’Mongol invasion of destruction launched from the East’. In the autumn of that year, it openly emerged as a mouthpiece for the extreme right, adopting
and advertising the Arrow Cross Party’s phraseology.49
The paper closest to Dunántúl’s spirit was the weekly Pécsi Hírek (Pécs News).
The weekly was first published in September 1929, and released news and analyses mostly on political and economic topics for four years, during the time of the
Great Depression. It constantly addressed social issues, but published cultural and
clerical news only as brief news items, if any. It reported on the life of Protestant
churches very rarely, and completely ignored the local Jewry.
The identity of the editor-in-chief sheds some light on the weekly’s choice of
topics and spiritual orientation. Pécsi Hírek was established by Ferenc Légrády,
who was the Pécs secretary of the Christian Socialist Party in 1919, then undertook
management positions as finance specialist in Hangya Szövetkezet (Ant Cooperative), and later on in Baross Szövetkezet (Baross Cooperative), which comprised
Christian craftsmen.
Though aimed at a fundamentally different public, two magazines had a similar
approach. The magazine called Munkásifjú (Young Worker) launched in the summer
of 1927 was associated with organising Christian workers, and published interesting items concerning industry, trade and technology, but also discussed a number
of problems in public policy such as the issue of revision and problems of democracy. The magazine’s spirit can be characterised by its differentiated opinion on the
reasons for economic difficulties, and concluding that the people responsible were
not Jews – as suggested by the established clichés – but the Christian society.50
The magazine called Dolgozók (Workers), published for one year after March 1938,
was also associated with Christian Socialist organisations. According to a description in one of its issues, ’the articles address the most urgent topical issues, in a current affairs manner but always discussing them from a more elevated perspective.’51
Pécsi Est (Pécs Evening), launched on 1 May 1919, represented a markedly
different direction than the publications mentioned so far. The paper wished to address members of all Christian churches,52 but engaged in constant battle against
49 KEREKES 2002, pp. 16-17
50 Kovácsevics, Milenkó: A keresztény iparos és kereskedő balsikerének okai (Reasons for bad fortunes of Christian craftsmen and traders). MI, year 3, issue no. 10 (15 May 1929) pp. 16-17
51 Megjelent a „Dolgozók” legújabb száma (Latest issue of „Dolgozók” is out). D, year 28, issue no. 169 (29 July
1938) p. 7
52 Horváth, Kázmér: Lapunk (Our magazine). PE, Vol. issue, (7 December 1919) p. 1

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liberalism, freemasonry and Communism in all fields of life. It published detailed
reports on the Christian Socialist movement as well as all the actions, events and
statements of Ébredő Magyarok Egyesülete (Association of Awakening Hungarians). The paper’s identity was determined by Kázmér Horváth and Viktor Perr, who
were the editor-in-chief and senior staff member of the magazine, respectively.53
The large weight of columnist articles featuring evaluations and personal convictions of the given journalist was characteristic of Pécsi Est (while the largest volume of writings in Dunántúl consisted of brief news items without commentary).
According to general practice, news were presented more voluminously on more
significant events concerning the issues that were the most important – in line with
the paper’s values, they included the Jewish issue, particularly the case of numerus
clausus – followed by an editorial evaluating the events in next day’s issue, and
reflections on the matter were concluded by some contributions and letters from
readers in the next few days.
According to its own self-definition, Pécsi Est was ’the flag-bearer of civic society and the idea of the Christian Hungarian race […] the spokesman for Christian
Hungarian Socialist progress’. Its readers consisted primarily of poorer groups such
as petty bourgeoisie, public employees and workers, who were more susceptible
to radical ideologies during the post-Trianon crisis. It is no coincidence that consolidation – admittedly – put the paper in a spot.54 This is why early in 1925, first its
management was replaced, then it completely terminated its activities in March of
the same year.
Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító (Catholic Correspondent of Pécs) represented a special colour on the palette of ecclesiastical journalism in the region, though it represented a spirit close to ’militant Catholicism’55 for the majority of its existence. In
May 1921, during Serbian occupation, it commenced its operation as a publication
by the Pécs downtown vicarage as a specifically devotional paper. It soon halted
activities for financial reasons, but publication started again from April 1925, in a
renewed form and a new spirit.56 The magazine, published monthly, indisputably
had a great impact on the region’s intellectual life: though editors originally thought
of distributing it only in Pécs, interest in the magazine was much more widespread.
The number of subscribers was particularly high in Szigetvár and Mohács, but there
were readers also in Subotica. Each issue was published in 1,200 to 2,000 copies

53 Kázmér Horváth’s career including his work in Pécs was discussed by Zoltán Kiss: KISS 2016.
54 Komócsy, István: A Pécsi Est eddig és – ezután (Pécsi Est so far – and afterwards). PE, year 20, issue no.
26 (1 February 1925) p. 1
55 BRAHAM 1988.II, p. 357
56 KEREKES 2016, pp. 118-119

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on average, but the April 1934 issue reached 3,000 copies.57 On its tenth anniversary, the achievements of Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító earned the following appreciation from a journalist: it played an important role ’in promoting the religious and
intellectual development of the metropolis at the feet of the Mecsek Mountains, in
preserving its Catholic nature and enhancing its Christianity-oriented culture.’58
Most of the issues consisted of spiritual writings, articles on cultural history and
brief news on the situation of the Catholic church. However, the Figyelő (Observer)
column authored by Béla Hantos and then by Péter Nyilas published hardcore antiSemitic writings. The ‘Jewish’ press, its slander against Hungary and attacks on
Christians were constant topics, while the column’s authors paid much less attention to other social problems.
In the course of 1933-34, the paper reached an ideological turning point. The
position of editor-in-chief was handed over from the poet László Kocsis to much more
agile József Györkös, who intended to align with the increased public role assumed
by the church, and put the paper in Actio Catholica’s service.59 This organisation
considered its main objective to be a combat against leftist and rightist extremism by
shaping the attitudes of its followers. In addition to ecclesiastical activities and newspaper publication, it performed adult education and charity work.60 In line with Actio
Catholica’s spirit, the columns of Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító also focused on pragmatic
issues such as social problems and charity work, so emphasis shifted to Christianity’s
positive programme, though the paper failed to surrender its anti-Semitic position. In
the changing and uncertain situation after 1939, the paper’s editors gave up the goals
of political opinion leading and agitation, returned to its original spirit of serving the
diocese’s Catholic communities as a devotionalist paper once again.61
School and student newspapers represented a separate type of journalism
with church ties. The Diák-Élet (Student Life) and Ifjúság (Youth) newspapers survived only for a few issues, while larger institutions such as Pius Gimnázium (Pius
Grammar School) and Ciszterci Gimnázium (Cistercian Grammar School) were able
to support two or three newspapers in parallel for a longer while.
School newspapers intended to sensitise pupils to public affairs, prepare them
for expressing their opinions responsibly, ultimately, for playing a role in public life.
57 KEREKES 2016, pp. 120-122
58 Tízéves a Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító (Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító celebrates ten years). D, year 22, issue no. 275
(4 December 1932) p. 5
59 KEREKES 2016, pp. 119; 122
60 KEREKES 2001, pp. 2; 8 – Ernő Linder, Dunántúl’s editor-in-chief, became the councillor of Actio Catholica’s
diocesal press department. KEREKES 2001, p. 13
61 KEREKES 2016, pp. 119; 122

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For instance, the Arany Ezüst (Gold and Silver) paper launched by Pius Grammar
School in January 1939, ’It intends to awaken everyone’s interest in serious national
and religious issues and fine literature, and wishes to educate everyone to have the
courage to disclose their views.’ 62 The paper published highly irredentist articles
and poems, and launched a series of articles honing in on particularly pragmatic issues, raising demographic problems as well, in the 1940/41 academic year.
The same interest was seen in university youth. The majority of articles in Maurinum, the newspaper of Szent Mór Kollégium (St. Maurice Dormitory), addressed
dormitory life, but became increasingly political during the five years of its existence.
Authors often discussed political and social problems, raising issues such as the revision of borders and the unemployment of young white-collar people. Interestingly,
the Jewish issue surfaced among the topics discussed relatively few times, which
is a surprise in light of the fact that recurring fights concerning numerus clausus
formed a practically constant part of university life.
Finally, the newspapers launched by vicarages and minor Christian communities should be mentioned; these were published with a few pages and less regularly.
Their main function was to assist the internal flow of information of the community, to
strengthen the Christian ethos and identity, and offer guidance to followers among
the increasingly untransparent public life. They published mostly spiritual writings,
reflecting on political issues infrequently and only indirectly.
The newspapers of Calvinist congregations, which had a small overall number
of followers, played a similar role; these were Baranyai Kálvinista Lobogó (Calvinist
Flag of Baranya), and Református Egyházi Lap (Calvinist Church Magazine), published under the title Pécsi Reformátusok Lapja (Pécs Calvinist Church Magazine)
after April 1926. The two magazines published mostly writings to intensify faith and
articles concerning the internal life of congregations.63 However, Református Őrálló
(Calvinist Guard), launched in November 1937, paid more attention to world events,
trying to offer an explicit sense of mission in addition to support in faith to believers
in a world in turmoil. The magazine must have made a great impression on Calvinists living in the county, because it was published in 7,000 copies already for the
first time.64 The Lutheran magazine called Christlicher Hausfreund had a similar
character; it contained mostly spiritual writings and communiqués of the church
organisation. Over the seven years of its existence, the proportion of news, and
within that, of news on world politics and social issues, that is, non-religious news,
increased slightly. It published very few times on Hungarian Jews, but mentioned
62 Raksányi, Árpád: Alkotni akarunk (We want to create). MA, issue no. 28, (1939.) p. 13
63 GYŐRFI 2015, pp. 4-7; 10-15
64 GYŐRFI 2015, pp. 17-18

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Palestine several times in connection with conflicts between Arabs and Jews and
archaeological findings.
***
The common ideological platform for all press publications in Southern Transdanubia associated with a Christian church between the two World Wars was the Szeged idea. Most journalists believed the only possibility for Hungary to recover its
old strength was to merge Christian and national ideology. In the words of Damján
Vargha, a leading figure in Pécs’s intelligentsia, there was hope for recovering an
’integrated Hungary’ only if ’it was inhabited by Hungarians living on faith, and vice
versa, heroic Christians living in their Hungarian identity’.65 Nearly all editorial offices
found it important to declare that instead of mutually excluding one another, Christianity and patriotism assume and strengthen one another – of course, the individual
churches and newspapers put slightly different emphasis on the two poles.66
All journalist think tanks considered the harmonic situation in which unity of the
entire society is not encumbered by social tensions or conflicts between nationalities or churches to be the ideal situation.67 Within the framework of their opportunities and the limits set by their ethos, the staff of newspapers worked for this ideal
state of affairs, by using communication and opinion-forming as their tools, as well
as by proposing cultural and charity actions.68
However, there was a difference between newspapers in the degree of perceptiveness demonstrated in exposing, ranking and presenting the most important
social problems and the solutions they proposed – that is, where they positioned
the Jewish issue. Pécsi Est attributed most of the problems in agriculture, trade,
finance, politics and culture to the lack of a solution to the Jewish issue. Pécsi
Katolikus Tudósító attributed a similarly high significance to the Jewish issue, but

65 Vargha, Damján: Szent Mór és a Maurinum (St. Maurice and the Maurinum). M, year 2, issue no. 5 (June
1936) p. 1
66 One example for each of the particularly Calvinist and the particularly Catholic wording: Kálvinista hazafiság
(Calvinist patriotism). BKL, year 11, issue no. 12 (15 December 1923) p. 1 – Dr. Taksonyi, János: A katolikus
egyház nemzetközisége és a nemzeti érzés (The international character of the Catholic church and the national
feeling). PKT, year 4, issue no. 8 (27 June 1926) pp. 4-5 – For the idea of ’Christian Hungarian nationalism’
formulated in contrast with liberalism and national socialism: Barabás, András: A nemzetnevelés lényege (The
essence of educating a nation). KI, year 26, issue no. 3 (1 March 1937) pp. 17-18
67 E.g.: Kiss, Sándor: Krisztussal a magyar úton (With Christ along the Hungarian path). PRL, year 16, issue no.
3 (31 March 1935) pp. 1-2 – A szentistváni feladat (St. Stephen’s task). D, year 31, issue no. 15 (19 January
1941) p. 1
68 On Dunántúl’s initiatives: KEREKES 2002, p. 19 – On Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító’s results: KEREKES 2016, PP.
126-130 – Pécsi Reformátusok Lapja published similarly numerous calls for campaigns to ease famine, to
equip and support village schools. GYŐRFI 2015. 12. – Though not dealing with similar initiatives, Catholic policy
meant an active social commitment according to both Pécsi Hírek and Katholikus Iskola.

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the positions taken in connection with individual problems have not come together
to form a cohesive system to the same extent. However, most editorial offices considered the problem of single children,69 emigration and alcoholism, or the faults
of the national character, the ’unreasonable and unproductive pride of „Hungarian
nobility”, the procrastination embodied by literary figure Pál Pató’ 70 to be the main
root of social problems.
The issue of peace between churches played a role in local and national politics as well as in religious life between the two World Wars. All newspapers associated with churches were faced with the question of how to relate to other churches.
One of the extreme positions was drafted by Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító, which
was rather impatient, and not only with Jewry but also with Protestant churches.71 It
encouraged readers to buy only from Catholics (and to make this easier, the paper
published a list of suppliers),72 and to read no newspapers other than Catholic ones:
’You are not a true Catholic if you forebear non-Catholic press in your house!’73
In other cases, the call had an explicitly anti-Semitic edge: ’do not go to a barber
shop or any other shop where they subscribe only to colourless or specifically Jewish press.’ 74
The other extreme concerning peace between churches was represented by
the editors of Katholikus Iskola. According to an editorial message published in response to a letter from a reader, it is inconsiderate for Catholic groups to discourage
visits by Protestant and Jewish believers, even if they cannot be society members
according to the statutes.75 A writing published in the Calvinist congregation’s newspaper, which argues that Jews may not be godparents, implies a similar approach;
the author spends a long time apologising, saying this does not stem from any sort
of anti-Semitism but, in addition to the obligations under ecclesiastical law, from the
meaning of baptism.76

69 Having a single child was predominant in Calvinist villages, no wonder this demographic problem was addressed most frequently by Calvinist press. GYŐRFI 2015, pp. 19-25
70 Ifj. Majláth, József gr.: A múlt csak példa legyen (The past should only be an example). AE, year 2, issue no.
5 (7 January 1940) p. 91
71 Találkozás egyházi téren másvallásúakkal (Meeting people of other faiths in religious space). PKT, year 4, issue
no. 12 (1 November 1926) pp. 2-4
72 E.g.: PKT, year 14, issue no. 1 (January 1936) p. 19
73 E.g.: PKT, year 12, issue no. 1 (January 1934) p. 12
74 see: KEREKES 2016, p. 126
75 Szerkesztői üzenet (Message from the editor). KI, year 24, issue no. 4 (1 April 1935) p. 10
76 Zsidó lehet-e keresztszülő? (Can a Jew be a godparent?) PRL, year 3, issue no. 2 (15 May 1921) p. 1

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3. The most important nodes of the Jewish issue in the ecclesiastical
press of Southern Transdanubia
3.1. Types of anti-Semitic arguments
The disputes in the press related to the expansion, the economic, political and
intellectual influence of the Jewry, and the restriction of that influence practically
commenced as early as the failure of the Hungarian Republic of Councils and the
termination of Serbian occupation, as the continuation of exchanges started in the
age of Dualism. These disputes then came to a climax in the disputes around numerus clausus, then on account of the first two anti-Jewish Acts.
One standpoint claims the Jews owe their influence in economic and public
life to the fact that Christian society has only left careers in trade, finance and
white-collar professions open to the Jewry for centuries. Furthermore, Christians usually do not have appropriate qualification and practice in the fields of
specialties ’ruled’ by Jews, so this is why they fail most often. This view was
prevalent in the liberal press,77 but it also surfaced in smaller religious papers
from time to time.78
According to the other standpoint, the dissemination of the Jewry represented
a hazard for Christian Hungarians in all respects, all the more so because the economic power Jews represented was intertwined with political ideology considered
to be destructive. It was the authors of mainly Pécsi Est and – less coherently –
Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító who embraced and disseminated the idea that there was
a relationship between the Jewry on the one hand, and liberalism, internationalism,
Bolshevism, freemasonry and big business on the other hand, which quite apparently underlies the diverse and apparently heterogeneous phenomena – this conspiracy theory provided a simple framework for interpreting the problems with social
and national development re-emerging on a daily basis, which framework could be
applied flexibly.79
The proposers of this theory believe it was remarkable that revolutionary movements in both Russia and Hungary were led by Jews; this was confirmed by the origin
and religious affiliation of the majority of commissars. It could be no coincidence, either,
that Russian synagogues often testified to their loyalty with the Soviet power.80 However,
77 E.g.: A Baross Szövetség pécsi kudarca (Failure of Baross Association in Pécs). Pécsi Napló, year 30, issue
no. 187 (18 October 1921) p. 2
78 Kovácsevics, Milenkó: A keresztény iparos és kereskedő balsikerének okai (Causes of the misfortunes of
Christian craftsmen and traders). MI, year 3, issue no. 10 (15 May 1929) pp. 16-17
79 BIBÓ 1986, pp. 710-715
80 E.g.: A zsidó rabbik hűségnyilatkozata az orosz szovjet mellett (Oath of loyalty of Jewish rabbies to the Rus-

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where they were unable to strengthen their political power, Jewish financiers built up the
structures most suitable for their interests by withdrawing in the background: ’Capitalist
Jewry fabricated a workers’ movement they need never fear because the movement’s
omnipotent lords and managers are their own kin.’81 Of course, this was perceptible not
only at the topmost levels of power but had serious repercussions in everyday reality.
Jewish businessmen regularly positioned themselves opposite Hungarian interests,82
and inflation, price increases and the curbing of salaries, which made life difficult for
millions, was also due to the operation of capital held by Jews, the ’Jewish usury’, while
there were many Jews among traffickers and frauds.83 The extent to which these were
held to be non-separate phenomena and the focal nature of the issue are demonstrated
well by the tone of articles published in Pécsi Est, a paper targeting mostly the petty
bourgeoisie and the working classes, characterised by barely cloaked existential fears:
’If we are not aware and do not stop at the edge of the grave: within 10 to 20 years,
Hungary will be held completely by the Jews, and we can either go look for a new
homeland, or our sons are in for the saddest life of slavery.’84
Thus, the only important rupture in society runs between Jews and Christians, but this is covered up by the press, the majority of which also came to be
held by Jews. In addition to impeding long-term social reforms, it turns on national interests also concerning the most topical issues. Father Bangha has established that ultimate responsibility for the incitement to war, undermining the
nation’s moral strength, and, ultimately, for the dismembering of the country,
lay with the Jewish press – already back in the autumn of 1921, in an address
delivered at the celebration of the press in Pécs.85 In order to secure their finan-

81

82

83

84
85

sian Soviet). PKT, year 8, issue no. 4 (1 April 1930) p. 11 – Nyilas, Péter: Litvinovék csak a keresztények hitét
akarják kiirtani (Litvinov and cronies only want to extinguish the faith of Christians). PKT, year 13, issue no. 5
(May 1935) p. 112 – A zsidók Moszkvában a Szovjet győzelméért imádkoztak (Jews in Moscow pray for Soviet
victory). D, year 34, issue no. 76 (4 April 1944) p. 3
Segít-e a munkásnép sorsán a társadalmi forradalom? (Does social revolution ease the fate of workers?) PE,
year 19, issue no. 19 (23 January 1924) p. 1 – cf.: [Geosits, Lajos]: „Végre valahára (At last). PE, year 14, issue
no. 17 (11 September 1921) p. 1
Weisz és Rottmüller veszélyeztetik a magyar érdeket (Weisz and Rottmüller threaten Hungarian interest). PE,
year 17, issue no. 84 (12 April 1922) p. 2 – Weisz Manfréd gépeket szállít a szovjetnek (Manfred Weisz delivers
equipment to the Soviet). PE, year 17, issue no. 261 (16 November 1922) p. 1 – Zsidó kufárok tönkretették
külföldön a magyar tejtermékek jóhírnevét (Jewish peddlers destroy the good reputation of Hungarian dairy
products abroad). year 18, issue no. 163 (21 July 1923) p. 2
A sokszázmilliós lisztpanama tanulságai (Lessons of the flour fraud of several hundreds of millions). PE, year
17, issue no. 34 (11 February 1922) p. 4 – Gazdasági vagy felekezeti kérdés-e az iparosok és kereskedők
keresztény tömörülése? (Is the Christian associaton of craftsmen and traders an economic or religious issue?)
PE, year 17, issue no. 68 (23 March 1922) p. 2 – Spiller Benő úr rektifikálna (Mr. Benő Spiller would rectify).
PE, year 18, issue no. 67 (23 March 1923) p. 3
Azért, mert él még a nemzeti öntudat… (Just because national self-consciousness still lives…) PE, year 20,
issue no. 53 (6 March 1925) p. 1
A keresztény-nemzeti sajtó fontossága. P. Bangha díszbeszéde a színházban. (The importance of the Christian-national press. Ceremonial address by Father Bangha in the theatre) D, year 11, issue no. 187 (6 September 1921) p. 3

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cial power – runs the argument – Jews try to weaken the religious and national
bonds that are contrary to their interests. It is no coincidence that Pécs Jews
comported themselves in an unpatriotic manner during the revolutions and Serbian occupation.86 In 1924, a reader of Pécsi Est was aggrieved by the fact that
the Jews of Pécs failed to celebrate 15 March, while not much later, one of the
authors argued that if it came to a war, ’neither Jews of the Entente nor Hungarian Jews will blast bullets at each other”.87 (This argumentation completely
disregarded all the instances when the Jewry testified to its solidarity with the
Christian society, whether it was the rabbi of Pécs taking a stand in favour of
the counter-revolutionary order, or a joint prayer by synagogue members for the
restoration of historical borders.88)
Pécsi Est used a particular means to achieve global validity for its train of
thought: it reported on the anti-Semitic decrees, movements and pogroms appearing in the most diverse countries of the world on a nearly daily basis. This gives the
reader an impression that Jews have gained excessive influence not only in Hungary but everywhere. However, the people of the world are having enough of this
situation, and adopt provisions to curb in the Jews one after the other.
The discourse offered the practical conclusion that the solution to a highly
complex problem was the confinement of Jews in all fields of political, social,
economic and cultural life. In addition to approving and calling for legal restrictions, newspapers invited their readers to boycott shops and papers in Jewish
ownership.89 The university newspaper argued for economic restriction of the
Jewry in a less direct manner. An author in the first issue of Maurinum argued
that Hungary had to be ’made Hungarian’, ’a new settlement in the homeland
is needed, because all major positions in economic life have been occupied
by strangers”.90 In addition to economic restrictions, Pécsi Est has proposed a
86 A pécsi zsidóság mosakodik (Pécs Jewry washing its hands). PE, year 14, issue no. 27. (23 September 1921)
p. 2 – A Tolna megyei zsidó értelmiség nagy része valóban baloldali mozgalmak befolyása alá került (Majority of
Tolna County’s Jewish intelligentsia indeed influenced by leftist movements). SZILÁGYI 1994-95, pp. 241-242;
249-251 – On the issue on a national basis: GONDA 1992, pp. 189-193 – GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 98-109
87 Egy levél hozzánk (A letter to us). PE, year 19, issue no. 69 (22 March 1924) p. 2 – Zsidóság és integritás
(Jewry and integrity). PE, year 19, issue no. 124 (28 May 1924) p. 1
88 ’A magyarok bejövetele a rendet és a nyugalmat biztosította.’ Dr. Pfeiffer Izsák nyilatkozata. (Entry of the Hungarians ensured order and peace. Statement by Dr Izsák Pfeiffer) PE, year 14, issue 50. (19 October 1921) p.
3. old. – A pécsi rabbi beiktatása. (Inauguration of the Pécs rabbi) year 18, issue 58 (13 March 1923) p. 3 – A
villányi zsidóság imája a régi határokért. (Prayer of Villány Jews for the old borders) D, year 17, issue 190 (23
Aug 1927) p.4. – Cf also: GONDA 1992. p.195
89 Cf: „Keresztény, kereszténynél vásárol!” (Christians should shop with Christianx only) PE, year 18, issue 40.
(20 February 1923) p. 4 – The picture is somewhat modified by the fact that Pécsi Reformátusok Lapja (Paper
of Pécs Protestants) only advertised Protestant tradesmen and shops, too. The publication of the Catholic „list
of tradesment” by Tudósító was not clearly anti-Jewish propaganda.
90 Maurinum, year 1, issue 4-5 (May-June 1935) p. 14 – Cf: Dunántúl only started to use the term „new conquest of the fatherland” in 1942, after the anti-Jewish Act’ land ownership was executed.

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reduction in the political representation of the Jewry as early as in the first half
of the 1920’s.91
In general, the arguments brought by the press calling for the confinement of
the Jewry have two characteristics in common. One is that authors and editors were
practically free to pick arguments of the conservatives, Christian Socialists and, in
some places, of the extreme right; there were no clear boundaries between each
philosophy. For instance, Pécsi Est – as seen above – was one of the main representatives of the conspiracy theory typical of the extreme right, but represented a
much more moderate position on the isolation of the Jewry. In an editorial, Viktor
Perr explained he was willing to accept Jewry as a religion if the community clearly
proved its loyalty to the Hungarian homeland.92
The other general phenomenon is that the arguments brought by the papers
clearly relate to the momentary situation: authors referred almost only to the most
current developments and details, and very rarely put the Jewish issue in a historical perspective. Authors of two articles argued in favour of the moral renewal of
the Magyars, a stronger national consciousness and, in close conjunction with
this, the confinement of Jews by citing the thoughts of statesmen from the Period
of Reforms. Pécsi Est cited Széchenyi’s thoughts back in 1922,93 well afterwards,
an author of Maurinum analysed Kölcsey’s position against the Jews.94 In his paper which had nationwide reverberations, Pécs lawyer Kálmán Molnár reached
back to 1514, and Lajos Geosits, vice president of Katolikus Legényegylet (Catholic Young Men’s Society) traced back the history of the ’waking ideal’ right to St.
Stephen.95 Ferenc Galambos wrote about driving Jews out of Pécs in the late 17th
century at a time when Jews were already being put in ghettos and physically annihilated.96
The middle of the road between liberal and anti-Semitic papers (relying on
a conservative, Christian Socialist or extreme rightist base) was represented by
Dunántúl. Its articles did not typically identify Jewry with either left-wing movements

91 Ahol egy kis numerus clausus szintén elkelne (Where a little ’numerus clausus’ would also be welcome). PE,
year 20, issue 52 (5 March 1925) p.3
92 [Perr, Viktor]: A zsidóságról (On Jewry). PE, year 18, issue no. 231 (12 October 1923) p. 1
93 A fajvédelemről (On the protection of the race). PE, year 17, issue no. 235 (15 October 1922) p. 1
94 Dr. Svéda, Pál: Kölcsey Ferenc és a zsidókérdés (Ferenc Kölcsey and the Jewish issue). M, year 5, issue no.
3 (February 1939) pp. 4-7
95 Molnár Kálmán dr. a zsidókérdés emberséges megoldásáról (Dr. Kálmán Molnár on the humane solution to
the Jewish issue). D, year 29, issue no. 29 (5 February 1939) p. 3 – A pécsi ébredők társas összejövetele
(Social get-together of the Awakening Hungarians of Pécs). PE, year 17, issue no. 245 (27 October 1922) p. 2
96 Dr. Galambos, Ferenc: 250 évvel ezelőtt a katolikus egyház erélyes fellépésére távolították el Pécsről a
zsidókat (Jews removed from Pécs in response to firm action by the Catholic church 250 years ago). D, year
34, issue no. 117 (25 May 1944) p. 4

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or with big business or with freemasonry.97 (One of the few exceptions is an editorial discussing poverty, which has been growing in the wake of the Great Depression: poverty ’is not the cause of a few thousand Shylocks who love the golden
calf and whose soul has been darkened by egotism, and of the unemployed’.98)
On the other hand, Dunántúl did not demand economic restrictions on the Jewry
up until the late 1930’s – though it also failed to firmly argue against it, too. In any
case, Jewish companies (Lőwy Brothers, Mór Hirschler) regularly advertised on
its pages, which accommodated communiqués by Jewish traders concerning the
opening hours during religious holidays. The need to stand with Christian economy
was given greater emphasis in Dunántúl’s articles only as late as during the first
years of the war; at that time, it regularly reported on the activities of the Baross
Association, and on some occasions, it advertised the association of markedly
Christian firms after December 1941.
Dunántúl was the only clerical newspaper the news in which confirmed that
the Jewry made a positive contribution to the cultural life of the entire society.
Up until the spring of 1944, it regularly published positive news on Jews, which
confirmed that the Jews were breathing together with Hungarian society. When
the Jewish synagogue said a prayer of grace for liberation and for the opening
of the Pécs University together with Christians, this was published in the paper.99
Readers also learn that a memorial plaque for the Jewish heroes of the war was
installed,100 and that the synagogue of Palotabozsok made a donation in favour of
a Catholic church.101 Though with a varied intensity, the paper regularly reported
on the programmes of the synagogue, the people’s school and the women’s charity organisation – a part of these, communiqués by organisations and invitations
to general assembly meetings may have been published as paid advertisements,
which indicates that the majority of the Jewish public also read the paper. It is
97 I found this stereotype only twice on the pages of Dunántúl. The author of one article complains that only
the Christians participating in the Hungarian Commune were punished, though Jews would deserve the same
punishments; another reportage stated the the majority of Soviet commissars were of Jewish extraction. Nem
antiszemitáskodás, hanem ténymegállapítás vezeti tollunkat... (The pen is led by objectivity rather than antiSemitism...) D, year 10, issue no. 136 (18 July 1920) p. 2 – 344 zsidó népbiztos Oroszországban (344 Jewish
commissars in Russia). D, year 11, issue no. 28 (5 February 1921) p. 3
98 A nyomor vámszedői (Taking a toll on paupers). D, year 20, issue no. 231 (11 October 1930) p. 1
99 A zsidótemplomban (In the Jewish church). D, year 11, issue no. 180 (28 August 1921) p. 4 – Izr. istentisztelet
az egyetem megnyitása alkalmából (Jewish service on the opening of the university). D, year 13, issue no.
239 (21 October 1923) p. 4 – A villányi zsidóság imája a régi határokért (Prayer of Villány Jews for the old
borders). D, year 17, issue no. 190 (23 August 1927) p. 4 – Joint services and patriotic celebrations organised together had serious traditions: Villány ünnepsége (Ceremony at Villány). Pécsi Napló, year., issue. (13
April 1898) pp. 7-8 – Villány gyásza a trónörökös párért (Villány mourns the heirs to the throne). Pécsi Napló,
year, issue (5 July 1914) p.
100 Hősök emléktáblája a pécsi zsinagógában (Memorial plaque for soldiers at the Pécs synagogue). D, year 13,
issue no. 135 (17 June 1923) p. 4 - A mohácsi izr. hősi halottak emléktáblája (Memorial plaque of the Jewish
heroes of Mohács). year 13, issue no. 200 (5 September 1923) p. 2
101 A palotabozsoki zsidó hitközség tagjai a nagyharsányi róm. kat. templomért (Members of the Jewish synagogue
of Palotabozsok for the Nagyharsány Roman Catholic church). D, year 28, issue no. 83 (13 April 1938) p. 6

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characteristic of Dunántúl’s spirit that it published an Israelite calendar in its Christmas yearbook right up until the 1930’s,102 and published the obituaries for the
synagogue right up to the spring of 1944.103 (The fact that there was no philoSemitic bias is well indicated by the paper’s position on the Zsidó Lexikon (Jewish
Encyclopedia) published in 1929. The encyclopedia indicated a number of Christian university teachers as Jewish intelligentsia by mistake, which was also protested by an article in Dunántúl; it did not agree to Jews claiming any segment of
the Christian intelligentsia’s performance, however small.104 However, it regarded
achievements that were indubitably associated with Jewish culture – such as the
writings and addresses by former Pécs rabbi Ármin Perls – in recognition of the
achievement.105)

3.2. Detour: the reception of the racial theory
The other possible position concerning the evaluation of the Jewry and the Jewish
issue was the racial theory represented by Germany’s National Socialism, which,
however, was not received without criticism by the Hungarian public. The German
elections in the autumn of 1930 and in particular of 1933 filled journalists with concerns, and, rather than the other political extreme of Communism, they considered
the Catholic Centre Party to be the only alternative for National Socialism.106 Though
most papers acknowledged a number of elements included in the Nazi party’s social programme such as the elimination of unemployment and the inclusion of workers in the ’national society’,107 all Christian churches fiercely rejected the party’s
anti-clerical approach and its racial cult.108
Dunántúl discussed the rebuttal of the racial theory extensively: ’Just as historical materialism is in open conflict with Christianity, a historical approach that intends

102 KEREKES 2002, p. 17
103 A great obituary was published in memory of former synagogue chair and court counsellor József Jánosi Engel:
Jánosi Engel József halálára (On József Jánosi Engel’s death). D, year 29, issue no. 271 (28 November 1939) p. 4
104 Pécsi egyetemi tanárok a Zsidó Lexikonban (Pécs university teachers in the Jewish Encyclopedia). D, year
19, issue no. 99 (3 May 1929) p. 4
105 Megjelennek a Perls-beszédek (Perls addresses to be published). D,year 26, issue no. 224 (1 October
1936) p. 7
106 Jobbra vagy balra? (Left or right?) D, year 20, issue no. 212 (19 September 1930) p. 1 – ChH, year 6, issue
no. 40 (12 October 1930) p. 7
107 Nemzeti szociálisták (National Socialists). D, year 20, issue no. 214 (21 September 1930) p. 1 – A közmunka
(Public labour). PRL, year 20, issue no. 6 (June 1939) p. 3
108 A horogkereszt (The Swastika). D, year 22, issue no. 147 (2 July 1932) p. 1 – Ne ölj! Tévelygő utakon a
német nemzeti szocializmus (Thou shalt not kill. German National Socialism on the wrong path). D, year 33,
issue no. 200 (3 September 1933) p. 3 – KEREKES 2002, p. 12

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to explain everything by blood and race will also have an un-Christian spirit.”109 The
university rector took the same theological stand: ’The Lord created no races [...]
or Jews and Christians, He only created men’, he told students who demanded that
numerus clausus be restricted.110
Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító rejected the ’sickly insistence on the national
and racial dominance, which attacks Christianity with its heathen understanding’ with a similar consistency.111 The Nazi ideology is unacceptable
– the paper’s authors argued, making reference also to Prohászka’s views
– because the complete homogenisation of political and social life blends
all Christian churches into one and treads on Christian freedom.112 The conclusion offered itself that ’National atheism was even more dangerous than
Communism.” 113 Munkásifjú condemned the anti-clerical views of the two
extremes, but it also condemned aggressive agitation as they incited unnecessary conflicts, made use of the young in their campaigns, ’turning
children into elderly people’.114
In addition to the pages of the press, racial theory was present in public
discourse by no later than the mid-1930’s. The congregation of Pius Grammar
School’s pupils had a number of debates on racial theory,115 and the topic was
covered in the courses to would-be priests. In December 1942, a lecture was
held at the Seminary on Alfred Rosenberg’s book Der Mythus des XX. Jahrhun109 A rassz elmélet (The theory of races). D, year 24, issue no. 266 (25 November 1934) p. 8 – Interestingly
enough, a book published on eugenics, which relies on the same premises as racial theory and the biology of
races, earned a praise. Tehetség és eugenika. Somogyi József dr. könyve (Talent and eugenics. A book by Dr.
József Somogyi). D, year 25, issue no. 1 (1 January 1935) p. 8 – A whole lecture was devoted to eugenics
also in the Catholic ethos course at the end of the year: Az eugenika és az állami törvény (Eugenics and state
law). D, year 25, issue no. 278 (6 December 1935) p. 2
110 A pécsi egyetemi tanács teljesíti az ifjuság kívánságait (Pécs university council fulfills youth wishes). Pécsi
Napló, year 46, issue no. 63 (19 March 1937) p. 2
111 see: KEREKES 2001, p. 15 – According to the description published in Dunántúl, the current issue of Tudósító points out the ’dangers of the overzealous cult of races. It convincingly proves how suitable certain
slogans are for spreading total religious indifference.’ Nincsen magyar Isten! (There is no Hungarian God!)
D, year 23, issue no. 211 (17 September 1933) p. 9 – According to a statement by Katholikus Iskola, for the
German extreme right, ’in the second minute after seizing power, the only meaning Christianity had was
not being Jewish’. Dr. Schmidt, Vilmos: Nem szabad elkésnünk! (We must not be late!) KI, year 21, issue no.
9 (1 September 1932) p. 2
112 Hitlerék győzelme… (Hitler’s victory...) PKT, year 12, issue no. 2. (February 1934) p. 15 – Dr. Gálos, László:
Németországi benyomások (German impressions). PKT, year 12, issue no. 5 (May 1934) pp. 12-13 – Komócsy István: Felekezeti türelem, fajvédelem, totalitás, egyéniség, katolicizmus (Religious patience, protection of
the race, individuality, Catholicism). PKT, year 16, issue no. 5 (May 1938) pp. 95-96
113 PKT, year 15, issue no. 10 (1 December 1937) p. 216
114 Gussmann, Viktor: „Itt védőrség – ott horogkereszt!” (Here, the defence guard – there, the Swastika) MI, year
3, issue no. 4 (15 February 1929) p. 16.
115 Puhl, Imre: Munkában a kongregáció (Congregation at work). MA, issue no. 28 (1939) pp. 21-22 – Gr.
Meran, Ferenc: Nem kérdeztetek… de mi felelünk! (You did not ask... but we answer) MA, issue no. 31 (1942)
pp. 5-7

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derts, and the rebuttals to certain of its theses were published in the school’s
yearbook.116
Out of the Southern Transdanubian newspapers with clerical ties, Pécsi Est
was the only one that nearly reached the point of confessing to the racial theory
within a matter of a few years – as early as the first half of the 1920’s! The tone of
its articles was decreasingly characterised by the Christian spirit, while the declaration of national and racial ideologies became more fervent, and the paper used the
terminology of racial theory in an increasingly consistent manner. The final point
of this transformation was a report published in the paper on Father Borovszky’s
lecture delivered in the spirit of racial biology. The Jesuit monk brought the following arguments against mixed marriages: ’Marriages between Hungarians and Jews
encourage the Hungarian nation’s destruction, as it will lead to complete Jewification sooner or later [...] Purer blood is stronger and therefore dominates over mixed
blood. And the blood of the Jewish people is purer than that of Magyars.”117

3.2. The numerus clausus
Finding employment for young graduates posed a serious social problem throughout the entire era; according to the original reasons provided for the numerus clausus, the Act served the purpose of preventing the emergence of an ’intellectual
Proletariat’.118 Unsurprisingly, the central hub of conflicts was the university in the
1920’s and most of the 1930’s.
In the autumn of 1920, the people of Pécs, living under Serbian occupation
then, learned about the debate on numerus clausus in the National Assembly from
Dunántúl’s pages. The paper usually published dry and objective reports on the
debate, providing the most space to the declaration made by the minister of culture,
while readers could learn about the memorandum of Jewish university students
submitted to the National Assembly as well.119
116 Stumpf, Jakab: A bűn és megváltás tana (The theory of sin and salvation). SzÉ, issue no. 19 (December 1942)
pp. 11-12 – Sorozatos előadásainkból (From our lecture series). SzÉ, issue no. 19 (December 1942) pp. 1115 – Cf.: The newspaper of the Catholic school made the same reference to Rosenberg’s theories: ’We do
not recognise the supremacy of any sort of „Nordische Rasse” (Northern race), but we do not despise
any other races, either.” Barabás, András: A nemzetnevelés vezéreszméi (Guiding principles of educating a
nation). KI, year 28, issue no. 2 (1 February 1939) p. 2
117 A magyarság jövőjének biztosítása (Securing the future of Hungarians). PE, year 18, issue no. 53 (7 March 1923)
p. 2 – On Hungarian thinking about racial theory that emerged in the 1920’s: GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 387-397
118 GYURGYÁK 2001, p. 119
119 A numerus clauzus [így] (The numerus clauzus (sic). D, year 10, issue no. 177 (5 September 1920) p. 3 – A
zsidó főiskolai hallgatók a magyar nemzetgyűléshez (Jewish college students to the Hungarian National Assembly). D, year 10, issue no. 255 (12 December 1920) p. 4

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Debates and accusations around the implementation of the numerus clausus
flared up essentially already at the time when Erzsébet Tudományegyetem (Elizabeth University of Sciences) was moved to Pécs, and led to severe scandals and
atrocities later on.120 In February 1923, the Pécs members of Ébredő Magyarok
Egyesülete (Association of Awakening Hungarians) protested the circumvention of
the Act, an editorial supported by statistical figures was published in Pécsi Est,
which was protested by a university teacher on the pages of Dunántúl, also citing
figures.121
In December 1923, a serious incident took place: a group of Jewish medical
students was assaulted in the university’s institute for pathology; the perpetrators
were questioned by the rector: ’In response to my question on what happened, they
explained they were concerned by the high number of Jews in the university. They
also cited the bloody events that took place in Dob Street in Budapest recently, in
the course of which a soldier was killed’.122 In a few days, Christian university organisations held an assembly to promote numerus clausus, a delegation of students
visited the rector asking for an emphasis on the university’s Christian character (i.e.
to post crucifixes in lecture halls and to reserve front rows for Christian students).
According to the moderate position of rector József Nagy, numerus clausus was
only supposed to put young Christian white-collar people in a more favourable position compared to Jews, but it was up to the young to make use of this opportunity. 123
The rector rejected all forms of violence, but covertly admitted that, in contrast with
the government’s position, the Act was actually poised against Jews
Emotions failed to be subdued despite the agreement reached. In February
1924, a great authority, Ottokár Prohászka also commented on the events in Pécs,
his article was published on the front page of Pécsi Est.124 Late March, another incident took place at the university, with news of stabbing resulting in severe injuries
this time. One day later, young Christians made a coordinated attack against Jews

120 On the national context: GONDA 1992, p. 201
121 On the Association of Awakening Hungarians demonstration: Az ébredő magyarok nagygyűlése (Assembly of
awakening Hungarians). D, year 13, issue no. 46 (27 February 1923) p. 2 – The press discourse: A numerus
clausust Pécsett akarják meglékelni?! (Numerus clausus to be sunk in Pécs?!) PE, year 18, issue no. 53 (7
March 1923) p. 1 – Dr. Késmárky, István: A numerus clausust Pécsett akarják meglékelni? (Numerus clausus
to be sunk in Pécs?) year 13, issue no. 54 (8 March 1923) p. 1
122 Mi történt a pécsi egyetem bonctani épületében? Nagy József dr. rektor nyilatkozata.(What happened in the
pathology building of Pécs university? Statement by rector dr. József Nagy) D, year 13, issue no. 280 (11
December 1923) p. 1
123 A pécsi egyetem és a keresztény gondolat. Semmi akadálya sincs az egyetem keresztény és nemzeti jellege
kidomborításának (The Pécs university and the Christian idea. Nothing to stop the university from emphasising
its Christian and national character). D, year 13, issue no. 285 (16 December 1923) p. 2
124 Prohászka, Ottokár: A numerus clausus (The numerus clausus). PE, year 19, issue no. 34 (10 February
1924) p. 1

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in two entertainment locations downtown.125 In a few days, the tensions created by
numerus clausus erupted in a completely new form: a tasteless joke by a university
employee escalated into a scandal about religious slander, the rector launched a
discipline procedure, then the matter was brought before the minister of culture;
ultimately, a Jewish student was found to be responsible and was advised to leave
the university.126
The numerus clausus and the scandals around its implementation created a
considerable international echo, and late in 1925, the situation was addressed by
the League of Nations, and then by the International Tribunal at the Hague.127 The
National Assembly started to debate an amendment to the Act in the autumn of
1927 ,128 provoking fierce resistance by Christian student organisations. In parallel
with student movements in Budapest, an assembly was organised in Pécs as well;
the situation again led to severe disturbances. Certain groups of Christian students
boycotted lectures, fights took place, and Jewish students allegedly berated Christians.129 It is typical of the atmosphere that prevailed that even Dunántúl, otherwise
so dry and reserved, published the news that proved to be untrue later; fair enough,
it also published the erratum of Jewish students.130
In October 1928 and February 1931, the university again became the venue
of disturbances due to the implementation of numerus clausus: tensions again focused on the medical faculty. On both occasions, the rector shut down the univer-

125 Incidensek az egyetem bonctani intézetében. Túlzott hírek orvostanhallgatók verekedéséről (Incidents in the
university’s pathology institute. Exaggerated news on fights between medical students). D, year 14, issue no.
125 (31 May 1924) p. 2 – Újabb ifjúsági zavargások (New disturbances among the young). D, year 14, issue
no. 125 (1 June 1924) p. 3
126 Nagy József dr. rektor az egyetemen történt incidensekről (Rector dr. József Nagy on the university incidents). D, year 14, issue no. 130 (7 June 1924) p. 1 – A kultuszminiszter megbízottja lefolytatta a vizsgálatot
az egyetemi vallásgyalázás ügyében. A Circumdederunt me a pécsi egyetem zsidó kérdése (Minister of culture’s representative completed investigation of religious slander at university. Circumdederunt me is the Jewish issue of the Pécs university). year 19, issue no. 134 (11 June 1924) p. 2 – A kultuszminiszter a pécsi
egyetemen történt hullagyalázásról (Minister of culture on the desecration of corpses at Pécs university). D,
year 14, issue no. 137 (17 June 1924) p. 1 – Similar scandals on religion and desecration of corpses occurred elsewhere in Hungary as well: GONDA 1992, p. 201
127 A numerus clausus a népszövetség előtt (Numerus clausus before the League of Nations). D, year 15, issue
no. 250 (4 November 1925) p. 1 – A numerus clausus ügye a hágai nemzetközi törvényszék elé kerül (Cause
of numerus clausus before the International Tribunal of the Hague). D, year 15, issue no. 282 (12 December
1925) p. 3 – Genf nem változtat a numerus claususon (Geneva will not change numerus clausus). D, year 15,
issue no. 283 (13 December 1925) p. 1
128 GONDA 1992, p. 203 – GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 128-131
129 Pécsi egyetemi ifjuság tüntetése. Összeütközés volt ma délelőtt az egyik klinikán a keresztény és zsidó hallgatók között (Demonstration by Pécs university youth. Clash this morning between Christian and Jewish students in one of the polyclinics). D, year 17, issue no. 265 (22 November 1927) p. 3
130 Vasváry Ferenc dr. rektor fegyelmi eljárást indít a hétfői verekedésben résztvett egyetemi hallgatók ellen (Rector dr. Ferenc Vasváry institutes disciplinary proceedings against university students who participated in the
fights Monday). D, year 17, issue no. 266 (23 November 1927) p. 3

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sity temporarily to prevent the conflict from escalating.131 The last clashes in Pécs
university took place at the end of February 1937. Students again boycotted lectures, organised a demonstration, wrote a memorandum to the rector, but the situation escalated once again: unknown perpetrators threw stones in the synagogue
window. Slightly after the arrangements for the demonstrations began, Dunántúl
warned students that although their demands were justified, disorder threatened
peace in society. ’In saying so, we are not telling youth to become silent and yield,
closing their eyes to the outrageous mistakes and wrongs; rather, they should try
to find a solution to their injuries and present their truths within the framework of
legal forms mandatory for everyone, aware of their responsibilities. Hungarian youth
today has established organisations for expressing all its wishes. Bashing in heads
and insulting defenceless people is not worthy of Hungarian youngsters, and, in
addition to being the wrong method, this is not fit for progressing on or resolving
disputed matters.’132 Eventually, a compromise put an end to the movements: the
university council adopted a decision in principle on strict compliance with the numerus clausus, while students expressed their respect for the rector.133 Any further
campaigning in favour of numerus clausus was soon rendered unnecessary by the
anti-Jewish Acts.
Overall, it may be said that readers of Dunántúl found detailed and – in general – sufficiently objective news on the events. The newspaper highlighted the
commitment of students fighting for the confinement of Jews to the national cause,
and so presented their aims in a favourable light. On the other hand, in addition to
the official positions of the participants and official bodies, Pécsi Est – rather partially – evaluated the events, and kept the matter on the agenda by publishing brief
international news even when this was not warranted by the local developments in
Pécs. The newspaper of the Lutheran congregations assumed no clear position on
numerus clausus, yet it strengthened the camp of those who opposed the Act and
favoured its amendment by reporting twice on the international protests prompted
by the Act.134 On the other hand, the conduct of student newspapers was surpris131 A pécsi Erzsébet egyetemet ma délelőtt bizonytalan időre bezárták (Elizabeth University of Pécs closed down
for undefined period). D, year 18, issue no. 244 (26 October 1928) pp. 1-2 – Tüntetés volt ma délben a pécsi
egyetemi anatómiai intézetben (Demonstrations in anatomy institute of Pécs university noon today). D, year
21, issue no. 45 (25 February 1931) p.3
132 Elég volt (Enough). D, year 27, issue no. 45 (25 February 1937) p. 1
133 A pécsi egyetem ifjúsága mély tiszteletét és őszinte ragaszkodását Dambrovszky Imre dr. egyetemi rektornak (Pécs university youth expresses deep respect and sincere commitment to university rector dr. Imre
Dambrovszky). D, year 27, issue no. 62 (18 March 1937) p. 3 – A pécsi egyetem ifjúsága örömmel és megnyugvással vette tudomásul a tanács határozatát (Pécs university youth acknowledges council decision with
pleasure and in acknowledgement). D, year 27, issue no. 64 (20 March 1937) p. 2
134 Die Juden des Auslandes. ChH, year 2, issue no. 6 (3 January 1926) p. 7 – Die ung. Universitätshörerschaft
hat für die weitererhaltung des ’Numerus Clausus’ Stellung genommen. ChH, year 3, issue no. 45 (13 November 1927) p. 8 – Für die Annahme der Abänderungsverlage des Numerus Clausus. ChH, year 4, issue
no. 15 (4 March 1928) p. 6

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ing. The restriction on the number of Jewish students affected the interests of the
young, secondary school pupils and university students, the most directly, yet there
are hardly any traces of considering the issue in student journalism. In the summer
of 1924, pupils of Pius Grammar School debated the Jewish issue (focusing on the
numerus clausus),135 while an author of Maurinum, the newspaper of St. Maurice
Dormitory, brought arguments in favour of numerus clausus in 1936.136

3.3. The first two anti-Jewish Acts
In the spring of 1938, the several decades of press discussions on the legal restrictions for Jews peaked in the debate on the 1st anti-Jewish Act; arguments brought
by local public figures, politicians and journalists basically contain nothing new
compared to the debates after 1920 and 1921, determined mostly by the numerus
clausus.137
In the region, the debate was opened by Dunántúl, which published the Prime
Minister’s address delivered in Győr on 6 March 1938; two days later, readers could
read a statement by Bálint Hóman concerning the Győr programme.138 From that
point on, the paper monitored the debate on the bill on a daily basis, presenting
the most important arguments brought by members of Parliament in objective, almost abstract-life communication, yet the arguments in favour of the Act were given
slightly more publicity.
The debate defined public life in Pécs at the local level. In April 1938, the
city’s judiciary assembly expressed its gratitude for proposing the bill: ’Settlement
of the issue by law indicates great courage and determination. The operational
intervention that will return the positions originally due to the individuals who make
up the nation will bring relief and lead to the development of abilities doubtlessly innate in the Magyar race.”139 Almost the only opinion opposing this majority position
135 Kongregációi élet (Congregation life). MA, issue no. 9 (July 1924) pp. 10-11
136 Kecskés, Tibor: Az újesztendő ifjúsági problémái (Youth problems of the new year). M, year 2, issue no. 3
(February 1936) pp. 3-6
137 On the drafting and debate of anti-Jewish acts: GONDA 1992, pp. 208-214
138 Egy milliárd kell az ország és a hadsereg talpra állítására – mondotta a miniszterelnök Győrben (One million
required to put the country and the army back on its feet according to a statement made by the prime minister
in Győr). D, year 28, issue no. 53 (6 March 1938) pp. 1-2 – Hóman, Bálint: A zsidókérdés megoldása érdeke
a zsidóságnak is! (Resolution to the Jewish issue is in the Jewry’s interest as well!) D, year 28, issue no. 54
(8 March 1938) p. 3
139 Az ötéves terv és a zsidókérdés két érdekes napirend előtti felszólalásban Pécs törvényhatósági bizottságának kedden délután tartott közgyűlésén (The five-year plan and the Jewish issue in two interesting comments made in the topical issues session of the general assembly of the judiciary committe of Pécs held
Tuesday afternoon). D, year 28, issue no. 83 (13 April 1938) p. 3

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was represented by Tibor Mattyasovszky Zsolnay. He thought the adversities that
Jews were usually accused of might actually be attributed to the Christian society:
the fact that industry, trade and finance were dominated by Jews stemmed from
the laziness of Christians in society. As long as this mentality remains unchanged,
restructuring the economy may not be successful, either: ’all property, no matter
who holds it, constitutes national property, and if tampered with by unskilled hands,
they will collapse and be destroyed rather than be distributed in a fairer manner.’ He
pointed out that confinement of Jews was not the only possible way, because it was
possible to prevail also next to the Jewry: ’enrichment is also possible by generating new values, and ultimately, this value creation goes to increase the country’s
riches’.140
Authors of Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító not only monitored the dispute in Parliament but brought their own arguments in favour of the anti-Jewish Act. In the May
1938 issue, Viktor Perr published an article approving of the Fajvédő Kiáltvány
(Racial Manifesto), while Péter Nyilas tried to argue that restricting Jews in economics and culture was inevitable.141 (Apparently, the paper declared its commitment to a fundamental principle of the anti-Jewish Act, the dissimilation of the
Jewry, two years earlier when it republished an article originally published by the
magazine Új Kor (New Era) on the incompatibility of the Jewish and the Hungarian
identities.142)
Dunántúl reported on the adoption of the Act dispassionately, objectively publishing the government instructions (though the issue was slightly paled in comparison with the elongated crisis in Palestine in the summer and autumn of 1938).
Typically enough, several issues of the paper published international news – from
Germany and Italy, and to a smaller extent, from Czechoslovakia and Romania – that
confirmed that Hungarian decrees against Jews were not unreasonably strict, and
in many respects, the situation of Jews abroad was even worse. Another means for
140 Pécs város közgyűlése hódolattal üdvözölte a 70 éves kormányzót. Mattyasovszky Zsolnay Tibor a pécsi
lelkiségről és a zsidókérdésről (The General Assembly of Pécs City greeted the Governor on his 70th birthday
with veneration. Tibor Mattyasovszky Zsolnay on the Pécs spirit and the Jewish issue). D, year 28, issue no.
117 (25 May 1938) p. 4
141 Perr, Viktor: A zsidókérdésről (On the Jewish issue). PKT, year 16, issue no. 5 (May 1938) pp. 99-100 –
Nyilas, Péter: A zsidó-javaslat körül (About the Jewish proposal). PKT, year 16, issue no. 5 (May 1938) pp.
101-102
142 According to the article’s author ’being a Jew – I stress: here in Hungary and today in 1936 – is not a religious issue. Catholic or Protestant Hungarians voicing their Catholic or Protestant affiliation will not get
in conflict with the Hungarian state, whereas a Jewish Hungarian voicing his Jewish identity is Hungarian
no more, he is only a Jew. At that point, he is the one who excludes himself from the Magyar community
and assumes a racial position.’ PKT, year 14, issue no. 5 (May 1936) p. 95 – The reasoning provided for
the Act reflects the same; according to it, the Jewry ’failed to feel the historical traditions of the nation, they
did not represent the same value for Jews as for the other, particularly the autochtonic groups of the population’; the new immigrants ’adopted only the external features of Hungarians, but failed to grow several
generations of roots in the Hungarian soil.’ see: GYURGYÁK 2001, p. 138

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convincing and consolidating the public was the fundamentally positive evaluation
of the anti-Jewish Act given in the editorial of 1 July 1938, declaring it to be an important step forward in the protection of Christian society.143
The 2nd anti-Jewish Bill was submitted in December 1938. Dunántúl published
even more detailed and up-to-date news about the debate that ’rolled in a wide riverbed’ until early May 1939. The discourse became indisputably more colourful when
it came to genre: short news was accompanied by longer articles featuring evaluations, dry reports from the Parliament,144 statements by ministers145 and editorials.146
However, the debate contained no new arguments: authors referred to the role Jews
played in economic and intellectual life, but beyond that, they merely alluded to certain Jewish ’character’, ’criteria’, ’interests’ that were not defined more specifically,
which distorted the ’expressions of Hungarian national intentions’. In line with the
government’s communication, Dunántúl’s columnist adopted this terminology.147
Though there is no doubt that Dunántúl accepted the government’s policy, this
did not mean a break with the need to provide unbiased information. This is why it
published the communiqué of Jewish firefighters and the Frontharcos Szövetség
(Association of Front Fighters),148 and – true enough, only on page 6, which is not
a very conspicuous place – the position of the Israelite church of Pécs against the
Act: ’This bill – the decision to protest states – is contrary to human justice, the
divine law and the Hungarian spirit. The protest then goes to point out the history
of Jews in Pécs, the Serbian occupation and the fact that the Jews of Pécs have
always been and will always remain Hungarians.’149

143 A munkatempó (The pace of work). D, year 28, issue no. 145 (1 July 1938) p. 1
144 E.g.: Nyolcórás ülésen folytatta a Ház a zsidójavaslat tárgyalását (The House continued to discuss the bill
on Jews in an eight-hour session). D, year 29, issue no. 57 (10 March 1939) pp. 1-2 - Széles mederben
hömpölyög a zsidójavaslat vitája a Házban (Debate on the bill on Jews rolls in a broad riverbed in the House).
year 29, issue no. 60 (14 March 1939) p. 6
145 Serédi bíboros hercegprímás ma kifejtette álláspontját a zsidójavaslatról (Today, Prince Primate Cardinal Serédi explained his position on the bill on Jews). D, year 29, issue no. 75 (1 April 1939) p. 2 – A magyar ifjúság
elhelyezkedését végelegesen biztosítja az új zsidótörvény. Hóman kultuszminiszter Székesfehérváron. (The
new anti-Jewish Act provides final solution for the employment of young Hungarians. Minister of Culture Hóman visits Székesfehérvár) D, year 29, issue no. 99 (2 May 1939) p. 4
146 A miniszterelnök (The Prime Minister). D, year 29, issue no. 45 (24 February 1939) p. 1 – Tasnádi Nagy,
András: A zsidókérdés történetéből (From the history of the Jewish issue). D, year 29, issue no. 68 (23 March
1939) p. 1
147 A második zsidótörvényjavaslat indoklása (Reasons for the 2nd anti-Jewish bill). D, year 29, issue no. 4 (5
January 1939) p. 2 – A zsidójavaslat (The proposal on Jews). D, year 29, issue no. 89 (20 April 1939) p. 1
148 Országos megmozdulás útján akarják elérni az Izraelita tűzharcosok a II. zsidótörvény enyhítését. (Israelite
Firefighters plan nationwide movement to ease the 2nd anti-Jewish Act) D, year 29, issue no. 7 (10 January
1939) p. 4 – A Frontharcos Szövetség kedvezményeket kér a zsidó frontharcosok részére (Association of
Front Fighters requests relief for Jewish front fighters). D, year 29, issue no. 24 (29 January 1939) p. 3
149 A pécsi izr. hitközség állásfoglalása a zsidótörvény ellen (Israelite synagogue of Pécs’s position against the
anti-Jewish Act). D, year 29, issue no. 32 (9 February 1939) p. 6

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Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító – and its Observer column edited by Péter Nyilas –
fully supported the 2nd anti-Jewish Act. Between April and August 1939, articles focused on the issues of cultural life and the role played by Jews in intellectual life.150
The paper addressed the Jewish issue for the last time in its February 1941 issue.151

3.4. During the war years
In the early 1940’s, ecclesiastical journalism, which also assumed a role in
public policy, became more single-minded than ever. After the war broke out and
Hungary joined it, Pécsi Katolikus Tudósító completely turned its back on public issues and returned to its original identity as a devotional paper.152 Református Őrálló
also tried to interpret world events for the community, offering something for followers to hold on to. Dunántúl remained the only paper to publish news with a demand
to provide current information rather than to intensify faith. In the absence of a firm
position by clerical leaders, that is, a clear point of orientation,153 the editorial office
of Pécs was unable and did not have the courage to represent a consistent opinion
on the Jewry.
In the initial years of the war, journalists of Dunántúl wrote relatively little about
the situation of Jews, resorting basically to describing applicable legal provisions;
quite understandably, focus shifted on military reports and the social problems in
the hinterland, but the Jewish issue was not a topic covered by these issues.154 For
instance, in July 1943, several editorials covered the riches gained in war and unfair
trade – though this topic could have provided excellent materials for shaming Jews,
there is no trace that the paper identified traffickers with Jews even by giving a mere
hint.155 Stereotypes were used only on exceptional occasions; the news rumoured
that Jews in Subotica supported the Chetniks in the spring of 1941 provided an
example for the unreliable and double-dealing character of Jews.156

150 Nyilas, Péter: Figyelő (Observer). PKT, year 17, issue no. 5 (1 May 1939) p. 5 – Nyilas, Péter: A kutya és a
nyakravaló (The dog and the collar). PKT, year 17, issue no. 7 (1 July 1939) p. 6
151 Hantos, Béla: Figyelő (Observer). PKT, year 19, issue no. 2 (1 February 1941) p. 2
152 KEREKES 2016, pp. 119; 122
153 BIBÓ 1986, pp. 637-642 – BRAHAM 2009, pp. 197-199 – GYURGYÁK 2001, pp. 157-158
154 During the 1940’s, Tolna County papers failed to publish even the most important news on Jews. SZILÁGYI
1994-95, p. 247
155 E.g.: Új gazdagok (Nouveau riche). D, year 33, issue no. 170 (29 July 1943) p. 1
156 A szabadkai zsidóság óriási összegekkel pénzelte a csetnikeket (Chetniks funded with large amounts by Jews
of Subotica). D, year 31, issue no. 92 (24 April 1941) p. 3 – A similar rumour has circulated a good ten years
earlier: A vajdasági zsidóság hűsége (Loyalty of the Vojvodina Jewry). D, year 21, issue no. 73 (31 March
1931) p. 4

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by Zoltán Erdős

Though the Dunántúl editors approved of the anti-Jewish Acts overall, it found
no justification for physical violence and the destruction of cultural memories. This is
implied by the article published in August 1943 in a tone of sincere outrage on the
vandalism attack on the Israelite graveyard in Mágocs.157
Dunántúl was forced to part ways with the values it has represented all along
after German occupation and, even more so, the seizing of power by the Arrow Cross
Party. Ernő Linder remained editor-in-chief – perhaps he felt his departure would
open the door to unrestricted propaganda in favour of the war and against Jews on
the paper’s pages.158 Indeed, the majority of the news on Jewry, published in a higher
volume after April 1944, was written in the customary objective style; the paper published the latest orders and reported on irregularities (hiding of assets, irregular wearing of the yellow star of David, racist slurs in a few cases). It managed to escape the
obligation of evaluation for a while, by publishing articles on the situation of the Jewry
very infrequently on the front page, and devoting no editorial to the issue. However,
the change in direction is demonstrated by the fact that while the paper published an
obituary and a large notice on the death of József Jánosi Engel in November 1939,
it reported on the change in the name of Adolf Jánosi Engel Street in a mocking tone
in July 1944.159 The partial presentation is illustrated by the fact that – in contrast with
everyday experience – it presented shops acquired by Christians as clearly viable
businesses, thereby confirming the success of the ’change of the guard’.160
Though the paper regularly reported on the deprivation of Jews of their rights,
the ghettoisation and the fines imposed due to violations of law, it published no
news whatsoever on deportations. All that Dunántúl released was a statement by
Béla Imrédy about the ’solution’ to the Jewish issue already carried out, which was
the ’greatest operation on the body of Hungary’.161 At this time, it barely discussed
the Jewry, while it kept readers posted regularly on the fate of the vacated ghetto
and the method for claiming Jewish property. It is typical of the situation that a
few days before the war front got to the city, the paper reported on the sale of the
stocks of goods found in Jewish shops.162 To be fair, the path taken by Dunántúl

157 Ismeretlen tettesek vandál pusztítása a mágocsi zsidó temetőben (Vandalism and destruction in the Jewish
graveyard of Mágocs). D, year 33, issue no. 183 (14 August 1943) p. 5
158 Cf.: BIBÓ 1986, p. 637
159 Eltűnt egy pécsi utcanév (A street name disappears from Pécs). D, year 34, issue no. 150 (6 July 1944) p. 6
160 D, (13 August 1944) p. 4
161 Vitéz Imrédy, Béla: Mint a város díszpolgára, Pécshez tartozónak számítom magam (As honorary citizen of
Pécs, I count myself as belonging to the city). D, year 34, issue no. 155 (12 July 1944) p. 3 – A member of
the Pécs judiciary used the ’operation’ metaphor already in April 1938 during the debate on the 1st anti-Jewish
Act. Az ötéves terv és a zsidókérdés (The five-year plan and the Jewish issue). D, year 28, issue no. 83 (13
April 1938) p. 3
162 A zsidó üzletek készleteinek kiárusítása (Sales of stocks of Jewish shops). D, year 34, issue no. 269 (26
November 1944) p. 2

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was certainly not the only eligible path; Szigetvári Hírlap (Szigetvár News) reported
on the death marches in dramatic articles on its front page, and – though it could
not openly side with Jews – it published fulminatory opinions on the petty and profitmongering Christians who demanded Jewish property.163

4. Conclusion
It seems that the positions taken by ecclesiastical newspapers on the Jewish issue
were determined by the changes in the national and international political situation. Numerus clausus and the 1st anti-Jewish Act lay well with the societal needs
articulated by these papers, but the weight of the issue in itself would not have
provided impetus either to the editorial offices or the local society. In my opinion,
this is substantiated by the fact that none of the newspapers developed any independent arguments in favour of additional anti-Jewish acts and, mainly, of the
deportation of the Jewry, and were unable to make reference to any local details or
developments. Newspapers represented their own values as long as they could, but
after the spring of 1944, they either turned their backs on public issues or became
mouthpieces for power.

163 E.g.: Beteljesedett (It is done). Szigetvári Hírlap, year 6, issue no. 18 (6 May 1944) p. 1 – A zsidókérdés.
Válasz egy névtelen levélre (The Jewish issue. Answer to an anonymous letter). Szigetvári Hírlap, year 6, issue
no. 22 (3 June 1944) p. 4

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Anti-Semitic issues in Orthodox
publications, years 1920-1944
1. The nature of Orthodox Publications between 1920 and 1944

The creation of Greater Romania after the First World War, in 1918, had a major impact on the Romanian Orthodox Church (ROC). On 23 April 1919, the Metropolitan
of Transylvania and the Holy Synod of Bucharest united, and in 1925 the ROC was
organized as a Patriarchate. This resulted in a new dynamism within ROC structures
and the Orthodox clergy, and in an increased interest in publishing. Each diocese
wished „to have its own magazine, or at least a newssheet, with an unofficial literary
section, along the church magazines with a long history and renown. An important
number of parishes even printed their own parish newssheet, meant to disseminate
among the faithful the thoughts and advice of a priest, who feels too few listen to
his words from the pulpit.”1 In an article from 1928 Al. T. Bogoane summarizes the
atmosphere that led to a multiplication of religious publication under ROC aegis:
„After the war, new horizons open [for the religious press], with many current interests. The establishment of new dioceses, as well as the different religious needs
of the parishioners, and then there are academic considerations to add to this – all
these led to an increase in the number of religious periodicals after the war, a large
increase over the number of those before the war.”2
The theologian adds several thoughts on the main purpose and the characteristics of the religious press: pursuing a program that is „very broad and varied,
which could have as its final goal the religious education of future generations”,
collaboration towards „the development of different theological disciplines, that are
lagging behind in our country” and the fight against other religious movements:
„…as a result of the war, a wave of faithlessness came over the Christians here;
there are attempts to topple old beliefs; different sectarians have created nests here
1 „The Religious Press”, Revista Teologică, 1925, p. 221.
2 Al. T. Bogoane, „Publicaţiile religioase perioodice din România de după războiu” [Religious Periodicals in postwar Romania], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 3 (564), March 1928, pp. 270.

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and there and, taking advantage of the poverty and wavering faith of the faithful, they
attract many proselytes. And from this a new interest for the theological literature:
stopping and combating the different deviations from the Orthodox faith (which can
be observed in the dioceses from Transylvania and Bessarabia).”3
The characterization of the religious press made by Al. T. Bogoane in 1928 is
true of Orthodox publications throughout the entire interwar period: „Looking at it
from this perspective, we cannot expect from our church press an eminently scholarly character, nor a purely religious one, instead it has, rather, a very pronounced
character of social Christian press, within the bounds of the program sketched and
still being sketched by the ethnic life of our people, of course”. This „social character” is concentrated, to a surprising extent, on expressing hostility towards all
that is perceived as an opponent of Orthodoxy. Almost all publications not entirely
dedicated to printing official decisions and internal ROC issues call for combating
Protestants, freemasons and atheists, Greek-Catholics and Roman-Catholics, etc.
One can also notice a slow evolution of the attitude towards Jews, which becomes
more and more hostile with the passage of time.
One issue that deserves special attention is the fact that the publications printed under the aegis of the ROC are just one segment of the press interested in religious topics. One example can suggest the scale of the phenomenon. On the topic
of „faith” and under this name, between 1920 and 1944, the following periodicals
were published: Credinţa [The Faith] in Arad (1940-1943), a „weekly student publication” in Brăila (1923), one publication in Bucharest (1927-1928) and another
publication from Bucharest with the same title but published between 1933-1938,
the publication of the National Party of Nicolae Iorga (1927), one publication in
Huşi (1932-1935), a „national, cultural, economic and social news sheet” in Reghin
(1933), a news sheet belonging to the National Party organization in Râmnicu Sărat,
a news sheet belonging to the Nationalist-Democratic Party in Târgu-Jiu (19211923). Titles mentioning „faith” also include: Credinţă şi fapte [Faith and Facts],
in Iaşi (1932), Credinţa Gorjului [The Faith of Gorj], an independent publication for
cultural action and citizen militancy (1935), Credinţă şi muncă [Faith and Labor], a
magazine of the Romanian Youth, a magazine of the (Girls-only) School for Teachers
in Buzău (1940) and another with the same title for the School for Teachers in Cluj
(1939), Credinţa Naţională [The National Faith], news sheet of the National Party
in County Tutova, Bârlad (1925) and another with an identical name belonging to
the National Party in Covurlui, Galaţi (1931), Credinţa Naţionalistă [The Nationalist
Faith], a news sheet of the Nationalist -Democratic Party in County Covurlui, Galaţi
(1922-1923) and the one in Târgu-Jiu (1921), Credinţa Noastră [Our Faith], an independent gazette for spiritual and national militancy from Bălţi (1936-1937), an3 Ibidem.

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other in Bucharest (1933), a publication for nationalist militancy of the same name
in Râmnicu-Vâlcea (1925-1937), a publication for the support of cultural and national issues in Râmnicu-Vâlcea (1943-1944), Credinţa Ortodoxă [The Orthodox
Faith], from Bucureşti (1942-1943) and „a news sheet for spiritual development”
with the same name from Roman, Cernăuţi and Bălţi (1931-1932, 1940), Credinţa
strămoşească [The Ancestral Faith], a religious news sheet for the people, Galaţi
(1937) and one in Huşi (1934-1944).
Leading the pro-Orthodoxist secular press are the well-known magazines Gândirea [The Thought],4 Cuvântul [The Word],5 Sfarmă Piatră [“Stone-Crusher”],6 and
others, published under the aegis of well-known Orthodoxist cultural personalities,
like Nichifor Crainic and Radu Gyr, or as propaganda arms of the Legionary Movement. Inevitably, the publications appearing under the aegis of the ROC discuss
and find inspiration in their secular „sisters”. The latter are constantly quoted and
mentioned in the religious press. Some ROC periodicals, chief among them the official magazine of the Synod, Biserica Ortodoxă Română [The Romanian Orthodox
Church], have sections dedicated to reviewing the content of pro-Orthodox secular
publications.
The types of secular messages that are most interesting to ROC magazines
are exemplified by the article signed by Nichifor Crainic in the magazine Sfarmă
Piatră [Stone-Crusher] and then republished by the magazine of the Romanian Orthodox diocese in Oradea, Legea românească [The Romanian Order]. The Orthodox magazine felt drawn to the following paragraph stroking its ego: „In a country
where all national institutions are slowly ground away by the mildew of democracy,
the Orthodox Church alone is a great force that builds a civilization and develops
souls. It is the glory of our priesthood at a time when it is most struck by the masonic
villain.”7 But together with the praise, it embraces the other „conclusions” of the
philosopher: „We are anti-democratic. Today any Romanian who loves his country
has to be anti-democratic. Our aversion towards this cursed regime doesn’t stem
from a theoretical reason. Because in theory democracy is a sublime regime, if you
want. In practice, it is the safest method: to destroy slowly and stealthily a state, a
country, a people.”8

4 From 1926 on, the editor-in-chief position at the magazine Gândirea was occupied by Nichifor Crainic, who
instilled an Orthodox-traditionalist orientation.
5 The magazine Cuvântul had as editor-in-chief the pro-legionary philosopher Nae Ionescu. Some Orthodoxist
authors like Mircea Vulcănescu and Nichifor Crainic also published in this magazine.
6 Sfarmă-Piatră (“Stone-Crusher”), was an anti-Semitic magazine published during the late 1930s and early
1940s.
7 Nichifor Crainic, „Democraţie şi altar” [Democracy and the sanctuary], Legea românească, no. 7-8, 1-15 April
1936, pp. 82-84.
8 Ibidem.

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The religious press also references non-religious publications, when the latter
discuss relevant topics. For example, the monthly Tomis republished an article from
the newspaper Universul [The Universe] when the title and content supported its
policies: „The fight against the sects in Transylvania.”9
The articles of Orthodox theologians – like Dumitru Stăniloae – also find their
way into magazines like Gândirea [The Thought] and Cuvântul [The Word]. It can be
assumed that the ROC press had some influence, in this manner, over the secular
Orthodoxist press and that, correspondingly, the content of the ROC press reflected in a significant way the debates and assumptions of the entire Orthodoxist press.

2. The theological and practical exclusivism of the ROC
The attitude of the ROC press towards religious and ethnic diversity in Romania mirrors its nationalistic theology, embraced and expressed most often in mythological
terms: „No other people in this world enjoys this greatest of spiritual advantages, to
be Christian right from the moment it was created, as the Romanian people does.
If the colonists brought by Traian to inhabit the Dacian territory were largely Christian, undoubtedly there was also within the borders of Decebal’s former homeland
some Christian seed, sown by the St. Apostle Andrew and the descendants of the
Apostles.”10 The conclusion puts the ROC at the center of national life: „As in the
past, so today and forever the Church shall have an overwhelming role in preserving
unblemished the national conscience and in assuring a shining future for our Romanian Nation. For this great reason, we all have the sacred duty not only to recognize
its essential contribution, but also to help it to be able from now on to fulfill its divine
mission, as a loving Mother of Our Nation.”11
Following this „great imperative”, representative Orthodox publications, or
those with mostly local influence, show a virulent hostility towards the few „enemies
of the ancestral faith” or of the „Christian religion”. In an issue of the magazine of
the Holy Synod from 1928, the “flagship” publication of the ROC, the author lists
those, „from outside the Church, and some from within in”, are aiming at its core
doctrine, its tradition and its worship, strike „at the representatives of the Church,
the clergy of all levels, undermine religion”12. The oldest enemies of Christianity
9 „Lupta împotriva sectelor din Ardeal”, Tomis, no. 12, December 1928, pp. 9-11.
10 Diacon Laurenţiu Gh. Popovici, „Rolul naţional al Bisericii în trecutul neamului” [The national role of the Church
in the history of the Romanian people], Mitropolia Moldovei, no. 6-7, June-July 1942, p. 305.
11 Idem, p. 316.
12 Editorial, „Duşmanii religiei creştine” [The enemies of the Christian religion], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no.
5 (566), May 1928, p. 414.

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were the pagans, the second line of enemies is an atheist who „hurls at the Church
of Christ all kinds of forced misconstructions of the Christian doctrine, misrepresent
the teachings of the Lord through various convolutions entirely alien in fact to the essence of divine truth”13. Enemies also are some „artists who have greatly offended
religious sentiment and belief in general” and their work: „Fine arts through their
generous shapes and the nakedness of human bodies, drama, through some of
its plays frivolous to the point of immorality, choreography, through its scandalous
games of today, decorative arts, through the images of naked bodies, film, through
its nerve-wracking, passions-inciting, cruelty- and crime-inducing movies, graphic
arts, through the pornographic and humorous literature depicting some weaknesses of the clergy, inseparable from human nature …”14.
Socialist, Communist and Bolshevik parties are added to this list, as well as
„cremation men” who „trample and decide that man shall no longer return into the
ground, but into fire and shall become ash …”15. The behavior towards the Freemasonry, seen as a dangerous adversary by the ROC, deserves a separate discussion, given the stereotypes regarding the relationship between the Freemasonry
and the Jewish people.
The internal enemies are seen as extremely dangerous: the schismatics, the
heretics and the members of sects (or even unworthy priests): „The strikes against
our religion do not only come from those, previous sons of the ancestral Church,
who have strayed, but also from wicked priests, snipped off the body of the militant
Church by embracing Protestant views and beliefs, welcomed and encouraged by
sectarians and heretics, happy with the diversion and the laceration right into the
Orthodox priestly corps. Their emergence on the frontlines of the fight against the
mother Church, just like that of traitors of a country against their brothers, can be
judged and classified by any unbiased and sane man”16.
The official publication of the ROC states itself that the other great denominations are also very dangerous:
With the Roman-Catholics of the Pope in Rome and later the Protestants however, the Romanian Orthodox Church had life-and-death-heavy battles. And not only
did it have such battles in the past, but it is threatened even today, in its dogmatic
and missionary canonic organization, within the unified state of the Romanian nation, by Roman-Catholics, through the existence of their subversive Church in our
13
14
15
16

Idem, p. 415.
Idem, p. 416.
Idem, p. 417.
Idem, p. 420.

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midst and especially through the apple of discord thrown between us Romanians
and the United Church in Transylvania; and by Protestants through the numerous
sects with the same tendencies toward dissolving and destroying both church and
nation17.
There is almost no year without the publication of articles that accuse nonOrthodox religious groups, and the hostile references to „sects” often appear in
series of successive issues of the magazine. The word „combat” is one of the most
frequently used words by Orthodox theologians. Tolerance is castigated. Transylvanian publications are also anti-Hungarian and hostile to Transylvanian Saxons. Within important publications, throughout the interwar period, positions against religious
minorities number in the hundreds, while anti-Semitic articles number in the tens.
One significant aspect is the almost general support for the intervention of
the police forces of the state. The expulsion from the country of sects is supported
even by the more „balanced” publications, like Foaia diecezană from Caransebeş:
„The ultimate interest of the Romanian state prevails over any kind of compassion
for some of its citizens that want to secure their frontline places among the chosen
on the back of the state. Within the state, which is accountable to no one when it
defends itself against dangers, the slow and gentle evangelism of priests may be
discussed from all sides.”18
Thinking of social life in exclusionary terms was an integral part of the ROC
life, to the point where the Synod decreed that believers should be stopped from
reading the so-called “anti-Christian” press, and Orthodox publications supported
such an idea.19
It is interesting that anti-Muslim articles were rare. Once in a while neutral information was published on, for example, Islamism20 or the reform of the ”religion of
Mohamed.”21 One single unfriendly reference to Turkish people can be found in the
magazine Tomisul, which belonged to the Diocese of Constanţa: „The Turkish, in
their fanaticism for their law, want to introduce the Gregorian calendar and our peo-

17 Arhiereu Grigore L. Botoşăneanu, „Biserica Ortodoxă Română şi celelalte confesiuni” [The Romanian Orthodox Church and other confessions], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 5 (566), May 1928, p. 387.
18 Dr. Ştefan Cioroianu, „Statul şi sectele” [The State and the sects], Foaia diecezană, no. 8, 25 February 1940,
pp. 1-2.
19 See ”Război împotriva presei anticreştine” [War against the anti-Christian press], Foaia diecezană, no. 49, 5
November 1937, p. 2: „Against this press us the defenders of the Church have the duty to assume a defensive
stance, to denounce the danger and to prevent it in the world of believers”.
20 C. Rudnean, „Islamismul” [Islamism], Foaia diecezană, no. 25, 30 June 1929, pp.2-3.
21 „Reforma religiunii mohamedane” [The Mohammedan religion Reform], Foaia diecezană, no. 32, 5 August
1928, p. 5.

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ple don’t want to understand – especially those in Bessarabia…”22 One reason for
this peaceful attitude is that the ROC didn’t perceive Islam as a competing religion.
Another is the century-old tradition of cooperation between the Ottoman Empire
and Christian states on protecting Muslims and Christians, respectively.

3. Anti-Semitism as part of the ROC exclusivist attitude
It should be noted that the position of Orthodox publications towards Jews and antiSemitic manifestations throughout the period 1920-1944 does not emerge primarily from theological studies but more often from various short texts that discuss Jews
marginally. The totality of short texts on Jewish issues outlines a global image of the
atmosphere created by the publication around Jews. For this reason it is necessary
that sources that appear marginal are also included in a review, because they outline the generally anti-Semitic climate in the Orthodox press.

Anti-Semitism in the official publication of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Given the authoritarian relationships within the ROC, the position of the official publication of the Holy Synod – the monthly ROC - on Jewish topics deserves special
attention. The important role of the publication was explicitly recognized by the Holy
Synod when it decided to restructure the monthly in 1934 because „As an official
publication of the highest canonic authority of our Church, it has a duty, first of all,
to preserve and to portray the intellectual and practical life of our Church in all It has
best, as well as of the holy Orthodox Church in general”23.
The evolution of the publication in terms of its attitude toward Jews is apparent. In the beginning it disavowed attacks against them (1922),24 and differentiated
between Freemasonry and Jews (the latter not always treated aggressively, as proven by an article from 1923),25 then its attitude towards Jews became distant and

22 Short text, Tomisul, no. 11, 15 February 1926, p. 223.
23 Editorial, Biserica Ortodoxă Română, 1934, p. 1. To increase dogmatic control, the Editorial Board will be
replaced by a Directorial Board, and the section „Short notes”, very important because of its inciting short
texts, disappeared in 1934.
24 “O revistă « creştină »” [A « Christian » magazine], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 12, September 1922.
25 Mihălcescu, „Iudeii în Statul Român” [Jews within the Romanian State], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 8,
May 1923, pp. 545-554.

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ironic,26 up to the point where it started to highlight their „guilt”.27 Some events involving Jews were presented in a neutral manner: the Vatican’s statement against antiSemitism,28 the preparation of a revised edition of the Bible.29 In 1928 Bishop Grigore
L. Botoşăneanu explains the hostility against Jews in national, not religious, terms:
With regard to the Jews, who infiltrated the Romanian states much later and
inconspicuously, there was never a question of a religious fight. It is only in our times
that a national fight emerged, with a moral and religious background, because the
invasion of Jews from all sides over our borders and their tendency to dissolve and
discredit have started to be a serious threat to us.30
Two articles by theologian I. Mihălcescu, published a few years apart, made an
analytical but also empathetic effort regarding Jews. One of his texts from 1923 is a
rather positive account of the presence of Jews throughout Romanian history.31 But
the theologian stays within the Orthodox dogmatic view. Writing about the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, Mihălcescu concludes: “The superiority of
Christianity and the areas of disagreement are easily seen.”32
The most important work published in the official publication of the Synod (Biserica Ortodoxă din România) is an article from 1937 about Freemasonry, which is
described as a group of organizations dominated by Jews.33 The article embodied
the official discourse of the Romanian Orthodox Church on this topic and preceded
its series of actions meant to outlaw the organization. This position goes against the
opinions expressed in the ‘20s in the magazine by theologian I. Mihălcescu.34 The
view of the Orthodox press regarding the relationship between Jews and the Freemasonry has such important stakes that it deserves a separate discussion.
26 „Ceva mai practic pentru dezlegarea chestiunii evreieşti” [Something more practical for addressing the Jewish
Problem], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 10, July 1923, p. 735.
27 ““Antisemitism „creştin”? sau cea mai cumplită erezie a veacului” [Christian” anti-Semitism? Or the worst heresy of the century], no. 10, 1926, pp. 619-620; „Zbârleală evreiască în apărarea unui haham” [”Jewish tantrum
in defense of a Jewish innkeeper”], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 5, May 1931, p. 471.
28 „Vaticanul contra antisemitismului” [The Vatican against anti-Semitism], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 5,
May 1928, p. 474.
29 „Teologii evrei prepară o ediţie revăzută a Bibliei” [Jewish theologians are preparing a revised edition of the
Bible], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 1 (574), January 1929, pp. 124.
30 Arhiereu Grigore L. Botoşăneanu, „Biserica Ortodoxă Română şi celelalte confesiuni” [The Romanian Orthodox Church and the other denominations], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 5, May 1928, p. 387.
31 I. Mihălcescu, „Iudeii în Statul Român” [Jews within the Romanian State], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 8,
May 1923, pp. 545-554.
32 Pr. I. I. Mihălcescu, „Raportul dintre creştinism şi iudaism” [The relationship between Christianity and Judaism],
Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 3, March 1925, pp. 137-143.
33 „Ce este Francmasoneria” [What is the Freemasonry], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 1-2, 1937, pp. 1-22.
34 I. Mihălcescu, „Francmasonii şi Biserica” [Freemasons and the Church], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 11,
August 1923, pp. 756-554; I. Mihălcescu, „Din trecutul francmasoneriei” [The past of Freemasonry], Biserica
Ortodoxă Română, no. 12 (510), September 1923, p. 791.

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Other Orthodox publications
In Muntenia, several publications covered Jewish topics. Păstorul ortodox [The Orthodox Shepherd] published a single article, in 1942, that discussed the issue of
the baptisms of Jews and the census.35 The basic idea is that the ROC cannot
forbid the baptism of Jews, but this cannot confer rights outside the sphere of the
competence of the Church. The arguments express the fear of Catholic competition
in this matter.
The four articles in Renaşterea [The Rebirth] are hard to interpret as a clear
attitude on the Jewish topic. The text by priest Gr. Cristescu from 1924 saw in “the
Jewish view” a form that kills the spirit, and destroys inner life thereby bringing the
greatest misfortune.36 In an article from 1930, Ioan V. Popescu talked about „The
Crisis this people is experiencing”, while appearing concerned with the great persecution “this people” will fall victim to.37 Another of his articles, from 1937, is a theological analysis of Judaism which “does not allow for a human intermediate between
the Creator and his creation”.38
The monthly Îngerul [The Angel] of the Diocese of Buzău is, we think, mistrustfully neutral. It mentioned discussions on „numerus clausus” in universities which
concerned Jewish people, who were highly overrepresented in these institutions,39
it described without commenting the Bern trial on ”The Protocols of the Elders of
Zion”, based on two anti-Semitic sources40 , and stated a paradox of Israel: “the
opposition between the divine promises made to the „Chosen people” and the latter’s inclination to idolatry and spiritual collapse.”41
In Dobrogea, the magazine Tomis [Tomis] practically ignored Jews, the only
reference to them being a simple theological commentary in 1932 on the theology
of Israelites regarding restitutio in integrum.42 In Caransebeş, Foaia diecezană [The
35 Iconom Marin D. Preoţescu, „Înăsprirea chestiunii semite, în timpul din urmă. Probleme delicate” [The worsening of the Jewish Problem, these later days. Delicate issues], Păstorul ortodox, no. 2-3, February-March
1942, pp. 53-56.
36 Pr. Gr. Cristescu, „Două concepţii: iudaică şi creştină” [Two views: Jewish and Christian], no. 5, May 1924,
pp. 67-71.
37 Pr. Ioan V. Popescu, „Problema evreească în prezent” [The Jewish Problem at the present], Renaşterea, no.
12, December, 1930, pp. 443-445.
38 Pr. Ioan F. Popescu, „Isus predicat în sinagogi” [Jesus preached in synagogues], Renaşterea, no. 3, March
1937, pp. 81-89.
39 Pr. I.N.V., „Numerus Valachicus” [Numerus Valachicus], Îngerul, no. 1-2, January-February, 1935, pp. 47-53
40 „Protocoalele Înţelepţilor Sionului” [The Protocols of the Elders of Zion], Îngerul, no. 12, December 1937,
pp. 747-751.
41 Pr. Ioan Frăsineanu, „Paradoxul Israelului” [The Paradox of Israel], Îngerul, no. 11, November 1936, pp. 1-10.
42 Pr. Ion Mănucu, „Legea conversiunii din punct de vedere biblic” [The Law on conversion from a biblical point
of view], no. 6-7, June-July 1932, pp. 183-186.

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Diocese Bulletin] has the richest material, but it is ambivalent. Neutral articles are
published,43 as well as positive44 and anti-Semitic ones: a critical text regarding a
complaint filed by Romanian Jews with the League of Nations,45 one about “the danger represented for [Christians] by Judaism with its billions of tentacles.”46
Luminătorul [The Luminary] from Bessarabia is almost entirely hostile to Jews:
“The fight between Jews and Christianity is not just economic and even less just
political,”47 Jews “regard all old religions with contempt, considering true only the one
given by God to its chosen people …”,48 the Talmud, “proves the hate and the malice
that Jews feel towards the goyim [non-Jews],”49 Judaism “creates animosity between
Christians and all other religions,”50 the Jews have an “atavistic inclination to pervert
the truth, to present everything to the world in a manner required solely by their predatory interests, and in particular in their well-known tendency to call all Romanian leaders `anti-Semitic`”,51 „Judaism with all its ramifications, as a religious concept, is by
principle an enemy of Christianity and could never be friendly to it,”52 “priests should
not welcome into the Christian community the Talmudic devils.”53
Priest Codrat Raţă expressed his enthusiasm that splitting Palestine into three
parts, out of which only one of the smaller parts, the size of one of our counties, became the Jewish state, signifies “the death of the Jewish national state…”.54 There
was also one positive article however. In his long article from 1928, spread over
43 „Elevii evrei scutiţi” [Jewish students exempt], Foaia diecezană, no. 4, 22 January 1933, p. 7; „Evreii nu mai
pot fi botezaţi” [Jews cannot be baptized], Foaia diecezană, no. 31, 4 August 1940, p. 7; „Reglementarea
situatiei evreilor in România” [Regulating the Jewish situation in Romania], Foaia diecezană, no. 32, 11 August
1940, p. 7.
44 „Reclădirea Palestinei” [“The rebuilding of Palestine], Foaia diecezană, no. 30, 25 July/7 August 1921,
p.5.; „Not only can Jews enter the empire of grace of the Savior, but they must do so.” (Pr. Marcu Bănescu,
„Mesianismul Israelului convertit” [The Messianism of converted Israel“], Foaia diecezană, no. 4, 23 January
1938, pp. 2-3).
45 „Plângerea evreilor la Liga Naţiunilor” [The complaint filed by Jews at the League of Nations], Foaia diecezană,
no. 6, 6 February 1938, p. 8.
46 „Creştinism şi iudaism” [Christianity and Judaism], Foaia diecezană, no. 51, 22 December 1935, pp. 7-17.
47 Demideţchi Grigorie, „Rolul evreilor în adventism” [The Role of Jews in Adventism], Luminătorul, no. 19-22,
July-August, 1924, pp. 76-84.
48 C. Popovici, „Biserica lui Hristos şi duşmanii ei (I)” [The Church of Christ and its enemies (I)], Luminătorul, no.
22, 15 November 1929, pp. 31-37.
49 Bishop Alexei of Saratov (translated by Pr. Codrat Raţă), „Morala Talmudului” [The morality of the Talmud],
Luminătorul, no. 12, 15 June 1931, pp. 648-656.
50 St. I Bejan, „Creştinismul şi mosaismul ca factori sociali” [Christianity and Judaism as social factors],
Luminătorul, no. 24, 15 December 1931, pp. 1216-1223.
51 C.T., „Problema palestiniană” [The Palestinian Issue], Luminătorul, no. 9, September 1937, pp. 522-528.
52 St. Sergiu Bejan, ”Creştinismul şi duşmanii lui” [Christianity and its enemies], Luminătorul, no. 2, February
1940, pp. 72-79.
53 D. Cănădău, „Ce spun canoanele despre primire în Creştinism a Evreilor” [What the canons say about welcoming Jews into Christianity], Luminătorul, no. 7-8, July-August 1942, pp. 196-205.
54 Preot Codrat Raţă., „Prăbuşirea sionismului” [The collapse of Zionism], Luminătorul, no. 10, October 1937,
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three issues of the magazine, I. Tocan described the role played by Jews in the
religious evolution of the world in these terms: „The Jewish people was chosen by
God for a certain providential purpose. Among others the main purpose was for this
people, uniquely defended and protected by God, to be the light for all peoples, that
is to receive for keeping the true monotheistic religion.”55
At the pinnacle of Orthodox anti-Semitism we find the publications from Transylvania. I have already mentioned the weekly (later bimonthly) Legea Românească
[The Romanian Order], which published anti-Semitic texts only in the ‘20s, with one
exception. Revista Teologică [The Theological Journal] took over in the ‘30s with
three texts. In an article from 1931, Prof. Nicolae Neaga concluded that “Israel fulfills its religious role and stops existing as a „chosen people.”56 In an article in which
he made the point that the entire Freemason nomenclature, being Jewish, proves
yet again the great influence of Jews within the Freemasonry”, Grigorie T. Marcu
concluded: ” ”Freemasonry is put in the pillory.”57 And this was a commentary by
prof. Nicolae Neaga: „As anti-Semitics fighting Jews, I think we should not stop with
the Jews, but also fight the Old Testament, in order to save our traditions.”58
The most aggressively anti-Semitic publication, from the country and from
Transylvania, was Telegraful roman [The Romanian Telegraph]. The importance of
this publication within the Orthodox press and within the anti-Semitic movement was
so significant that it deserves a separate analysis.

Regional differences
The impact of regional differences on the attitudes promoted by Orthodox publications is easily discernable. One sensitive issue was the situation of Bessarabia,
seen as a backward region or, at best, one in need of guidance from the Center.
The inferiority-superiority complex at the basis of the relation between the two
Orthodox communities is perfectly captured by the answer given by priest Mihail
Vasilache in an article from 1930 to some criticisms from Archimandrite Scriban59
55 . Păr. I. Tocan, „Influenţa religioasă a mozaismului asupra lumii păgâne (I)” [The religious influence of Judaism
over the pagan world (I)], Luminătorul, no. 13, 1 July, 1928, pp. 47-55.
56 Prof. Nicolae Neaga, „Mai există popor ales?” [Is there still a Chosen people?], Revista Teologică, no. 3,
March 1931, p. 82.
57 Grigorie T. Marcu, „Fracmasoneria pusă la stâlp” [Freemasonry put in the pillory], Revista Teologică, no. 7-10,
July-October 1936, pp. 349-353.
58 Prof. Dr. Nicolae Neaga, „Antisemitism şi Vechiul Testament” [Anti-Semitism and the Old Testament], Revista
Teologică, no. 4, April 1937, p. 147.
59 Archimandrite Scriban had the important function of editor-in-chief of the magazine Biserica Ortodoxă Română
[The Romanian Orthodox Church], the magazine of the Holy Synod.

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regarding the clergy from Bessarabia. Wondering „Why so much disdain?”, in the
beginning, „filled with a certain indignation”, the priest remembers that „a big part
of the press and the public opinion always shows this duplicity towards Bessarabia:
on one hand they sing the praises of this forlorn province, which is ours and which
cannot be stolen by anyone, and on the other hand, they shout with indignation
and disdain towards the innocent Bessarabians, always labeling them as Asian
Bolsheviks!”60.
In Banat and in Dobrogea the impact of a multicultural tradition is discernable. Foaia diaceneză [The Diocese Bulletin] of the Diocese of Caransebeş mentioned communities other than the Orthodox one. It promoted the weekly Glasul
minorităţilor [The Voice of Minorities], from Lugoj, which discussed minority issues in the Romanian language. Tomis [Tomis], the publication of the Diocese of
Constanţa, published empathetic articles on the Armenian, Bulgarian and Greek
community. Their Orthodox religion was certainly a factor.
The regional differences can also be noticed in the choice of groups and attitudes that these publications combat. Mitropolia Moldovei [The Metropolitan of
Moldavia] of the Archdiocese of Iaşi was particularly concerned with the sect of
“stylists”. The magazine Îngerul [The Angel] of the clergy in the Diocese of Buzău
concentrated its anti-sectarian propaganda on the Adventists. All the publications in
Transylvania included numerous articles hostile to Catholicism, the Vatican Concordat, Greek-Catholics and Hungarians.
Given the small number of instances, it is difficult to quantify the regional variation in the anti-Semitism of publications. The Transylvanian press is an exception,
because it published anti-Semitic texts with a much higher frequency than the rest
of the country. This variation suggests that the anti-Semitism of publications was not
so much a motivation itself, as a result of the exclusivist nationalism that dominated
the Romanian Orthodox Church.

All Orthodox publications are exclusivist, but some don’t publish anti-Semitic
articles
Many Orthodox publications, like the Calendar of the Archdiocese of Bucharest,61
only made place for religious decisions, statistics and announcements regarding in60 Priest Mihail Vasilache,”De ce atîta desconsiderare!?” [Why so much disdain?], Luminătorul, no. 12, 15 June
1930, p. 734.
61 Published by the Romanian Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Ungrovlahia, throughout the period 1920-1944.

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ternal issues of the dioceses. The publications relevant to us however also included
articles, studies or information for the larger community.
The annual Directory of the Romanian Orthodox Theological Academy in
Caransebeş, an essentially theological magazine, didn’t include any anti-Semitic
articles between 1920 and 1941, the last year of publication. Its articles concentrated on the contemporary moral crisis62, sometimes embracing an extreme
position on the danger of parties, of Theater and of Cinema, and „The biggest
danger is represented by the so-called modern dance”. The publication is sympathetic towards Legionarism: „True education is only possible within the family,
and later in organizations like Blood brotherhoods, the Legion.”63 It resonated
with the declared values of the legionary state: „Our national legionary State,
understanding the sacred purpose of women, calls upon women to follow their
purpose given by God … .”64
Noua Revistă Bisericească [The New Ecclesiastical Review] published constant attacks against the Adventists and other „sects”. It advocated for an Orthodox
evangelization of the nation, for supporting the dominant position of the ROC within
the state, for financing church activities from the public budget, and it looked at
ethnic minorities only from the point of view of ROC interests in the organization of
religious education.65 But it was uninterested in Jewish issues.
Păstorul orthodox [The Orthodox Shepherd], which militated all through
the interwar period against sects in almost all its issues and embraced radical positions on the topic,66 doesn’t give space to Jewish issues either. One
article from 1942 is an exception, where Baptisms of Jews are discussed.
The author states that „The Church cannot prohibit baptisms, but the latter
cannot confer rights outside the sphere of action of the Church.”67 The arguments are theological in nature, but also discuss the possible competition
with other denominations that may integrate Jews. In 1940, another author
62 See Priest Octavian Tursa, „Chemarea şi lupta păstorului de suflete împotriva imoralităţii timpului nostru” [The
call and the fight of the pastor of souls against the lack of morality of our time], Anuarul Academiei Teologice
Ortodoxe Române, pp. 270-324.
63 Anuarul Academiei Teologice Ortodoxe Române, 1920-1939, p. 299.
64 Idem, p. 305.
65 Priest C. Gh. Vartolomeu, „Minorităţile etnice faţă de biserica noastră naţională” [Ethnic minorities and our national church], An answer to an article by Cioranu „Reforma şcolară; laicizarea învăţământului” [School reform;
secularization of education], Noua Revistă Bisericească, 1922, pp. 220-222.
66 The magazine supports a measure to force students belonging to different religious sects to attend Orthodox
religious education or that of another religious denomination: „Încă o măsură salutară, cu care statul vine în
ajutorul Bisericii în lupta cu sectele” [Another salutary measure, by which the state helps the Church in the fight
against sects], Păstorul ortodox, no. 3-4, March-April 1944, p. 194).
67 Iconom Marin D. Preoţescu, „Probleme delicate” [Sensitive issues], Păstorul ortodox, no. 2-3, FebruaryMarch 1942, p. 54.

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wrote about „the positive social outcomes” of Italian fascism,68 but without
discussing Jews.
The only article on Jewish issues in the magazine Tomis [Tomis] of the Diocese
of Constanţa in the entire interwar period is one that comments on the theology of
Israelites. On the other hand, the magazine is virulent against Adventists, Baptists
and other „sectarians”, as well as against Catholics, Greek-Catholics and Hungarian
revisionists at the other end of the country.

Evolution in time and the role of responsible editors
In general, within Orthodox publications the frequency of anti-Semitic texts increased in the ‘30s. In the monthly Îngerul [The Angel] of the clergy in the Diocese
of Buzău, texts accusing Jews or promoting legionarism were only published between 1935 and 1940. In Revista Teologică [The Theological Journal], from Transylvania, anti-Semitic texts and positive views about Hitler were only published in
the ’30s. Out of 17 texts on Jewish issues published between 1924 and 1944 in
the bi-monthly Luminătorul [The Luminary] of the Diocese of Chişinău and Hotin, 16
appeared between 1928 and 1944.
The anti-Semitic attitudes of the Orthodox press had institutional roots. But
the public personalities leading the publications also had a role. A notable case is
that of the bi-weekly Telegraful roman [The Romanian Telegraph]. Between 1920
and 1934, when the publication was led by George Proca, few articles were published about Jews, some positive and some negative. Once Dumitru Stăniloae took
the helm in 1934, and until the outlook of the war changed (1943), the number of
Jewish-related texts increased dramatically, and they all became quite hostile. With
the direct support of the theologian, Telegraful român came to suggest, support and
welcome the final solution.
The monthly Legea Românească, led between 1921 and 1942 by Bishop
Roma Ciorogariu, underwent a mirror-image evolution over time. During the first
year, under the editorship of A. Megier, an insinuating piece of news was published
in the journal: „The authors of the violent attempt in the Senate have been caught.
The majority of them are Jewish.”69 In 1922 two accusing texts were published:

68 Dr. P. Popescu, „Fascismul şi religia” [Fascism and religion], Păstorul ortodox, no. 6-9, June-August 1940,
pp.217-220.
69 „Autorii atentatului de la Senat” [“The authors of the violent attempt on the Senate”],, Legea Românească, no.
2, 14/27 November 1921, p. 5. The leader of the group, Max Goldstein, was indeed Jewish.

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„Jewish materialism and the « essence of Pharisees »”70 and „Jews in Palestine are
atheists.”71, but one with a positive message also appeared: „…a Jewish problem
will exist as long as we live alongside each other. The solution of the problem is
not to convert Jews to Christianity but to find the conditions for a peaceful coexistence with them. Our attitude towards them can be none other than the one shown
by Christ: peace.”72 The magazine published four anti-Semitic texts in 1923, three
hostile texts in 1924 and one short anti-Semitic text in 1925. Later Prof. Dr. V.
Lăzărescu became editor-in-chief. Under his leadership no anti-Semitic texts were
published in Legea Românească. From 1933 on, Ioan Evuţian, a diocesan councilor, took the helm of the publication. The only offensive text of the ‘30s was published at that time, „Crucea şi zvastica” [The Cross and the Swastika], which stated
that „Because the Christian people are in danger today in their being, peace and
culture from Jews, who are […] the deadly enemies of Christian law, the swastika is
the universal sign of the fight against Jews”73
In January 1937, the editor-in-chief changed again: prof.dr. Ştefan Munteanu,
then prof.dr. Dimitrie Belu and later A. Dărăban, diocesan secretary. During these
years, when other mass media frequently found place for articles and short texts
hostile to Jews, Legea Românească didn’t publish any anti-Semitic materials.

4. The Dumitru Stăniloae case and Telegraful român [The Romanian
Telegraph]. The anti-Semitism of a theological personality embraced
as representative by the ROC
The person and the work of Dumitru Stăniloae are seen as „a pinnacle of Romanian
theology”. Stăniloae is described as one of „the greatest Orthodox, if not Christian,
theologians of our century”, one who “was also a milestone for other areas of today’s Romanian culture.”74 This is also the view, to this day, of some academics of
the social sciences: in their view Dumitru Stăniloaie is “the most important Romanian Orthodox theologian of the twentieth century.”75
70 D. Ioanoviciu, „Materialismul jidovesc şi « aluatul fariseilor »” [“Jewish materialism and the “essence of Pharisees”], Legea Românească, no. 20, 15/22 May 1922, p. 4.
71 „Evreii din Palestina sunt ateişti” [“The Jews in Palestine are atheists”],, Legea Românească, no. 42, 1922,
16/29 October, p. 7
72 Dr. A. Magier, „Antisemitism?” [Antisemitism?], Legea Românească, no. 48, 27 Nov/10 December 1922, p. 1.
73 „Crucea şi zvastica” [“The Cross and the Swastika”],, Legea Românească no. 15, 1 August 1936, p. 150.
74 Pr. Dr. Gheorghe I. Drăgulin, „Teologi români de seamă din prima jumătate a veacului al XX-lea” [Famous Romanian theologians in the first half of the twentieth century], Studii teologice, 2nd edition, no. 4, July-August
1991, p. 64-83.
75 Lavinia Stan, Lucian Turcescu, Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania, Oxford University Press,
New York, 2007, p. 45.

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Exclusivist nationalism
Between 1934 and 1944 Dumitru Stăniloae was solely in charge of the flagship
periodical Telegraful roman [The Romanian Telegraph]. In this biweekly magazine
that became „a must-read of Transylvanian priests,”76 the theologian promoted the
ideas of assimilationist nationalism: „Nationalism is the Romanian soul permeated
by the consciousness of its rights and its mission on this Earth.”77 Dumitru Stăniloae
advocated for a nationalism centered on Orthodoxy and the ROC, in which the political power was called upon to assure „nationalist and Christian discipline.”78 He
was an ardent anti-Semitic, but fought equally against any religious community that
endangered the absolute domination of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He called
for outlawing Freemasons with an extraordinary harshness: “...Freemasonry [was]
like worms consuming the body of our State, bringing apathy into souls and decay of
our national unity, pouring the winning corrosive over the love of nation. Between all
of them there is a connection, all of them were united by the malicious conspiracy to
lead this nation to the grave.”79
The opposition towards religious minorities is a widespread attitude among
the ROC clergy, but the Telegraful român magazine expressed an ethnic hostility towards everything non-Romanian. Sending the Roma into work camps was
considered a welcomed act. News like „we are told that in Orăştie 74 local
Gypsies, old and young, that became a material and moral burden upon the city,
were transported to work camps “ are conveyed with undisguised satisfaction.80
The German and the Hungarian ethnic minorities were attacked constantly in the
magazine.
Dumitru Stăniloae, called by his apologists „the theologian of love”,81 viewed
sectarians with anger: „Sects are all that is most dangerous for the unity of the people and its future. They grind slowly the massive rock of Romanism, turning it into
dust that will easily be swept from existence by the first wave from the outside, or
scattered in all directions by the first brisk wind”.82 He asked for the repression of
Baptists, Adventists, Pentecostals and the other religious groups treated as sects:
„…when the government comes with an ordinance to disband the sects that split
76 Cătălin Bogdan, „Omorul serafic (II) Cazul Stăniloae” [The seraphic murder (II) The case of Stăniloae], Revista
22, 2 February 1996.
77 Dr.D.S., “Biserica şi naţionalismul” [The Church and nationalism], Telegraful român, no. 28, 5 July 1936,
p. 2.
78 Editorial, „Disciplina naţionalismului” [The discipline of nationalism], Telegraful român, no. 2, 9 January 1938.
79 Dumitru Stăniloaie , “Restaurarea românismului în destinul său istoric” [Restoring Romanism and its historic
destiny], Telegraful român, no. 39, 22 septembrie 1940.
80 „Scăpaţi de o povară” [Get rid of a burden], Telegraful roman, 27 September 1942.
81 Cătălin Bogdan, [The seraphic murder (II) The case of Stăniloae], Revista 22, 2 February 1996.
82 Editorial, „Pericolul sectelor” [The danger of sects], Telegraful român, no. 10, 6 March 1938, p.1.

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our nation and create anarchy within our state, we will be able to greet a new act of
great national importance.”83
The theologian called Catholicism „the mask and the instrument” of Hungarian
irredentism and asked that the Vatican concordat should be denounced. Beyond
the thesis itself, the language shows the intensity of the hate towards Catholics,
whom he condemns for „... the shameless audacity, the wickedness and the scorn
with which we have been treated as a state by the leaders of the Catholic State.”84
Dumitru Stăniloae is a totalitarian thinker that has fought for making the Orthodox religion a state religion, and for education to follow Orthodox principles85.
According to the theologian, attending an Orthodox church should become a national obligation.86 He asked that education be “Christianized” by “Christianizing”
the pedagogy professors in universities.87
Towards the end of the war, when the Soviet troops had entered the country, Dumitru Stăniloae adapted the policy of the magazine to the new situation. He
exhibited an unexpected opportunism, given the haughty posture of this militant
theologian: „…it is no wonder that the meeting at that time [the passing of the Russian armies through Transylvania’s towns and villages in 1848] between our people
and the Russian army was engraved into the hearts of our elders as a most powerful
memory. Ever since, our people have been convinced the Russian people have a
good and kind heart.”88 All of a sudden, the nationalistic magazine began to discover „the qualities of the working man’s soul.”89 At the same time, the texts about
Hitler, previously complimentary, became contemptuous.
At the end of the 1940s, Dumitru Stăniloae actively participated in the activities aimed at destroying the Romanian Church United with Rome (Greek-Catholic),
a goal of the ROC that he also supported during the interwar period. Outlawing
83 Editorial, „Disciplina naţionalismului” [The discipline of nationalism], Telegraful român no. 2, 9 January 1938,
p. 1.
84 D. Stăniloaie, „Catolicismul: masca şi unealta iridentei maghiare” [Catholicism: the mask and the gear of the
Hungarian irredentism], Telegraful român, no. 9-10, 30 January 1932 pp. 1-2,.
85 In this sense, the contention that Stăniloae disliked „especially the Jews” is irrelevant (see on this Cătălin
Bogdan, „Omorul serafic (II) Cazul Stăniloae” [The seraphic murder (II) The case of Stăniloae], Revista 22, 2
February 1996).
86 Editorial, „Mersul la biserică – obligaţiune naţională” [Going to church - national bond], Telegraful român no.
11, 13 March 1938, p.1.
87 Editorial, „Încreştinarea învăţământului” [Christianization of education], Telegraful român no. 21, 18 May
1938, p.1.
88 D. Stăniloaie, „Rusia şi Ardealul” [Russia and Transylvania], Telegraful român, no. 37, 13 September 1944,
p. 1.
89 D. Stăniloaie, „Sufletul muncitorului” [The soul of the worker], Telegraful român no. 76, 24 October 1944,
p. 1.

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the RCUR was only possible once the totalitarian Communist regime came into
power in 1948.

Blatant Anti-Semitism
From 1920 to 1934, under the editorship of George Proca, Telegraful român had a
complicated policy towards the Semitic theme. In 1922, Tr. Scorobeţ published an
extensive article, over three issues of the magazine, discussing in a positive way the
historical importance of Jews. According to the writer, the Jewish people had the
merit of becoming „famous in human history for the valuable services it had provided
to human life and progress.”90
After around a year and a half, a short text amalgamates Bolshevics and
Jews and states that „The Russian colossus will at some point wake up from the
state in which it was brought by Jews and then it will shake itself and crush all
the Semitic parasites that have climbed onto its head.”91 In 1924, a short text
decries the fact that after a brawl in a Jewish tavern the Police found the fault
was on the part of the Romanian.92 In 1927, N. Neaga praised the old Jewish
way of educating children and more generally the attitude of the Jewish community: „Looking at the ancient and troubled history of this people, we can
notice an extraordinary phenomenon: because it values its ancestral faith and
fights to preserve its national customs.”93 But a year later, another short text
accuses Freemason lodges of being „the concealed political weapon of Jewish
international finance”.94
From 1934 on, once Dumitru Stăniloae became editor-in-chief of the magazine, no new positive texts on Jews were published. Only anti-Semitic texts were
now available in the pages of the Telegraful român, as the theologian „scrutinized not only ideological leanings, but also every single line published there.”95

90 Tr. Scorobeţ, “Însemnătatea istorică a Evreilor” [The historical significance of the Jews], Telegraful român no.
31-32, 22 April (5 May) 1922, p. 3-5 and no. 33, 26 April (9 May) pp. 2-3, no. 34, 29 April/ (12 May) pp.
1-2, 1922.
91 „Liga pentru lupta in contra antisemitismului” [The League for the fight against anti-Semitism], Telegraful
român no. 83, 10-23 October 1923, p. 3.
92 „Îndrăzneala unor evrei” [”The audacity of some Jews”], Telegraful român no. 40-41, 23 May 1924.
93 N. Neaga, „Educaţia copiilor la vechii evrei” [”The education of children of ancient Jews”],, Telegraful român
no. 66-67, 16 September 1927, pp. 2-3.
94 „Despre Fracmasonerie” [On Freemasonry], Telegraful român no. 70, 3 October 1928, p. 1.
95 Cătălin Bogdan, „Omorul serafic (II) Cazul Stăniloae” [[The seraphic murder (II) The case of Stăniloae], Revista
22, 2 February 1996.

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The anti-Semitic propaganda took many forms, direct and indirect. The pages
of the Telegrafului român defended the most representative anti-Semitics of the interwar period: writers shed tears in remembrance of Ioan Moţa and Vasile Marin96,
and celebrated professor A.C. Cuza.97 Ion Antonescu, often eulogized, is usually
called „the Leader.”98 Adolf Hitler was himself mentioned and praised as a „great
statesman.”99. Under his leadership, „the German people traverses a new and characteristic era […] It could be said that the main point of the Hitler revolution resides
in the words of its undisputed leader: « You are nothing. Your people are everything ».”100 In particular, Hitler was also praised for „ending the political power of the
Catholic Church in Germany.”101
As for the anti-Semitic discourse of the magazine and its editor-in-chief, it contains extremely violent phrases. In 1938, Dumitru Stăniloae made statements that
would soon gain a tragic connotation: „ All countries should see that it is in their interest and that of world peace that they do not become tools of International Jewry,
but to start by mutual agreement to clean the air of a microbe that fosters continued
discord among peoples.”102
Dumitru Stăniloae welcomes signs of this “cleansing” every time they can be
seen in the country: „The measures taken or announced during its first days in power
[of the Octavian Goga government] validate this belief. Through one of these measures he purified Romanian intellectual life of the poisonous miasma of Judaism. The
cancellation of over hundred thousand licenses from rural Jewish tavern owners will
banish poverty and disease from the villages of Moldova and Maramureş. By decongesting our cities and our commercial and industrial enterprises of the colonies of
parasites that came to our country after the war we will provide health and breath to
the entire Romanian life.”103

96 „Lacrimi în amintirea lui Ioan Moţa” [Tears in memory of Ion Mota], Telegraful român, no. 5, 31 January 1937,
p. 1.
97 „Sărbătorirea dlui profesor A.C.” [Celebrating Professor A.C. “], Telegraful român, no. 16, 18 April 1937, p. 2.
98 D. Stăniloae, „Cuvântul Conducătorului [The word of the Leader]”, Telegraful român, no. 15, 6 April 1941,
p. 1.
99 „Ce a spus marele bărbat de stat Adolf Hitler” [What said the great statesman Adolf Hitler], Telegraful român,
no. 12, 22 March 1942, p. 1; „Darul făcut de Fūhrerul Adolf Hitler” [Fuhrer Adolf Hitler`s gift], Telegraful
român, no. 38, 20 September 1942, p. 4.
100 D. Călugăr, „Ideea socială şi tineretul din Germania” [The social idea and the youth in Germany], Telegraful
român, no. 1, 2 January 1938, p. 1.
101 Dr. N.T., “Biserica Romei în Germania lui Hitler” [The Church of Rome in Hitler’s Germany], Telegraful român,
no. 52, 15 December 1935, p. 4.
102 Editorial,„Necesitatea soluţionării problemei evreeşti” [The need to solve the Jewish Problem], Telegraful
român, no. 3, 10 January 1938, pp. 1-2.
103 Editorial, „Disciplina naţionalismului” [The Discipline of Nationalism],, Telegraful român, no. 2, 9 January
1938.

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At the end of the 1930s, „the Jewish issue” had become an obsession of the
magazine. One example appears in this paragraph: “The Jewish issue is the order
of the day all over the world. It would be natural and good if it, this issue, with all its
seriousness, would not delay too much here either, because we are, in terms of the
proportion of Jews, the second country on Earth.”104
The preparations for war are blamed on the „Jewish finance”. It „fuels the war
propaganda. For years this finance has worked to make national states capitulate
before its money, so powerful in the past. Its efforts are supported by the stock exchange, the press and many news agencies.”105
Dumitru Stăniloae welcomed the seizure of Jewish property, describing it as
an expression of the will of the people: “General Ion Antonescu put his finger on
the problem through these words; he gave voice to the feeling that dominates the
breadth of the Romanian soul.”106 „The theologian of love” went as far as to welcome
the „final solution” in its Transnistrian version: „The newspaper Raza from Bessarabia prints the joyful news that the last Jewish convoy from Chişinău is heading towards the Russian steppe, and thus the city got rid of the Jewish cancer. According
to the aforementioned newspaper, the departure of the Jews took place with the
same swiftness in the other cities of Bessarabia. So it should be – in Bessarabia
and all the other provinces of the country.“107 The Romanian public opinion was
informed with satisfaction that: „The Jewish population, eliminated from the villages,
is guided towards concentration camps, so it would no longer exploit the work and
the products of Christians.“108
In fact, Dumitru Stăniloae and his magazine went further concerning the „Jewish problem” than the domestic nationalist leanings in whose name they pretended
to speak. They supported all actions against Jews outside the country: „The removal
of all Jews from the trades that are important to the life of the people, said the [Slovak] minister, is the commandment of this moment. The Jews excluded from mainstream activities will be used, to the last one, in other fields of work, where they will
only do manual labor.”109. They supported a final solution throughout Europe: „the
fate of the Jews in Europe is already decided. The fact that one can still see, here
and there in Europe, Jews with or without the Star of David is a temporary situation
created by the war. After the end of the current great battle and after the complete
104 „Problema jidovească” [The Jewish Problem], Telegraful român, no. 22, 28 May 1939, p. 3.
105 „Finanţa jidovească” [The Jewish financiers], Telegraful român, no. 8, 19 February 1939, p. 3.
106 „Proprietăţi ce trec în patrimoniul public” [Nationalized Properties], Telegraful român, no. 15, 6 April 1941,
p. 1.
107 „Au plecat!” [They left!], Telegraful român, no. 47, 16 November 1941, p. 4.
108 “Cernăuţi şi Chişinău“ [Cernăuţi and Chişinău], Telegraful român, no. 32, 3 August 1941, p. 3.
109 „Chestiunea jidovească” [Jewish Issue], Telegraful român, nr. 14, 5 April 1942, p. 4.

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realization of the new order, these last Jews will also disappear from the European
firmament.“110
Dumitru Stăniloae and Telegraful român, published under the authority of the
Metropolitan of Transylvania, Nicolae Bălan, were central sources of chauvinism,
xenophobia and anti-Semitism during the interwar period. Paradoxically, the theologian and the magazine are embraced to this day as historical models of honorability
in the tradition of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

5. Anti-Semitism and Freemasonry in the Orthodox imagery
An issue relevant to ROC anti-Semitism is the connection between Jews and Freemasons. Before the ROC’s official condemnation of Freemasonry and its request to
outlaw it, this issue had been treated in the Orthodox press with a certain nuance.
In a long article published by priest I. Mihălcescu in 1923 in the official publication
of the Synod, Freemasonry was criticized but in a mild tone, as an ontological, but
not ethical, mistake111. The following paragraph is ironic, but not aggressive:
We wish Freemasons the biggest and most thorough success in this direction [of recognizing the previous identity of those embracing Freemasonry] because
their actions, springing from deeply-held convictions about order and fed by a
high and pure idealism, will benefit, along with the two-millennia-long activity of the
Church, to the ennoblement of humankind and to an increase in the goodness and
happiness in the world112.
I. Mihălcescu doesn’t make the connection between Jews and Freemasons.
Moreover, in the next issue of the Biserica Ortodoxă Română [The Romanian Orthodox Church], where he writes again on the same subject, the same author states:
”Equally baseless is the myth that Freemasonry has Jewish roots and originated with
Hiram, the architect of the temple of Solomon”113.
Freemasonry is sometimes associated with Communism, without pursuing this
connection to blame Jews for Communism. A virulent article from Foaia diecezană
[The Diocesan Newssheet], „Freemasonry and Communism”, invites the religious
110 „Au să dispară din Europa” [They will disappear from Europe], Telegraful român, nr. 40, 4 October 1942, p. 4 .
111 I. Mihălcescu, „Francmasonii şi Biserica” [Freemasonry and the Church], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no.
11, August 1923, pp. 756-554.
112 Idem, p. 761.
113 I. Mihălcescu, „Din trecutul francmasoneriei” [The past of Freemasonry], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no.
12, September 1923, p. 791.

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press to „fight with more courage” against the organization: „It is even a duty of
the religious press especially since the position occupied relative to the national
Church, by the Freemasonry, is directly destructive, these are not simple suspicions
but facts that lead us to believe that the entire endeavor to unravel the soul of the
people, all the social misfortunes masked as Communism, sectarianism, atheism
etc. all began within the Freemason lodges.”114
Other Orthodox articles discuss the Freemasonry-Jewish connection questioningly. In a text from Pastorul ortodox [The Orthodox Shepherd] (1935), priest Şt.
M. Udrescu criticizes three books on the subject and comments „… I think it is not
happenstance that the authors of these two books, as well as the translator of the
first, are Jews.”115
Other Orthodox publications stated that an important connection existed between Freemasonry and Jews. According to Revista Teologică [The Theological
Journal], „it is known that Jews are present within all lodges in great numbers
and are the most decisive factors in Freemasonry. […] Freemasonry is closely connected to the B’nai Berith organization, a purely Jewish Freemasonry. The Jewish
members of Freemasonry are also part of the lodges of B’nai Berith, whose ideas
they bring into Freemason lodges. The entire nomenclature of the Freemason rite,
by being Jewish, proves again the great influence of Jews within Freemasonry.”116
The flagship Orthodox publication, Biserica Ortodoxă Română [The Romanian Orthodox Church], returns in 1937 to the Freemasonry theme, with a material
that establishes a doctrine, written by Metropolitan Dr. Nicolae of Transylvania, and
which received the approval of the Holy Synod. The article includes a full chapter on
„Freemasonry and the Jews.”117 It is stated that Jews have an important, and even
dominant, role within Freemasonry, and all the high ranks were created by them. In
England, says the article, out of 300.000 Freemasons, 43.000 are Jews. In the
Great Orient lodges in Romania, a branch of the Great Orient in France, the proportion of Jews reaches 90%. The Romanian national great lodge, which also includes
Jews, was established according to the article by the Freemasonry of Soviet Russia. The entire Freemasonry is run by Jews through the purely Jewish Freemason
114 Pr. D.V. Anuţoiu, „Francmasonerie şi comunism” [Freemasonry and Communism], Foaia diecezană, no. 25,
21 June 1936, pp. 2-3. The violence of the words is surprising in a publication that is usually more restrained.
In a text on „Outlawing Freemasonry in Switzerland” Foaia diecezană, no. 2, 10 January 1937, p. 7) Freemasons are called „werewolves”.
115 Priest Şt. M. Udrescu, „Din acţiunile francmasoneriei” [Actions of Freemasonry], Pastorul ortodox, no. 5,
May 1935, p. 173.
116 Grigorie T. Marcu, „Francmasoneria pusă la stâlp” []Freemasonry put in the pillory], Revista Teologică, no.
7-10, July-October 1936, p. 351.
117 „Ce este Francmasoneria” [What is Freemasonry], Biserica Ortodoxă Română, no. 1-2, January-February,
1937, pp. 1-22.

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order, Benai Berith. The members of the latter lodge are also part of the lodges that
include Christians, the article states.
As a corollary to these “facts”, the article concludes that Freemasonry has
„a Jewish Character”, an idea reinforced with a quote from the Freemason magazine
Symbolisme: „The most important mission of Freemasonry is to glorify the Jewish
race which has kept pure the Godly essence of knowledge. Then it should support
the Jewish race in erasing national borders.”118
With the conclusion that „Freemasonry fights against the natural law, wanted
by God, according to which humankind is made up of nations,” the article decides
which are the duties of the ROC: to lead a persevering oral and journalistic activity
„of unmasking the purpose and the nefarious activities of this organization” and to
urge Romanian intellectuals who are part of the lodges to leave them, otherwise the
Church will refuse to perform their funeral ceremonies; priests will advise the people
to avoid Freemasons and not to vote for them; the Holy Synod and the organizations
of the Church will try to convince the government to outlaw Freemasonry, and if the
government doesn’t, it will take care to get a Parliamentary initiative in this respect.119
However, even after this official statement of the ROC Synod, the connection
between Freemasonry and Jews is not mentioned as a rule. In an article from the
magazine Îngerul [The Angel] from the fall of 1937, priest C. Neguţ firmly condemns
the organization without belittling it as a manipulation initiated by Jews: „The Freemason lodges gather together Jews and Christians and Freemasonry states that
only those gathered in its lodges know the truth and rise above other people. This
would imply that Christianity provides no advantage in knowing the truth and achieving salvation to its members. The Church cannot watch quietly as no other than the
mortal enemies of Christ are considered superior to Christians, from the point of
view of knowing the greatest truths of salvation.”120

6. Conclusions

All the periodicals published under the aegis of the ROC include texts whose purpose is to combat certain social and political attitudes, some religious minorities

118 Idem, p. 4.
119 Idem, p. 22.
120 Priest C. Neguţ, „Condamnarea Francmasoneriei” [Condemning Freemasonry]], Îngerul, no. 3, March 1937,
p. 137.

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and their organizations. An “aggressive” and “militant” position was characteristic
for the ROC press. Accusing articles and texts targeted Protestants, Freemasons,
atheists, Greek-Catholics, sectarians. The topic of Bolshevik crimes, especially
when the victims were priests, appeared only sporadically in some magazines, while
being a constant subject in others, not only in the Orthodox press from Bessarabia
(e.g. the official magazine of the Diocese of Chişinău and Hotin, Luminătorul [The
Luminary]), but also in the rest of the country (e.g. the publication of the Diocese
of Oradea, Legea românească [The Romanian Order], etc.) The importance given
to different minority groups as threats to Orthodoxy depended on the geographic
region. In Transylvania, the most numerous and most radical militant texts targeted
Baptists, Greek-Catholics, Catholics and Hungarian irredentism. In Moldavia the
sect of stylists received great attention. In the Diocese of Buzău, priests were mainly
concerned with the activity of Adventists.
Our research has shown that Jewish people occupied a peripheral role in
the militant policy of the Orthodox press. The main “adversaries” of the ROC: the
“sects”, The Romanian Church United with Rome, the Roman-Catholic Church121
were discussed in periodicals in almost every issue, while Semitic topics appeared
at intervals of sometimes years. With rare exceptions, Jews were treated with hostility. Globally we can notice a slow evolution in attitude, towards an anti-Semitic propaganda that becomes more severe as years pass. But there are also s which, due to
staff changes, discussed the Semitic topic less or not at all during the ”hot” decade,
1933-1943, of all times. The best example is Legea Românească [„The Romanian
Order”], which included short mean-spirited anti-Semitic texts in the 1920s, but
once the editor involved was replaced, in the 1930s, stopped printing such texts.
This phenomenon is a further argument for the decisive role of the leaders of editorial boards and of editors in general in shaping the ideology of the ROC press.
The official publication of the ROC Synod, Biserica Ortodoxă Română [The
Romanian Orthodox Church] had a rather hostile attitude towards Jews. This can be
seen in some short texts or comments – like ”Jewish tantrum in defense of a Jewish
innkeeper”. However, many texts were neutral, and some theological articles had
positive references to Jews, like ”Jews, the people of the Book!”. The main „ antiSemitic contribution” of the official publication of the ROC Synod was to turn the
idea that Freemasonry is dominated by Jews and should be outlawed into dogma.
The other publications in Bessarabia, Transylvania, Banat, Moldavia, Dobrogea and Muntenia rarely included references to the Jewish topic and then in general
the tone was negative. Even in magazines that didn’t show hostility towards Jews the
121 These are the religious groups and organizations that compete with the ROC or otherwise limit its confessional dominance.

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most “tolerant” judgment seems to have been: „The superiority of Christianity and
the areas of disagreement are easily seen.”122
One of the leading promoters of anti-Semitism among Orthodox publications
was Telegraful român [The Romanian Telegraph], from the moment that theologian
Dumitru Stăniloaie became its editor-in-chief. In this periodical the anti-Semitic policy reached new heights: Telegraful român [The Romanian Telegraph] welcomed
the seizure of Jewish properties, announced the “joyful news” that Jewish convoys
were sent to Transnistria, cheered the internment of Jews in concentration camps,
expressed happiness at the removal of Jews from all important professions in Slovakia, and hoped that in the future “these last Jews will also disappear from the
European firmament.“123
The systematic and intense incitement to anti-Semitism that characterized Telegraful român [The Romanian Telegraph] is however an exception. In general, the
Orthodox press showed marginal interest in Semitic topics, and when references to
Jews appeared they expressed „a background hostility”. The most important result
of this overview of the Orthodox press is the observation that its anti-Semitism is
just a peripheral part of its outpouring of ethnic and religious chauvinism; and respectively, a peripheral component of the anti-Semitism of the period 1920-1944.
The interwar Orthodox nationalism strengthened its aggressiveness by exercising
it on everything that was alien to Orthodoxy: Protestants, Roman-Catholics, GreekCatholics, Freemasons, atheists. The fate of Romanian Jews was the result of a
political manipulation of anti-Semitism in the context of an exacerbated exclusivist
nationalism that intersected tragic international trends.

122 Pr. I. Mihălcescu, „Raportul dintre creştinism şi iudaism” [”The relationship between Christianity and Judaism”], no. 3 (358), March 1925, p. 139.
123 „Au să dispară din Europa” [They will disappear from Europe], Telegraful român, no. 40, 4 October 1942,
p. 4.

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Dr Artur Lakatos

The treatment of the Jewish
issue in the Roman Catholic,
Calvin Protestant and Unitarian
printed media in Transylvania,
1920-1944
General introduction
In my study I shall present the attitudes towards the Jews by members of the clergy
and some prominent figures of three Transylvanian historic denominations, the Roman Catholic, Calvin Protestant and Unitarian churches in the period between 1920
and 1944 as reflected in church-affiliated printed media. Articles printed in Transylvania’s Hungarian-language media published between 1918 and 1944 form the
source of the present study. The cited publications include the Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Papers) (later called Erdélyi Magyar Lapok and Magyar Lapok, Transylvanian Hungarian Papers and Hungarian Papers) that, while being a conservative daily
published in Nagyvárad (Oradea), had been significantly influenced by the Roman
Catholic and Calvin Protestant churches. Its editors defined the paper’s orientation
as a “Christian political daily”. I have supplemented these sources with scientific and
archival material collected earlier.
The study itself has a three-part structure. The first part includes introductory
chapters that place contemporary developments in the historical context and
outline aspects of the applied methodology. The second part offers an analysis
of specific articles arranged in thematic categories. Since, in the case of Transylvania there are no major differences between the three churches – there are many
more shared elements than dogmatic fault lines due primarily to their Hungarian
ethnic identity and common cause in their stance against the Romanian state – the
number of relevant articles was not unmanageable, I did not make a sharp distinc-

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tion between the three churches. The third and closing part contains my conclusions, and essentially presents the essence of the Jewish issue in all its complexity.

The Hungarian christian churches and the jewry in Transylvania
between the two world wars.
Based on the 1930 census in Romania – the only national census between the two
World Wars in Greater Romania – in 1930 in Romania the Calvin Protestant, Roman
Catholic and Unitarian churches had 710,706, 645,544 and 69,257 followers, respectively.1 These three denominations essentially accounted for most ethnic Hungarian believers in Transylvania finding themselves in the minority. While there were some
Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Lutheran and Sabbatarian believers, their numbers were
negligible. For all practical purposes, the Trianon-borders barely changed the structure
of the Unitarian church – this small anti-Trinitarian uniquely Hungarian/Transylvanian denomination has always had its only diocese in Kolozsvár/Cluj – while the new borders
redrew formerly Hungarian Roman Catholic and Calvin Protestant parish borders. In
the case of Roman Catholics, Hungarian Catholics living in Transylvania were separated
from Esztergom and, under the terms of the concordat concluded between Romania
and the Holy See, they came under the rule of the Bucharest diocese, whereby of the
five bishoprics in Romania (in Bucharest, Gyulafehérvár/Alba Iulia, Temesvár/Timesora,
Jászvásár/Iasi and Szatmár/Satmar) Bucharest was elevated to the rank of archdiocese.
This was led by Serbian-born Alexandru Cisar, a senator by statute because under Romanian law the leaders of churches with over 200,000 followers were given a seat
in the Upper House of the Romanian Parliament. At the same time and in a discriminatory fashion, while all Greek-Catholic and Orthodox high priests above the rank of
bishop became members of the Upper House, when it came to the Roman Catholic
faith only the archbishop of Bucharest became a senator and this form of discrimination remained in effect throughout the effectiveness of the 1923 Constitution. Similarly, the Bishop of the Unitarian Church was not elected a senator either because
the number of its followers fell far short of the required 200,000.2 In the case of the
Calvin Protestant Church, the Transylvanian diocese headquartered in Kolozsvár/Cluj remained unchanged; while in the western areas of the country in parts of the Partium the
Királyhágómellék Diocese located in Nagyvárad (Oradea) was established in 1921 when
Partium Calvin Protestants were torn from Debrecen as a result of the Trianon-treaty.
1 Biró Sándor: Kisebbbségben és többségben. Románok és magyarok 1867-1940 (In minority and majority.
Romanians and Hungarians, 1867-1940). Pro-print Könyvkiadó, Csíkszereda, 2002, p. 322
2 The Unitarian Church did protest and demanded the modification of the statute by referring to Unitarianism’s
historical past and value-creating activities. However, its petition was rejected. See in more detail: Artur Lakatos:
Unitárius Egyházi panasz 1926-ból (Unitarian Church petition form 1926) in Keresztény Magvető (Christian
Sower), Volume 113, issue no. 1/2007, pp. 90-93.

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Based on the 1930 census, between the two World Wars 4.2% of the population of Greater Romania was of the Jewish faith. Looking at the historical provinces, their number and proportion was the lowest in Transylvania: while in Bessarabia,
Moldova, in the Körösvidék-Máramaros region, in Muntenia and Bukovina their
numbers came to 206985, 168268, 97287, 94216 and 96101, respectively, in
Transylvania the number of registered Jews was only 83503.3 The Jewish community in Romania was far from unified; there were cultural, linguistic and religious
fault lines between Hungarian and Romanian speaking Jews, between the Orthodox and the Reformed and also based on political orientation. As noted by
two nationalist Romanian authors, Ioan Scurtu and Gheorghe Buzatu4 in their welldocumented history of Romania, although the Jews were the third largest minority in Romania after the Hungarians and the Germans, they were not unified by
culture. The Jews of the Old Kingdom of Romania (Regat) were influenced primary
by Romanian, those residing in Transylvania by Hungarian, those in Bukovina by German and in Bessarabia by Russian culture, i.e., while preserving their Jewish identity; they also carried these cultural characteristics.5 Some Jews followed the Zionist
ideology; others would have preferred to opt for the path of assimilation and mostly
in Transylvania many Jews, while holding on to their faith, identified with Hungarian
values. In one of his books, Dániel Lőwy identifies a number of them, including Jenő
Janovics, library director Farkas Gyulai, writer Benő Karácsony, art historian József
Bíró in Kolozsvár (Cluj),6 or the young András Arató (born Ackersmann) in Nagyvárad
(Oradea) .7 For instance, in his poems András Arató expresses his dual Hungarian
and Jewish identity as follows:
I am a Jew. I have never denied my ancestors out of cowardice and depravity.
My forebears were born, had lived and were buried in other parts.
Berzsenyi was my Testament, Petőfi my Bible
and I fled to Sztregovár to escape the blows I suffered.
In Szigetvár I was the one tearing down the ironclad gate,
And at Mohács I too collected marsh plants to sooth my burning wounds.

3 Cristian Gojinescu: Situaţia demografică a cultelor după 1918, Etnosfera, 2009, issue no. 4, pp. 26-32.
4 The above statement is particularly true to Gheorghe Buzatu, who was deputy-chairman of the Greater Romania
Party, and one of the most ardent followers of the rehabilitation of marshal Ion Antonescu.
5 Ioan Scurtu, Gheorghe Buzatu: Istoria românilor în secolul XX ( 1918-1948), Bucureşti, Paideia, 1999 p. 40.
6 Dániel Lőwy: A téglagyártól a tehervonatig, (From the brick yard to the cattle-carriage) Erdélyi Szépmives Céh,
Kolozsvár, 1998. passim
7 It is true, there were opposite examples as well. Such was Fényes Samu (born Feierlicht Salamon), who wrote a
book in his Bucharest years entitled Ungaria revizionistă (A revizionista Magyarország – The revisionist Hungary).

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I defended the fort of Eger, I was brave and inspiring.
I too thundered at Ocskay, calling him a miserably traitor.
Where Hungarian ambitions soared, I too was uplifted: the thought.
I was shit through the arrow of faith, like bones in winter’s cold.
My bones are hard. My heart is pure. My desire is fair and simple.
Receiving no understanding and recognition, I fall and become a broken violin.8
In the same period he writes about his Jewish identity in a poem entitled “If you are a Jew”:
If you are a Jew, you must understand: you should suffer through life,
The stars will not caress, the sun will not shine on you.
Hatred and rejection awaits you, and trouble anywhere you turn.
Whatever fortune brings,
I shall always submit.
If you’re a Jew, you are never in the right.
Come hail, floods or thunder.
You are to blame for all: in Berlin or Várad,
Should anything come my way honestly,
I shall always submit.
My past is a shimmering blue isle, sunk in the waters
I do not know the Talmud, and speak no Hebrew.
My world is Hungarian through and through: Kiskőrös, Széphalom.
Should anything come my way honestly,
I am ready for the fight.
The “Jew” for me is no race or people, only a suffering soul.
Covered in pain and sorrow, as by a shroud for the dead
Five thousand years, wild misery: the past is all but pain.
Should anything come my way honestly,
The present I accept.9

(This is a rough translation, conveying only the literal meaning of the two poems
– the translator)

8 András Arató: Máshol születtek hőseim (My ancestors were born in other parts) in András Arató: Terjedelmes
vallomás (Extended confession). Versek, Szigligeti Társaság kiadása, Sonnenfeld, Oradea-Nagyvárad, 1938,
pp. 46-47.
9 Ibid., p. 40.

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Obviously, even Hungarian-speaking Jews did not unanimously profess proHungarian nationalist sentiments; there were assimilates and movements that imagined a future for the Jewish people as a separate nation outside the HungarianRomanian framework. From the 1920s the Romanian state made vigorous efforts
to drive a wedge between the Jews from the Hungarians. Special schools were
established where teaching was conducted in Rumanian and Hebrew, with the elimination of Hungarian. The effects of this policy were also perceived by Hungarian
politicians. Elemér Jakabffy had the following to say about this problem in 1932,
roughly 13 years following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire:
“Let’s not delude ourselves into believing that we can count on the Jewish vote
to the same extent as 13 years ago.
We should not forget that in these 13 years a new Jewish generation had
emerged whose education had no longer been steeped in Hungarian culture.. We
cannot blame this young Jewish generation for taking a different path and can only
take offense at the alienation of those who had enjoyed the blessings of Hungarian
culture for which they are bound by eternal gratitude”.10
This kind of holding to account Jewish individuals taking a stance against Hungarians started already in September 1940. On September 11, 1940 Béla Jávor in
Nagyvárad (Oradea) denounces Venetian blinds manufacturer, Grünwald, for saying
in a private conversation: “God forbid Hungarians return to this area”.11 In another instance the journalist attacks a tobacconist claiming he had once said the following:
“This land ... could be owned by anyone, except Germans and Hungarians. Much
rather by the Russians if it means the withdrawal of the Romanians.”12
Aside from humiliating some individuals, this kind of ‘holding to account’ had
little effect and was not limited to Jews: some Hungarians (like the leaders of the anti-revisionist league) or Romanians (those remaining in the area after the re-annexation, nationalists abusing Hungarians during Romanian rule) received the same,
and in some cases even worse treatment.13 Later claims, definitely undeserved by
pro-Hungarian Jews living in Northern Transylvania, were apparently much more
10 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): June 18, 1932. „Dr. Elemér Jakabffy on Jews”, p. 3
11 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): September 11, 1940, Béla Jávor: A zsidó nagyiparos és a magyar
munkás (The Jewish industrialist and the Hungarian worker), p. 6.
12 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): January 29, 1941 , Kié legyen Erdély földje és kié a trafik (Who should
own Transylvanian land and the tobacco shops?, p. 2
13 Fleeing the Hungarian occupation, László Bányai (later to become rector of Bolyai University) moved to Romania, as did Géza Kiss, a politician of the Romanian National Liberal Party. Some paid for staying with their
life, such as writer Béla Józsa, who, following his arrest, under suspicious circumstances lost his life in 1943,
probably beaten to death. After the annexation, the Hungarian population lynched a number of Romanian nationalists, including some Orthodox priests.

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damaging. Soon after the entry of the Hungarians Ferenc Fiala wrote an insinuating article in Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette) criticizing Jews “collaborating with
Romanians”. However, at that time he still did not deny that in Budapest Samu Stern
said that “Along with Jews in Hungary, the Jewish population of Nagyvárad (Oradea)
and Kolozsvár (Cluj) welcome the re-annexation, and people like Lipót Kecskeméti,
Benők Gombos and Vajszlovics remain steadfast Hungarian patriots and loyal Hungarian Jews”.14 However, in a short while the loyalty of Hungarian-speaking Jews
living in areas cut off from Hungary came under question in respect to their relationship with majority populations in post-Trianon states. “In the period of the occupation when it was not opportune to identify with Hungarians, obviously Jews were the
first to leave the Hungarian lines. And they left in droves denying all fellowship with
Hungarians, going over to the enemy or withdrawing behind their peculiar, so-called
Zionist lines” an anonymous contributor writes in Nagyvárad (Oradea).
Other articles made statements in the same vein:
“There have already been many efforts at explaining or at least understanding
Nagyvárad (Oradea)’s shameful Jewish character …”;
“Perhaps, Jews have done more to eviscerate Hungarian vitality than official
Romanian policy decisions”;15 or
“Trianon, a 20-year Romanian suppression would not have done so much
damage among us if we had formed a closed economy, if, instead of the Jews, our
kind had made up the merchant, craftsman, industrialist and intellectual classes.”16
In fact, in some cases commentators demeaned assimilated Jews identifying
with Hungarian culture in the following way: “Jewish and non-Jewish public opinion
in Anglo-Saxon countries considers Jews as a nation and deeply despises assimilated Hungarian Jews.”17
This kind of generalization was unfair and it is no accident that András Arató,
mentioned above, addressed the following desperate words in 1944 from the Budapest ghetto to the president of Transylvania Party, Béla Teleki:

14 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 26 September 1940 Ferenc Fiala: Erdély és a zsidóság (Transylvania
and the Jewry) p. 4.
15 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): November 14, 1940. Nagyvárad (Oradea) … zsidó város. (Nagyvárad
(Oradea) – City of Jews) pp. 1-2.
16 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): January 25, 1941. István Polyák:Áttérések-visszatérések-megtérések
(Conversions-reconversions.) p. 5.
17 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): January 28, 1942. A zsidóság kivándorlásával foglalkozik a második
zsidó Sárgakönyv (The second Jewish yellow book deals with Jewish emigration). p. 6.

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‘I cannot conceive that mercy has left all human hearts and I believe I have the
right to shout my truth in the face of all honest Hungarians. I was ready to sacrifice
my life for the Hungarian nation, when called on I went to the limit, to prison, and
not a Hungarian government sends me to my death. Sir this is not my issue, not our
issue, this is the issue of the Hungarian national, of a few brave and honourable
Hungarians. If we perish, the Hungarian nation would lose its most cherished asset,
its chivalry and sense of justice, and shall leave an indelible stain on its own honour!
Your Excellency must be aware that Romanian press attaché Gombos Ulipu Traian,
crisscrossed Transylvania and told Nándor Hegedűs with a smirk on his face: we
received 50-years’ worth of propaganda material on Hungarian ingratitude. Sir, are
you aware that a group of some 350 Zionist in Kolozsvár (Cluj) and Budapest were
spared deportation? And finally, does your Excellency understand that if instead of
in Hungary, I was born in Slovakia or Croatia and fought against Czech or Serbian
oppression, today I would be safe because Mack Sanyo and Ante Pavelic treat their
own Jews with more fairness than today’s Hungarian Government.”18
Gombos Ulpiu Traian, cited by Arató, was mistaken: the collaboration of the
Hungarian authorities with the Nazis in 1944 created a security risk not for 50, but
many more years.

The press material analysed – categories
In the course of my research I reviewed 351 volumes of 51 different periodicals, and
made a selection of articles relevant to my topic. The vast majority of these periodicals were published for a few years, in some cases with no more than one or two
issues, while others, like the Unitarian Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower) has
been published continuously with some brief interruptions since 1861, the middle
of the 19th century. It can be stated in general that between the two World Wars antiSemitism and other coverage involving Jewry was rare in Transylvanian Hungarianlanguage church publications. A piece dealing with Jews appears once every few
years and then usually reflecting criticism and not visceral hatred. Of course, there
are occasional examples for the latter, as well as cases where Jewry was viewed
with sympathy.
It is also worth noting that in the case of Transylvanian Hungarian-language
church publications anti-Semitic, neutral and philo-Semitic approaches show little
18 András Arató’s letter from the Budapest ghetto adressed to the president of the Transylvania Party, Count Béla
Teleki. Hungarian National Archives, Béla Teleki’s papers (P2256), f. 354. 26 June 1944

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variation by geography – the same attitude may be expressed in Szatmárnémeti
(Satu Mare) or Kibéd (Chibed) or in media tied to the Roman Catholic, Calvin Protestant or Unitarian denominations. For instance, while in the Nagyvárad (Oradea)
conservative daily, the church-affiliated Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette)
ironic or hostile attitudes towards the Jews are common in the 1930s, in publications edited by Áron Márton or János Vásárhelyi there are no traces of such
voices. At the same time, no major differences in either positive or negative attitudes towards the Jews can be perceived among the various denominations. Perhaps, the most consistent positions are found in the publications of the highly
centralized Catholic church. An anti-Semitic piece here or a philo-Semitic piece
there could crop up anywhere at any time. On the other hand, one may note that
articles taking a more protective or, as the case may be, critical or hostile attitudes
towards the Jews proliferated in times of crisis. This was true especially at times
when public discourse was preoccupied with the issue: in 1927, the year when
the Iron Guard ran amuck – see the series of articles by István Kecskeméthy19 in
Kis Tükör (Little Mirror), a Calvin Protestant family periodical – and in 1933 when,
following the rise of Hitler to power, the majority of church leaders took anti-Nazi positions, especially in the period between 1933 and 1940. However, starting in 1940
this clearly anti-Nazi stance changes into a neutral and silent attitude. Presumably,
this can be attributed to an effort to adjust to changed circumstances rather than a
fundamental change in thinking.
If we were to make a classification by chronology, the material under discussion could be divided into two major periods, the period of Romanian rule between
1920 and 1940 and the period between 1940 and 1944. In the first period the
“Jewish issue” is discussed in a relatively complex manner in articles published at
different times, of different lengths and quality. Since this media, seen as closely
affiliated to the churches, is published monthly and quarterly it deals primarily with
theological and public education issues and rarely turns its attention to current political issues, and even then it does so only marginally. Accordingly, articles dealing
with Jewry are relatively few and far between. In many cases, a given periodical runs
no such articles for years.
The situation is somewhat different when we come to the period between
1940 and 1944. First of all because the number of periodicals published and the
size of press runs declined significantly, and they were also more difficult to come
by. At the same time, it is also evident that in contemporary periodicals, weekly
and monthly journals and other printed media published specifically by churches
19 István Kecskeméthy (1864-1938), Calvin Protestant theologian, professor of Hebrew and Arabic languages,
and the Old Testament at the Kolozsvár Calvin Protestant Theological Seminary. As a politician, he was the
organizer and one of the presidents of the Hungarian People’s Party, an alternative to the Hungarian Party.

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or people of the church there were no material changes in respect to the Jewish
issue either in content or message.20 In fact, one may even notice a cautious approach, best illustrated by the most important publication of the Unitarian Church,
the Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower) with a history of over 100 years. In the
period between 1940 and 1944 the word “Jewish” is mentioned all but once,21 and
even then only in connection to Ferenc Dávid and the foundation of the Sabbatarian
Church.22 Compared to publications in Northern Transylvania, this was even more
the case in respect to periodicals published in Southern Transylvania and the Regat
where all forms of expression became more restricted under an increasingly heavyhanded Romanian rule.23However, it must also be noted that this only holds for journals and the situation was fundamentally different when it comes to the daily Magyar
Lapok (Hungarian Gazette, originally called Erdélyi Lapok, Transylvanian Gazette)
partly under church control.
In effect, the Erdélyi/Magyar Lapok should be considered as a borderline between secular and church publications. The daily launched in 1932 and edited in
Nagyvárad (Oradea) lent its support to and, in turn, was supported by the Magyar
Párt (Hungarian Party) and was heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic and Calvin Protestant churches. Árpád Paál was the editor-in-chief and Elemér Gyárfás the
senior correspondent at the daily, and influential pieces were published by such
prominent church-affiliated individuals as the Jesuit monk, Béla Bangha and Calvin Protestant bishop, István Sulyok. The name of the daily was changed in 1936
to Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette). Following the Hungarian re-annexation, the
number of anti-Semitic articles increased in Magyar Lapok, although this was not
the only change: in contrast to earlier coverage on Transylvania and all of Romania,
the focus is turned to local affairs and church-affiliated journalists are replaced by
secular journalists.

20 In fact, some form of censorship and self-censorship was not limited to the church media, but is also evident
in secular dailies when events of major importance are involved. For instance, the evacuation of Jewish ghettos
and the subsequent transportation of their residents to death camps were passed over in silence even by Ellenzék és Keleti Újság (Opposition and Eastern Paper) published in Kolozsvár/Oradea with regional distribution in
Northern Transylvania. See: Dániel Lőwy: a téglagyártól… (From the brick yard…) p. 205.
21 The periodical’s online archive may be accessed here: http://epa.oszk.hu/html/vgi/boritolapuj.phtml?id=2190
22 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower) (Christian Sower): 1943, bound copies 4-5. Pál Benczédi: A szombatosság vádja. (The charge of Sabbatinism) pp. 164-172.
23 Regarding the position of Hungarians living in Southern Transylvania a concise and for the most part accurate summary is provided in a 1943 report by József Méliusz. See: Artur Lakatos: Méliusz-jelentés 1943-ból
(The Méliusz report from 1943) in Látó, nr. 11/2013, November, pp. 68-75. On Hungarians in Southern
Transylvania see more in: Béni L. Balogh: Kiszolgáltatva. A dél-erdélyi magyar kisebbség 1940-1944 között
(Exposed, Hungarian minority in Southern Transylvania between 1940 and 1944). Pro-print Könyvkiadó, Csíkszereda, 2013.

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News covering the Jews
In this category I include short news items that for the most part were published in Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette), and less frequently in weekly and monthly publications, when deemed important by their editors. In most cases these short news
items are objective, such as when a 1929 article in Reformátusok Lapja (Calvin
Protestant Gazette) published in Nagyvárad (Oradea) reports on a Jewish community
steeped in traditional culture converting to Christianity in Poland,24 or similar pieces
published in Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) typically before 1940.25 This is also
the case when the topical issue itself is sensitive and tragic, as when a correspondent
for Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) reported on the 1933 Bukovina riots, when,
following Hitler’s rise to power the members of Bukovina’s German and Jewish minorities fought bloody street battles.26 In some cases the reporting is tinged with sarcasm
or open hostility. In one of its pieces a Kis Tükör (Little Mirror) correspondent using
a pseudonym and signing off as “Rabbi”, writes with sarcasm about a clash between
leaders of the Kolozsvár (Cluj) Jewish community over the collection of ‘gabella-fees’.
It happened that under the leadership Helberstein, a Rabbi from Galicia, a Sephardic
community went its own way and the two groups got into an argument over the issue
of kosher slaughtering and the so-called ‘gabella-fee’ collected for the ritual slaughter.
“In response Chief Rabbi, Glasner, went to the police headquarters with the
intent to explain that the Sephardim had no right to perform shechita and collect the
‘gabella-fee’, and he asked the police chief to issue a cease and desist order. In the
meantime, he also placed some cash on the desk. This led to some complications
when the chief Rabbi was thrown into jail. Fortunately, for one night only. However,
this left unresolved the theological question raised by the affair: for what happens if
the police do in fact ban the Sephardim from performing shechita? It may be easy to
say that from now on they will have their slaughtering done by the Orthodox, but what
will happen to the entire roast already eaten by the Sephardim? Could they have eaten
non-kosher meat all along! What little it takes to win or lose spiritual salvation!”27
24 Reformátusok Lapja: 2 February 1929 Zsidó-keresztyén közösség (Jewish-Christian community) p. 61.
25 Examples: Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): August 12, 1933, Ki az antiszemita? Tudósítás a zsidó
diákok londoni világkongresszusáról (Who is anti-Semitic? Report on the London conference of Jewish students.) p. 7; December 6, 1933, Külpolitikai számítások a zsidók és a kormány közötti választási egyezménnyel
(Foreign policy calculations over the election alliance between the Jews and the government), p. 1; August
8, 1937, A cionisták huszadik világgyűlése Zürichben (The 20th Zionist World Conference in Zürich) p. 3.;
December 2, 1938, Diplomáciai szakítás Németország és Columbia között a zsidókérdés miatt (Diplomatic ties
broken between Germany and Colombia over the Jewish issue) p. 2., etc
26 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): 20 April 1933. Véres antiszemita zavargások Csernovitzban a
zsidók német bojkottja miatt (Bloody anti-Semitic riots in Chernovtsy over a German boycott of the Jews) p. 3;
April 22, A csernovitzi rendőrség előre értesült a tüntetésről, de nem akadályozta meg (The Chernovtsy police was forewarned of the riots, yet did not intervene) p. 3; April 3, Bukovinában betiltottak egy német lapot
a zsidóellenes zavargások miatt (A German paper banned in Bukovina over anti-Jewish riots) p. 1.
27 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): March 7, 1931, A gabella díjak (The gabella-fees) p. 39.

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This piece ends with this conclusion, although in this case the sarcasm is aimed
not so much against the Jews, as against strict Jewish religious prescriptions.
Similarly, at first glance the Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare) Katolikus Élet (Catholic
Life) presents the Budapest Jews’ effort at being admitted to the ‘Order of Vitez’
objectively, although its final conclusion is steeped in mockery. On December 1,
1930 a member of the Hungarian Parliament Pál Sándor says that in 1848 twenty
thousand Jews fought in the Hungarian army and 460 Jews also died nationwide
in the conflict with the Hungarian Republic of Councils. “According to Pál Sándor,
there are so many valiant Jews that instead of one, there should be several Orders
to make room for all the Jews”.28
At other times, mockery was aimed at Samu Fényes, widely hated by the
Hungarian public.29 In some other cases, harm befalling a pro-Romanian Jewish
community in distant America offers a measure of satisfaction. An article published
in Katolikus Élet (Catholic Life) on April 21, 1929, “When Jews profit”, reports a
story of Jews commemorating the 10th anniversary of the unification of Romania in
a Synagogue in Chicago, when five armed robbers break into the building. The congregation was lucky because, instead of Hungarian or Bulgarian nationalists, it was
ordinary bandits that came to rob, leaving with a booty of USD 80 000.30
This kind of casual irony is still a far cry from violent anti-Semitism. That first appears in the years after 1940, primarily on the pages of Magyar Lapok (formerly
Erdélyi Lapok). While specifically ecclesiastic publications for the most part hid
behind theological topics, taking scrupulous care in times of war to avoid taking
a position on issues beyond their power, similar to other secular publications
with strong church backing, Magyar Lapok made an effort to join trends already
rife in Hungary. As Zoltán Tibori Szabó stated in one of his lectures: “Part of
the Hungarian media in Transylvania is becoming a mouthpiece of anti-Semitic
propaganda, and the same is heard from the pulpit.”31
In news briefs and reports the word “Jewish” comes up with increasing
frequency, in most cases used in a negative context and associated with pejorative definitions. In the reports involving common law offenses where one of the
28 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): 7 December 1930. A Vitézi rend és a zsidó vitézek (Vitéz Order and Jewish
braves) p. 3.
29 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): January 27, 1934. Marakodnak a koncon. (Fighting over the spoils)
Rabbi Pater Erwin rabbi „kiszúrta” dr. Fényes Samu szemét (Rabbi Erwin Pater ’stuck it to” dr. Samu Fényes) p. 6.
30 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): April 21, 1929. Mikor a zsidók jól járnak (When Jews profit), p. 3.
31 Transindex online news portal, Kolozsvár/Cluj, Mindannyian tudjuk, mit jelentettek a deportálások (We all
know what deportations meant). May 23, 2014. http://itthon.transindex.ro/?cikk=23416. Viewed: March
21, 2016.

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parties is a Jew, the identity of the suspect is given special emphasis. In other
cases involving a mundane, trivial conflict with a Jewish participant, the author
makes it clear that the other party must be in the right. In most cases, the titles
already speak for themselves..32 Since there are no statistics available from the
period, today it is difficult to get an insight as to what extent such polemics affected
the reading public’s thinking and to what extent people inured to Romanian nationalism and censorship considered these terms as “mandatory protocol”, where one
should not look for truth. It is likely, however, that while articles using incendiary
language did not result in fundamental changes of heart, they did not remain
without effect either.33

Theological articles
This is the area where a discussion involving Jewry, Jewish religion and people
is inescapable. Anti-Semitism is present here and there, although its scale is
negligible. In pieces written mostly in a neutral tone, when they appear antiSemitic views are presented briefly, in a few fragmented sentences. The major
themes are as follows: Jews killed Christ; as the chose people, they consider themselves superior to others; have no respect for Christian symbols and values. In one
example, Jews consider themselves God’s chosen people and ‘reserve Yahweh for
themselves “.34 At the end of the 1920s, Salamon Csifó describes early Christianity
by saying that the Jews persecuted early Christians in the Roman Empire. Apostle
Paul rescued Jesus “from Jewish law and ethnicity” and made him universal.35
According to another article, while the Jews are guilty of rejecting Christ,
one must pray for their conversion and at the end of times they too will have a
32 Examples for this: Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): September 11, 194. Béla Jávor: A zsidó nagyiparos és
a magyar munkás (The Jewish industrialist and the Hungarian worker), p. 6; January 4, 1941. A keresztény ipar
és kereskedelem gondjai (The woes of Christian industry and commerce) p. 5; January 21, Ismét jelentkeznek
a zsidók (The Jews are here again) p. 5; May 21, Báró Gerliczy és Goldstein úr igazsága (The cases of Baron
Gerliczy and Mr. Goldstein) p. 2; October 29, Zsidó fiatalembereket hamis orvosi bizonyítványokkal húztak ki a
munkaszolgálat alól. (Young Jewish men exempted from forced labour with false medical papers), p. 5; March
3, 1942, Árurejtegetésért eljárás indult Molnár Péter és Schwartz Ernő zsidó asztalosok ellen (Probe launched
against Jewish carpenters, Péter Molnár and Ernő Schwartz for hiding goods) p. 2; March 17, Öt Nagyvárad
(Oradea)i zsidó rádióját kobozta el a rendőrség (Police confiscates radio sets from five Jews in Nagyvárad (Oradea)) p. 6 ; November 26. Zsidó tőke- magyar forgató, újházak adója - végvári élet (Jewish capital – Hungarian
endorser, tax on new housing – life in the boondocks, p. 5; etc.
33 In this context, see Dániel Lőwy’s relevant chapter cited above, with the revealing title of Visszatért, de nem
hazatért (He returned without finding a home). pp. 68-81.
34 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower): Volumes 1, 2, 1929. Albert Vári: Isten országa és a keresztény
egyházak (The country of God and the Christian churches), pp. 1-23, p. 20.
35 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower) (Christian Sower): Volumes 1, 2, 1929. Salamon Csifó: Egyház és
állam . (State and church) pp. 33-45.

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place in Heaven as Jews, as the chosen ones and inheritors of the religion revealed by God.36
This special status is expressed in the Keresztény Közlöny (Christian Bulletin)
as follows: ‘In Jewry we can perceive one of the miracles of God and witness his
eternal fidelity, realising that with all their sins God has stood patiently by these people over the centuries”.37
The mention of shared religious roots is not uncommon either. For instance,
in a 1937 issue of a women’s association periodical published in Arad the following
argument is presented in a question and answer format: “Even though the Jews are
guilty of rejecting Christ, they are not lost from the point of salvation. One must pray
for their conversion and baptism, and at the end of times they too will be admitted
to Heaven as Jews and the chosen ones for they are the bearers of the religion
revealed by God”.38 The same idea – also in Nap (Sun) – penned by Béla Baráth
returns in 1941. 39
A Calvin Protestant publication expresses a similar thought stating that the
Jews are a chosen people, awarded by God above all others.
“Why? That’s a secret.”40 In 1943, Ferenc Faragó writes in Catholic Erdélyi
Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter) about “Jews, while forsaking God, have not been
denied divine grace”41; and later adds “The fact that the Redeemer is of their flesh
and blood is an undeniable glory of the Jewish people”.42 And in the Calvin Protestant Kis Tükör (Little Mirror) the anonymous author states that “Today’s Jewish
religion is the cradle of Christianity, and the church of Israel carried the spirit of
genuine prophecy”. 43
While rarely, the Jewish man is at times also portrayed as someone showing disrespect for the Christian faith and its values. Ann article in this vein is pub-

36 A Nap (The Sun): issue 2, 1937. Az Egyház majd megfelel (The church shall respond) pp. 18-19
37 Keresztyén Közlöny (Christian Bulletin): December 1935, A zsidóság és a Messiás (Jewry and the Messiah)
pp. 15-16.
38 A Nap (The Sun) : 1937, issue 2, Az Egyház majd megfelel (The church shall respond) pp. 18-19.
39 A Nap: August 1941, issue 6, Béla Baráth: A zsidótörvények és a katolicizmus (Anti-Jewish laws and Catholicism) pp. 6-7
40 Reformátusok Lapja (Calvin Protestant Paper): Nagyvárad (Oradea). March 9, 1929. Az előny (The advantage) pp. 116-117
41 Erdélyi Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter): March 1943. Ferenc Faragó: A zsidókérdés az újszövetségi
Szentírásban (The Jewish issue in the Gospels) pp. 41-43
42 Erdélyi Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter): April 1943. Ferenc Faragó: Krisztus és a zsidóság (Christ and
the Jews) pp. 58-61.
43 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): December 7, 1929. Israel a csodanép (Israel, the people of miracles) pp. 209-211 (1-3)

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lished in December 1929 in Katolikus Élet (Catholic Life) under the title of “defiler of
the Madonna. The rampage of a Jewish journalist and his exemplary punishment”.
The article reports that the Budapest Jewish journalist, Jenő Wallesz was given a
sentence of eight days in jail and a fine for profaning the Madonna in an article. He
said things like “general Nobile has no idea where the North Pole or the Madonna
is”. The journalist pleaded innocent claiming that he did not profane the Madonna
or make any reference to the faith of believers, while the judge ruled the lack of
remorse as an aggravating circumstance. In his indictment the prosecutor claimed
that “the defendant trampled on the souls of all Hungarians when he presented the
Madonna to us in the form of such a dialogue”.44
The most extensive coverage is perhaps given to comparisons and the illustration of religious differences. In this context, Christian theologians naturally emphasize the excellence of the Christian religion, even if such comparisons were not
derogatory in all cases. For instance, in an article comparing Christianity (focusing
primarily on Unitarian Arianism within that) with Islam and Judaism Unitarian pastor
Károly Ürmösi comes to the conclusion that while the Jewish Yahweh is a revengeful
God and Allah “has a national bent”, the Christian God is merciful.45 And in an article
published in 1927, Calvin Protestant István Kecskeméthy explains that on account
of his religion a Jewish person is essentially a man of the past, and only because his
religion is tailored for the corporal man and not for a new spiritual man, whose arrival
had been announced by Jesus. He sees the problem that Christians have also fallen
to the level of the man of the past, for Christians following the teachings of Christ
should refrain from all forms of hatred and greed. “The more we snarl at the Jews,
the faster we sink”46- he writes.
An analysis of the war years shows that while in public life anti-Semitic discourse grows louder, in specifically church-affiliated publications, especially those
under the central control of dioceses, make a point of avoiding any mention of Jewry
even in pieces dealing with biblical topics. A case in point is the superb Keresztény
Magvető (Christian Sower) published monthly and edited by the Unitarian diocese,
where between 1940-1944 the term “Jew” is used rarely and haphazardly, and
even then in texts irrelevant relative to the crisis at hand. In fact, pieces discussing
the future of Christianity and the crisis of Christian values predominate.

44 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): December 15, 1929. Madonnagyalázó. Zsidó újságíró vesszőfutása és példás
bűnhődése (Defiler of the Madonna. The rampage of a Jewish journalist and his exemplary punishment) p. 3.
45 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower): Volume 4, 1927. Károly Ürmösi, Jr.: Miért van az Unitáriusizmusnak
jövője? (Why Unitarianism has a future) pp. 272-276.
46 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): May 14, 1927. István Kecskeméthy: Az antiszemitizmusról (On anti-Semitism) p.
81 (1).

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The economic role of Jewry
In most cases, loathing of the Jews can be traced to prejudice motivated by economic issues: Jewish merchants speculate, are supportive of each other, exploit
Christians, pool their resources, and try to cheat Christians, etc. The leading recurring theme is the unscrupulous Jewish speculator. A piece printed in 1939 in Temesvár (Timesora) Katolikus Munkáslap (Catholic workers’ daily) is a good example:
“The Jew’s business and moral egotism leads to a callous obstinacy with
which, after successfully trapping his victim, he ruins it once and for all. The Jew is
sinful and despicable in the Product itself...
Vice, seduction, prostitution, immoral business practices, often a deliberate
destruction of the soul and buying –these are the fruits growing in the hotbed of
Jewish “business ethics”.47
In 1932, in the Nagyvárad (Oradea) paper Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette), launched that same year, Béla Bangha considered it important to write an
article entitled Nem szégyen-e? (Isn’t it a shame?) and called on his Christian readers to boycott the “Jewish” media. “…because the Jew is smart and intelligent: even
the daughter of a country pub in the smallest village knows to withhold all support
from the Christian media”,48 he says, among others, in this piece. In the Szatmár
Katholikus Élet (Catholic Life) a short piece is published on December 31, 1930 reporting that a Jewish man in Budapest walked up and down along a main boulevard
looking for a Jewish grocer, because he had no intention to buy from a non-Jew.
The article arrives at the following conclusion: “What would happen to Jewish commerce stuffed to the gills, holding entire cities and countries in its grip, if for just one
month Christians would shop only at Christian businesses”?49
As virulent as these texts may be, it must be noted that relative to all the other
topics treated in the church media their rate of incidence is low.
This state of affairs changes after 1940 when the majority of the daily papers
tend to present the relationship between Christian and Jewish merchants as a hostile rivalry.50 For the most part, these articles follow the same pattern: the titles
47 Katolikus Munkáslap (Catholic Workers’ Daily): Volume 9, 1939, issues 1-2. Prohászka a szociális problémákról (Prohászka on social issues) p. 4.
48 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): Volume 1, 1932, January 3. Béla Bangha: Nem szégyen-e? (Isn’t that
a shame?) p. 2.
49 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): December 31, 1930. Te hol vásárolsz? (Where do you shop?) p. 3.
50 In this context, see the following articles published in Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette) between 1940-1942:
September 11, 1940, Béla Jávor: A zsidó nagyiparos és a magyar munkás (The Jewish industrialist and the

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speak for themselves, the Jewish retailer – referred to either by name or as a member of the community of Jewish merchants – is presented as the enemy, once as the
enemy of the Hungarian Christian merchant and then as a saboteur of the national
economy. Perhaps, the best example for this is an article published on January 11,
1941, entitled Christians are sacked, where the journalist complains that Christian
employees referred by The National Employment Agency are the first to be fired by
Jewish employers:
“The firing of Christians has been started even by Jews where the salary of a
small employee makes absolutely no dent in the corporate payroll. Christian Hungarian employees have been fired with a familiar and ruthless Jewish reserve, on
principle, out of revenge and without mercy” the author of the article claims.51 Some
articles maintain that Jewish origin is a ground for disqualifying as a Hungarian patriot, and place the issue in the business context to illustrate the point. When the
Hungarian friends of hotel owner, Emil Veiszlovich, stand by him and praise his generosity and intelligence, and mention that during Romanian rule he remained a Hungarian, the anonymous author hopes to brush off the collective position of prominent individuals and ordinary people with a single statement steeped in prejudice:
“Here we are not concerned with Emil Veiszlovich’s merits or demerits, whether or not he is an Hungarian patriot. One thing is certain: he is a Jew. And by now
the debate whether a Jew can or cannot be a through-and-through Hungarian has
been settled for good”, the author states in his far from subtle argument.52

Hungarian worker) p. 6; October 2, Kaphatnak-e a zsidók iparengedélyt? (Should Jews be issued a business
license) p. 7. ; November 14, Nagyvárad (Oradea) … zsidó város (Nagyvárad (Oradea)… city of Jews) pp. 1-2;
January 4, 1941, A keresztény ipar és kereskedelem gondjai (The woes of Christian industry and commerce)
p. 5; January 29, Kié legyen Erdély földje és kié a trafik? (Who should own the lands of Transylvania and
tobacco shops?) p. 2; March 5, István Polyák: Új magyar kereskedők az új magyar életben (New Hungarian
merchants in a new Hungarian life) p. 2; May 21, Gerliczy báró és Goldstein úr igazsága (The truth of Baron
Gerliczy and Mr. Goldstein) p. 2; May 24. Keresztény piaci árusok panasza (The complaints of Christian vendors at the market) p. 3; June 3, Zsidók és a budapesti építkezések (Jews and constructions in Budapest) p.
6; June 11, Keresztény kezekbe kerül a Nagyvárad (Oradea)i bőr- és cipőkereskedelem (Nagyárad’s leather
and shoe business passes into Hungarian hands) p. 2; July 25. Augusztus elsején nem lesz zsidó árus a Nagyvárad (Oradea)i piacon (Following August 1, there will be no Jewish vendors in Nagyvárad (Oradea) markets)
p. 2; September 5, Béla Jávor: A keresztény kereskedelem és ipar térfoglalása Nagyváradon az első szabad
esztendőben (The expansion of Hungarian industry and commerce in Nagyvárad (Oradea) in the first year of
the reoccupation) p. 2; February 23, 1942, Tejdrágítás miatt internált a rendőrség egy váradi zsidóasszonyt (A
Jewish woman incarcerated for milk price gouging) p. 6; April 29, Tibor Marjalaky: Zsidó szellemtől mentes új
magyar kereskedelmi, gazdasági élet van kialakulóban Váradon (New Hungarian business and economic life on
the ascent in Nagyvárad (Oradea), free of Jewish mentality) p. 5 ; etc. The titles and articles cited here are far
from covering all pieces featuring such topics common in those years, although they document the relentless
process of insinuation.
51 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): January 11, 1941. Utcára kerülnek a keresztény alkalmazottak (Christian employers are sacked) p. 6.
52 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): October 20-21, 1941, Pártfogó gyászmagyarok (Protective mourning
Hungarians) p. 1.

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There is no doubt that in the years of the second World War, at the time of
strict and often irrational rules regulating employment and business licenses,
when small and large businesses alike were hit by raw material shortages, disruption of supply chains and other problems, bitter competition and business
rivalry often ending in hostility were enough to turn people against on other,
regardless of financial position, religion or national identity.53 In this context, I
believe incitement fell on fertile ground: following the deportation of the Jews,
many tried to get their hands on the property left behind.
Pouring over bound volumes of different periodicals issued over many years, I
managed to find a single incident where honest Jewish merchants are cheated by
common criminals. The poem was written under the assumed name Igric, and the
real name of the author was Béla P. Jánossy.54 The story related by the poem goes
as follows: two Jewish merchants standing back to back are selling porkers in the
market, and they are robbed by three thieves. While two of them are bargaining with
the merchants distracting them, the third ties together the tails of their kaftans. After
receiving the porkers, his accomplices run off.55
Aside from the absurdity and naivety of the ditty – religious Jews are not in
the business of selling porkers – it is interesting to note that in 1943 it depicts two
Jews as honest businessmen that, rather than cheating others, become the victims
themselves.

The presentation of Zionism
On the whole, there were no negative connotations attached to Zionism between
the two world wars. While the state of Israel was yet to be born, the establishment of
Jewish settlements in the Near East generated considerable public attention at the
time. Below I shall present the coverage of Zionism in Transylvania’s Hungarianlanguage media under church control.
In the period of collapse following World War I the rejection of Zionist ambitions, a project supported by the hostile British Empire, was all but self-evident.
There is an example for this in a 1918 news summary published in the high-qual53 It must be noted here that in contrast to the claims of inflammatory articles in Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette), these phenomena were far from one sided. In fact, in those years many Jewish workers also lost their
jobs becuase of their origin. See: Dániel Lőwy, A téglagyártól a tehervonatig (Form the brick yard to the cattle
car …) p. 78.
54 The poem was intended as entertainment for the reading public.
55 Katolikus Világ (Catholic World): 1943, Olcsó malacvásár (Porker on the cheap) p. 222.

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ity and venerable Unitarian periodical, the Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower),
when the unknown author analyses the international scene. He reaches the conclusion that while Western Zionists expect support for the reestablishment of a Jewish
state in Palestine from Britain, German Zionists reject that and see a solution in an
agreement with Turkey. “The British government’s commitment to establish a Jewish
state in Palestine is seen as a grievous insult not only by the Catholic Church but by
the entire Christian world”, the author concludes.56 It must be said in his defence
that at the time the author was still under the spell of World War I, and between the
1920s and 1930s Zionist ambitions in Palestine were given a rather ambivalent
reception. However, with time the picture becomes more complicated for a number
of reasons. For one thing, Hungarian-speaking Zionists in Transylvania were not
on bad terms with Christian Hungarians who also found themselves in the minority.
Moreover, Palestinian Arabs, who came into conflict with Jewish settlers, did not
necessarily enjoy the sympathy of Transylvanian Hungarians. Thirdly, the British
Empire proved to be a more convenient “whipping boy” than the Jews.
A good example for the first statement is an article in the Unitarian Church
periodical published in Székelykeresztúr (Cristuru Secuiesc) that presents a highly
ambitious Zionist movement as an example for Christians suffering from an identity
crisis. The article also refers to relations with Zionist Jews with sympathy. “The Zionists come together and emphasize that the land of Transylvania has been made
lovely by a harmonious spirit manifested in respect for a Transylvanian spirit and
cultural commitment”, Vilmos Bölöny writes in 1926.57 Even though this kind of
Hungarian-Jewish sympathy fades by the 1930s, Jewish ambitions in Palestine are
not followed by the minority Hungarian media with aversion, and in this respect
the church media is no exception either. The only periodical subject to our review,
the Erdélyi Lapok discusses and follows developments in Palestine in a number of
analytical pieces. In fact, some relevant articles are translated from English58, or
French59, and published in a serialized form.
Newspapers filed regular reports from the various Zionist congresses, and other publications with a different profile reported from time to time when they felt that
these conferences had a bearing on important developments or when decisions of
major consequences were made. for instance, in one of its editorial pieces Katoli56 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower): Volume 1, 1918. Volume 1, 1918, pp. 31-32.
57 Unitárius Egyház (Unitarian Church): March 15, 1926. Vilmos Bölöny: Korunk keresi a maga kereszténységét. (Our age in search of its own Christianity) pp. 20-22.
58 Cf.: Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): August 14, 15, 1934, William George Compton: The Zionost
Palestine. The generosity of rich Jewry supplies it with state-of-the-art equipmnet. In both issues, the article
is found on p. 4.
59 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): April 31, 1939, A cionizmus. A zsidóság nemzeti mozgalmának
történelmi fejlődése (Zionism. The historical development of the Jewish national movement) p. 10. The study
originally published in French is reprinted in subsequent issues, e.g., on May 4, p. 6, May 9, p. 6, May 12, p. 6.

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kus Élet (Catholic Life) reports that at the American Zionist congress held in Detroit
the American Zionists asked the government to take action against the persecution
of Jews in Russia by expressing concern, and in Germany rising anti-Semitism must
be countered in the cultural sphere and the simple contempt and mocking of antiSemitic rhetoric is not the right choice of weapon.60
The twists and turns of the Jewish-Arab conflict are not left unnoticed either,
although there are no signs that the media would side with one side or the other. In
this context, blaming British policies is a recurring tendency. Already in 1936, rather
than in Jewish settlers, Ferenc Rajniss finds the underlying causes of the violence
in a “two-faced British policy”61.
From this point, the article by Tivadar Málnásy published in the Roman Catholic
cultural monthly, Vasárnap (Sunday)62 is an interesting case in point where he depicts both the Jewish and Arab participants of the conflict as people of good faith,
and puts the blame for the clashes on duplicitous British imperial policy. “Britain did
not keep its promise and gave the land pledged to the Arabs to the Jews. However,
this gifting was also only a show, … In other words, Britain not only misled the Arabs
and colonel Lawrence, but the Jews as well … Under the flag of the British Empire,
a struggle claiming thousands of lives erupted between Jews, who emigrated to the
country in good faith, and the Arabs who had been disappointed in the words and
promises received and agreements signed”.63
The story becomes complete if we note: an aggressive piece published in
1942 in Katolikus Világ (Catholic World) already outlines the connection between
Western capital and Zionist ambitions.64 However, a shift in perspective may go in
the other direction as well: in 1942, Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette), known for
its inflammatory language, carries a respectful and even friendly piece by István
Polyák about the Jews of Nagyvárad (Oradea) shipped to labour camps and also
notes: “The Jews deserve to have their own state and live their national life. They
are preparing for this independent state and national existence, and the Jews will

60 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): 15 September 1929 A cionisták az orosz és a német antiszemitizmusról
(Zionists on German and Russian anti-Semitism) p. 1.
61 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): June 18, 1936. Ferenc Rajniss: A cionizmus csődje Palesztinában
(The fiasco of Zioism in Palestine) p. 13.
62 Tivadar Málnásy (1894-?), businessman, journalist. In this latter capacity, editor of Keleti Újság és Széphalom
in Kolozsvár (Cluj).
63 Vasárnap (Sunday): August 1940. Tivadar Málnásy: Miért került a Szentföld a hadak útjába? (How did the
Holy Land turn into a battleground?) pp. 266-267. The position taken by the author is all the more interesting
because he completed some of his studies in London.
64 Katolikus Világ (Catholic World): 1942. Mit akar a zsidóság? Bepillantás a cionista méregkeverők
műhelyébe (What does Jewry want? An insight into the den of Zionist troublemakers) pp. 244-245.

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deserve this through their work on the many fronts of an emerging new Europe”,65
he writes. One of the reactions to the article written in a tone already rare at the
time was – at least as reported in the readers’ section – that a Jewish woman with
Hungarian sympathies subscribed to the paper.66

The “Jewish mentality” as a concept
Most of the attacks were aimed at “Jewish mentality”. Jewish mentality is not identical with the mind-set of the Jewish community, its culture or strategic objectives;
instead, it serves as a catchall phrase for communist, liberal, social democratic,
anarchist and similar ideologies. Jewish mentality is also associated with freemasonry and it may also serve as a basis for any number of other expressions that run
counter to a conservative, national or Christian set of values. To illustrate what the
concept of “Jewish mentality” meant for Christian thinkers of the age we shall quote
a paragraph from an article penned by Dániel Borbáth:
“Anti-Semitism is a hatred for the Jews. As it considers Jewish mentality to
be pernicious, it aims at its eradication. Initially, anti-Semitism was motivated by
religious issues. There was a religious aversion towards the people who crucified
the redeemer. Later it turned into race-based anti-Semitism guided by national, economic and political issues, a form that persists to this day. Race-based anti-Semitism
wishes to remove and eliminate from the stage of history all of Jewry, a “degenerate,
useless and harmful” race. Simply by looking at life in Hungary in the past few decades one must agree with those who claim that overwhelmingly the exponents of
modern spiritual movements, national customs and literature opposed to Christian morality had been Jews. in respect to Hungarian anti-Semitism, a German
writer notes that it proliferated following the 1918 revolution and communism. This is
explained by the fact that events with such grievous and harmful consequences
on Hungarian national life were, for the most part, shaped by Jews. Liberalizing
and rebel-rousing bourse-Jews adversely affecting national and Christian customs have inevitably placed all states on the defensive. However, self-protection
in its current form has no justification. It must be clearly understood that those
responsible for these negative developments are not the pious but modern
Jewry, who had left religion and stopped attending the synagogue. These Jews
cannot be identified with the totality of the Jewish people. Furthermore, we must
realize that “Christian” associations practicing anti-Semitism are not Christian by any

65 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 5 October 1942. István Polyák: Zsidók a fronton (Jews at the front) p. 4.
66 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 10 October, 1942. Zsidók a fronton (Jews at the front) p. 7.

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means”.67 In 1941, a brief critique of Jud Süss gives a much shorter summary of the
essence of “Jewish mentality”: The ‘Jud Süss’ gives a concise description of all
the aspects of the manifestation of ‘Jewish mentality’ in our midst”.68
That “Jewish mentality” as a concept was a rather well integrated part of
the mental landscape of the age is well demonstrated by some relevant references. Regardless of religious affiliation, those using this concept felt the need
to combat this mind-set. For instance, in a publication of the Catholic women’s
association, in Nap (Sun) Béla Baráth sums up the problem as follows: “The fight
against Jewish mentality, that in many of its practitioners subverts Christian culture, takes radical forms, promotes the most revolting tendencies and may also
aspire for a leading role in economic life through unacceptable practices, yet in
many cases may be a means of justified and legitimate national self-defence.”69
And in 1927, a Calvin Protestant pastor advances a similar position on “Jewish
mentality”: “We consider this form of defence more necessary than even the
most rabid racist anti-Semite leader: but we also make no secret of the fact that we
consider defence in its current form harmful or at least ineffective”. The foreign policy
analyst of Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette), Elemér Rády equates the fight against
“Jewish mentality” with anti-Semitism: “the ideology defined by Jewry as anti-Semitism is a struggle against a mentality that is antithetical to the teachings of Christ and
everything that may flow from these towards nations, communities and individuals”.
At the same time, it is evident that the fight against “Jewish mentality” does not
simultaneously imply physical violence. Aside from the article by István Kecskeméthy referred to above (an oblique answer to Iron Guard atrocities given by the author
possibly to slip by the censors) Béla Baráth makes similar comments in his article
cited above where he takes a stance against German National Socialism’s violent
manifestations:
“However, all such and similar defence measures must keep in mind that in
a final analysis one injustice cannot be put right by another injustice and, instead,
in the spirit of fairness all reform movements must work for the establishment of a
new order that removes the stigma of Jewish mentality and replenishes it with fresh
spirit.”70
At the same time, for those talking about “Jewish mentality”, the common
values of Jewry are not identical with the set of ideas referred to as “Jewish
67 Kálvinista Világ (Calvinist World): May 15, 1930, Egyház és a zsidóság. Dániel Borbáth: A mi zsidókérdésünk
(Church and the Jewry) (Our Jewish issue) pp. 76-77
68 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 1 July 1941 Jud Süss, Nagyvárad (Oradea). p. 5.
69 A Nap(The Sun): 1933, issue 5 Béla Baráth: A Hitlerizmus és az Egyház (Hitlerism and the Church) pp. 3-5.
70 A Nap (The Sun): 1933, issue 5 Béla Baráth: A Hitlerizmus és az Egyház (Hitlerism and the Church) pp. 3-5.

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mentality” in the interwar period. With all that, it has been unwise to use a broad
brush and associate a set of sharply different intellectual currents with a single
people. For this may lead to incitement and even if not having led directly to the
Holocaust, it may have greatly contributed to facilitate it - by whipping up sentiment against the Jewish community and especially by desensitizing part of the
general public to the sufferings of those branded as Jews. Perhaps, it is also no
accident that there were some who, while similar to their Jew-baiting colleagues,
opposed various Marxist schools of thought, liberalism, atheism and other ideologies associated with “Jewish mentality”, did all this without slandering the Jews. The
best example is Áron Márton, the by now legendary Bishop of Gyulafehérvár (Alba
Iulia) who in one of his articles written in 1933 on the principles of public education
also used some expressions like “the philistine worldview of liberalism” or “Bolshevism is the love child of liberalism”71, while he never uses the term ‘Jew’. Apparently,
Áron Márton was not only generous and well educated, but also had the good sense
to realize, going against the ‘fashion’ of the age, that identifying people with abstract
concepts is wrong even if practiced by many.

The emerging view on Nazism
Overall, Christian Hungarian churches in Transylvania – just as Hungarian politicians
in Transylvania in the 1930s – were more likely to criticize or outright condemn National Socialism than admire Hitler’s personality or support specific tenets of Nazi
ideology, although the latter voices were not completely absent either. Most likely,
this was due primarily to some practical considerations: the aggressive nationalism of Nazism was abhorrent for minority intellectuals who had no desire to see
the emergence of a similarly aggressive nationalism, the further radicalization of
an already deep-seated chauvinism in Romania. Another trend, espoused by the
churches in particular, was a rejection of Nazi attempts at questioning fundamental
religious doctrines, such as the existence of the Old Testament or the Jewish origin
of Jesus Christ. The kind of physical abuse advocated by the Nazis against the Jews
was also rejected even by authors who otherwise could not be described as philoSemitic.72
71 Erdélyi Iskola (Transylvanian School): 1933. Áron Márton: Világnézet és nevelés. (World view and education) pp. 233-238.
72 In this study I may refer to often quoted authors, such as Béla Baráth and István Kecskeméthy, as well as
the politician, lawyer and economist, the lay president of the Roman Catholic Status and one of the spiritual
mentors of Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette), Elemér Gyárfás, well-known for his disparagements of the
Jews, although there are signs that in recognition for his Jewish rescue efforts – with documentation currently
in progress – he may be awarded the honorary title “Righteous among the Nations”. On this, see: “Elemér
Gyárfás may be drafted among the Righteous among the Nations in http://itthon.transindex.ro/?cikk=25011,
March 16, 2015, viewed April 7, 2016.

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In 1933-1934, in the first years of Hitler’s rise to power, some articles were
published in the church media that take a sympathetic view of Hitler and his movement. An anonymous contributor to Katolikus Világ (Catholic World) among others,
lists prejudices against the Jews as some of the positive aspects of Hitler’s program.
“He saw through pretences already as a young man. He was quick to realize that the
workers’ movement was also under the control of Jewish capitalists”, he writes.73
And a Calvin Protestant journalist from Nagyvárad (Oradea) Lajos Papp, published a
series of articles in the spring of 1934 in Református Jövő (Calvin Protestant Future)
with the title, A walk through the Third Reich. In these articles, among others, he
waxes lyrical about the social justice brought by the new regime. “In Germany all the
unemployed, Christians and Jews alike, receive unemployment benefits. In Leipzig
I lived in the home of a Jewish widow who had a two-room apartment in the centre
of town. This Jewish window received DM 32 (1600 lei) a month in unemployment
benefits. In this respect there is no discrimination between the Aryan and Jewish
population. The charity collection box featuring the swastika serves all the starving
people”, he writes among others.74 At the same time, these voices quickly disappear and are replaced with almost exclusively critical articles based on religious
doctrine and humanistic principles attacking and challenging Nazism’ church policies, ideology and practices.
For instance, Imre Sándor, one of the editors at Erdélyi Iskola (Transylvanian School, also published under the leadership of Áron Márton) reacts relatively
early, in the spring of 1933, to the major features of Nazi ideology. The article is
noteworthy as it is among the first to draw a parallel between Italian fascism and
German National Socialism in Transylvania’s Hungarian-language media, at a
time when the friendship between Hitler and Mussolini is still off in the future. At
the same time, he emphasizes that Catholic ethos rejects both totalitarian ideologies: “Due to its extreme positions and dictatorial policies in all spheres of life,
several tenets of the Fascist regime are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching.
This has led to a number of clashes with the Holy See and the fact that fascism has
softened considerably since its inception is due, aside from Mussolini’s discretion,
to the firm stance taken by Rome”, he says about Italian fascism. In respect to Hitler
he notes that “many aspects of his program are at variance with Catholic ideas and
the Conference of Bishops had to condemn his statements made during the development of his movements on many occasions.”75

73 Katolikus Világ (Catholic World): March 1933. Építő munkásból-kancellár. Hitler Adolf Németország kancellárjának élete és terve (From construction worker to Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler’s life and goal)
pp. 119-122.
74 Református Jövő (Calvin Protestant Future): April 29, 1934 Lajos Papp: Séta a Harmadik Birodalomban (A
walk through the Third Reich) p. 5.
75 Erdélyi Iskola (Transylvanian School): May 1933 Imre Sándor: Mussolini, Hitler. pp. 199-205.

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Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette), which could hardly be described as
philo-Semitic, was strongly critical of National Socialism’s racist and anti-Semitic
teachings, stating that “the Catholic Church cannot countenance National Socialism’s racial theory either, and cannot tolerate the disappearance of the individual in
and from the human race..., and can never accept a program where the resolution
of the Jewish issue is planned along the Nazi ideology. The church has consistently
proclaimed that Jesus died for everyone, including the Jews …”76
In the case of Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) articles by Imre Balányi are
of special interest. Typically, he takes a belligerent position against National Socialism in defence of faith and Christian catholic values. in one of his pieces challenging
the national socialist canon he states, among others: “anyone placing the blame
for anti-Semitism on Christian doctrine or Christian Catholic institutions or parties
betrays his ignorance”.77 At other times he defends the Old Testament, its traditions
and a pious Jewry in the face of Nazi delusions.78
The media of all three denominations under review show that they condemn
racism and violence from two angles: first from an ecumenical point and then from
the specific teachings of their respective churches, emphasizing the church’s spiritual supremacy in this arena. In the Roman Catholic media, for instance in Katolikus
Világ (Catholic World) that carried a pro-Hitler article quoted above, a few months after the takeover there are voices saying that Hitler “will have to account before God
and history for having dragged German rationalism through the swamps of passions
and insisting on planting his callous and pagan ideas in the minds of millions”.79
Béla Baráth, not known for rejecting classic anti-Semitic prejudices, also firmly
distances himself from Nazi violence as early as in 1933 – stating, among others,
that one injustice cannot be remedied with another injustice80 and he holds on to
this throughout the war years. In an article published in 1941, where he challenges racist perversions, he writes: “With reference to expert opinion, he points out
that in reality there’s no such thing as an Aryan, German or Semitic race. In fact,
one may only talk about Aryan or Indo-German, or Semitic languages or people
speaking these languages. The glorification of the Northern race is also a gross
exaggeration”.81
76 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): August 1, 1932 A német nemzetiszocializmus (German National
Socialism) p. 3.
77 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): August 13, 1933 Imre Balányi: Hitlerizmus (Hitlerism) p. 1.
78 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): 29 September 1935 Imre Balányi: Ószövetség és antiszemitizmus
(Old Testament and anti-Semitism) pp.1-2.
79 Katolikus Világ (Catholic World): August 1933 A világ feszült figyelme. (A world watching) p. 225.
80 A Nap: 1933 Vol. XII issue 5, Béla Baráth: A hitlerizmus és az egyház. (Hitlerism and the church) pp. 3-5.
81 Erdélyi Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter): September 1941, issue 9 Béla Baráth: Fajtisztaság-fajvédelem
(Racial purity, racism) pp. 127-129.

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In the same issue of the periodical, Endre Ivánka dismisses the principle of
race-based discrimination on similar grounds: “we, Catholics find it difficult – or
at least, by our faith should find it difficult – to believe that in theory and by its own
nature one species of man could be inferior to another race”; or: “could it be possible that at times today’s racist national socialism is more Jewish than the Jews
themselves?”82
Calvin Protestant theologians and pastors take a similarly vehement stance
against Nazi ideas also starting from 1933. For instance, in Kis Tükör (Little Mirror)
he edited István Kecskeméthy said the following in 1933: “If Kis Tükör were to comment on politics, first and foremost it should reveal all the deceptions attached to
politics”… “National Socialism is a ship sailing under equally false colours as Christian Socialism had done not that long ago”.83
In 1934, in the first issue of Református Lelkipásztor (Calvin Protestant Pastor),
serving parishes with a scattered Hungarian population, Károly Harányi feels the need
to challenge a number of national socialist theses in a long article. “German biblical
criticism, instead of objectivity, has straitjacketed itself into the most chauvinistic nationalism and subjected to criticism ‘scientific statements’ that left an unsuspecting
world in the state of shock. … along with the books of the old testament, German
anti-Semitism torpedoed the racial origin of Christ and announced to the world with
the cry of ‘eureka”: – Christ was an Aryan!... – so, Christ is of Aryan (indo-German)
stock, and not Jewish … according to the latest German invention!!” … “the new German swastika-branded ‘theology’ sails on treacherous waters”, he writes.84
The Unitarians took a similar view of Nazism. Keresztény Magvető (Christian
Sower) and Unitárius Közlöny (Unitarian Bulletin) criticized and attacked Nazi ideology primarily on the grounds of Christian values. “A powerful Germany first declared
war on Jewry and expelled from its lands a large number of valuable Jews. Christian churches will be next. The ancestral home of Luther no longer needs Luther’s
faith, or any other Christian faith, perhaps also because its founder, Jesus, was a
Jew”,85 a prominent member of the Unitarian Church, György Boros writes. Two
years later Imre Filep already uses a more cautious language and appears to cosy
up to National Socialism, while he also takes apart Rosenberg’s worldview. “If the
cornerstone of Rosenberg’s followers’ religious faith is anchored in an optimistic
82 Erdélyi Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter): September 1941, issue 9 Endre Ivánka: Nemzeti szellem és
zsidóság (National soul and Jewry) p. 38.
83 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): 22 July, 1933 István Kecskeméthy: Hitlervallás (Hitler cult) p. 1.
84 Református Lelkipásztor (Pastor): Károly Haraszy: Az árja Krisztus. (The Aryan Christ), 5 May 1934, Volume
I, issue 1.
85 Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower): 1937, Volume 6, György Boros: A keresztény vallás jövője. (The
future of Christianity) pp. 263-168.

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view of the world, the rejection of predestination, unlimited progress and belief in
mankind’s call to good and greatness, etc., faith emanating from the one and only
God – then here we are, Unitarians”, he states among others. In another place he
talks about “dogmatic churches” when he declares that he considers Rosenberg
and his followers as heretics and the destroyers of Christianity.86
As shown above, Hungarian Christian opinion-makers in Transylvania openly
rejected parts of the Nazi ideology for a long time as illustrated by the above citations. It has to be noted, however, that similar voices gradually disappeared after
1940. The condemnation of Nazism did not automatically translate into philo-Semitism, and simply signified a preference for rationality over excessive aggression.
At the same time, these voices proved to be less critical of ideas coming from
Budapest because the hopes of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania were
inextricably tied to the current Hungarian leadership.

An assessment of Hungarian-Jewish and Romanian-Jewish relations
In respect of the Hungarian Christian media in Transylvania, the Jewish community and its specific members were presented in three major categories in the
context of the Hungarian-Romanian relations. In most cases they are described
as the allies of the Hungarian nation – or even a part thereof, although this is far
from typical – facing the current Romanian nationalism where the two minorities
cooperated effectively against the common threat. In another approach, Jews can
be presented as the allies of the Romanians and opposing Hungarians, and in this
case pro-Romanian Hungarian-speaking Jews are described as enemies or even
traitors, and a reference to some Western Jews making statements in support of
Romania in connection to Trianon, for instance, simply generate a sense of unease
in Hungarian readers. And finally there is a third approach according to which Jewry
is independent of both Hungarians and Romanians, a community following its own
destiny and, depending on the season, it can be an ally or an enemy, and it is also
conceivable that Hungarians and Romanians, setting aside all other conflicts, take
joint action against specific Jewish demands.
In January 1919 ((by which time a popular assembly had already been held
in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) and Romanian troops had entered Kolozsvár (Cluj)) a
Jewish lawyer and the head of Zionism in Transylvania based in Kolozsvár (Cluj),
Tivadar Fischer, sent the following message to Iuliu Maniu: “What would the Roma86 Unitárius Közlöny (Unitarian Bulletin): 1939. R. Imre Filep: Az új német vallás-reformáció. (New German
church-reform) pp. 70-72.

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nians have said about Romanian Jews if, following the occupation of Romania they,
enjoying the same rights we have enjoyed under Hungarian rule, would have sided
with the occupying power?”87 In 1937, at a popular assembly of the Romanian Jewish minority the same Tivadar Fischer already said the followings: “Abandoning an
attempted assimilation that proved to be illusory, the Jewish issue may be resolved
satisfactorily only by national emancipation. Jewry has the obligation to come clean
and present itself as an autonomous minority in Romanian public life”.88
Although a closer look reveals significant differences between the two statements separated by a long stretch of time, Fischer remained loyal to his Hungarian
mother tongue, he made an effort to develop a constructive relationship with the
Hungarians and Romanians alike, never betraying his Zionist identity and never losing sight of the struggle for the recognition of his own Jewish entity. Fischer’s statements well illustrate the attitude of Hungarian-speaking Jews in Transylvania who
had no intention to assimilate in any other national or religious community, stood up
for their rights and were ready to form an alliance of convenience with anyone in the
Romanian political arena, of course primarily with any community motivated by similar objectives, such as Hungarian minority communities. even as due to the particularities of the Romanian electoral system a Hungarian-Jewish political alliance had
no relevance when it came to the election of national legislative bodies,89 in local
elections various election cartels had an important role to play. One such cartel won
in 1933 in Kolozsvár (Cluj). On one side there was the Hungarian Party, the national
Peasants’ Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Jewish Party, and on the other
side the National Liberal Party that formed an election alliance with the Romanian
far right, the “ultra-Romanians”, as the article reporting on the election described
them. Even as the “ultra-Romanians” added 1000 non-resident Romanian students
to the electoral roll, the election was won by an alliance led by Victor Deleu and,
as a result of a deal, dr. András Kovács became his deputy. 90There were other
instances when Hungarian politicians tried to stand by the Jewish community in

87 Mihály Sebestyén: Nyúlgát az idő ellen (Emergency dike against time), Marosvásárhely, Mentor kiadó,
2000, p. 140.
88 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): June 13, 1937. A német és a zsidó népkisebbségek országos gyűlései
(National assembly of German and Jewish ethnic minorities) pp. 1-2.
89 In the interwar period, members of the Romanian Parliament were elected as follows: the King, following the
expiration of the government’s mandate or its dissolution before term, appointed a new Prime Minister usually
coming from the potentially strongest party, and afterwards made arrangements for elections. The elections
were democratic according to the spirit of the time, i.e., violence, manipulation and electoral fraud were considered the norm and in this respect the party of the appointed Prime Minister enjoyed an advantage over the
other parties – thanks to its control over state law-enforcement bodies and the administration. As a result, the
governing party typically achieved 40% at the polls (officially), automatically guaranteeing a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Thus, it was under no pressure to form a coalition with other parties and bargaining for the
opposition, not to mention the minorities, was all but impossible.
90 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): 5 March 1933 Hétfőn választ Erdély fővárosa (The capital of Transylvania votes on Monday) p. 5. Othrerwise, DeleuÍ’s mandate ends this November.

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the face of the Romanian leadership, as happened in 1938 when the nationalist
government led by the poet, Octavian Goga stripped some Romanian Jews of
their citizenship. In response to Hungarian appeals, Goga simply commented: “I’m
going to respond to this with the wisdom of Solomon. If the Hungarians wish to offer
privileges to the Jews, let them come to me and declare their intention in the open.
Then we are going to discuss it. We, unlike the liberal-democratic system, take a
much tougher stance on internal and subversive communist teachings”91
It must be noted here that the Goga government’s measures led to protests by
Jewish organizations that took their case to the League of Nations, although their
efforts were not met with success. In one of its articles Magyar Lapok (Hungarian
Gazette) reports that Hungarian envoy extraordinaire, Velics supported his Romanian counterpart, Micescu in putting up a defence,92 indicating that Hungarian and
Romanian diplomacy managed to cooperate when racial issues were involved.
As a general rule, contemporary church media, while remaining silent, intimated that the excesses of Romanian nationalism pose threats for Hungarian and
Jewish minorities alike. One of the correspondents of the Calvin Protestant Egyházi
Újság (Church Paper) published in Bucharest only gives his initials and reports of a
disheartening story from a grammar school in the city. The story is about the forced
assimilation of Hungarian children in Bucharest and the nationalist and anti-Jewish
slogans used by the kids speak for themselves:
“I am in the largest grammar school, attended by some 1000 children, on the
outskirts of the city. As I enter one of the classrooms, the kids jump up and scream
at the top of their lungs:
»Îzbândă pentru Români şi moarte pentru Jidani!« . I ask Calvin Protestant kids
to stand up. No one moves.
» Is there not a single Hungarian Calvin Protestant in this class?«
There is deep silence, then Romanian kids stand up and point at five or six
other kids: »Şi el e ungur! Şi el e ungur!«93 However, despite all the kicking and
shoving, those stigmatized do not stand up and, with cheeks burning with the insult,
screamed: »Eu nu sunt ungur, domnule învăţător, eu sunt ortodox!«”94
91 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): January 30, 1938. A reversion of citizenship does not apply to Hungarians, only Jews – the prime minister said. p. 1.
92 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): February, 1938, pp. 1, 2
93 Translation of the quoted Romanian sentences: „Victory for Romanians, death to the Jews!”, „He too is Hungarian!”, „Mr. Teacher, I am not a Hungarian, I am an Orthodox”. Translation by the author.
94 Egyházi Újság (Church Paper): 27 December 1936 G. L.: Gyermekeinkről (About our kids) p. 2.

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It also happened that verbal violence testing the patience of Hungarians resulted in strong reactions and a firm stance, a sign of solidarity perhaps motivated by
a shared minority status. One such piece was published in 1937 in Kiáltó Szó (Out
loud) in Kolozsvár (Cluj) in reaction to the anti-Semitic diatribes of Miron Cristea,
the Romanian Orthodox patriarch. The author of the article notes with sadness that
Orthodox priests express their solidarity with their patriarch even on these matters.
Knowing the structure of the Orthodox Church, the consternation is nothing more
than some moralizing and is rather addressed to the readers of the publication.
Considering the spirit of the times, it’s a small miracle that censorship let the article
pass.95 It must also be noted here that this is far from the most aggressive invective
coming from patriarch Miron Cristea. On July 12, 1938, he expressed his views
relevant to this topic in the Romanian daily, Curentul:
“Where is it written that only you, Jews can live on the backs of others and on
Romania like some parasites?
Where is it written that we must look on as you suck the blood of the people
and Christians until our sons have no choice but to leave the family home and go
into exile?
Where is it written that we have no right to rid ourselves of this threat and shake
off these parasites?
You have some international organizations, as much money as you want, you
are talented and intelligent, you can solve any situation, in other words you have all
the ability and means to find a piece of uninhabited land to call your country and
home. Populate and cultivate the land, and sweat under heavy labour.
Live among your own kind, support each other, defend and exploit each other.
Do this to each other and not the other people whose property you acquire with
the help of the Talmud and methods unique to your race. I’m not sufficiently familiar
with geography as to recommend you a specific place. however, I believe there is
enough room in Africa, Australia, Asia or on some islands, etc. expelling others from
their home and land, like the Arabs in Palestine, is neither just nor human. They also
have a right to a homeland, and you cannot ask someone to leave his home and
generously invite you, just because you are a Jew, to occupy his place while he can
go wherever he wishes”.96

95 Kiáltó Szó (Outloud): November 1937 A román ortodox patriarcha és a zsidókérdés. (The Romanian Orthodox patriarch and the Jewish issue) p. 123.
96 Carol Iancu: Evreii din România de la emancipare la marginalizare, 1919-1938. Bucureşti, Editura Hasefer,
2000, pp. 269. Translation by the author.

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Hungarian church writers in Transylvania are significantly less likely to voice
criticism when it comes to anti-Semitic manifestations in Budapest. For instance,
the passage of the anti-Jewish laws was clearly uncomfortable for Hungarian
intellectuals in Transylvania – not necessarily due to philo-Semitism, but rather
because the laws suggested parallels between their fate and that of Hungarian
Jews – and while they did not have the courage to protest openly, they tried to
blunt the edges in their own fashion and to the best of their ability, as seen in the
following two examples.
In 1940, Vasárnap (Sunday), a Catholic cultural review published in Arad featured an article by Béla Heszte where he praises the comments of the bishop of
Kalocsa made in the debate over the anti-Jewish laws: “it was just one year ago,
during the season of love, when the proposal for the so-called second anti-Jewish
law was made public. The law has affected a number of catholic individuals and
families as well. Christian charity and catholic solidarity demands that we do not
abandon our catholic brethren and come to their assistance in these difficult hours
of their lives. Therefore, on the holy day of Christmas i tell them with love that the
church makes no distinction among its children and fulfils its obligation as commanded by Christ.”97 The Calvin Protestant Kiáltó Szó (Out loud) published in
Kolozsvár (Cluj) features excerpts from László Ravasz’s speech delivered in the
Upper House, carefully highlighting details that soften the views of the Hungarian
bishop. Here are some examples: “We’re about to pass an act that will cause pain
to a large number of people of Jewish descent– be they Christian or Israelite – the
deepest sorrow for the noblest and best of these people. We, Christians should
not forget this, and let us think of them with love without insulting them with vaunt
or false offers, let us have affection and love for them.”98 The author of the article
faced the daunting task of finding passages in Ravasz László’s speech, essentially
in support of the discriminative anti-Jewish laws that blunt its virulence by taking
them far out of context.99
From the middle of the 1930s one finds a proliferation of interpretations where
the separateness of the Jewish people from Hungarians is given increased emphasis. One case in point is a March 1936 article by Elemér Rády where, analysing a
conference of young Hungarian Jews, he sees the emergence of two paths open
before Jewry in the Hungarian context: one is the development of a parallel soci97 Vasárnap (Sunday): January 1940 Béla Heszte: Egy igazi és keresztényien emberi megnyilatkozás (A true
and Christian human attitude) p. 22.
98 Kiáltó Szó (Outloud): July 1938 László Ravasz: A zsidókérdés. (The Jewish issue) pp. 84-87.
99 In connection to the virulence of the Ravasz speech see: Klaudia K. Farkas, Zsidótörvények – egy egyházi
ember szemével (Anti-Jewish Laws – from the perspective of a member of the church), in Fiatal egyháztörténészek írásai (Writings by young church historians) 1999, pp. 194-231; and Erika Törzsök’s opening
remarks at a CEC-CEU conference, March 17, 2016.

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ety, and the other is emigration to Palestine.100 While this approach is far from the
virulent anti-Semitic tone that will appear on the pages of Magyar Lapok (Hungarian
Gazette) in the years of World War II,101 it is interesting to note that neither the competent leaders of the Jewish community – see Tivadar Fischer’s statements cited
above – nor relevant Hungarian intellectuals see a solution in the assimilation of
Jewry or, alternatively, in the viability of a project calling for an arrangement “separate from all religious considerations, yet integrated in all other respects”. Whether
the differences (be they genuine or imaginary) were brought to the surface by topics
considered relevant in the 1930s, or had been dormant all along, as “was common
knowledge” and never probed by anyone, today is impossible to decide conclusively. In my opinion, any researcher aiming for objectivity will continue to face many
challenges in this area.

The issue of anti-Jewish violence
In respect to anti-Jewish violence, it may be stated that in the period between 1920
through 1940 Hungarian church publications unequivocally rejected such acts.
However, starting from 1940 anti-Jewish sentiment taking the form of physical violence is increasingly met with discrete silence, censorship or self-censorship.102
This by publications whose contributors have otherwise regularly condemned antiSemitic prejudices and ideologies. They categorically rejected violence whether it
came from Romanian nationalist, German National Socialist or Hungarian (Arrow
Cross) circles. They also roundly condemned visceral and indiscriminate anti-Semitism and despised such acts regardless of the denomination. “That anti-Semitism
exists – no one can deny. That it is the product of envious, narrow-minded and hateful minds – this very fact can be explained”,103 is probably the most cogent summary
offered by István Kecskeméthy.
The oft-quoted Szatmár Katolikus Élet (Catholic Life) gave an eloquent response as early as 1923. Accordingly, anti-Jewish violence in the Middle Ages
had never been initiated and implemented by the catholic clerical elite but by the
mob, and it was always condemned by the Pope.104 In his speech to converts
100 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): March 29, 1936. Elemér Rády: Új utakon a magyarországi zsidó
diákság. (Hungarian Jewish students on a new path) pp. 10-11.
101 See article titles listed under note 48 above.
102 Incidentally, this applies not only to church media: it is even more characteristic of dailies covering current
affairs and news.
103 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): 6 May 1927 István Kecskeméthy: Térjünk immár a zsidókra (Let’s now consider
the Jews) p. 77.
104 Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): May 20, 1923, Egyház és a zsidóság. Válasz egy sokat vitatott kérdésre
(The church and the Jews. Response to a much-debated issue) p. 1.

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all Bangha Béla can say is: “A solution can only be achieved through a religious
rapprochement. Christians and Jews have the common interest and obligation
to facilitate such a move with love and without prejudice”.105 In 1939, one of the
contributors of Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette) applauds that the police apprehended Arrow Cross members who attacked the Dohány Street synagogue.106
True, the tone of voice changes radically by the 1940s when articles with titles:
„Zsidósiratók”,107 (Mourning the Jews) appear, where János Géresy Léber berates Hungarians acting humanely towards Jews; or Tűnjenek el a zsidók és
a zsidó szellemű keresztények (Out with Jews and Christians with a Jewish
mentality.108 However, this is more a result of a shift in political winds than a
change in church attitudes.109
In this chapter i have to make a special mention of the reverberating echo of the
Tiszaeszlár trial. In this context, i wish to call attention to three articles published in the
interwar period at three different dates and in different places in the Hungarian church
media in Transylvania. In 1923, Katolikus Élet (Catholic Life) already describes the
blood libel as “in part certainly fabricated and exaggerated stories populated by Jews,
i.e., desecrators of the holy wafer, ritual child killers and well poisoners. 110. In 1932
Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) condemns the return to the blood libel in relation to an article published in another Hungarian periodical, the Nagyvárad (Oradea).
“What was the purpose of that piece? What was the spiritual motive moving the hand
of the author disturbing caskets turning to dust in tombs. And now the entire file of
the Tiszaeszlár trial has been returned to court after almost fifty years. But this could
unearth documents and secret deals made at the top that – while never serving to
prove the libel case – this time may give a different colouring to the trial that would
have been best buried instead of used forever to bludgeon souls, Christian and Jewish alike”,111 the author writes.112 And Kis Tükör (Little Mirror), in 1933 published an
105

106

107
108
109

110
111
112

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Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): April 12, 1934 A zsidókérdés legmélyebb alapja a vallási
különböződés. P Bangha előadása a konvertiták részére.(Religious separation lies at the depth of the Jewish issue Béla Bangha’s lecture to converts) p. 6.
Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): February 18, 1939, A rendőrség elfogta a budapesti Dohány-utcai
zsidó-templom merénylőit (The police apprehended the attackers of the Dohány street Synagogue in
Budapest) p. 2.
Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): June 14, 1941. János Géresy Léber: Zsidósiratók (Mourning the
Jews) p. 5.
Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): March 19, 1942. Tűnjenek el a zsidók és a zsidó szellemű keresztények (Out with Jews and Christians with a Jewish mentality) p. 5.
Demonstrated by the fact that in weekly and monthly publications under „obvious” church control the Jewish
issue did not become a central issue, and they also refrained from the use of aggressive language. The case
of the daily Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette) is an exception as it functioned as a political mouthpiece.
Katolikus Élet (Christian Life): 20 May 1923, Egyház és a zsidóság. Válasz egy sokat vitatott kérdésre
(The church and the Jews. Response to a much-debated issue) p. 1.
Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): April 18, 1932, A tiszaeszlári vérvád ismét törvényszék elé kerül
(The Tiszaeszlár blood libel case is back in court) p. 7.
It must also be said in fairness that Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) came under attack already and its

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article on the same topic in its customary lucid style, saying: The court ”…in its own
judgment had to hand down a ruling based on the merits of the case ending in an
acquittal. With this it performed one of the highest achievements in Hungarian legal
history. Those casting a shadow on the Tiszaeszlár verdict wish to obliterate that glorious feat. Yet, they should take a moment to consider that by warming up half-witted
hearsay, instead of doing harm to the Jewish community; they simply demonstrate the
inferiority of the community to which they dare to feed this nonsense. The Tiszaeszlár
story is damaging to those trumpeting it, and not to its intended target. Yet, a Christian
man should fight it as a Satanic practice”.113
All the above show that on the whole open violence, absurd charges and visceral anti-Semitism were rejected in the church media.

Jewish life as a model
In the interwar period, one finds a large number of articles in the Hungarian church
media in Transylvania presenting the Jews with sympathy or in a positive light. Sympathy towards the Jews is generally manifested along the following lines: the conduct of a specific Jewish person, shared religious roots (Jesus was one of them,
they are the chosen people), their attachment to their exemplary religious customs,
the excessive violence used against them (the latter motif comes up even in articles
where some groups of Jewry are subject to regular abuse). The theme of a shared
destiny also comes up, whether in the form of interdependence between two minorities or the fate of the Jews – due to their survival as a minority over thousands of
years – as a model for the ethnic Hungarian community.
For instance, in 1932, Ferenc Láng114 considers it important to report a conversation accidentally overheard at a spa in Félixfürdő (Băile Felix) where, while
relaxing, a Roman Catholic/communist, a Calvin Protestant and a third interlocutor, a Jew were engaged in conversation. While the two Christians tend to criticize

launch from Budapest liberal circles – and not quite without reason, see Béla Bangha’s January 3 article, Isn’t
it a shame? – including one of the key figures behind the publication, Elemér Gyárfás, member of the Hungarian Party and president of the Roman Catholic Status. In response, following the launch of Erdélyi Lapok
(Transylvanian Gazette), on March 19, 1932 Elemér Gyárfás is forced to publish an article on the defensive,
entitled Reactionary showing of the colors in Transylvania (pp. 1-2). Skirmishes and explanations continue
thereafter (See Márton Fehér: April 1, 1932, Két hírlapi cikk margójára (On the margins of two magazine
articles, p. 6). In this light, the editorial board of Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) coming under attack
already at its inception would have found itself in an awkward position if, along with charges claiming political
anti-Semitism, its position on the Tiszaeszlár case were to offer another front for attack.
113 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): April 29, 1933 Eszter Solymosi. p. 16.
114 Ferenc Láng (1889-1950) historian of Szatmár, Catholic church historian, history/Latin teacher.

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the churches, the Jewish man defends the role of religion. The article carries a
clear message:
“An old morose Jew shakes his head in discomfort and asks his partners: ‘Tell
me, what the world would come to without pastors? Are you sure people wouldn’t
devour each other?«”
“… I find the Jewish man’s statement showing more sophisticated ideas and
more thorough knowledge about the mission of priesthood than dialogue of the two
other men”.115
In another instance, Zionists sympathizing with Hungarians and the spirit of
Transylvania are given a positive treatment in a piece penned by Vilmos Bölöny in a
Unitarian periodical published in Székely Land.116 In other places the idea is echoed
that there are many well-intentioned and charitable people among the Jews, and
they deserve to be treated the same:
“In contrast, i know a number of Christians that had been helped by Jews, that
have received and continue to receive bread from Jews. In fact, there are Jewish
men whose life of integrity could be an example for many Christians. These Jews
are all but Christians. This being the case, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic”117, the
writer known for his fairness, Imre Balányi, states in Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian
Gazette), a publication that otherwise is characterized by highly critical views on
Jews.118
The mention of shared religious roots is not uncommon either. For instance,
in a 1937 issue of a women’s association periodical published in Arad the following
argument was presented in a question-and-answer format: “even though the Jews
are guilty of rejecting Christ, they are not lost from the point of salvation. One must
pray for their conversion and baptism, and at the end of times they too will be admitted to heaven as Jews and the chosen ones for they are the bearers of the religion
revealed by god.119

115 Hitlergárda. October 10, 1932, no. 10, Dr. Ferenc Láng, Félix és a zsidó (Félix and the Jew) p. 3
116 Unitárius Egyház (Unitarian Church): 15 March 1926 Vilmos Bölöny: Korunk keresi a maga kereszténységét (Our age in search of its own Christianity) pp. 20-22.
117 Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette): 29 September 1935 Imre Balányi: Ószövetség és antiszemitizmus
(Old Testament and anti-Semitism) pp. 1-2.
118 In the 1930s, Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette) was engaged in hard-hitting skirmishes with some
liberal publications in Budapest, and that was about the extent of its Jew-baiting at the time. It reported on
developments affecting Jews in Romania in a relatively correct and impartial fashion. This changes starting in
1940, when in many pieces the “Jew”, individually and as a group, is routinely demonized.
119 A Nap: 1937, issue 2 Az Egyház majd megfelel (The church shall respond) pp. 18-19.

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A Calvin Protestant periodical expresses a similar idea. Accordingly:
Jews are the chosen people and God awarded them above all others “Why?
That’s a secret.”120 Old Testament stories may also serve as examples. For instance,
the conduct of midwives from the time of Egyptian captivity, saving the lives of many
new-borns. “This ancient story has a lot to tell us and is most educational. Those
with ears will hear its message”.121
In many cases, the Jewish sense of being chosen is an example for sustaining
power for Hungarians struggling to survive as a minority in Transylvania, because:
“… This is how chosen people are formed. By the force of sacred idealism.
Sacred yearning always for something better, purer and more divine. Faced with
such spirit, God is ready to reveal itself. The history of such people offers the best
guidance. It teaches nations that the ability to survive is granted only to those that
realize their spirit holds something much more refined, precious and valuable then
what they had already achieved.
This is what sustains us as well. This is what grants us a firm ground in this
world as well. Let’s honour those who flagellate us and draw blood from our spirit for
our sins…, out of caring love. We shall always be ready to deeply humble ourselves
for our errors. We shall never be satisfied with ourselves. In other words, let’s put
our faith in God. In that case, after God, the admiration, friendship and gratitude for
other nations will surely sustain us. Because then they will understand that what we
represent among them will never be lost”.122
A Calvin Protestant pastor in Sekler Land considered it important to expound in
1934 that Jewry’s attachment to and knowledge of its religion may serve as a model
for followers of the Christian faith, and through the studying and following this model
self-righteous Calvin Protestants may also become more devoted to their own faith
and church
“… the faithful (in my view, rather a hundred faithful Baptist than a single godless Calvinist) would put the following question to us: One must follow the example
of Christ and (in baptism as well). Fines – I say – let’s make this clear: ‘Christ’s
example must be followed’ …well, Christ never abandoned his religion and never
converted, as demonstrated by the fact (see Luk. XXII.1-15, Mt. XXVI. 17-19, Mk.
120 Reformátusok Lapja: March 9, 1929, Az előny (The advantage) pp. 116-117.
121 Unitárius Közlöny (Unitarian Bulletin): 1936. Bibliai történetek: Az egyiptomi bábák (Biblical stories: Egyptian mid-wives). p. 48.
122 Reformátusok Lapja (Calvin Protestant Gazette): 28 July 1928 Sándor Bokor: Ami egy nemzetet megtart.
(What sustains a nation.) pp. 1-2.

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XIV. 12-15) that the Lord Jesus Christ honoured the Jewish holidays and followed
Jewish rites to the last minute. Who then follows the example of Christ?
Each Saturday Christ faithfully and punctually went to the synagogue of the
Jews, he loved the house of the Lord where he learned of his heavenly Father. Well
then, who follows the example of the Lord Jesus, the one who yearns to attend the
house of the Lord, or the one who never visits?”123
The most intriguing is perhaps when unwittingly or rather on purpose the example of Jewish survival through the millennia is set up as a model for minority
Hungarians. In a lecture delivered at a 1936 youth conference Sándor Bokor drew
a parallel between the fate of Jewry and the Mors settled on the Iberian Peninsula,
in favour of the former by arguing:
“We must treat the affairs of God with the same reverence as had been done
by the sons of Israel, who never treaded on a discarded piece of paper lest it has the
name of the Lord written on it and they should step on it by accident.
Today, this is the only divinely ordered path set before the Hungarian Calvinist
youth living in minority…, the other is the fate of the Saracens ... And there is no
third path”..124
Examples like these clearly explain why the Hungarian church media in Transylvania were devoid of virulent and widespread anti-Semitism.

The issue of Jewish Mission
A study of the relationship between Hungarian Christian churches in Romania and
Jewry may only be complete if the issue of Jewish mission is also discussed. In this
context there are significant differences between the three denominations. The Catholics had a relatively well-developed position claiming that the Jewish religion is not
as “perfect” as Catholicism, although the Jews are the bearers of a religion revealed
by god and thus they too will have a place in heaven. While they are guilty of rejecting
Christ and one must pray for their conversion, they shall be saved even as Jews.125
123 Egyház és papság (Church and priesthood): June 1934 Pál Nagy: A szekták elleni küzdelemhez. (The
fight against sects) pp. 87-89.
124 Reformátusok Lapja (Calvin Protestant Gazette): 10 June 1936, issue 17, Sándor Bokor: Nem erővel, sem
hatalommal… előadás az ifjúsági konferencián (Not by force or power..., lecture at a youth conference) pp.
209-211.
125 A Nap: 1937 1937, issue 2 Az Egyház majd megfelel (The church shall respond) pp. 18-19.

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One finds not a single article on Jewish mission in the periodicals of the small
Unitarian church. As a special feature, it must be noted here that Unitarianism is closer
to Judaism than the two other Christian denominations because the Unitarians do not
accept the holy trinity or the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Consequently, in their writings Unitarian theologians often find a common platform with Jewry, even as they point
out the differences. For instance, in 1927 István Borbély says nothing less than that
the first Christians were Jewish themselves, and not only in origin, but also in respect
to liturgy. The only thing distinguishing them from the Jews was their messiah cult. In
1939 Sándor Szent-Iványi promotes the brotherhood of Unitarians, Sabbatarians and
Jews in a few words: “my Sabbatarian– by now already Jewish – brethren”.126
A demand for Jewish mission is given the most emphasis on the pages of Calvin Protestant periodicals, especially in Kis Tükör (Little Mirror) with two converted
Jewish staff members, Adolf Klein and Pál Klein A. In 1926 an article is published
under the pseudonym of “Jeremiah” – perhaps by Adolf Klein or someone else – on
the topic of Jewish mission, where the author was converted from Judaism to Christianity himself. “Jeremiah’s” final conclusion goes as follows:
“Therefore, if we wish to solve the Jewish issue, there is but one way: through
love. If this people experiences the love of Christ in Christianity and feels its warmth,
its hatred of Christ will vanish and it cannot do other than fall down before his love
and feel the blessings of the ancient cry of ancestors’ – “His blood shall be on
us and on our children!”(Mathew, 27:25) “.127 Starting in 1930, Adolf Klein writes
about his personal missionary work, its achievements and failures, and on another
occasion he drafts the following bitter thoughts on the occasion of a conference by
Galician Jews converted to Christianity:
“By the grace of god i can also be present at this conference, although i have
to admit i go with a heavy heart for I’m the only one to attend from Transylvania, and
i alone will have to convey the expectations, yearnings, suffering and pain of Transylvanian Jewry.
I have confidence that this conference will motivate us to carry on, and the
human soul will wake up and understand that 9,878,800 souls in Europe cannot
light-heartedly and carelessly be left in an agonizing state of hopelessness”.128

126 Unitárius Értesítő (Unitarian Report): February 1939, issue 2 Sándor Szent-Iványi: Dávid Ferenc és a szombatosság (Ferenc Dávid and Sabbatinism) p. 14.
127 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): May 15, 1926, pp. 81-82 pp. (1-2) „Jeremiás” : A zsidókérdés helyes megoldása.
(The right solution of the Jewish issue) p. 81-82 (1-2).
128 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): April 11, 1931 Adolf Klein: Krisztushívő zsidók konferenciája Galacban. (The
conference of Christ-believing Jews in Galac) pp. 57-58.

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Unknowingly, these lines appear as a prophetic vision of the future, well before
the rise of institutionalized anti-Semitism in Europe and the Nazi takeover in Germany… another article by Pál Klein A. reveals that the integration of Jews converting
to Christianity was far from easy. There was plenty of evidence that Christians were
suspicious of converted Jews.129
Not only in Kolozsvár (Cluj) did the Calvin Protestants believe in the viability
of the Jewish mission. In 1939, on the pages of the Calvin Protestant Lelkipásztor
(Calvin Protestant Pastor) Arthur Tompa130 ponders Christian-Jewish relations in an
increasingly aggressive environment. In his view two things distinguish Jewry from
other nations: the notion of being chosen and their propensity for detachment.
Both are motivated by religion, although as a result of materialistic thinking they
became distorted and secularized, eliciting the loathing of the majority of Christians. It is a mistake not to proselytize and evangelize the Jews, because – he
believes – once Jewry accepts Christ, the Jewish issue will have found a radical
and positive solution. “Just as Jewry has the privileged obligation to evangelize the
non-Christian peoples of the world, the church of Christ has the equally privileged
task of evangelizing the Jews… The final resolution of the Jewish issue by divine
will lies in partaking and participating in this mutually inter-related missionary work”,
he writes.131
While the efforts of missionaries did not offer a fundamental solution for the
Jews – as demonstrated by the events of World War II – articles like these offer
evidence for a desire to bridge the gap, even if the desired result is tied to baptism.

Conclusions
As illustrated by the selection presented above, the Jewish issue receives a rather
complex treatment in the interwar period in Transylvania’s Hungarian church media. The highlighted examples clearly point to a duality: the simultaneous existence
of certain prejudices and a measure of sympathy towards the Jews. To complete
the picture it must be noted that the number of articles involving the Jewish issue
in these publications is negligible compared to that in pieces dealing with, for instance, the organization of agricultural work or the future of religious communities
in a population scattered over a wide area. In many cases years pass before Jews
129 Kis Tükör (Little Mirror): December 19, 1931, Pál A. Klein: Zsidómisszió. (Jewish mission) p. 203.
130 Arthur Tompa (1872-1945), Calvin Protestant pastor, economic journalist. Killed in 1944 by an Iron Guard
gendarme.
131 Református Lelkipásztor (Calvin Protestant Pastor): Volume VI, 1939, February 5, issues no. 2-3. Arthur
Tompa: Krisztus egyháza és a zsidókérdés. (The Church of Christ and the Jewish issue) pp. 25-31.

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are mentioned in some form or another. The exception to this is Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Paper) that covers current political events.
“Until 1940, the minority churches condemned the persecution of Jews,
and solidarity among the minorities was relatively strong”, Mihály Sebestyén
writes.132 However, with the second Vienna Award in 1940 the re-annexed territories become infested with Hungarian anti-Semitism. While the majority of Jews
living in Northern Transylvania were honestly happy about the return of Hungarian rule133 – for two reasons: their attachment to Hungarian culture and bitter
experiences under an aggressive Romanian nationalism – their happiness was
followed by disappointment within days.134 Anti-Semitic voices became louder
and following the German invasion in March 1944 and the formation of the Sztójay government, deportations got underway along the model established in
other regions of Hungary
Regarding the church media specifically – i.e., journals, weekly and daily
publications published by church people – even in this period one finds no material difference in content or topic in respect to the Jewish issue. At the same
time, when it comes to the Transylvanian Gazette later renamed as Hungarian
Gazette – primarily a daily but, as i noted in the introduction, under considerable
church influence – there is a notable change. Not only in the increased number of pieces dealing with the Jewish issue and an amplification of anti-Semitic
voices, but also in the increasingly personal nature of the attacks. Conflicts between Jewish and Christian merchants and retailers receive wide coverage,135
at times presented as “class warfare”.136 When a Jewish merchant expresses
an opinion “out of line” he’s taken to task by name, for instance when the paper
predicts137 a huge scandal when it reports the ironic comment by the drugstore
owner, Mr. Löwenstein on a shortage of supplies: “We also have some Transylvanian candidates here”. With all that, even in these years we have examples of
132 Mihály Sebestyén: Nyúlgát az idő ellen (Temporary dike against time) Marosvásárhely, Mentor kiadó, 2000,
p. 155.
133 On this see more detail: Artur Lakatos: „The Jews from Cluj in September 1940”, in Transylvanian Review,
Vol. XIX, Supplement no. 5/IV/2010, pp 197-204.
134 In this context, see: Lajos Erdélyi: Túlélés. Egy fotográfus visszaemlékezése (Survival. The memoir of a photorapher) Zachor Könyvek, 2012. Second, expanded edition, pp. 47-48
135 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 4 January 1941. A keresztény ipar és kereskedelem gondjai (The
vows of Hungarian industry and merchants) p. 5; 24 May 1941 Keresztény piaci árusok panasza (The complaints of Christian market vendors) p. 3; May 24, June 6, 1941 Zsidó Kánaán a Nagyvárad-i (Oradea)
piacon (Jewish Canaan on the Nagyvárad (Oradea) market) p. 2.
136 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 11 September 1940, A zsidó nagyiparos és a magyar munkás The
Jewish industrialist and the Hungarian worker) p. 6; January 11, 1941, Utcára kerülnek a keresztény alkalmazottak Christian employees are sacked) p. 6.
137 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): October 3, 1941, Löwenstein és az erdélyi induló (Löwenstein and
the Transylvanian candidate) p. 4.

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expressions of solidarity and pieces sympathizing with Jews,138 although compared
to the interwar period the trend shifts and these expressions become few and far
between. It must also be noted that the Hungarian Gazette is not an exception and
fits the general trend characterizing typically conservative dailies. For instance, the
pages of Ellenzék (Opposition) published in Kolozsvár (Cluj) for a long time carry a
call from the ‘Baross Alliance’: “Shop with a Christian merchant”.139
The complexity of the issue is demonstrated by the fact that in the media
under review one can find an example and proof for any statement and its opposite. Even so, a few general conclusions may be drawn. In the 1920s one notes
that while a biased article may appear here and there, this happens haphazardly
and the attitude cannot be generalized. In the 1930s the issue already receives
more attention with articles listing a series of pro and con arguments, thoughts,
positive and negative generalizations, but even then one cannot talk about a
pervasive mood of anti-Semitism. All this undergoes a significant change during the war years. Yet, even in those years the majority of the church media
show a measure of benign neglect concerning the Jews. Of course, there are
extreme positions along the positive and negative ends of the spectrum: the first
category includes the Bishop of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) who openly spoke
out against the deportations, while the other category includes the Unitarian
theologian, János Fikker from Abrudbánya (Abrud), a prominent member of the
Hungarian political party led by Imrédy, who destroyed his earlier rich and successful life’s work with his extremist positions.140

138 Magyar Lapok (Hungarian Gazette): 5 October 1942 Zsidók a fronton (Jews at the front) p. 4.
139 Ellenzék (Opposition):1940-1944, passim.
140 A telling piece in Ellenzék (Opposition) related to the deportations and entitled Ne sajnáljuk őket”. (Don’t feel
sorry for them) stands out.

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Appendix
The list of reviewed periodicals for the project “The Jewish issue in the Transylvanian
church media”
1, Careii-Mari (Nagykároly) Executive Committee, Calvin Protestant diocese, 1922
2, A Nap (The Sun). A Catholic Women’s Association publication, Arad, 19331944
3, A Szent Kereszt (The Holy Cross), a Franciscan publication, Kolozsvár (Cluj)
1926-1942
4, Bihari Protestánsok Lapja (Calvin Protestant Gazette for Calvin Protestants in
Bihar County), Nagyvárad (Oradea) 1942-1943
5, Egyetértés (Consensus), publication of the Brassó (Brasov) Calvin Protestant
congregation, 1934-1941
6, Egyház és Élet (Church and Life), publication of the Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia)
Theological Seminary, 1939-1940
7, Egyház és papság (Church and priesthood), Calvin Protestant, Kibéd (Chibed),
1932-1934
8, Egyházi Értesítő (Church Bulletin), bi-weekly bulletin published by the Nyárádszereda (Miercurea Nirajului) Calvin Protestant church, 1926
9, Egyházi Híradó (Church Reporter), Calvin Protestant, Szatmár (Satu Mare),
1922-1930
10, Egyházi Híradó (Church Reporter), Unitárius, Brassó (Brasov), 1941-1942
11, Egyházi Közélet (Church Public Life), Dés (Dej), Calvin Protestant, 1925-1930
12, Egyházi Újság (Church Paper) published by the Bucharest Calvin Protestant
Diocese, 1934-1941
13, Egyházközségi Tudósító (Church Congregation Reporter), Roman Catholic,
Brassó (Brasov), 1940-1942

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14, Erdélyi Iskola (Transylvanian School), Roman Catholic, 1933-1944
15, Erdélyi Lapok (Transylvanian Gazette, starting from 1936: Hungarian Gazette),
secular daily under Catholic and Calvin Protestant influence, 1932-1942
16, Erdélyi Tudósító (Transylvanian Reporter), Catholic social and scientific review,
Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1941-1943
17, Hildegárda, Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare) congregational bulletin, Roman Catholic, 1929-1943
18, Kálvinista Világ (Calvinist World), Calvin Protestant, Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1927-1932
(afterwards: Kiáltó Szó/ Out loud)
19, Katholikus Élet (Catholic Life), Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare), 1923-1924 and
1929-1930
20, Association of Catholic Craftsmen and Merchants, Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1931
21, Katolikus Munkáslap (Catholic Workers’ Daily), Temesvár (Timesora), 1939
22, Katolikus Világ (Catholic World), 1923-1942 (1943-1944, withdrawn from circulation, in the process of bounding)
23, Keresztény Magvető (Christian Sower), Unitarian, Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1918-1944
24, Keresztyén Élet, (Christian Life) Zilah (Zalau), monthly evangelical publication
(Calvin Protestant), 1923-1924
25, Keresztyén Közlöny (Christian Bulletin), evangelical congregation (possibly
neo-Calvin Protestant from former Calvin Protestants), Kolozsvár (Cluj), 19341937
26, Kiáltó Szó (Out loud), Calvin Protestant, Kolozsvár, 1933-1944
27, Kis Tükör (Little Mirror), Calvin Protestant family periodical, Kolozsvár (Cluj),
1926-1933
28, Calvin Protestant Család (Calvin Protestant Family) published by Calvin Protestant Women’s Association, Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1929-1932

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29, Protestáns Egyházi Élet (Calvin Protestant Family Life), Nagyenyed (Aiud),
1935-1944
30, Protestáns Gyermekkönyvtár (Calvin Protestant Children’s Library), 1940
31, Protestáns Gyülekezeti Élet (Calvin Protestant congregational life), Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc), 1939-1940
32, Protestáns Egyházi Híradó (Calvin Protestant Church Reporter), Nagyvárad
(Oradea) (Oradea), 1923
33, Protestáns Ifjúság (Calvin Protestant Youth), Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures) later
Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1933-1944
34, Protestáns Jövő (Calvin Protestant Future), Nagyvárad (Oradea) (Oradea),
1933- 1937
35, Protestáns Lelkipásztor (Calvin Protestant Pastor), Zilah (Zalau), 1934-1939
36, Protestáns Őrálló (Calvin Protestant Guard), Nagybánya (Baia Mare), 19331934 (after merger with Egyház és papság/Church and priesthood, it continues as Protestáns Lelkipásztor/Calvin Protestant Pastor)
37, Protestáns Lapja (Calvin Protestant Gazette), Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1926-1937
38, Protestánsok Lapja (Calvin Protestant Gazette), Nagyvárad (Oradea) (Oradea), 19271936
39, Unitárius Egyház, Székelykeresztúr, 1922-1939
40, Unitárius Evangélium (Unitarian Gospel), Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1933-1935
41, Unitárius Értesítő (Unitarian Bulletin), Budapest, 1939-1940
42, Unitárius Hírnök (Unitarian Messenger), Bucharest, 1933-1938
43, Unitárius Jövendő (Unitarian Future), Brassó (Brasov), 1939-1940
44, Unitárius Közlöny (Unitarian Bulletin), Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1920-1944

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45, Unitárius Szószék (Unitarian Pulpit), Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe),
1923-1940
46, Unitárius Tudósító (Unitarian Reporter), Kolozsvár (Cluj), 1930-1931
47, Üzenet, Calvin Protestant, Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe), 1933-1940
48, Vasárnap (Sunday), Arad, Catholic, 1940
49, Vasárnapi Harangszó (Sunday Bells), Kolozsvár (Cluj), Catholic Women’s Association publication, 1940-1944
50, Vasárnapi Iskola (Sunday School), Kolozsvár (Cluj), Calvin Protestant, 19271928
51, Zsoltároskert (Garden of Psalms), Calvin Protestant, Kolozsvár (Cluj), 19401942

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Izabella Péter

The Romanian Greek Catholic
church of Transylvania and the
Holocaust
The political conduct of Christian churches concerning the Jewish issue often came
into conflict with the religious morality they preached, or they chose to remain silent
and not to represent this point of view in their statements1.
The purpose of this paper is to look at the standpoint represented by the Romanian Greek Catholic church concerning the ’Jewish issue’, and how this standpoint can be traced in their publications.
During the period in question (1920 to 1945), the Greek Catholic church responded differently to the issue from the Orthodox church, considered to be the
’dominant’ church in Romania, also due to its constitutional status, but its position
was somewhat different than the position accepted and relayed by the Roman Catholic church.
The independent Romanian Orthodox Metropoly, which slowly evolved into the
national church of Romanians, was set up by Franz Joseph I.
The Romanian Greek Catholic archdiocese was set up during the years of
Absolutism, as a quasi-reward for the anti-Hungarian conduct of Romanians at the
time of the 1848 revolution in Hungary. The Fagaras bishopric was elevated to an
archdiocese in 1853, and two new bishoprics were set up with Lugoj (Lugos) and
Gherla (Szamosújvár) as their seats.
However, as Hungarian Greek Catholics did not have their independent
church, and Romanian Greek Catholic priests did not allow Hungarian to be used as
the language for liturgy amidst the fight for the status of Romania’s national church,
this situation called for a solution. This was why the Hajdúdorog bishopric was set
1 Gergely Jenő, A Magyar Katolikus Püspöki Kar, az Apostoli Szentszék és a Soá (The Hungarian Catholic
bishops, the Holy See and the Shoah), http://www.magyarpaxromana.hu/kiadvanyok/soa/gergely_jeno.htm

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up with Nyíregyháza as its seat in 1912, consecrated by Pope Pious X’s bull starting
with Christifidelisgraeci. This was protested by the Romanian Greek Catholics.
After the Treaty of Trianon, Transylvania was attached to Romania2, which, in
spite of having signed the Minority Treaty, failed to create a legal framework to regulate the new situation. The situation of Catholic bishoprics in Transylvanian territories
was defined only after the signing and ratification of the treaty concluded with the
Holy See (Concordat).
The 1922 Romanian Constitution settled the constitutional status of churches
existing in the territory of Romania. In the new situation, churches of minorities were
given an important role in strengthening Romania’s national consciousness. The
Greek Catholic church played an important role in this process. Therefore, Article
22 of the Romanian Constitution declared two churches to be ’Romanian’ churches: the Orthodox and the Greek Catholic churches. The 1928 Act on religious denominations recognised only these two as churches, and called all others ’cults’.
Based on this, five different types of churches were distinguished in Romania:
1. dominant church (Orthodox)
2. privileged church (Greek Catholic)
3. historical churches (Catholic churches of Latin, Ruthenian, Greek and Armenian liturgies, Calvinist, Lutheran, Unitarian, Armenian, Jewish, etc.)
4. recognised church (Baptist)
5. unrecognised churches (Nazarenes, Adventists, etc.)3
Though the Greek Catholic church had priority over all other religions except for
Orthodoxy, the Act on religious denominations considered it an independent religion
separate from the Roman Catholic church, and although the two churches basically
represented a single religion and differed only in their rites, it granted an opportunity
to ’convert’ from one another. However, this started a very special fight aimed at proselytising followers: the Orthodox made every effort to convert Greek Catholics, while
Greek Catholics directed their efforts at winning over Roman Catholics.4
In this ’competition’, the Romanian Orthodox church (the national church) was
a great promoter of Romanisation. This is why Roman Greek Catholics, in an effort
2 Mihai Bărbulescu, Dennis Deletant, Keith Hitchins, ŞerbanPapcostea, Pompiliu Teodor – IstoriaRomâniei,
Corint Kiadó, Bukarest, 2005, p. 345
3 Lukács, Imre Róbert, A görögkatolikusok helyzete Erdélyben az első világháború után (The Position
of Greek Catholics in Transylvania after World War I)
4 Ibidem

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to prove their loyalty to the nation, often exhibited an even more nationalistic behaviour than representatives of the Orthodox church.
The new change was brought about by the Second Vienna Award, as a consequence of which some one million Romanians came under Hungarian authority. This
meant about 450,000 Orthodox and 550,000 Greek Catholic believers, while Blaj
(Balázsfalva) remained in Romania’s territory. The Lugoj diocese remained in Romania, while the Maramures (Máramaros), the Cluj-Gherla (Kolozsvár-Szamosújvár),
and the Oradea (Nagyvárad) dioceses were attached to Hungary, under the leadership of Oradea Canon Iosif Pop.5
Greek Catholic bishop of Cluj-Gherla Iuliu Hossu (Hosszú Gyula) attempted to
reintegrate in the Hungarian church. He represented Greek Catholics in Parliament
as a member of Hungary’s Upper House, and in the Hungarian Council of Bishops
along with Sándor Rusu.
The history of the Greek Catholic church has been characterised by a series
of changes in rites caused by political changes. In the period after the Treaty of
Trianon, Hungarian-speaking believers adopted the Latin rite because Romania’s
Constitution considered Greek Catholic believers to be of Romanian nationality. In
order to prevent this, a relatively high number of people opted for changing their religion. At the same time, many Roman Catholics under Romanian authority converted
to Greek Catholicism to be able to keep their jobs. Similarly, Greek Catholics often
chose to convert to Orthodoxy to attest their loyalty to the state. However, this trend
was reversed after the Second Vienna Award, and those who had left their original
faith tried to return to the old liturgy. Documents held in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese from 1942 contain a huge number of applications for baptising completed on
a template by those re-converting from Greek Catholicism to Roman Catholicism.
As the Greek Catholic church wished to secure a leading position within the
new post-Trianon state, it proved to be a ’pioneer of nationalism’.6Priests who spoke
no Hungarian were deployed in parishes, Hungarian was not permitted to be used as
the language of liturgy, and Hungarian priests were harassed.7 Romania welcomed
all the help it received in strengthening and forcefully spreading Romanian national
consciousness, be it from the Orthodox church or minority churches. In this period,
national churches evolved into increasingly important factors of the cultural, social

5 Gergely, Jenő, Az erdélyi görögkatolikus román egyház (The Romanian Greek Catholic church of Transylvania)
6 Lukács, op. cit.
7 Pirigyi, István, A görögkatolikus magyarság története (The history of Greek Catholic Hungarians) Görögkatolikus Hittudományi Főiskola, 1982, p. 66

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and political spheres.8Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic bishops all became
members of Romania’s Senate ipso facto, which increased the ability to influence them. In Romania, the church has always been a state church, which also
meant that political parties guided and used them for their own purposes.
It is important to stress that during this period, Greek Catholics were ’more
Catholic than the Pope’, meaning they occasionally represented an extremely
nationalistic opinion in the supremacy fight with Orthodoxy. To attest their national loyalty, their attacks in this competition were directed against Hungarians
just as against other nationalities, particularly Jews. This also means that in the
first part of the period in question, i.e. in the early 1920’s, the attacks of many
articles published held Jews in the target mark as well, as ’accomplices to Hungarians’.
The anti-Semitic political parties and groups set up between the two World
Wars tried to exploit the Greek Orthodox and the Greek Catholic churches on
the basis of this orientation. A spectacular example for this was the attempt by
L.A.N.C.9, the National Christian Defence League set up in 1923 by A. C. Cuza,
to enrol the clergy of both national churches as ideologists of the party. Highly
anti-Semitic Cuza has pursued an active propaganda to win over Orthodox believers and priests from the outset. However, this attempt failed initially, because his
booklets The teachings of Jesus and The warrior’s booklet, distributed in front of the
Orthodox Metropoly in 1925, twisted and falsified the Christian faith to such an extent
that they provoked Patriarch Miros Cristea’s rage, who labelled Cuza a heretic.
In spite of this, they continued to pursue their propaganda, as a result of
which a part of the Orthodox church clergy actively participated in the parliamentary representation of the ’All for the Homeland’ party, the political party of
Archangel Michael Legion, a faction that left the League. According to Radu
Ioanid, in 1937, 33 of the party’s 103 candidates were priests, and about 55
Orthodox priests were given leading roles in the Legion.10
This widespread representation is quite possible to imagine, because the
anti-Semitism latently present in traditional Romanian Society has always been
fed by the different legends, proverbs, and the representation of Jews in clerical
texts.11
8 Lukács, op. cit.
9 Abbreviation of Liga ApărăriiNaţionaleCreştine
10 GeorgetaPană, Antisemitismul religios din perspectiva Holocaustului - analizăcomparativă: Polonia, Ungaria,România – unpublished Ph.D. thesis, p. 149
11 Pană, i.m. 149.o.

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This is exactly the anti-Semitism extreme right-wing parties and groups counted on when they wished to secure a mass base. Each of the Fascist movements
created in the 1920’s built its rhetoric on the same national Orthodox values,
which they then tried to re-write according to their own ideas.
A. C. Cuza presented the League as a Christian brotherhood of all good Romanians who resolved to defend their Christian laws against the Jews, because
getting rid of Jews was a national and not a party issue.12
A. C. Cuza’s politics is a strange mixture of spluttering anti-Semitism and
falsified Christian principles. This politician, who said, ’before I die, I would like
to see the blood of Jews mingle with mud”,13 accused even the church of not
having denied the Old Testament that came from Jews, thereby helping Satan
gain ground, with Satan obviously embodied by Jews, of course.14Cuza did not
hesitate to falsify the Bible in the League’s publications later on, either. Unfortunately, however, he was able to preach his theories undisturbed, in the absence
of firm action by the churches.
In 1927, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu founded the Legion of Archangel Michael,
the paramilitary branch of which adopted the name Iron Guard in 1930. The Iron
Guard’s programme was based on nationalism and Fascism mixed with mystic
religiosity, with highly anti-Semitic and anti-Communist features. The Iron Guard
was officially dissolved in 1933 but continued to function in fact, and transformed into a political party under the name All for the Homeland in 1935. The
government had an ambivalent approach to the movement, persecuting it once,
then granting the status of recognised political party to the Legionary Movement
as the only one of that kind, and in 1940, Romania officially became a ’National
Legionary State’.
Over time, both L.A.N.C. and the Iron Guard operated with strong religious
symbols, and priests of the various (but mostly, Orthodox) churches were apt to
take part in ceremonies of benediction of party flags and mass christenings held in
villages on holidays. The Orthodox church welcomed the ’religiousness’ of legionary youngsters with pleasure, while for Guard members, their social recognition
depended greatly on acceptance by the national church.
The anti-Semitism of the Orthodox church was a well-known fact; even Patriarch Miron Cristea, who initially condemned A. C. Cuza’s religious falsifications,
12 Pană, op. cit. p. 128
13 Ibidem
14 A.C.Cuza, Apărarea Naţională, 1928, issue no. 16

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later proceeded to set Cuza as an example for Romanian youth. However, Greek
Catholics did not consider this trend to be the one to pursue, probably partly
due to the competition they were in with Orthodoxy, in which they pronounced
many things done by Orthodoxy to be bad, if only by wishing to differ from them,
rather than with real conviction. However, Greek Catholics also used the rhetoric
of the age, recognising the existence of a ’Jewish issue’ for which they urged a
solution, but when it came to the means of finding the solution, they have always
emphasised the need for ’Christian’, humane solutions, in significant departure
from the public thinking of the era.

1. Greek Catholic publications of the age
Therefore, during the period in question, the Greek Catholic church of Transylvania
was structured as follows: the Nagyvárad (Oradea), Kolozsvár-Szamosújvár (ClujGherla), Lugos (Lugoj) and Máramaros (Maramures) Bishoprics belonged to the
Fogarasi-gyulafehérvári (Fagaras-Alba Iulia) Archdiocese having its seat in Balázsfalva (Blaj), and the Hajdúdorog Bishopric was set up for Hungarian believers, but
its activities are outside the scope of this paper.
These bishoprics were engaged in extensive intellectual activities and had several publications in the period researched.
A part of these can be found in the library of Babeş-Bolyai University in
Cluj-Napoca in digitised form. They include Unirea, Unirea Poporului and
CulturaCreştină, published in Balázsfalva, CurierulCreştin in Cluj-Napoca and Vestitorul in Oradea.
The Romanian Greek Catholic church of Transylvania had about 16 such publications. Together with the newspapers mentioned above, Greek Catholics published the following newspapers, weeklies and magazines:
1. Cuvântul adevărului, Prislop, 1913 – 1940, the same was published in Bicsad, the Maramures diocese, from 1918 but was banned, then was published again after 1929, and was banned for good in 1941.
2. Foaia oficioasă a diecezei Lugojului, Lugos, 1914-1920.
3. Sionul Românesc, Foaie oficială a Diecezei Lugojului, 1920 - 1948.
4. Misionarul organ al Operei pentru propagarea credinţei, Lugos, 1936-1942
5. Misionarul vieţii creştine, Foaie săptămânală pentru folosul tuturor creştinilor,
1939-1940.

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6. “Unirea”, Balázsfalva , 1891-1945, weekly
7. Calendarul de la Blaj – Unirea’s annual calendar
8. “Unirea Poporului”, Balázsfalva, 1919-1948
9. “Blajul”, Balázsfalva
10. “Cultura Creştină”, Balázsfalva 1911-1944
11. “Curierul Creştin”, Szamosújvár, 1922-1944, official biweekly of the
Kolozsvár-Szamosújvár (Cluj-Gherla) diocese
12. “Buletinul AGRU”, publication of AGRU (Asociaţia Generală a Românilor
Uniţi, Greco-Catolici – General Association of the United Greek Catholic
Romanians, Balázsfalva, 1929 – 1948
13. “Viaţa Creştină”, Kolozsvár, 1935-1942, 1944-1946.
14. „Clujul Creştin”, Kolozsvár, 1935-1942, 1944-1946.
15. “Vestitorul,” Nagyvárad, 1925-1940
16. „ASTRU – Revistă naţională creştină” – 1933, Nagyvárad, publication of
„Asociaţia Studenţilor Români Uniţi” (United Association of Romanian University Students)
Unfortunately, only the digitised versions of these papers can be researched,
the rest can be found only in a few obscure archives and have therefore highly limited access.

2. Terminology in the publications concerning Jews
Though the Hungarian language uses several terms to identify Jews, from ’izraelita’
(Israelite) through ’héber’ (Hebrew) to ‘szemita’ (Semite), the Romanian language
might be more plastic in this respect. It also uses the words Israelite and Semite to
identify the religion and the ’race’, but uses two words for Jews in general: ’evrei’
and ’jidovi’, which is related to the Hungarian word ’zsidó’ (Jew).
A perusal of Greek Catholic publications allowed for discovering that the
name ’evrei’ is usually applied to the current situation, mostly in articles of a
more neutral tone, while the word ’jidovi’ is applied to the Jewry of Ancient Times
in articles on religious topics.
On the other hand, there is another variation of the latter word, typically
found in fiercely anti-Semitic articles. The word is ’jidani’, a distorted version of
the word ’jidovi’, the use of which is highly derogatory with a significantly negative meaning in itself.

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3. Articles of Greek Catholic publications on Jews
Despite the high number of Greek Catholic publications found, a relatively low number of articles deal with the ’Jewish issue’. Out of the weeklies studied, it is mostly
Unirea, a weekly published in Blaj (Balázsfalva) between 1891 and 1945, which published articles on Jews, anti-Semitism and the current political situation. Some studies with political aspects were published in Cultura Creştină, a weekly also published
in Balázsfalva, while there are barely any articles with a Jewish aspect in the others.
As regards figures, this means about 160 articles published in the six publications analysed from the period between 1920 and 1945, representing an actually
negligible number compared to the total number of articles. In addition, there are
a few articles on completely neutral religious issues, discussing items such as the
time shift between Jewish New Year and Jewish holidays compared to Christian holidays, but these were not considered to be important and relevant for the analysis.
What is conspicuous in the articles analysed is not so much the position of
the Greek Catholic church as the political conviction of the editors-in-chief of the
publications. Articles rarely give the impression of a general trend that forms part of
a more generally applicable church policy.
In general, however, articles can be perceived to accept the general view that
the ’Jewish problem’ exists and should be resolved as soon as possible. At the same
time, however – depending on who the editor-in-chief is – instead of taking part in
the general condemnation of Jews, they try to articulate their own opinion on the
issue based on Christian principles.
Naturally, this is also subject to when the article was written, as journalists
worded articles completely different during the initial years after the change in political authority when the Greek Catholic church tried to testify to its Romanian nationality and national loyalty, from the calmer years later when they did not strive to prove
their stance by decrying Hungarians and other nationalities. Interestingly enough,
however, the number of anti-Jew articles was much higher in the initial years after
the Treaty of Trianon than during the period when Fascist parties emerged and
spread and the anti-Jewish Acts were published. In the latter case, the writings
typically emphasise neighbourly love and distance themselves from the slogans of
fiercely anti-Semitic parties.
On the other hand, it is important to note that this distance is essentially nothing
but the expression of moral greatness as opposed to the Orthodox church, and the
condemnation of anti-Semitic policies amounts to boasting their own moral values.

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Here is a review of the articles found, summarised by broad topics.

a. Incitement to anti-Semitism
A part of the articles from 1920 and 1921 found is characterised by fierce antiSemitism, as they generally depict Jews in a negative tone, with disdain. On the
other hand, Jews are often identified with Bolsheviks and freemasons.
Here, ’scandalous’ news are published, such as the item on a ’red Jew’ who
had a statue of Judas of Iscariot erected in Russia,15, or that Georgy Chicherin,
Soviet minister for foreign affairs, threatened with war if Romania ceased to put an
end to its anti-Bolshevik propaganda. Naturally, there is no answer to such ’Jewish
impertinence’.16 The article reporting the ’leader of Jewish Bolsheviks’ of Bessarabia, Abraham Bezate, called upon Jews to fight against the Romanian army that
united Bessarabia with Romania, which immediately put all Jews of Bessarabia in
the army of enemies.17
The ultimate outcome of these articles could be none other than ’they will not
rule on us as they did in Hungary. And those who do not like this are welcome to go
to Hungary or Palestine, we will even collect money to fund their travel’.18
Identification of the Jewry with freemasonry – which is, obviously, none other
than the ’Satan’s church’ aimed at setting up a world republic that destroys religions,
states and national armies under Jewish leadership, is a similar strain.19The harbingers of the Antichrist played an important role everywhere, were depicted as present wherever something bad happened, in the resolutions of Austria, Hungary and
Germany in 1918 and 1919 just as in the 1931 Spanish revolution and, of course,
the Soviet revolution.20
Unfortunately, this identification is very harmful because repetition fixes these
stereotypes, and from that point on, anything about freemasons is automatically
associated with Jewry, even though the word ’Jew’ does not appear in some of the
articles.
15 Unirea, 1921/40, p. 5
16 Unirea, 1921/35, p. 3
17 UnireaPoporului, 1920/6, p. 2
18 UnireaPoporului, 1920/5, p. 5
19 Unirea 1941/41, p. 4
20 Corneliu Zasloţi, Precursoriilui Antihrist, Unirea, 1934/9, pp. 2-3

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These articles encompass all sorts of topics, from warning believers not to
read the Jewish or Jewified (jidovită) press and heeding them to read only Christian
newspapers21, up to the wail that the numerous Jewish invaders threatened the
Romanian national character of Balázsfalva. ’An army of little Jews (jidănaşi), young
and old, with or without earlocks, live like in the Canaan, helped by the old Hungarian power and due to the indifference of the current Romanian power (...)’. This is
why action is needed against them to keep Balázsfalva the natural centre of ’our’
Romanian church of pure air, as its founder intended.22

b. The issue of Jewish emigration
A part of the articles written during this period addresses the issue of Jews moving to
Palestine and to other countries. Though these pieces do not share the same position as that reflected in the articles mentioned earlier, i.e. ’they should go as soon as
possible, we will only be happy to be rid of them’, and try to present analyses aimed
at objectivity, they still reveal the latent desire to have the Jewish issue settled in Romania at last, and the tone of some articles recalls the style of the previous category.
In its issue no. 29 of 1921, Unirea reports that the English government supported by international freemasonic capital tries to please Zionism, so that Palestine
has become a Jewish republic under British protectorate, and masses of Jews expelled by their old homeland are flooding this new area. This, however, raises the
problem that Christianity loses space in this area, which was a grievance raised by
Pope Benedict XV as well, who asked that trivial interests and political considerations should not be allowed to threaten religious traditions.23
Similarly, Pietro Gasparri24 asked that the League of Nations protect the rights
of different churches. The reason for writing his letter was also the expansion of
Jews in Palestine.25
Other writings on similar topics relate to the possibility of creating a Jewish
state and are formulated in a much more neutral tone. They mention the Karlsbad
congress of 1922 where Jews discussed the Palestinian mandate and expressed
the hope that even Romania may be rid of Jews, or at least the least reliable people,
21 Cultura Creştină 1924/3, 96.o.
22 O primejdie pentru caracterul românesc al Blajului, Unirea, 1920/16, p. 1
23 Unirea, 1921/29, p. 2
24 Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, Secretary of State of the Holy See under Benedict XV and Pious XI.
25 Unirea, 1922/27, p. 3

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if the efforts are successful, and that no difficulties will be set in the course of issuing the passports required for travel.26
This issue was raised less frequently later on, although the question of how the
Jewry’s dream of having its own homeland will be implemented when ’the source
of billions runs dry’ is asked with scepticism masked as objectivity,27 or reports are
published on the establishment of the Jerusalem cultural centre28, as well as on the
enormous surcharge at which Arabs sell barren lands to Jews29.
The last article of this nature was written in 1938 and discusses the possibility of setting up a Jewish state in South America, with rather a lot of scepticism.
However, the desire of getting rid of the Jews in the country, who represent a factor
that threatens Christians, lurks in the background of all these articles. Their ultimate
outcome is that though a Jewish state may be created in Palestine, ’Christian Bethlehem will continue to shine its blinding light on the world’.30

c. Moderate anti-Semitism – ’We are not anti-Semitic, but...’
The authors of these articles emphasise that they are not saying what they are out
of anti-Semitism, but the situation calls for firm action. In such a case, the majority
of students in French universities who benefited of the 750,000 francs of grants
proffered by the French state were Jewish.
This ’impertinence’ was difficult even to imagine, and there is an increasing need
to take action against it. ’There is only one way to resolve the Jewish issue, which does
exist: by strengthening our own people and raising its cultural and economic standards, giving it organisations that protect it from alien exploitation, while all citizens of
the country should be forced to make a living on decent productive work rather than
by exploiting others, by creating a fair and well-considered system of law.”31
At the same time, they also stress that ’the country is obliged to take care of its
sons’, and to ’protect them from the dangerous invasion of strangers’32.
26 Unirea, 1922/37, 4.o.
27 Unirea, 1924/51-52, pp. 2-3
28 Unirea, 1926/19, p. 3
29 CulturaCreştină, 1936/5, p. 316
30 Unirea, 1924/51-52, pp. 2-3
31 Antisemitism, Unirea, 1925/49, pp. 1-2
32 Deparazitarenecesară. CulturaCreştină, 1936/11-12, 771-772.o

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Perhaps these are the articles where a consistent anti-Jewish policy appears
the most (naturally, other than the ideological disputes with L.A.N.C., to be discussed later). The author of the article, who chooses to remain anonymous, explains that this kind of protection ’may be achieved by the positive protection of
national values and forces, rather than by unfairly impeding others’33. However, the
rest of the article fiercely contradicts the above. The author explains his hope that
the ’necessary pest removal’ appearing in the title as well will be efficient. ’It is not as
though we were anti-Semitic. We are not.’ But one must protest the invasion realised
by the infiltration of ’uninvited guests’ who ’have nothing to do with our land and our
spiritual heritage’.34 The author calls upon domestic Jews, ’our Jews’, to take part in
this protest, as they are interested in not becoming subject to all the negative feelings with which the public receives the invaders.
The problem with all these articles is the usual one: donning a guise of objectivity, it applies centuries-old stereotypes to Jews that readers are already familiar
with, and whatever positive is mentioned is negligible and crushed by the heap of
negative adjectives, meaning that it is actually the usual patterns that readers can
see in the texts.
Unfortunately, the ultimate outcome of these articles is what the title also stresses, namely, that pest removal is needed, and in the journalist’s opinion, the Minister of
Labour’s decree under which people of Romanian nationality may not work for Jewish
large enterprises or private individuals is nothing but a ’well-intended measure’.35
Thus, there is actually a conflict between the Christian ethics of love cited
ever so often and the image of Jews emphasised by the articles, and the tension
thus created is far from being suitable for dampening emotions. Unfortunately,
the proportion of articles with a specific positive tone is negligible within the domain
of articles on Jews. In one of these reports with a positive tone, the chief rabbi of
Algiers shows ’an example of fraternity’ to Archbishop Leynaud. The archbishop received a donation of 700 francs for rebuilding the Catholic church of Fouka, which
had been set on fire.36
In most of the publications, however, Jews are presented in a positive light only
when their unity is to be stressed, and their evaluation may be resented in a negative context even then, as in the excerpt entitled Momente, published in issue 15 of
1933 of Unirea:
33 Ibidem.
34 Ibidem.
35 Unirea 1941/33, p. 4
36 Unirea 1935/20, p. 7

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’What a painful example the sons of Israel set for us with their effective unity. It
was sufficient to adopt a few more powerful measures against the Jews of Germany
to get world Jewry to move and to protest and to fill the five continents with wailing.
At the same time, Christian churches are aflame, the ’Goyim’ die by the hundreds in
the Soviet Union, in Mexico and Spain, and world press remains silent like a fish, as
though it were a minor matter, a little nothing worth even less than the chopped-off
earlocks of a bocher.”37

d. Condemnation of political anti-Semitism on a Christian basis, and critique of
the L.A.N.C.’s politics
Albeit the customary stereotypes of both anti-Semitism and religious anti-Judaism
are present in most of the articles, the weekly Unirea, published in Balázsfalva,
often reflects on excessive anti-Semitism. Articles of this kind have been published
already when Alexandru Rusu was editor-in-chief38, but items with a similar political
motivation gained emphasis under the leadership of Augustin Popa39 who himself
discoursed on the topic.
Though scattered over twenty-five years, the articles cannot be considered to
amount to a mouthpiece for a consistent policy, the underlying trend is obvious: ’It
is indifferent for the Church: be they on the left or on the right, social extremities are
equally scary.”40
At the same time, they also emphasise that ’Jews cannot be regarded as the
cause of „our eternal distress”. Anti-Semitism is but a move for cleansing, nothing
else. It does not solve the essential problems of our distress’. 41
These writings are dominated by the criticism of individual phenomena of everyday life, and the demand to act against the then current political discourse. They
are important for our purposes because they describe the ideas and prejudices
concerning Jews that were used in schools, public offices, political life and in general, whereas the picture painted by the articles points out the different aspects of
relations between Jews and Christians. That is why these attempts that try to find
37 Momente, Unirea 1933/15, p. 1
38 Alexandru Rusu was editor-in-chief between 1921-1925, then became paper director in 1926.
39 Prof. Augustin Popa, the paper’s editor-in-chief when Alexandru Rusu was newspaper director, became the
director in 1933 and the editorial work was taken over by Dumitru Neda.
40 Unirea, 1935/50, p. 1
41 Unirea, 1942/41, p. 3

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a peaceful solution to the ’Jewish issue’ on a Christian basis, firmly condemning all
kinds of aggression, are important.
A brief discourse was published under the name Icran in 192142, which called
attention to the importance of national education, stressing the responsibility of
teachers, on the occasion of the start of the academic year:
’The teacher has to distinguish between real and false patriotic feelings. He
should nurture the former by all means and on all possible occasions, and should
nip the latter in the bud.’
As a result of false patriotism, a young person may believe the peak of his calling as Romanian to be the possibility of slandering the Jews at school or turning his
hatred against his co-workers of foreign nationality. He may experience the same in
public life, and will not notice that there is a difference between true patriotic feelings and patriotism as a means of political action.
’True patriotism, like true religion, is a deep emotion stemming from love, and
therefore, it manifests itself in work that contributes to the good and happiness of
the homeland [...] Xenophobia is just an unnatural and passing stage of the human soul. At school, patriotism should not be demonstrated by xenophobia and
violent acts.’
The same concept can be seen in each of the writings published over the
years: the Jewish issue is a real and urgent problem, but the attempts to solve it are
far from the Christian spirit and are therefore to be discarded. In August 1923, a
longer article was published on the front page, discoursing on the issue on the basis of an essay written by Nicolae Iorga. In his essay, writing about Fascia Naţională
Română43, Iorga states that this imported new Fascist movement is none other than
’a singular example of a society’s fall’. And, because ’it will not hurt to express an
opinion’ on this issue, the article’s anonymous author responds to the charges proposed by Iorga. ’As far as we are concerned, we are very sad about all the wrong
that has nested in the country’, the reason for which is actually the harmful effect the
Jewish element has on the evolution of public affairs. It is not known just who this
’we’ is, whether it is Greek Catholics in general, the Greek Catholic church, or just
the paper’s editors. This ’we’ surfaces several times in articles of a similar nature.
’Everyone will understand if we are unable to side with those whose entire morality
and mentality have a disruptive impact on all Christian societies.’
42 Icran: Şcoalaşipatriotismul. Foiţa „Unirii”, Unirea, 1921/35, p. 3
43 A Fascia Naţională Română was a small Fascist group in the Romania of the 1920’s, founded by Titus Panaitescu Vifor. The group later merged into the L.A.N.C. set up by A. C. Cuza.

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Even so, they cannot affirm a movement that would take society on a path to
violence because violent manifestations may cause great economic damage to the
country, considering that as a result, influential economic and political operators
abroad would withdraw their support from Romania. This is why the only way to fight
the situation and the only feasible way they push for, is to elevate society’s morals:
to spread a ’healthy Christian mentality’ with the church’s help, because it would be
such a shame for a victorious people such as the Romanian people to opt for only
violence as the way to eliminate wrongs.44
However, as the fascist actions increased in Europe and Romania, the Jewish
issue and the potential responses to the problem were also covered by Unirea more
frequently. One of the strongest advocates of the issue was Prof. Augustin Popa, the
editor in chief of the newspaper, who published several articles on the topic. In 1926,
Popa raised the issue of anti-Semitism in several articles. It is a new sect. In his article
written under the title of A.C.Cuza revideált kereszténysége [A.C. Cuza’ Revised Christianity] he explained why that political group could not be supported. As the movement
is Christian in its name too, we also should have been “among its first warriors as we
distribute the Christian idea officially.” However, this did not happen because the party
lacked a positive and constructive Christian social and political programme from the
beginning and used merely negative and destructive slogans. Popa analysed the Christian programme outlined by A.C.Cuza with acid sarcasm stating that it was nothing else
but the falsification and mixing up of Christian principles. According to Cuza, the Father
sent Jesus to the Earth to fight against the bad and the Satan who was manifested in
the Jews. Consequently, Jesus came to eliminate Judaism. The Christian theology of
twenty centuries was guilty because they did not understand the true essence of Christianity and did not continue Jesus’ fight against Judaism and thereby helped the Judaism, eliminated by Jesus conquer the entire world. However, these principles mean the
falsification and misinterpretation of Christianity, believes Popa, and A.C.Cuza “is just a
rationalist of a sect or even more a simple politician. The “Christian League” which takes
inspiration from the anti-Christian aberrations of Mr. Cuza is not Christian itself and has
no Christian programme either. It is an anti-Christian sect or rather an anti-Semitic political party, even though it denies that attribute.”45
Nevertheless, Popa emphasises the following: “please understand: we did not
make any declaration about the Jewish issue. It exists and Mr. Cuza can object to
that as much as he wants and as much as Mr. O. Goga allows him. Naturally, he can
also come up with feasible solutions. He should do that in his own name though and
should not try to dress up his own nonsense in the flag of Christianity.”46
44 Unirea 1923/34, p.1.
45 Augustin Popa, O sectănouă. „Creştinismulrevizuit” aldluiA.C.Cuza, Unirea 1926/23, p.1
46 Ibidem.

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In the last Christmas issue of volume 1926, a clarification by Dr. Titus Malaiu,
one of the theoreticians of Liga was also published.47With that contribution, Malaiu
intended to avoid all the attacks that their small “Kuzist” group suffered48 from the
“non-Christian Hydra”. His article revealed that he considered Augustin Popa one
of his challengers because he listed the injuries from his article quoted above, i.e.,
“their noisy and fighting Christianity” missed a positive Christian social and political
programme. Naturally, he interprets that as an attack in the back, but also considers
it important to state the following: even if it seemed later that being anti-Semitic was
shameful, in fact, filo-Semitism was the true disgrace for a Christian having some
self-esteem.
Then he listed arguments in six columns based on which the Jews had to be
condemned, listing the potential methods of fighting against them and concluding
that anti-Semitism was in fact an obligation for “each soldier of Christianity”. The second part of the article contains the response by Augustin Popa to Malaiu’s article.
Popa starts his response by stating that it would be true irony if they threw mud at a
Christian flag. However, to Malaiu’s question as to whether “the League was Christian or anti-Christian”, he only had one answer: in fact neither of the two because
it was only one anti-Semitic party according to any definition. At the same time,
the League, which promoted itself as a Christian party, was not less Christian than
any of the Romanian civic parties. The programme of each large party contained
points similar to those of the League programme: respect for religion, protection of
churches and remuneration to the priests. However, all parties respected Christianity and only League took the liberty of revising and distorting Christianity in a way
that it should certify the anti-Semitic doctrine of Cuza. Consequently, “not League ‘s
programme was based on Christian principles, but Christianity was modified to suit
the political programme.” Concerning the fight against the Jews, it should not even
be mentioned: hatred, violence and noise can never be weapons of a Christian.
Consequently, League is distinguished from the other parties by its anti-Semitism and not by the Christian thought. Every second word of their programme was
against the Jews and their most important programme objective was “to provide a
recipe for destroying that national disaster.”
However, at the end of the article, Popa applied a master stroke and described
his ideas on the Jewish issue:
“The Jewish issue is an acute problem in our country. It is not a bad thing to look
for a solution for it. Other parties are also aware of it. I, however, do not agree with the
47 Augustin Popa, Precizăriîntr’ochestie de importanţă, Unirea 1926/52, p. 6
48 Words used by Malaiu

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extermination methods proposed by Mr. Cuza, quite rightly. But whatever is the case,
it is not shameful to fight for your nation even if others consider you anti-Semitic.”
And then he leaves the issue open: based on what is said, the readers can
understand why the Hungarian and Romanian Greek Orthodox and Orthodox press
all attack League. On this basis, the readers can decide what the obligation of the
church is: to join in under the flag of the League or to “remain in sinful neutrality.”
This conclusion was not even close to the decisiveness of the article published six
months before and did not provide any guidance for decision; in fact it left it to the
readers to make their own decisions.
The newspaper preserved that moderate anti-Semitism and still kept it when
violent anti-Semitic ideas began to spread more intensively in Romania too as the
German and Austrian national socialist parties gained strength. The authors published slighting contemptuous articles about the supporters of the above movements, which was also revealed by the titles of the articles: Joy of the wise, Harmful
exaggerations, Chauvinism and Christian belief.
Some of them in 1933 quoted Iorga again and welcomed the brave statements
by the Archbishop of Paris in relation to the attacks against the Jews and emphasised that “the Christian Rome was the only religion that respected the right of all
languages to life, had mercy for every person and liked the diversity that could be
observed everywhere under the Sun, in the sons of each nation, whom it was able
to embrace with motherly love.”49
At the same time, they strongly objected to any statements that attacked Christianity under the protective idea of excessive nationalism.
“Loving your people as a Christian is natural and is a Christian virtue. To boast
of it is revolting. Being lost in vague theories about nationalism and replacing that
feeling by religion itself is a serious error and harmful aberration.”50
The famous writer IoanBrătescu-Voineşti is also criticised for his aberrations.51
He denied Christianity because the Jews boasted that they gave it to the world and
returned to Christianity before the Jews (sic!). He opted for “Christianity” that was
exercised in the Roman provinces 2000 years B.C.
49 Şovinismulşicredinţacreştină. Unirea 1933/16-17, p. 5
50 Exagerăripăgubitoare, Unirea 1937/31, pp. 2-3
51 IoanAlexandruBrătescu-Voineşti (1868-1946), a Romanian writer, famous for his tales written for children. He
was the secretary of the Romanian Lower House of Parliament and a member of the Romanian Academy, who
was awarded the National Prose Prize in 1945.

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Quoting a cry-out by priest Ionescu, the author describes the aberrations of
such degree of the writer respected by the public as the biggest slap in the face of
the Bible, Christianity and Jesus Christ so far. He also stresses that “it is not a good
idea mixing poetry with religion and nationalism with religious belief.”
They have similar negative opinion about the people who welcomed the change
of power in Austria after the Anschluss, i.e., those who welcomed “that stolen victory of Hitlerism” .52Quoting Iorga, those people are compared to those who hit
themselves in the head by an axe in order to kill a fly on their head.
Even though there is no reference indicating that these articles followed any official policy, they reflected well the views of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church on
the Jewish issue. That position was very similar to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which often saw a threat in Jews and considered only converted Jews
“good Jews” and in whose opinion the Jewish issue had to be resolved. They were
anti-Semitic to that degree and in fact they got into confrontation with various political trends when those trends began to misinterpret the main principles of Christianity in order to certify their own positions. However, they were very persistent that the
Christian principles could never under any circumstances permit the use of violence
and hate speech and crimes against other people and they strongly promoted that
on every possible occasion.

e. The problem of Baptism
The Romanian Greek Catholic Church tried to handle proselytising in the same
way as the Roman Catholic Church. Consequently, after they ascertained that
their intentions to become a Christian were true, they welcomed those who
switched to Christianity in the church. However, in Romania the Ion Antonescu
governments53 tried to use any means to prevent the Jews from taking up Christianity. The Orthodox national church supported them in their efforts, as it fully
accepted and served the ideas of the governments in the Jewish issue. Thus in
that period (between 1941 and 1944) the introduction of Jews to Catholicism
proved to be very difficult.
Although the Romanian Constitution defined Roman and Greek Catholicism
as two separate religions, they always tried to apply the same policy on the issue of
52 Unirea 1938/18, p. 3
53 Between 1940 and 1944, Ion Antonescu led three different governments: 4-14 September 1940; 14 September 1940 and 26 January 1941 and from 27 January 1941 to the coup on 23 August 1944.

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baptism. That, however, often involved confrontation with the government and the
Orthodox Church, which the representatives of the two churches assumed.
The restriction of the conversion of Jews to Christianity relates to a speech
delivered by Ion Antonescu at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 4 March
1941. He said that with the conversion the Jews sneaked into leading positions and
therefore a law had to be adopted to put a stop to that.54 In response to that invitation, the Law Decree 711/1941 was adopted, prohibiting Jews to convert to Christian religions by modifying the cult law. Thus the following paragraph was added at
the end of Article 44 of the cult law: “individuals of Jewish religion shall not benefit
from the provisions of this law”55.
In fact the law decree is contrary to the Romanian Constitution56, which guarantees the freedom of conscience. It is also contrary to the provisions of the Concordat of 1927, which recognises the right of the Catholic Church to act as a missionary.57
Andrea Cassulo Apostolic Nuncio sent a series of submissions to the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs in order to have the right of Jews to convert approved. All those
complaints were rejected though, and in order to apply further restrictions, they
introduced the misdemeanour of “unlawful conversion”, sanctioned in Article 309
of the Criminal Code. That related to the punishment of religious leaders who accepted candidates who did not satisfy the legal formalities. The sanctions could lead
to the dissolution of the congregation58. Nevertheless, contrary to the Orthodox
Church, the Roman and Greek Catholic Church did not allow to be intimidated.
The conversion of the Jews continued. They complied with one aspect: the internal
spiritual need for conversion and baptised everybody, even though the new religion
was not recognised by the national legislation.

54 Extract from the minutes of the meeting of the Council of Ministers of 4 March 1941, called by Marshal Ion
Antonescu in order to prevent mass conversion of the Jews. Benjamin, Lya: Dreptul la convertire şi statutul
evreilor convertiţi în perioada regimului antonescian, Studia et Acta Historiae Iudaeorum Romaniae, vol. III,
Hasefer, Bucuresti, 1998, p. 159
55 ComisiaInternaţionalăpentruStudiereaHolocaustuluiînRomânia: Documente, Ed. Polirom, Iaşi, 2005, p. 161
56 Article 10 of the Romanian Constitution of 1938: “Each Romanian citizen is entitled to the right of conscience,
free employment, free education, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and all the
other freedoms that originate from the rights specified by law.”
57 GeorgetaPană, Antisemitismulreligios din perspectivaHolocaustului - analizăcomparativă: Polonia, Ungaria, România – doctorate thesis, p. 203 Article 18 of the Concordat: “The Catholic Church has a right to provide
any kind of religious assistance.”
58 Minutes of the meeting of the Supreme Legal Council of the Romanian State of 11 July 1941 Problemaevreiască,
272.

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According to the statistics of the Ministry of Culture, the Roman and Greek
Catholics had not stopped their missionary work by 12 February 1943 and by the
time the statistics were published, 331 Jewish families converted to Roman Catholicism and 337 families were baptised to become Greek Catholics.59 Unfortunately,
however, that figure is misleading, because we do not know the start date of these
conversions, as the document does not specify them. Nevertheless, the Jews who
converted to Catholicism were in a slightly better situation than those who opted
for a different religion: those who converted to Calvinism were transported to Bug
pursuant to one of the decrees of Ion Antonescu.60
The government looked for a compromise with the Catholic churches on the
Jewish issue: “the Ministry recognises the right of the Roman Catholic Church to
christen Jews without that switch in religion having any impact on the civic position
of the individual though.”61
Even so, the two Catholic churches did not tolerate the infringement of their
rights included in the Concordat and continued their missionary work, but when the
authorities demanded to inspect the documents concerning conversions, the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches rejected that intervention. The Catholic Church
declared that they would only be willing to disclose the names of Jews who converted to Catholicism if the authorities gave up the idea of conducting direct search
in the archives.62
A change occurred in christening only when Act 800 of 6 December of 1943
amended Article 450 of the Criminal Code: “Any priest of any congregation that
christens 63 or marries parties without fulfilling the formalities required under the civil
laws commits the offence of unlawful christening or marriage and is punishable with
imprisonment for one to six months and a fine of RON 10,000-25,00064.”
Interestingly, the same issue was hardly covered in Greek Catholic publications. It is likely that the directives on christening are included more in the bishops’
circulars, but they are not available for research from the period in question.
59 RezumatulConsiliului de ordineinternă. Extrasprivindindicaţiaconducătoruluistatuluitransmisăautorităţilorlocale
pentruîmpiedicareatreceriievreilor la catolicism. Problemaevreiască, Documentul 156, p. 492.
60 Minutes of the meeting of the Supreme Legal Council of the Romanian State of 11 July 1941 Problemaevreiască,
p. 272.
61 GyÉL, P. 28 cs., 591/ 13 February 1943
62 Jean Ancel, Documents Concerning the Fate of the Romanian Jewry During the Holocaust, Beate Klarsfeld
Foundation, Ierusalim, 1986, vol. 10, doc. 291, p. 695.
63 The signatory is highlighted.
64 That amount equalled a good salary for approximately two months.

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The newspapers published only small neutral articles covering the amendments
in the law and referred to the topic, which was one of the important problems of the
Jewish issue in 1941-44 only in a short article. That article also states that since
the change in power the Hungarians following the religion of Moses were about to
be kicked out from Hungary. However, as “they were informed” that their situation
could change if they converted to Christianity, thousands of Jews were queuing in
front of churches and parishes (primarily Catholic ones) in order to convert to Christianism. That, of course, is impossible without prior adequate education.65
It seems that one of the most important problems of the Jewish issue took
place almost without any media reflection in Balázsfalva as well as in Szamosújvár.
Believers could also read one small article, written in a neutral tone, about
the withdrawal of the decree prohibiting the conversion of the Jews. The article
stated that, pursuant to the law decree published in issue No. 256 of the Official
Gazette, the law restricting the conversion of the Jews was withdrawn, therefore
Jews who completed 18 years of age, were again permitted by law to convert to
another religion provided that they fulfilled the formalities specified under the act
on cult.66

f. Rescue of the Jews
The rescue of the Jews was another important issue in the examined period, although it was less covered by the media. As after the Second Vienna Award the
Greek Catholic dioceses of Máramaros, Cluj-Szamosújvár and Nagyvárad were
transferred to Hungary, the application of the anti-Jewish laws began in those territories and in 1944 some of the Jews tried to escape to Romania from the threat
imposed on them.67There was no need for the priests to be actively involved in
rescuing the Jews in the dioceses of Lugos and Balázsfalva which remained in the
territory of Romania because the Romanian anti-Jewish laws were different from the
Hungarian ones. However, after the Second Vienna Award, Cluj became very close
to the border and quite a few Jews were rescued from there to Regat. Most of those
actions are covered by Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger, whose statements on the topic
contained some distortions.

65 Botezuricunemiliuita, Unirea 1944/29, p. 4
66 Unirea 1944/29, p. 4
67 Jenő Gergely, Az erdélyi görögkatolikus román egyház [The Transylvanian Greek Catholic Romanian
Church]

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One of the important actors of these alleged rescue operations was priest
Alexandru Nicula operating with Raoul Şorban and Iuliu Hossu. The priests allegedly helped rescuing hundreds of Jews and agreed to be the “godfather” of a lot
of Jews. Priest Nicula was the secretary of Iuliu Hossu for two years, until he became archdeacon of Cluj. According to one of his stories, they collected 200 rich
and influential Jews of Cluj during one night and took them to a building on Iaşilor
Road. They were visited on the following day by the bishop and priest Nicula. In
fear of deportation, the Jews “practically begged them on their knees” to convert
to Christianity.68This statement by priest Nicula was not supported by any tangible
evidence and was also questioned by Robert Schwartz, president of the Jewish
community of Cluj. He has no doubt about the merits of the Greek Catholic bishop
and archdeacon in their endeavours to rescue Jews, but has doubts about whether
the Jews would so easily give up their religion.
Another aspect of the Jew rescuing activity of Archbishop Iuliu Hossu should
also be proved. Moshe Carmilly Weinberger, chief rabbi of the reformed synagogue
of Cluj, mentioned the Jew rescue activity of Iuliu Hossu: “it was a generally known
fact that Iuliu Hossu, Romanian bishop seated in Cluj-Gherla, supplied thousands
of Jews with papers in co-operation with the Romanian authorities in order to help
them avoid being deported to the extermination camps.”69
However, this generally known fact has not yet been ultimately proved, just
as we know about the bishop circular of Iuliu Hossu in which he invited the Romanians of Transylvania to assist the Jews only from the articles of Moshe CarmillyWeinberger.”I am turning to you, honourable brothers and dear sons: Help the Jews
not only in your mind but also with a sacrifice, bearing in mind that we cannot do
anything else but provide Christian and Romanian assistance, stemming from warm
human love. Let assistance be the primary task of these hours.”70
The researchers have questioned the existence of these documents on several
occasions and so far nothing has been found proving the authenticity of the circular.
Having reviewed the newspapers of the diocese of Cluj-Szamosújvár, we wanted to
reveal more about the issue, hoping that we would find references in the columns
of the publications that could prove the intentions of the Transylvanian bishop in that
regard. Interestingly, however, the Curierul Creştin fortnightly official religious paper of the diocese of Cluj-Szamosújvár, published in Szamosújvár, often presented
the bishop’s speeches given on the New Year, at Easter, Christmas and on other
68 MonikaKrajnik, PărinteleNicula, Schindler de subFeleac, Adevărul, 8 December 2010, http://adevarul.ro/
locale/cluj-napoca/parintele-nicula-schindler-feleac-1_50ae3a5a7c42d5a6639adbc9/index.html
69 Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger: Út a szabadság felé [Road to Freedom], Cluj, 1999, p. 115
70 Ibidem

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holidays but contained no reference at all to the Jews. All sermons reflected on the
particular religious holidays and even the ones that referred to the horrible events
of the war did so only at the level of religion. The word “Jew” is almost completely
missing from the vocabulary of the newspaper as if they did not exist. Compared to
how intensively the newspapers of Balázsfalva covered the Jewish issue, it seems
that the newspapers of the diocese of Cluj-Szamosújvár deliberately avoided using even the word “Jew”. The analysis of the newspaper Viaţacreştină, publised by
Vasile Chindriş in Cluj, could perhaps help a little in the issue but we found so few
copies of it that we were unable to draw any conclusions yet.

Summary
After the analysis of articles of five publications dedicated to the Jews and antiSemitism, accessible to us, we have reached the following conclusions:
1. The Greek Catholic newspapers tried to become the mouthpiece of the
Romanian national awareness in gaining the primary position against the Orthodox
Church. Consequently, their tone often contained features of nationalism and the
rhetoric of religious anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism may also be observed in them.
However, the majority of their articles were not aimed against the Jews but primarily against the Orthodox Church, secondarily against other nationalities, primarily
against the Hungarians. That tendency was reflected mainly in the years following
the Treaty of Trianon. In those cases, the Jews were often in the crossfire of attacks
also because they accepted a common fate with the Hungarians.
2. In fact, the Jewish issue occurred mostly in the newspapers of Balázsfalva,
where the editors also expressed their opinions. The reflected position was also
likely to reflect the opinion of the particular editor, which could be one of the reasons why articles about the Jews appeared more after the Treaty of Trianon and
during the dissemination of the Fascist ideas. Often it is impossible to know to what
extent the opinions expressed in the newspapers reflected a single Jewish policy
or to what extent they represented the opinion of the Greek Catholic Church on the
issue or perhaps were only the expressions of the individual views of the particular
editors.
The actual political situation always influences the position expressed in relation to the Jewish issue but it is a generally accepted standpoint that the Jewish
Issue exists and should be resolved urgently because the Jews had a bad influence
on the Christian spirit of the country; the process of the dissemination of Jews

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should be reverted but in the opinion expressed by them they were against the antiSemitism of the Orthodox Church that served the state as well as the extreme views
of the Fascist-type political parties.
In this case, however, it is important to note that an opinion is expressed on
this issue only when the rhetoric represented by the political parties also represented an attack against the Christian churches and the distortion of the Christian
doctrines. Therefore, the expression of this opinion could in fact be considered
defence, which was not aimed at speaking up for the Jews but at protecting the
doctrines of their own church.
3. All in all, we cannot state that they would have been more anti-Semitic than
generally observed in that period, they only used the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the
times and in general were not malevolent. Nonetheless, as an opinion forming institution, the church has always had a huge impact on the way of thinking of the
congregation, thus contributing to the dissemination of the anti-Semitism, which
was already present in the Romanian society. Considering though that the Orthodox Church served the anti-Semitic governments and parties in almost everything,
in a strongly anti-Semitic atmosphere and in the flow of hatred speech, the Greek
Catholics were definitely moderate.

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Bibliography
Documents of the Archives of the Bishop of Gyulafehérvár
Gergely Jenő, A Magyar Katolikus Püspöki Kar, az Apostoli Szentszék és a
Soá, [The Hungarian Catholic Order of Bishops, the Holy See and the Shoah]
http://www.magyarpaxromana.hu/kiadvanyok/soa/gergely_jeno.htm
GergelyJenő, Azerdélyigörögkatolikusrománegyház [The Transylvanian Greek Catholic Romanian Church], Regio-KisebbségtudományiSzemle 1991, vol. 2, No. 3
Lukács Imre Róbert, A görögkatolikusok helyzete Erdélyben az első világháború
után [Situation of Greek Catholics in Transylvania after World War One], http://
ias.jak.ppke.hu/hir/ias/20101sz/04.pdf
Mihai Bărbulescu, Dennis Deletant, Keith Hitchins, ŞerbanPapcostea, Pompiliu Teodor – IstoriaRomâniei, Corint Publishers, Bucharest, 2005.
MonikaKrajnik, ,PărinteleNicula, Schindler de subFeleac, Adevărul, 8 December
2010http://adevarul.ro/locale/cluj-napoca/parintele-nicula-schindlerfeleac-1_50ae3a5a7c42d5a6639adbc9/index.html
Randolph L. Braham, Erdély zsidósága: opportunista történelmi beszámolók
[The Jews of Transylvania: Opportunist Historic Reports], Korunk, October 1997
http://www.korunk.org/?q=node/8&ev=1997&honap=10&cikk=6170Silvestru
Augustin Prunduş - ClementePlaianu, Catolicismşiortodoxieromânească, Scurtistoricalbisericiiromâneunite, Casadeediturăviaţacreştină, Cluj-napoca1994
PirigyiIstván, A görög katolikus magyarság története,[History of the Greek
Catholic Hungarians] Görögkat. Hittud. Főiskola, 1982
A.C.Cuza, ApărareaNaţională, 1928, No. 16
ComisiaInternaţionalăpentruStudiereaHolocaustuluiînRomânia:
Ed. Polirom, Iaşi, 2005

Documente,

GeorgetaPană, Antisemitismul religios din perspectiva Holocaustului – analiză
comparativă: Polonia, Ungaria, România – Ph.D. dissertation
Jean Ancel, DocumentsConcerningtheFate of theRomanianJewryDuringthe
Holocaust, BeateKlarsfeldFoundation, Ierusalim, 1986, vol. 10, doc. 291

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MosheCarmilly-Weinberger: Út a szabadság felé [Road to Freedom], Cluj,
1999
Benjamin, Lya: Dreptul la convertire şi statutul evreilor convertiţi în perioada
regimului antonescian, Studia et Acta Historiae Iudaeorum Romaniae, vol. III,
Hasefer, Bucuresti, 1998

Quoted articles
Cultura creştină
3 March 1924 Predică pentru Dumineca a patra a postului mare.- Prof Iuliu
Major – pp. 92-96
5 May 1936 Emigraţia sionistă – (n) p. 316
Unirea
9 March 1920 /16. 0 primejdie pentru caracterul românesc al Blajului, n.a. – p. 1
16/29 July 1921 Pentru Ţara Sfânta – n.a. – p. 2
27 August 1921 / 35 Foiţa unirii - Şcoala şi patriotismul – „Icran” – p. 2
1 October 1921 / 40 Un monument pentru Iuda Iscarioteanul – Ştiri mărunte, p. 4
8 July 1922 /27.Revista Bisericească – n.a. – p. 3
16 September 1922 / 37 Un congres sionist - Ştiri mărunte – p. 4
25 August 1923 / 34 Un cuvânt de alarmă – n.a. – p. 1
20 November - 7 December 1924 / 51-52 Lumină şi umbră – Foiţa Unirii – n.a. – p. 2
5 December 1925 / 49 Antisemitismul – a.n - p. 1
5 July 1926 / 23 O sectă nouă - „Creştinismul revizuit” al dlui A. C. Cuza — De
ce nu putem sprijini L. A. N. C. — Compromiterea unei lozinci, care ne va trebui
ca mâine - Dr. Augustin Popa, p. 1

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25 December 1926 / 52 Precizări într’o chestie de importanţă – Este Liga
„creştină”, ori „anticreştină”? - Filosemitismul este un blam desonorant pentru
orice creştin – Antisemitismul este o datorie – Partid antisemit – Prof Augustin
Popa, pp. 6-8
15 April 1933 / 15 Momente, p. 1
29 April 1933 / 16-17 Şovisinimul şi credinţa creştină – R. Negru – p. 5
3 March 1934 / 9 Precursorii lui Antihrist – Corneliu Zasloţi – pp. 2-3
18 May 1935 / 20 Pildă de frăţie – Ştiri mărunte – p. 7
14 December 1935 / 50 Idee fericit inspirată – Ioan Ploscaru, pp. 1-2
November-December 1936 / 11-12 „Deparazitare necesară” – (a) – p. 771
31 July 1937 / 31 Crimă naţională - Se înfiinţează pe furiş vlădicie ortodoxă
în Maramureş — Statul autor al răsboiului confesional – Duplicitatea politicii
religioase a guvernului liberal - Exagerări păgubitoare – n.a. – pp. 1-3
30 April 1938 / 18 Bucuria . . . deştepţilor – a.n. – p. 3
16 August 1941 / 33 Măsură bine intenţionată - Ştiri mărunte, p. 4
11 October 1941 / 41 Conspiraţia lojilor - Traian Cosma, p. 4
24 October 1942 / 41 Foiţa unirii: Cetind cărţile, nouă. Emil Cioran : Schimbarea la faţă a României. - Gavril Todica – pp. 2-4
15 July 1944 / 29 Botezuri cu nemiluita - Ştiri mărunte, p. 4
Unirea Poporului
8 February 1920 /6.Prietenii noştrii jidanii – a.n. – p. 2

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Attila Simon

The relationship of the Catholic
and Lutheran press to the
Jewish issue in Slovakia from
1919 to 1944
The scope of the study
It has been a myth in Czech and Slovak school books accepted by the public opinion
of the two countries and also in part by the relevant literature that the Czechoslovak
Republic (1918-1938) under President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was free of open
anti-Semitism. Others including the works of Ješajahu Jelínek or Miloslav Szabó1
warn that the above cliché is far from being true. Although the Czechoslovak laws
provided equality under the law for the Jewish community, and the political elite (led
by Masaryk) insisted on observing them, this could not eliminate the strong prejudices living in large strata of the society. This is particularly true for Slovakia, where
anti-Semitism originating from traditional anti-Judaism, anti-capitalism and nationalism against Hungarians was deeply rooted in the mostly Catholic rural population. In
the eyes of average Slovaks their Jewish compatriots were not only the murderers
of Jesus Christ and exploiters of Slovaks, but also the embodiment and tools of the
thousand-year-long Hungarian oppression.
Thus, even if anti-Semitism did not openly appear in political public life and public administration, it was a living tradition providing strong social background and
foundations for the government-level anti-Semitism of the totalitarian Slovak state led
by Jozef Tiso after 1938, and, in that way, to the Holocaust of the Slovakian Jews.
The present study will not deal with the Slovakian anti-Semitism directly, but
it will try to reveal the attitude of the Catholic and Lutheran press published in
1 Jelínek, Ješajahu Andrej: Dávidova hviezda pod Tatrami. Židia na Slovensku v 20. storočí. Praha, 2009;
Szabó, Miloslav: Od slov k činom. Slovenské národné hnutie a antisemitizmus (1875–1922). Bratislava,
Kalligram, 2014.

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Slovakia towards the Jewish issue. These two denominations have been selected
mainly because the Catholic and the Lutheran churches covered the majority of the
Slovak society, since - according to the figures of the 1921 census - 71.6% of the
population of Slovakia were Catholics, 12% belonged to the Lutheran Church of
the Augsburg Confession, while Israelites made up 4.1% of the population.2On the
other hand, the two churches had a fundamentally different relationship to the current political government, which led to different stands regarding the Jewish issue.
The Slovak Lutherans were important supporters of the Czechoslovak government
of the first republic, while they played the part of a tolerated internal enemy in the
Tiso era. On the other hand, the Catholics opposed the Prague Government at the
time of the first republic, but were considered the major supporters of the system
from 1938 to 1945.
Thanks to the liberal attitude of the Czechoslovak Republic, the contemporary
press including denominational papers was quite rich. If local bulletins published
by some parishes or papers published for less than 3 years are disregarded, the
number of printed documents with Catholic connections published from 1919 to
1944 is still over fifty.3 They however included a significant number of religious papers in which topics relating to public life were completely missing. With regard to
public life, the daily and weekly papers with connections to different Catholic-style
parties represented the extremes. This analysis will cover Slovák, the official paper
of Hlinka’s People’s Party having the largest electoral basis. Slovák was published
from 1919 to the spring of 1945 at Rózsahegy (Ruzomberok) considered to be the
headquarters of the Slovak People’s Party of Hlinka. Although it was a political daily,
it was the sounding board of a party that did not only have close links to Catholic
principles in its programme but its leading personalities included a high number of
Catholic priests.4 The first then second President of the party, Andrej Hlinka and
Jozef Tiso were also Catholic priests. Especially in the case of Hlinka it was true
that he held the paper under strict control, and it could only publish articles that corresponded to his ideas.
In addition to Slovák, we focused in our analysis to the two Catholic religious
papers that may have been the best representatives of the contemporary church.
The first of them was the semi-official paper of the Slovak Catholic clergy, Duchovnýpastier (Pastor) that has been published since 1917 up to the present. The
first editor-in-chief of the monthly published by the Saint Adalbert Society was the
2 Šuchová, Xénia: Prílohy I - Obyvateľstvo. InZemko, Milan (ed.): Slovensko v Československu 1918 – 1939.
Veda, Bratislava, 2004, 528.
3 A list of contemporary denominational papers is attached. The source of the data is: Kipsová, Mária (zost.): Bibliografiaslovenských a inorečových novín a časopisov z rokov 1919–1938. Matica Slovenská, Martin, 1968.
4 With regard to Hlinka’s People’s Party, cf. Letz, Robert a kol.:Slovenskáľudovástrana v dejinách 1905–1945.
Matica Slovenská, Martin, 2006.

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Catholic Priest, Jozef Buday, who also acted as a leading personality in the Hlinka
Party, being its representative in Parliament for many years, while later on Andrej
Hlinka - among others - also edited the paper. The Duchovnýpastier published holiday and weekday sermons, catechisms, news related to the Slovak dioceses and to
the Catholicism of the world, literary works and a lower number of writings related
to public topics.
Another important paper was the monthly Katolickájednota (Catholic Unity)
published in Nagyszombat (Trnava) from 1920 to 1945, by a charity organisation
of the same name of a Catholic nature and targeting mainly women. The monthly
was mainly intended for women readers.
In addition to those two important religious monthlies, we included in our analysis a paper of college students with Catholic connections named Svoradov published in the students’ hostel of the same name. The students’ hostel Svoradov
was run by the Catholic Church and it was an important spiritual basis of the young
Slovak intellectuals who were to serve the Slovak People’s Party of Hlinka. The journal was published from 1931 to 1940 initially six times a year and later eight times
a year.
The last Catholic paper analysed was the monthly named Új Élet [New Life]
published from 1932 to 1944. The monthly published in Kosice was the paper of
the Reformed Catholic movement of the Hungarian national minorities in Slovakia
called Prohászka Ottokár Körök Szövetsége [Federation of Ottokár Prohászka
Groups]. Elemér Rády and Ferenc Sinkó were its best known editors. The monthly
continued to be published after Kosice was annexed to Hungary in 1938.
Except for Slovák, we reviewed all available volumes of the five Catholic papers analysed, so in that case we can offer a possibly complete image of the articles dealing with the topic. With regard to the daily Slovák, we could not undertake
reviewing all issues of the 25 years involved. About a quarter of all issues were
reviewed keeping in mind not to omit a single year or a single month. We believe
the sample we took can be regarded representative and the conclusions drawn are
solidly founded.
In the course of reviewing the above papers, we have found 55 articles in the
journal Duchovnýpastier, 22 ones in Katolickájednota, 243 in the daily Slovák, 1 in
the paper Svoradov and 16 in the paper Új Élet that dealt with the Jewish community
and discussed it from some aspect. In that way, those 337 articles make up the
subject of this analysis.

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Periodization
If you analyse the distribution of the above more than 300 documents in time and
also by their content, you can find that the Jewish issue was present all the time in
the period investigated (1919–1944) both within the Church and in the Catholic
public discourse, although its intensity and charge were different in the different
periods. Its intensity and shift in content was in close correlation with the political
evolution of (Czecho)Slovakia. Accordingly, the following four periods can be differentiated to offer an easier overview of the topic (being aware, however, that it
is subjective as every periodization is, and the end of an era and the beginning of
a new one do not in fact mean sharp transition; they are rather points in a longer
process picked at random):
1. 1919–1924
2. 1925–1932
3. 1933–1938
4. 1938–1944
The first 5 years (1919–1924) following the establishment of Czechoslovakia was the period of building and solidifying the republic. It was also a time (similarly
to other European states) of a re-start after the war, of social unrest triggered by the
war and the Bolshevik revolutions and a period of social and political reflection in
Slovakia. Add to this the national revolution in Slovakia that followed the dissolution
of the historic Hungarian Kingdom and the birth of Czechoslovakia, which increased
social tension.5 This economic and social context had an impact on the Jewish issue by itself ; however, it is important to note that the 1918/19 change of regime
in Slovakia was accompanied by violent anti-Semitic acts right from the beginning. They were mostly limited to looting, but they caused loss of life in some cases
as well.6 At the beginning they were instinctive acts triggered by the deterioration of
public order and the poor supplies of food, but the second phase of anti-Jewish
movements was already encouraged by the Slovak intellectuals and the public
authorities fresh in power.7At that time, the national issue was the primary motivating force, since the Jewish community have always been regarded by Slovak
nationalism to be an alien body supporting the efforts of ‘magyarization’. This is
proved by the following lines by Antonín Štefánek, one of the founders of Slovak
sociology and a defining personality of contemporary political life in Slovakia: ‘The
5 Regarding the different aspects of the contemporary evolution of future Slovakia that had been an organic part
of historical Hungary before 1918, cf. Szarka, László (ed.): A multi-ethnic Region and Nation-State in EastCentral Europe. New York, Boulder Co., 2011.
6 Regarding documents on anti-Jewish movements, an important source is: Medvecký, Karol Anton: Slovenský
prevrat I-IV. Bratislava, 1930.
7 Jelínek, Ješajahu Andrej: Dávidova hviezda pod Tatrami. Židia na Slovensku v 20. storočí. Praha, 2009, 124.

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Jews were always an alien body in the regions populated by them. They lived among
us as foreigners, they had a different language, a different religion and they made
business and behaved in a different manner. They fully exploited the advantages
originating from the political protection of the ruling Hungarian race, the economic
underdevelopment of Slovaks, their natural tolerance and the carelessness of both
simple people and the intelligentsia as well (…) It is a historical fact that our cities
have become ‘magyarized’ so quickly because the Jews provided social support
promoting dogged but silent de-nationalising activities among the Slovaks in the
fields of language, economy and culture.’8
As a result, a fairly openly expressed anti-Jewish atmosphere was present in
the Slovak society in the period from 1919 to 1924 (although with decreasing intensity). It is reflected by the media reviewed since – taking into account annual averages – the Jewish community as a topic was the second most frequently mentioned in
the first of the four periods. If you analyse the content of the documents involved, it
is clearly seen that the assessment of the Jewish community was the most negative
in this period, at the same time, the linguistic tools used in the documents involved
were the rudest and least sophisticated.
By the middle of the 1920s Czechoslovakia had been consolidated both with
regard to its foreign and domestic policy; living standards had increased and ethnic
tensions had been eased. At the same time, the Jewish community had accepted
the new state and responded to legal certainty with loyalty. The Prague Government and the majority of the Czech and Slovak society welcomed the step-by-step
dissimilation of the Jewish community from the Hungarian minority.9 The majority of
the Jews living on the territory of future Slovakia reported speaking Hungarian as
their mother tongue in 1910. In 1930, on the other hand, most of them said they
belonged to the Israelite minority or were Czechoslovaks and only a small part said
they were Hungarians.10Naturally, Slovak nationalists wanted more; they wanted the
Jews to be actually assimilated to the Slovaks, which was a difficult process with a
slow start. It lacked - particularly in the first years of the republic - a proper motivation since the Jewish community did not perceive that becoming Slovak meant a
step forward in society. Lacking that motivation, the Jewish community - irrespective
of its reported nationality - continued to speak Hungarian and was a player in the
Hungarian cultural space.
8 Quoted from the book by Štefánek; Základy sociografie Slovenska [Foundation of sociography in Slovakia] published in 1945 by Mlynárik, Ján: Dejiny židu na Slovensku. Praha, Academia, 2005, p. 71.
9 Regarding the relationship of the Jewish community in Slovakia and the Hungarian society in Slovakia, cf.: Attila
Simon: Kettős szorításban. A dél-szlovákiai zsidóság Trianon és Auschwitz között [In a double grip. The Jews of
Southern Slovakia from Trianon to Auschwitz]. Fórum Társadalomtudományi Szemle, 2014, Vol. 4. pp. 3–16.
10 At the time of the 1930 census, 53% of those identifying themselves as Israelites reported to belong to the
Jewish national minority and 32% to the Czechoslovak nation. Sčítání lidu v republice Československé ze dne
1. prosince 1930. Díl I. Praha, SÚS, 1934, p. 106.

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Nevertheless, aversion to Jews clearly declined in the period and conflicts
became more infrequent. Anti-Semitism did not cease to exist but it took a more
latent form, which can also be seen from the media publications reviewed. Not only
because the number of articles of Jewish topics significantly declined but also because most of them were neutral in their content having lost their sharp edge. The
extremist linguistic tools characterising a part of the Slovak press in the years following the change of regime in 1918/1919 had more or less ceased to be used by that
time. The radicalism of the daily Slovák must have been moderated by the fact that
the Slovak People’s Party of Hlinka had a governmental position from autumn 1926
to 1929 as a member of the so-termed ‘Gentlemen’s Coalition’.
The period of grace characterising the second part of the 1920s had gradually
changed by the beginning of the 1930s. That was partly due to the effects of the
great economic crisis that had hit bottom in Slovakia in 1932, and to the political
changes occurring in Europe and Czechoslovakia at the same time. Of them the
most important was obviously that Adolf Hitler had come to power and you should
not forget about the changes of the domestic climate in Czechoslovakia, for instance the acceleration of Slovak efforts to achieve autonomy. More and more worrying news arrived from Germany regarding the position of the Jewish community
and nationalism became stronger and stronger; it all resulted in the Jewish community in Slovakia finding themselves involuntarily in the cross-fire of Slovak-Hungarian
national minority conflicts being the target of fierce attacks by both parties. You
cannot forget, on the other hand, that the Slovak People’s Party of Hlinka with an
unambiguous influence not only on the daily Slovák but also on the Slovak Catholic
Church and its media, started to take sides more and more openly with the Nazi
German model instead of the Italian example. This had tragic consequences from
the point of view of the Jewish issue.
It resulted in an obvious increase of anti-Semitism indicated by the frequency
of open conflicts and also by the attitude of the Slovak media. Although the number
of articles dealing with the topic did not significantly increase in the actual church
press and they did not present any major shift, an analysis of the articles of the
daily Slovák indicates an increased anti-Semitic atmosphere. Of the four periods,
the number of documents dealing with the Jewish community was the highest from
1933 to 1938 and their content had become definitely more radical than previously.
The degree of anti-Jewish emotions can be compared in its intensity to those
in the years of the change of regime; however, their form had changed. The earlier
quite often ‘primitive anti-Semitism’ was replaced by a more conscious and more
sophisticated form that had become more and more the means of an increasing
political struggle than ever before.

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In autumn 1938, the Czechoslovakia built by T. G. Masaryk and Edvard Beneš
collapsed from one day to the next. It did not only damage the territorial integrity of the state but also the idea of Czechoslovak democracy. In Slovakia, which
became autonomous then independent from March 1939, the Slovak People’s
Party of Hlinka established a single-party dictatorship. The totalitarian Slovak
state following the Nazi model in many respects was extremely nationalist and
anti-Semitic.11 Anti-Semitism permeated legislation, government politics as well as
everyday life. The first decrees hitting the Jewish community were already born in
autumn 1938 followed by a series of stringency measures in 1939-40. The peak of
anti-Semitic legislation in Slovakia was meant by the so-termed Aryasation laws allowing Jewish property to be robbed and the so-termed Jewish Code taking effect
in autumn 1941, which was built on racial foundations and covered every area of life.
In spring 1942, the Slovak authorities deported about 58 thousand Jews
to Nazi death camps. The deportation of the remaining Jews, who had been
saved first but lived in a state of total legal and material deprivation, took place
in autumn 1944 following the German occupation of the country. Out of about
80 thousand Slovak Jews only about 10 thousand survived till the end of World
War II.
In the independent Slovak state, the position and possibilities of the media
were totally changed since the totalitarian state wanted to control the whole society.
The daily Slovák had become an official government paper, and an important means
of social control. The paper continued to deal with the Jewish issue by not only publishing the orders, decrees and laws and the announcements of the political elite on
the topic, but other texts too contributing to an extremist anti-Semitic atmosphere
that characterised public discourse in Slovakia at the time.
The Catholic Church had a privileged position, because a Catholic priest, Jozef
Tiso was head of the state and Catholic doctrine had become the official ideology
of the state. Still, the administration represented by Tiso and some members of the
clergy had a relationship with the Vatican which was not harmonious. One of the
reasons for that were the Jewish issue and its solution with a tragic end.
The number of press releases related to the Jewry was fairly high in the first
years of the period (1939–1941), but it fell back as the deportations started. Its
style was negative and even inciting with regard to the daily Slovák, but the same
radicalism was missing from the two church papers.

11 Regarding the anti-Semitic politics of the Slovak State of the time, cf. Nižňanský, Eduard: Nacizmus, holokaust, slovenskýštát.Kalligram, Bratislava, 2010.

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Content of the articles
The articles in the papers reviewed were basically classified into three major categories. The first covers neutral writings - neither positive nor negative in their attitude to the Jewish community. The next group is of the positive writings and the
third consists of texts negative towards the Jewish community.
Of Duchovnýpastier, which was mainly a religious journal, can be said that
about one-third of its texts were neutral, while two-thirds presented a negative image
of the Jewish community. The ratio is even worse for Katolickájednota targeting
Catholic women mainly: 2 of 22 hits can be regarded to be neutral while the rest
belongs to the negative category. In other words, it is true for directly religious journals that the decisive majority of news and writings related to the Jewish community had a negative attitude. The situation is even aggravated by the fact that a
significant part of the neutral category writings was sermons, in which Jews were
mentioned in such Biblical context that made a negative tone impossible.
The proportions are similar for the daily Slovák, since about 80% of the writings analysed belonged to the negative group and only news about foreign Jews,
statistical reports and a few other articles made up the group of neutral writings.
On the other hand, there was only one writing of a positive attitude.
Of the other journals, the only text found in Svoradov belongs to the category
of neutral writings, while the majority of 16 texts in the Hungarian language Új Élet
are neutral, 4 belong to the negative group and 1 to the group of positive articles.
You can learn more about those texts if you try to categorise them according
to their content. In the church papers reviewed, Jews often turn up in the texts of
sermons, homilies and catechisms, since the issue is almost impossible to avoid
if you use Biblical allegories. The tone is usually neutral in those texts, but not in
every case. In connection with the Easter holidays, the story of the crucifixion of
Jesus is a particularly sensitive topic and traditional anti-Judaist accusations often
appear in the texts dealing with it.12Such is, for instance, an article by Ján Kalina
published in the February issue of the journal Duchovnýpastier in 1924, entitled
New World,13 which is focusing on the ‘original sin’ of the Jews, i.e., the crucifixion
of Jesus Christ. Still, the text is not unambiguously negative in its tone, because the
author surpasses the traditional anti-Judaist clichés and expresses his hope that the
Jewish community will find a way back to the Lord (the re-conquest of Palestine is
evaluated as an element in that process). And although Kalina uses the term ‘Jewish
12 See e.g., Dr. Jantausch: Na piatu (smrtnú) nedeľu pôstnu. In Duchovný pastier, 01.04.1922. p. 69–70.
13 Kalina, Ján: Nový svet. In Duchovný pastier, 01.02.1924. p. 29–31.

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intrigue’, he also emphasises that Christians should be pleased with the adjacent
conversion and repentance of the Jews instead of hating them.
The Jews were most often mentioned in the journal Duchovnýpastier in the
column ‘In the Catholic world’. In it, there were an outstandingly high number of
news and information on the Jews immigrating into Palestine. The paper regarded
the expansion in Palestine as a mixed blessing. With regard to Palestine and immigration there - that appeared as a topic in all the papers reviewed – some writings
focused on the drawbacks, but most of them took an adverse view on the process
(almost out of reflex). Many objections voiced related to the immigration to Palestine, among them the accusation that the Jews - with their traditional spirit of hoarding – will push Christians out of their businesses in that land,14 and also that Zionists continuously insult and provoke Christians and fail to respect their rights. 15 In
connection with alleged attacks on Christian values, the articles in Duchovnýpastier
mentioned above compare the situation to the conquest of the Seldzhuk Turks in the
Middle Ages and to their behaviour and also raise the option that another Crusade
needs to be organised not against the Turks but against the Jews this time.16
The summary of a report by an Italian monk in the Holy Land is the odd one
out of all texts related to Palestine, because it does not only report about the Jews
buying lands in the Holy Land without any negative connotations, but he underlines
that the Jews will certainly take better care of the land than the Arabs did.17
Although the re-population of Palestine by Jews was not very welcome for the
Slovak Catholic public opinion, the option that it could also involve the exodus of a
part of the Slovak Jewish community seemed to be a good idea for many. So when
in 1923, 35 Slovak families left for the Holy Land, a commentary in the daily Slovák
expressed disappointment that the figure is not larger by some zeros.18 In 1937, the
same daily - probably responding to contemporary international news - wrote it does
not matter where the Jews are moving, to Palestine, to Madagascar or Birobidzhan,
the important thing is that they should leave.19
In texts about Jews in other European countries, the Soviet Union played a
major part because it was supposed to prove the statement repeated many times by
Slovak anti-Semitism that Bolshevism is basically the Jews’ ideology.
14 (Z katolíckeho sveta) Palestina-Seldžukia. In Duchovný pastier, 15.03.1922. p. 53.
15 Dr. Zlatoš, J: V Palestíne niet náboženského pokoja. In Duchovný pastier, 01.02.1925. p. 9–10; Palestína. In
Katolická jednota. 1937/2. p. 18–19.
16 (Z katolíckeho sveta) Palestina-Seldžukia. In Duchovný pastier, 15.03.1922. p. 53.
17 Židia a Arabi vo Sv. Zemi. In Duchovný pastier, 1939/2. p. 62–64.
18 Židia do Palestiny. In Slovák, 03.01.1923. p. 4.
19 Ak nie Palestina, tak teda Birobidžan, alebo Magadaskar. In Slovák, 25.03.1937. p. 3.

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Writings contemplating the relationship of the Soviet system and the Jewish
community were fairly frequent both in the 1920s and 1930s, not only in the daily
Slovák, but in the women’s magazine Katolickájednota as well. An evergreen topic
for them was the anti-Christian feelings of the Soviet system controlled by Jews,20
while they were trying to prove the privileged situation of Jews in the Soviet Union.
The concept of Jewish-Bolshevism continued to be repeated in the daily Slovák21,
with a writing published at the time of World War II at the peak according to which
the leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin was of Jewish decent.22
Nevertheless, the writings that are most sensitive from our perspective deal
with the situation in Slovakia, with the political and social situation and the Jewish
community in Slovakia. In these articles most of which were adverse to the Jews a
whole treasury of stereotypes related to them are presented. As it usually happens
with stereotypes, part of the writings are rooted in real social problems (alcoholism characterising Slovaks, poverty, the weakness of Slovak politics in enforcing
its interests and the expansion of leftist movements, etc.), but aversion to Jews is
reflected in the indication of their reasons and in the answers given to the problems.

The accusations against the Jewish community in Slovakia
The papers reviewed present a series of stereotypes and antagonistic feelings
against the Jews. I am going to underline a few of those, such as they (the Jews)
were not party to the sacrifice of World War I, they are the causes of alcoholism
among simple people and that the Jews had always been against the Slovak national interests: they helped the Hungarian exploiters before 1918 and the Czech
ones after 1918.
In the years following the World War I, in several countries of Europe - and not
only those on the losing side - accusations were sounded against the Jews according to which they promoted the war but they withdrew from the fights, while the best
sons of the ‘nation’ shed their blood, they used the war to become rich. The same
accusation appeared in a writing of Katolickájednota in 1920, with the title the
Jews – the open wound of Slovakia.23Almost all of the above accusations were
presented: who were those who cheered the loudest when the war broke out? Who
20 See e.g., Či bol Kristus socialistom alebo komunistom? In Katolická jednota, 1922/8. p. 113–116. and/or
1922/9. p. 129–135; [Castor]: Bolševíci a kresťanstvo. In Katolická jednota, 1926/7. p. 19–21.
21 This is supported by titles such as Jewish-Bolshevism (Židobolševizmus. In Slovák, 12.09.1936. p. 2.), or
Jewish Bolshevik propaganda in Eperjes (Židobolševická propaganda v Prešove. In Slovák, 15.01.1937. p. 5.)
22 Stalin židovským potomkom. In Slovák, 29.08.1941. p. 4.
23 Židovstvo – otvorená rana Slovenska. In Katolická jednota. 1920/9. p. 6–11.

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were those who became rich out of the death of our sons? Who were those who
had given cans filled with sand to our soldiers? Who were those who had given them
boots made of paper? and Who were those who had become rich when the war
was going on and on - those were the questions raised by the writing and the author
would also answer them naming the Jewry to be blamed for everything.
The accusations related to the war had strong roots in the Slovak society. This
is indicated by the fact that the topic also turned up frequently even in the 1930s,
although with less emphasis and mainly stressing the motive that the Jews were
absent from the fights.24
One of the traditional stereotypes related to Jews is the image of the Jewish
innkeeper, who keeps the Christians in serfdom with the help of alcohol and makes
his riches out of them. The motive was not missing from the contemporary Slovak
press either and it turned up particularly frequently in the years following World War
I. Alcoholism was a live problem of the Slovak society. It is clear, however, that it was
not induced by the Jews. In any case, Jewish shopkeepers and innkeepers were
frequent victims of looting accompanying the change of regime while the contemporary Slovak politics demanded a re-distribution of licences to sell alcohol - i.e., Jews
should be deprived of them.
Therefore, it was no accident that the press particularly the daily Slovák held
the issue on its agenda continuously. An article published in the paper in 1923, for
instance, expressed the author’s regret that – although efforts were made - Jewish innkeepers were not dealt with as part of the popular movements following the
change of regime and they could continue their actions to cripple the Slovakian
people.25 The article ‘The Plague of alcoholism’ mentions alcohol and the Jews side
by side as the biggest problems of Slovaks which - according to the author - were
brought on top of the Slovaks by no other than the other big enemy - Hungarian oppression.26
In the Slovak press the Jewish innkeeper was a symbol of the foreign capital
destroying the Slovak people damaging it economically and spiritually. It was the
Jews who were depicted in the daily Slovák using really extreme language, as parasites on the body of the Slovak nation27 characterising them with adjectives such
bacilli, syphilis, leech or locust. It should be noted however that the negative fea24 Židovskí žurnalisti. In Slovák, 19.03.1936. p. 3. Nech sa viac nevracajú. In Slovák, 02.10.1938. p. 5.
25 Krčmy na Slovensku. In Slovák, 28.07.1923. p. 2.
26 Moralkoholizmu. In Slovák, 11.10.1922. p. 1-2.
27

See pl. Židia na Slovensku. In Slovák, 08.09.1921, pp. 1–2.; Zo slovenského východu.
In Slovák, 29.04.1921, pp. 2-3.

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tures never related to individuals but to the community, so the alleged moral image
of the Jewry was drawn up with them. It was the collective image of the Jews, who
- according to the papers reviewed - primarily hated and rejected everything else,
Christianity first of all, and whose only purpose is hoarding riches and ruling others.
As already mentioned in the introduction, anti-Semitism present in the Slovak
society was linked to the national issue and Jews were mainly regarded as the enemies of the Slovak nation, the agents of the Hungarian or later the Czech politics.
According to the accusations sounded in different articles, it was the Jews who
prevented Bratislava from becoming a Slovak city,28 Prague used them to incite
Hungarian protests against Slovak autonomy29 (an union of Czechs, Hungarians and
Jews against the Slovaks), true Slovak papers were banned from the cafes run by
them,30 and it was them who assisted the Hungarian politicians and now assist the
Czech politicians to thrust the Slovak nation into serfdom.31
The accusations that Jews considered themselves to be Hungarians were built
on a historical-social reality. Before Czechoslovakia came into being, 78% of the Israelites living on the territory of Slovakia reported to speak Hungarian as their mother
tongue,32 because the majority of Jews living there had assimilated to Hungarians,
were speaking Hungarian and consuming Hungarian culture. Following 1918, the Jewish community, which had identified itself as Israelites with Hungarian as their mother
tongue or Hungarians of the faith of Moses quickly alienated from Hungary acknowledging the advantages of Czechoslovak democracy and welcomed the democratic
legal environment offered by Prague. That was the reason why at the 1930 census
most of them reported to be Jewish or to belong to the Czechoslovak nation and only
16% said they were Hungarians, which result was heartily welcomed by Czechoslovak
politics. On the other hand, it is also true that even if the Jews dissimilated from Hungarians politically, it did not happen from a cultural perspective: the majority of Jews in
Slovakia insisted on speaking Hungarian and using Hungarian cultural facilities.
However, Slovak nationalists expected them to assimilate to Slovaks also culturally and as it did not happen, violent responses were given by Catholics. It was
true although a group of Jews who wanted to emphasise their loyalty to Slovakia established the Federation of Slovakian Jews in the mid-1920s. But the daily Slovák
was not satisfied with the step and several articles were published questioning the
28
29
30
31
32

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Slovenská Bratislava. In Slovák, 13.08.1925. p. 1.
Verbujú Maďarov proti Slovákom. In Slovák, 24.10.1923. p. 3.
Kaviarne na Slovensku bez Slováka. In Slovák, 01.07.1922. p. 3.
Zo župy pána ministra. In Slovák, 24.07.1921. p. 3.; 26.07.1921. p. 2; 27.07.1927. p. 2.
Popély Gyula: Népfogyatkozás. A Csehszlovákiai magyarság a népszámlálások tükrében 1918–1945.
[The eclipse of a people. Hungarians in Czechoslovakia as reflected by censuses 1918-1945] Budapest,
Regio, 1991, 61.

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sincerity of the Jews’ intentions of friendship. They argued that it was too early to be
pleased because the Jews had failed to prove their loyalty: they spoke Hungarian in
the cities, they sent their children to German or Austrian colleges and they did not
subscribe to the paper Slovák.33 Accordingly - the conclusion went - because they
have failed to prove their loyalty with acts we should not believe them but act according to the slogan ‘svoj k svojmu’ (everybody to himself!).34The anti-Slovak feelings
of Jews had been a returning topic of Slovak until the end of the period. However,
the accusation in the 1930s was not only that Jews tended to ‘magyarize’, but they
represented the interests of Czechs.35
From time to time, actual events of the public life or politics contributed to antiJewish content published in the papers revealing latent anti-Semitism. Such events
included anti-Jewish student demonstrations launched in autumn 1929 among German students in Prague and spreading to Bratislava that were echoed in the daily
Slovák. The daily did not simply report on the events but it took sides with the demonstrators unambiguously. What is more, it raised the issue of introducing ‘numerus
clausus’ at universities. 36
Showing the film Golem in cinemas of Bratislava in spring 1936 had an even
bigger response and stirred up violent emotions. Slovák expressed its opinion on
the film and on the demonstrations against it in several articles.37 The paper unambiguously rejected the French film because it deemed it tendentious and it said the
Slovak people had a different opinion on Jews than the film depicting their oppression. So it welcomed the demonstrations against the film, what is more, the daily
itself was one of the stimulators of the heat.
While the political-style daily responded to current events, the topic was
pushed into the background in the other reviews, as if they did not want to express
an opinion either of the persecution of the Jews in Germany or of the anti-Semitic
atmosphere taking over public life in Slovakia. Instead they focused their attention
on the question whether or not racism and Christian teachings could be reconciled.
An article published in Duchovnýpastier in summer 1938 failed to take sides in this
sensitive issue; it only reported that while the Vatican rejects racism and considers
it to be dangerous, the German daily Stürmer is mocking the Pope for that.38At the
33 Slovenským Židom. In Slovák, 19.09.1927. p. 1.
34 K problémom židovstva na Slovensku. In Slovák, 06.10.1927. p. 7.
35 Kto maďarizuje. In Slovák, 07.09.1933. p. 2.; Židia proti Slovákom. In Slovák, 01.09.1933. p. 1.; Židia na
Slovensku v minulosti a teraz. In Slovák, 10.09.1933. p. 3.
36 Numerus clausus. In Slovák, 27.11.1929. p. 3.
37 Golem. In Slovák, 24.04.1936. p. 4; Búrlivé demonštrácie v Bratislave. In Slovák, 26.04.1936. p. 1–2.; Ozvena bratislavských udalostí – Ľud dychtive počúva našich rečnikov. In Slovák, 28.04.1936. p. 3.
38 Duchovný pastier, 1938/8. p. 284.

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same time, the Hungarian language Új Élet [New Life] also dealt with the topic by
publishing the addresses delivered at the Léva Congress of the Reformed Catholic
Prohászka Ottokár Groups of the Hungarian youth in Slovakia. One of them was
entitled ‘Race and myth and the racial issue’.39 In addition to describing the basic
concepts of racism without any definite stand, the author was trying to provide a
kind of catalogue of the racial characteristics of Jews. In doing so, it acknowledged
the musical or mathematical talent often to be found among Jews but - adopting
the arguments of contemporary anti-Jewish discourse - expressed an opinion that
Jews dislike manual labour, they lack any moral sense and strength of character and
therefore they are willing to do anything they hope to profit from.
In the same issue of the daily, another author disputed the book by Alfred
Rosenberg (Der Mythus des zwangiges Jahrhunderts) in an article entitled ‘The racial myth and Christianity’ and called its conclusions related to Christianity to be
false.40 According to Béla Prenner, the author, there is an equality of human races
because the soul of man has been created in similarity to God. He also argues
that although every nation has good and bad characteristics, they should not be
generalised. On the other hand, it allows that you could and should protect yourself
against the harmful characteristics of certain races - and here there is a concrete
reference to Jewry.
The church papers did not directly deal with the open anti-Semitism and
persecution of the Jews pervading Slovakia under Tiso beginning from 1938-39
but they commented on the social response given to it. Several articles either
openly or covertly responded to criticism according to which what is happening to
the Jews is not Christian and not humane. The author of the article ‘What does the
Holy Book say about the Jewish issue’41, Štefan Zlatoš, who accidentally was the
professor of the Faculty of Theology at the Bratislava University dealing with church
history, cited the original sin of Jews against Christians (the crucifixion of Jesus)
and said they had been the root cause of their fate and everything happening to
them was the will of the Lord.
The same attitude was basically reflected in a text by Katolickájednota, in
which the author called the actions against Jews to be a battle of self-defence and
welcomed them.42

39 Loránd Spalek: Faj és mítosz: A faji kérdés. [Race and myth: The racial issue] In Új Élet, 1938/8-9. p. 375–
390.
40 Dr. Béla Prenner: A faji mitosz és a kereszténység. [The racial myth and Christianity.] In Új Élet, 1938/8-9. p.
394–405.
41 Čo hovorí Písmo sv. o židovskej otázke? In Duchovný pastier, 1940/1-2. p. 22–28.
42 Je to div? In Katolická jednota, 1940/9. p. 22.

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In the same period, i.e., at the time before the deportation of the Jews Slovák
continuously incited and agitated against the Jewry, which was not surprising because it was practically a government paper at the time. It also listed theological arguments on many occasions trying to provide the measures of the government with
a religious - theological support. An article by professor Zlatoš already mentioned
belongs here,43 in which the author explains that everything that is happening is for
the public good and under the aegis of Christian love. An interview made with the
Slovakian head of the Jesuits is also quite telling,44 in which he advises that anything
is allowed against the Jews ‘what is demanded by the interests of the state and the
nation unless the solution is contrary to divine laws.’ According to him, the category
of permitted acts also includes the exclusion of the Jews from the economic and
social life as well as their removal from bureaucratic positions, from the press and
from any other jobs that would allow them to influence the Christian society.
Following the deportation of the majority of the Jews in Slovakia in 1942,
the number of articles on the topic was reduced but their content changed little. The
articles were trying to prove the moral sins of Jews committed against Slovaks. 45 A
telling example for that is a text on the future of the nation,46in which in relation to a
law passed in Slovak Parliament banning abortions the Jews were accused for being responsible for the unborn Slovak children in the preceding 20 years. Because
it was them and the Freemasons who threw the parents killing their foetus into moral
doom while Jewish doctors became rich from abortions.
In the months following the deportations, Slovák was almost bragging about
the solution of the Jewish issue. It reported that a mere 20 thousand Jews remained
in Slovakia,47 and also that Hitler himself praised the Slovak political elite for their
actions.48 It also published articles pronouncing how well Slovakian Jews settled in
the east were living.49 On the other hand, it also published opinions whose authors
missed the complete solution of the Jewish issue and believed the Jews remaining
in Slovakia still had too much influence.50
Nevertheless, the topic started to disappear from the pages of the daily, although it never completely disappeared. Its last great wave came at the time of
the Slovak National Uprising on 29 August 1944, when the daily published several
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50

Dr. Štefan Zlatoš: Kresťanská spravodlivosť a židovský zákon. In Slovák, 07.05.1939. p. 4.
Štát musí vyradiť Židov z hospodárskeho a verejného života. In Slovák, 10.02.1939. p. 1.
Jánoš, Ján: Ide o populáciu národa. In Duchovný pastier, 1942/p. 283–288.
Ide o budúcnosť národa. In katolická jednota, 1943.2/7–11.
Na Slovensku je už len asi 20000 Židov. In Slovák, 21.10.1942. p. 2.
Ostaneme vzorom. In Slovák, 24.04.1943. p. 1.
Už sme svoju odohrali úlohu. In Slovák, 11.07.1942. p. 5.
Prečo sa nerieši židovská otázka. In Slovák, 24.07.1943. p. 3.

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articles in which the fight of partisans against the regime was presented as a result
or as a consequence of Jewish machination. 51

The Lutheran press and the Jewish issue
Altogether about 20 Lutheran press products appeared for a shorter or longer period in Slovakia in the interwar period or during World War II. Most of them were
strictly religious, mostly written in Slovak but there were some German and Hungarian language Lutheran papers as well. In the course of this study, three papers
were reviewed that also dealt with social issues in addition to religious ones.
Two of them (Cirkevnélisty and Evanjelický posol pod Tatier) were written in Slovak,
one (Evangélikus Lap [Lutheran Paper]) in Hungarian. The latter differed from the
two Slovak papers inasmuch as it dealt with issues of public life more often, while
contrary to the other two papers, basically reflecting the official church opinion, this
one reflected the stands of the Federation of Hungarian Lutherans, which had been
disputing the official church leadership from many aspects.
The Lutheran Church had a peculiar position in contemporary Slovakia. Partly
because it was considered the most Slovak national church, since the leading personalities of 19th century Slovak national movements (e.g., Ludovít Štúr) had come
from a Lutheran environment. And partly because after the change of regime they
separated from the Hungarian church and immediately took the sides of the idea
of a Czechoslovak State becoming major supporters of Czechoslovak efforts in
Slovakia.
From the aspect of this topic, it is important to record the relationship of the
Slovak Lutheran Church to the administration. It was cordial in the period from
1918 to 1938, since the Slovak Lutherans were much more acceptable partners to
Prague than the Catholic camp under the influence of Hlinka’s People’s Party. But
the situation basically changed in 1938-39 when Slovakia became autonomous and
then independent and the Lutheran Church had found itself in the position of the
opposition in a totalitarian state under a strong Catholic influence.
The relationship of the Lutheran Church and its press to the Jewish issue, in
addition to Protestant ethics and traditions, was also subject to its relationship to the
government of the time. In the period from 1918 to 1938, it meant that the Lutheran
Church was tolerant towards the Jewish community in concord with the Masaryk
51 Partizáni – tábor anonýmov. In Slovák, 03.09.1944. p. 2.; Tido J. Gašpar: Boj národa žiada si nás celých. In
Slovák, 26.11.1944. p. 1.

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administration. The Jewish issue was not given space either within the church or in
the related press. In the course of this research, only one article dealing with the
Jews was found in the two Slovak papers reviewed, while Jews were mentioned
three times in the Hungarian paper.
3 out of the 4 articles mentioned are neutral in their content, and only the one
published in the journal Cirkevnélisty in 1919 by the Tranoscius Society can be
deemed negative.52The author objects that while the Jews (and their patrons) talk a
lot about equality, they in fact do not practice it, since the Talmud does not consider
the Jews and the Goys equal. He believes the Jews want to rule over other nations
and therefore Czechoslovak laws providing them with equality under the law are at
fault because the Jews exclude themselves from it with their morality. It should be
noted, however, in relation to this article of a rather negative attitude that it was written in 1919 when the anti-Semitic atmosphere started at the time of the change of
the regime could not be settled yet.
The Hungarian language Evangélikus Lap [Lutheran Paper] mentions the Jews
on three occasions in the period. The first of them is a Biblical parable on the crucifixion of Christ published in several parts. Although the text is not silent regarding
the responsibility of the Jewish high priests, the anti-Judaist elements known from
the Catholic press are missing. In the same way the two other articles reviewed
are neutral. The first of them mentions Jews in connection with the development of
Protestantism in Germany and the other in a book review.
After the autonomy and independence of Slovakia, the Lutheran Church was in
a difficult position because it found itself in a state headed by a Catholic priest (Jozef
Tiso) where another Catholic personality (Andrej Hlinka) was named the greatest
national hero and where Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party closely intertwined with the
Catholic clergy had absolute power. It would have been sufficient in itself for the Lutheran Church to become opposed to power, which opposition was further increased
by the measures of the dictatorial regime including the gradual exclusion of Jews.
Given the circumstances, the Lutheran press could not comment openly on
this opposition, i.e., it could not distance itself from the government’s Jewish policy
although it could make hints hidden between the lines. If it still expressed its objection regarding the situation in Slovakia and the Jewish issue, the revenge by those
in power was not far away. It happened so in the case when Evanjelickýposolpod
Tatier reported on a decree restricting the Jews’ rights to own apartments, followed
by a commentary saying what had been happening to Jews recently could not be
reconciled with the values of humanity and particularly not with real Christian val52 Rovnoprávnosť a Židia. In Cirkevné listy, 1919. 8–9/184–188.

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ues.53 The paper was banned for some time due to this. It should be noted that such
a sentence published in spring 1942 could not interpreted in any other way than as
criticism of the deportation of the Jews.
Less than a month later, the paper again voiced its opinion on the Jewish issue in connection with the meeting of the Lutheran Church convent.54 It wanted
to respond to the opinion appearing in official Slovak media according to which
the churches support the measures taken by the government regarding the Jewish issue. According to the article quoted, it was not so in the case of the Lutheran
Church. Because the Universal Synod only was authorised to make a statement on
behalf of the church; nobody asked its opinion and no official statement had been
published on the subject.
In connection with the baptism of Jews, Cirkevné Listy also dealt with the Jewish issue in summer 1942.55 The article was probably in response to a criticism of
the Lutheran Church by Catholics because a high number of Jews had been baptised, although this had triggered disputes within the Lutheran Church as well. The
analysed publication practically took sides with baptism concluding it from the concept that converting Jews was a basic mission of the church. The author of the article Ján Bakoss a minister at Besztercebánya was among those who had baptised
many Jews. So it was no accident that he defended the procedure in his article, and
only condemned if somebody granted baptism in return for monetary services. He
placed his stance supporting baptism in a Biblical context and closed his article by
saying that ministers should first of all serve not men but the Lord, which was practically a kind of call to oppose the official authorities.

Summary
Having reviewed the Catholic and Lutheran press in the interwar period, we
arrived at the following conclusions:
- while the Jewry was a permanent topic often on the agenda of the Catholic
press, the Lutheran papers avoided it.
- the low number of articles published in the Lutheran papers in the interwar
period were rather neutral in their content although a strongly negative and
53 Židom sa zakazuje zmena bytu. In Evanjelický posol pod Tatier, 11.04.1942. p. 145.
54 Židovská otázka. In Evanjelický posol pod Tatier, 23.05.1942. p. 213.
55 Bakoss: Židovská otázka a krst Židov. In Cirkevné Listy, 18.06.1942. p. 148–150.

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anti-Jewish one could be found from 1919. During World War II, however, the
Lutheran press was characterised by distancing itself from the official antiSemitism in Slovakia.
- on the other hand, the Catholic press had an adverse attitude to the Jewry in
both periods investigated although the frequency and content of the texts
involved changed from time to time in an adaptation to the political situation
in Slovakia. The articles published in the Catholic press presented almost all
stereotypes of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. So they described the Jews
partly as the murderers of Jesus and party as exploiters of the Slovak nation,
as means of ‘magyarization’ and as harbingers of Bolshevism.
- the Catholic press continued its anti-Semitic campaign at the time of the Holocaust as well and supported the Slovak State in its anti-humane politics.
The conclusion can be drawn that while the Lutheran Church distanced itself
from anti-Semitic incitement and - albeit carefully - was trying to dissociate from the
politics of the Slovak State regarding Jews, the responsibility of the Catholic Church
is unquestionable since its press did not only grant space to foster anti-Jewish feelings but was itself an inciter of anti-Semitic emotions.

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Ildikó Bajcsi

The Jewish issue in the press
of the Protestant Church of the
Hungarian national minority
in (Czecho)Slovakia in the
inter-war period
Introduction

The paper introduces the attitude of the Protestant Church towards the Jewish community in the 1st Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938). Within that, it reviews the
newspaper articles of the Hungarian language Protestant Church in the given period.
The study is part of a project by Civitas Europica Centralis Foundation, which calls
attention to the responsibility of the Christian Churches – Lutheran, Catholic and
Protestant - and emphasises the part played by the historic churches in the inter-war
period in connection with the anti-Semitic actions against the Jews. The research by
CEC allows the reader to arrive at an in-depth analysis of the history of the Jews of the
inter-war period in the Central-European region, and by introducing the contemporary
attitude of the churches it offers a new aspect in the field of Jewish studies that has
been a taboo in historical research almost to the present day. In that way, the study
may contribute to an in-depth understanding and new elaboration of the anti-Semitic
measures, the persecution of Jews and the Holocaust in the inter-war period.
The history of Hungarian Jews in (Czecho)Slovakia has not been revealed yet
properly. A few historians only dealt with the issue of the Jewish community living in
Southern Slovakia in the inter-war period. The research made by Éva Kovács must
be underlined, who mainly researched the assimilation of the Jewish community in

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Kassa (Kosice). She summarised her studies in her book Lopsided assimilation.
The Jews of Kassa in the inter-war period (1918-1938).1She also pointed out in her
study the deficiencies of the historical elaboration of the issue. ‘The social history
of the Jewish community in Hungary reviewed the processes occurring in the historic territory of the country before 1920 and after 1920, the changes occurring in
the post-Trianon Hungary only. The history of the Jewish community remaining on
the annexed territories in line with the peace treaties closing World War I has not
been discussed’, she remarked in her study Dissimilation, Jewish identity, regional
identity in Slovakia published in 1991.2On the other hand, some progress has been
made over the past few years in revealing the situation of the Jewish community in
Southern Slovakia. In 2014, a study by Attila Simon ‘In a double grip. The Jewish
community of Southern Slovakia from Trianon to Auschwitz’ has given a comprehensive summary of the history of Hungarian Jews in (Czecho)Slovakia in the inter-war
period.3 We also have to emphasise the studies offered within the framework of
local history research regarding the past of the Jewish community in Southern Slovakia. Attila Simon, for instance, analysed local Jewish communities over the past
year such as the Jews of Dunaszerdahely. The Jewish community played a major
part in the history of Dunaszerdahely, which is reflected by the title of a publication
in 2015: ‘Dunaszerdahely – Little Palestine.’4 In the same year, a short summary of
the past of the Jewish community in Komárom (Komarno) was published by Miroslav
Michela ‘A city on the border. Guide to the history of a lost Jewish community’.5

The historical background of the study - Jews and Protestants in the
First Czechoslovak Republic
Multi-ethnic national states were formed on the territory of the Austrian-Hungarian
Monarchy dissolved in 1918 following the Paris Peace Treaties, where the issue of
national minorities was an important part of social and political stability.

1 Éva Kovács: Felemás asszimiláció. A kassai zsidóság a két világháború között [Lopsided assimilation. The
Jewry of Kassa between the two World Wars] (1918-1938). Lilium Aurum. Somorja – Dunaszerdahely. 2004.
http://mek.oszk.hu/02300/02384/02384.pdf
2 Éva Kovács: Disszimiláció, zsidó azonosságtudat, regionális identitás Szlovákiában [Dissimilation, Jewish
identity, regional identity in Slovakia ] (1920-1938) Regio – Kisebbségtudományi Szemle. 1991/2. http://epa.
oszk.hu/00000/00036/00006/pdf/03.pdf
3 Attila Simon: Kettős szorításban. A dél-szlovákiai zsidóság Trianon és Auschwitz közt. [In a double grip. The Jewish community of Southern Slovakia from Trianon to Auschwitz]. Fórum Társadalomtudományi Szemle, 2014,
Vol. 4. 3-16.
4 Op.cit: Kis – Palesztina [Little - Palestine]. Dunaszerdahely. Izraelská obchodná komora na Slovensku.
Bratislava, 2015.
5 Michela, Miroslav: Város a határon. [A City on the border] Útikalauz egy eltűnt zsidó közösség történetéhez.
[Guide to the history of a lost Jewish community.] Izraelská obchodná komora na Slovensku. Bratislava, 2015.

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Czechoslovakia established on the pattern of France on 28 October 1918 became the most democratic state in Central-Europe. At the same time, the First Republic was severely influenced by the fact that it was the most heterogeneous state
in Europe by its ethnic pattern.6 While according to the figures of 1921 census, the
number of Czechoslovak citizens was 13,374,364, 65.51% of them only reported
to belong to the majority nation that is Czechoslovak. At the same time 23.35%
of the population reported to belong to the German, 5.57% to the Hungarian and
3.45% to the Rusyn national minority. The Jews, Romanians and Gypsies belonging
to the other national minorities made up 2.12 % of the population in total.7350 thousand Israelites had found themselves in Czechoslovakia established newly after the
dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. 136 thousand of them lived on the
territory of what is Slovakia today8. In his study, Attila Simon underlined that the Jews
in the new republic ‘could not be regarded a homogenous community because they
were highly different socially, by religion and by their mother tongue’.9The Jews who
had been forced to live in the new state had quite complicated forms of identity that
could also be seen from the statistics of the censuses and that prove the malleability
of the national identity of Jews. The majority of the 130 thousand Jewish population in Slovakia had mostly assimilated to the Hungarians in their language
and identity. While most of them (106 thousand) reported to speak Hungarian
as their mother tongue at the time of the 1910 census, at the time of the 1921
census - which had created the category of Jewish national minority – 54% reported to belong to the Jewish national minority, 22.4% Czechoslovak and only
16.6% reported to be Hungarians. This meant a decline of over 80 thousand
in the number of Hungarians at the time of the 1921 census’ – as Attila Simon
underlined the part played by Jews in the large-scale reduction of the number of
Hungarians in Czechoslovakia.10
6 About that, cf.: László Szarka: A multietnikus nemzetállam. [A multi-ethnic national state.] Kísérletek, kudarcok
és kompromisszumok Csehszlovákia nemzetiségi politikájában 1918-1992. [Efforts, failures and compromises in the minority policy of Czechoslovakia 1918-1992.] Kalligram Könyvkiadó. Pozsony, 2016.
7 Béla Angyal: Érdekvédelem és önszerveződés. Fejezetek a csehszlovákiai magyar pártpolitika történetéből
1918-1938 [Interest representation and self-organisation. Chapters from the history of Hungarian party politics
in Czechoslovakia 1918-1938]. Fórum Intézet. Lilium Aurum Könyvkiadó. Galánta-Dunaszerdahely. 2002. 21.
8 According to the 1921 census, 355 thousand people of the Israelite denomination lived in the Czechoslovak Republic. 126 thousand of them lived in the Czech parts, 136 thousands in Slovakia and 93 thousand in
Sub-Carpathia. Quoted by Attila Simon based on research by Cermáková. Čermáková, Radka: Československá
republika – Nový štát ve středný evropě a židé. In: Soukupová, Blanka – Zahradníková, Marie (ed.): Židovská
menšina v Československu ve dvacátych letech. Židovské múzeum v Prahe, Praha, 2003. Attila Simon: Kettős
szorításban, id. m. [In a double grip.] 3.
9 Op.cit.
10 Attila Simon: Egy rövid esztendő krónikája. A szlovákiai magyarok 1938-ban. [The chronicle of a short year.
Hungarians in Slovakia in 1938.] Fórum Kisebbségkutató Intézet. Somorja, 2010. 13. ‘The calculations of the
Czechoslovak politicians have come true, but the Jewish community did not respond to the opportunity
in a uniform manner, because the Orthodox communities making up of about 70% of Jews in Slovakia
rejected on theological grounds to take Jewry as a nation in the modern sense of the world. So, about half
of the Jews in Slovakia used the opportunity offered and reported to belong to the Jewish national minority at the times of censuses in the period, while the rest were recorded in the statistics as Czechoslovaks,

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Although the Jews already had to face political anti-Semitism in Hungary in the
1880s, all that was raised to the level of official politics in the counter-revolutionary
era of the Horthy regime. In Hungary the anti-Jewish discrimination became stronger beginning from the 1920s.11 As opposed to that, the first Czechoslovak Republic
did not discriminate the Jews and did not engage in open assimilation politics either
contrary to the contemporary anti-Semitic attitude in Hungary. In the First Republic
established democratically a Jewish issue similar to that in Hungary did not exist, on
the other hand, Hungarian and German issues did exist. So granting national minority rights to the Jews in the state mainly served the goal of reducing the number of
Hungarian national minorities.12 In addition, you should not forget the liberal forces
and the effects of a Jewish revival.
The above facts may explain that the Jews and their open discrimination was
much less in the focus in Czechoslovakia, while the Jewish issue and anti-Semitism
was continuously present in the public discourse in Hungary and the contemporary
press made efforts to deal with the topic. Despite this, an antipathy towards the
Jews was covertly present, and there were major differences between Checks and
the more conservative mostly Catholic Slovaks in this regard: ‘As Czechoslovakia
was established, the Jews living in Southern Slovakia found themselves in new circumstances, since there was no anti-Semitism in the First Republic either in legislation or in public discourse and it could not be found in the programme of any relevant parties. However, several researchers including Éva Kovács indicate that the
Slovak public life was not totally free of anti-Jewish attitudes.’ – Attila Simon wrote
indicating the ambivalent attitude that was present in multi-ethnic Czechoslovakia
not only towards the Hungarian minority but also towards the Jewish community, in
which the artificial connection of the Check and Slovak parts of the country with a
Hungarians, Germans, etc.’ Op.cit.: Kettős szorításban, [In a double grip.] opacity. 7. Regarding the Hungarian
identity of Jews living in Southern Slovakia, the concept of the so-termed ‘assimilation social contract’ can be
used for an explanation before 1918, which meant a kind of agreement entered into by the Hungarian elite and
the Jews in Hungary at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In return for becoming Hungarians, they
had become active players in business life. This had led to a large-scale assimilation of the Jews. More on the
concept, cf. Viktor Karády: Zsidóság, modernizáció, asszimiláció. [Jewry, modernisation and assimilation.]
Tanulmányok. Cserépfalvi. Budapest, 1997. Attila Simon:A dél-szlovákiai zsidóság Trianon és Auschwitz közt.
[The Jewish community of Southern Slovakia from Trianon to Auschwitz]. Új Szó. 12 July 2014 http://ujszo.
com/napilap/szalon/2014/07/12/a-del-szlovakiai-zsidosag-trianontol-auschwitzig.
11 More on that cf.: Krisztián Ungváry: A Horthy-rendszer mérlege. Diszkrimináció, szociálpolitika és antiszemitizmus Magyarországon. [The balance of the Horthy regime. Discrimination, social policy and anti-Semitism in
Hungary.] Pécs–Budapest. Jelenkor, Pécs-Budapest, 2013.
12 Endre Kovács Czechoslovak literary historian underlined in his memoirs the different strategies of identity the
Jewish community took in the inter-war period: ‘What was the path taken by the Jewish community allowed
by the democratic state to make use of his rights? You have to say that it was highly divided among different national minorities at the time of the censuses. Quite many of them reported to be German because
their traditions had been there, Vienna was close. Some of them joined the Slovaks. A relatively low number took sides with the Hungarian national minority (as reflected by the census), but it would be a mistake
to draw the conclusions from this that they had broken with Hungarian culture.’ Endre Kovács: Korszakváltás. [A turning point of history.] Magvető Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 1981. 105.

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different historical past did have a part.13 The problem is indicated by anti-Jewish
riots occurring in the Slovak part of the country in 1918-19.
The attitude of Slovakia towards the Jews -although cannot be regarded directly antagonistic or openly anti-Semitic - did not mean complete tolerance and acceptance. Regarding the attitude of the Slovak part of the country towards the Jews,
Attila Simon pointed at nationalism as one of the important roots of the problems: ‘It
was a well-known fact that the Slovak society, the Slovak elite but even the Check
elite […] looked at the Jews living in Southern Slovakia as Hungarians intending to
forcefully ‘magyarize’ them. Therefore, they were just as mistrustful of them as of the
Hungarians, while they looked at ‘luring away’ the Jews as a means of weakening
the basis of the Hungarians.’14
On the relationship between Jews and Protestants, we have to discuss the situation of the (Hungarian) Protestants in Czechoslovakia. The 1921 census found the
number of Hungarians in (Czecho)Slovakia to be 637,183 (21.48 %), most of whom
reported to be Roman Catholics. 24.17 % of the minority were Protestants mainly
belonging to the Reformed Church and a lower number to the Lutheran Church.
According to the 1930 figures, which provided accurate data on the number of the
Protestants, 126 thousand people, that is 21.4% of the Hungarians in Slovakia said
they belonged to the Protestant Church.15
Imre Narancsik, an emblematic figure of the Hungarian Protestant Church in
Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period wrote the following in a summary publication
Re-annexed Upper Hungary published in 1937 regarding the statistics of Protestants in Czechoslovakia: ‘The 1930 Czechoslovak census found 219,108 Protestants on the territory of the Republic. Of them 145,829 lived in Slovakia and 70,833
13 Attila Simon: Budapest, 1997. Attila Simon: A dél-szlovákiai zsidóság Trianon és Auschwitz közt. [The Jewish
community of Southern Slovakia from Trianon to Auschwitz]. Új Szó. 12 July 2014 http://ujszo.com/napilap/
szalon/2014/07/12/a-del-szlovakiai-zsidosag-trianontol-auschwitzig. More on that cf.: Op.cit: Kettős szorításban, [In a double grip.] opacity.
14 Attila Simon: A dél-szlovákiai zsidóság, [The Jewish community of Southern Slovakia] opacity. Cf. also: As:
Kettős szorításban, [In a double grip.] op. cit. p. 4.
15 ‘By religion, in 1921, 70.33% of the Hungarians in Slovakia were Roman Catholics, 24.17% mainly Protestant, some of them Lutheran, 3.41% Israelites and most of the others mainly Greek Catholics. According to
the 1930 data, 71.29% of Hungarians reported to be Catholics. At that time, the two Protestant denominations were registered separately, and accordingly 21.35% of Hungarians belonged to the Reformed and
3.45% to the Lutheran Church. The ratio of Israelites was reduced to 1.64%. Most Protestants lived in the
districts of Királyhelmec and Nagykapos as well as in Gömör around the villages of Feled and Tornalja.
A significant Lutheran community of Hungarians also lived in Gömör. In the western part of the country,
mainly in the districts of Komárom, Ógyalla, Párkány and Vágsellye significant number of Protestant population lived constituting the wealthier peasant stratum of the Hungarian villages.’ Béla Angyal: Érdekvédelem
és önszerveződés, [Interest representation and self-organisation] opacity. 35. On the organisation of the (Hungarian) Protestant Church in Southern Slovakia in the inter-war period, more in: Ferenc Tömösközi: A komáromi
református egyházmegye története 1918-1938 között [The history of the Protestant diocese of Komárom
1918-1938]. Doctoral thesis. University ‘Selye János’. Faculty of Protestant Theology. Komárno, 2015.

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in Sub-Carpathia. [...] About 90% of the Church is Hungarian; its behaviour, past
and labours are identified by its national identity. About 20,000 Slovak Protestants
living in Zemplén and Sáros joined the 90% Hungarian Protestants according to the
Czechoslovak census.’16
On the other hand you have to emphasise the political stands of Hungarian
Jews in Czechoslovakia to shed light on the relationship of Protestants and Jews.
As opposed to Hungary, Czechoslovakia provided new opportunities for the political
representation of Jews. The Jewish Party ensured political participation on national
minority basis. However, ‘the Jewish Party never became the political mouthpiece
of Jews in Slovakia, but it found its place with smaller or larger weight in local governments in the 1920s.’17
In addition to the Czechoslovak Communist Party, the Hungarian National Party - which was much more liberal in its spirit than the conservative National Christian
Socialist Party with its voting base mainly constituted by Catholics - represented an
important political playing field for the Jews living in Southern Slovakia. The Jews
of Hungarian identity living in Czechoslovakia also took part in the organisational
structure and leadership of the Hungarian National Party.18
In addition, you should notice the novelties in the mentality of minority Hungarians as a result of their different socialisation in the new state, which differed from the
conservative identity in Hungary termed ‘neo-baroque’ by Gyula Szekfű.19 Due to their
minority position, the Hungarians in Czechoslovakia were much more tolerant to other
16 Imre Narancsik: Reformátusok. [Protestants.] In: István Borsody – István Csatár (ed.): A visszatért Felvidék
adattára. [Statistics of the re-annexed Upper Hungary] Budapest, 1939. 145. Imre Narancsik (1904-1948)
was a Protestant pastor born at Losonc. Later acted as an editor of periodicals and scholarly historian. He
edited the periodicals Baráti Szó [Friendly Words] and Református Élet [Protestant Life]. He took part in the
Protestant youth movements, in the Bethlen Gábor Movement. Zoltán Fónod: A cseh/szlovákiai magyar irodalom lexikona 1918-1995 [bibliography of the Hungarian literature in Czecho/Slovakia 1918-1995] MadáchPosonium, Pozsony, 1995. 229-230.
17 Éva Kovács: Felemás asszimiláció [Lopsided assimilation], opacity. http://mek.oszk.hu/02300/02384/
02384.pdf Cf.: ‘The official government politics did not provide equal treatment to different groups among
the Jews in Slovakia, and mainly supported the Orthodox communities. The result of this was that those
communities voted mostly for the government parties while few supporters remained for the Jewish Party.’
Attila Simon: Kettős szorításban, [In a double grip.] op. cit. p. 6.
18 This is well-reflected in the voting ratios of Kassa Jews in 1925. The Jewish Party received only 42% at the
elections, while the leftist parties and the Hungarian National Party received the other votes. It should be noted
regarding its influence that the two Vice Chairmen of the Party – Ignác Herz and Béla Halmi - were also members of the Kassa religious community. Op.cit. 6-7.
19 About that, cf.: Ildikó Bajcsi: A kisebbségi magyar elitek szerveződése és az ifjúsági mozgalmak a két világháború közötti Csehszlovákiában. (Vázlat a kisebbségtörténet generációs és biográfiai interpretációs
lehetőségeiről) [The organisations of minority Hungarian elites and youth movements in Czechoslovakia in
the inter-war period. (Draft on the generational and biographical interpretation opportunities of minority history)] Človek a spoločnosť. 2014/2. http://www.clovekaspolocnost.sk/sk/rocnik-17-rok-2014/2/studie-aclanky/a-kisebbsegi-magyar-elitek-szervezodese-es-az-ifjusagi-mozgalmak-a-ket-vilaghaboru-kozotti-csehszlovakiaban-vazlat-a-kisebbsegtortenet-generacios-es-biografiai-interpretacios-lehetosegeirol/

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national minorities (and other religions) than most Hungarians in the parent country.
Éva Kovács also underlined the new features of the common fate of Jews and Hungarians organising themselves among similar minority conditions in the Czechoslovak
Republic: ‘When the Czechoslovak Republic was established, the power relations of
national minorities changed in the former Upper Hungary. The Check and the Slovak
nationalities had become majority ethnic groups while the Hungarians who had been
dominant previously became the strongest national minority by their number and political weight compared to the other (German, Rusyn and Polish) minorities. The Jewish
community - most of them Hungarian speaking - also belonged among those minorities as an independent national minority distinct from the Hungarian national minority.
On the other hand, identical minority conditions applied to Hungarians, Germans,
Rusyns and Jews alike could be envisaged as a common fate.’20

Methodology and concepts:
The framework of the research focusing on the analysis of press publications was
mostly influenced by the fact that the Protestants were mainly Hungarians in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period, while the number of Protestants among Slovaks
was negligible. As Imre Molnár wrote in his study ‘The position of Hungarian language churches in Czechoslovakia’: ‘the attitude of the Czechoslovak State towards
the Protestant Church was the result of the loyalty of that church to Hungarian traditions. Disregarding a Slovak fragment - low in number but all the louder - that
established a federation to protect its interests in 1930, that church was indeed
a ‘Hungarian Church’’21This is reflected by the fact that only one Slovak language
paper ‘Slovensky kalvin’ was published in Pittsburgh, the USA between 1907 and
1939. Therefore, the periodicals reviewed were restricted to those published by the
Hungarian minority.
Most of the papers were published until 1938, that is, the time of re-annexation. Periodicals published later on, e.g., A Kis Tükör [Small Mirror] or Református Világszemle [Protestant World Digest] provided an image of Hungary following
20 The quotation continues as follows: ‘This in some cases could strengthen regional identity, connections on
loyalty to the common city, the bourgeois way of life of the city, its culture and traditions. […] In that sense,
we witnessed a continuation of an assimilation already started, which however could be considered a
dissimilation from a certain aspect: further assimilation to the local Hungarian ethnic minority could mean
a distancing from the Hungarian nation […]’. Éva Kovács: Disszimiláció, zsidó azonosságtudat, regionális
identitás Szlovákiában [Dissimilation, Jewish identity, regional identity in Slovakia ] (1920-1938) Regio –
Kisebbségtudományi Szemle. 1991/2. http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00036/00006/pdf/03.pdf
21 Imre Molnár: Magyar anyanyelvű egyházak helyzete Csehszlovákiában. [The position of Hungarian language churches in Czechoslovakia.] In: László Tóth – Filep Tamás Gusztáv (ed.): A (cseh)szlovákiai magyar
művelődés története 1918-1998. [The history of Hungarian culture in Czechoslovakia 1918-1998]. Ister,
Budapest, 1998. 226.

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the first Vienna Award. So my research involved the attitudes of the Hungarian
Protestant Church in the period of the First Czechoslovak Republic from 1918 to
1938. Most articles were published in the religious weekly Református Egyház és
Iskola [Protestant Church and School] published from 1921 to 1938, which was
the most important religious publication of the Hungarian Protestant Church in Slovakia. In addition, articles were published in a bi-weekly Szeretet [Love] published
from 1923 to 1938 which was edited by Béla Bertók. Writings related to the Jewish
community also appeared in the church and cultural journal Baráti Szó [Friendly
Word] published in Munkács (Mukacevo) then in Komárom (Komarno) from 1928
to 1931 by Imre Varga and Imre Narancsik. And a bi-weekly Összefogás [Union]
published from 1937 and 1938 edited by Imre Varga also had articles on the Jewish community.

Ideological aspects in the 1920s - Jewry and Bolshevism
In the 1920s, the Jewish community appeared in the Hungarian Protestant press
in (Czecho)Slovakia in connection with Bolshevism in an ideological and political
context. You should add that connecting the Communist-Bolshevist ideology with
Jews was not totally groundless in the case of Hungarians living in Czechoslovakia. In fact, Jews of Hungarian identity were represented in high numbers in the
Czechoslovak Communist Party. The Party exerted the kind of homogenisation on
the Jews in Czechoslovakia pushing their national identity and religious feelings into
the background. As Attila Simon also remarked in his study on the Jews in Southern
Slovakia, the attraction to Bolshevism - or to Zionism - offered a kind of escape route
to the Hungarian Jews in Czechoslovakia from the ‘Double grip’22 of Budapest and
Bratislava. In the 1920s, only two writings dealt with the Jews. Both of them were
published in the paper Szeretet [Love] and they wrote about Jews in connection with
the ideology of Bolshevism. László Zajdó introduced two works in the two articles,
which - in addition to discussing the roots of Bolshevism - called attention to the participation of Jews in the Bolshevik movement. The first article introduced the work
of Josephus Flavius, a Hebrew historian of the antiquity, the commander-in-chief
of the Jewish armies in Galilee, ‘The Jewish war and the conquest of Jerusalem by
22 ‘The Jews living in Southern Slovakia found themselves in a cross-fire: the (Czecho)Slovakian public expected them to linguistically assimilate to the (Czecho)Slovakian people, while the Hungarian politics in
Slovakia wanted them to be their allies in a minority struggle against the Czechoslovak power. There were
two escape routes opening for the Jews who could not and did not want to comply with both sides. One
was Jewish nationalism and the other the internationalism of the Communist movement. It is no accident
therefore that in Southern Slovakia, which was linguistically Hungarian, the Zionist organisations and the
Czechoslovak Communist Party were equally popular. Whichever the Jews joined, they had to face the
antagonism of Slovak and Hungarian nationalism at the same time.’ Attila Simon: Kettős szorításban, [In a
double grip.] op. cit. pp. 7-8.

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Titus Caesar in a siege in seven books’.23 The book dealt with the Zealots who were
defined as robbers of Jerusalem and considered forerunners of the Bolsheviks. ‘We
learn from this old book that at the time of the siege of Jerusalem in 72 A.D. Bolsheviks were called Zealots; the army of the Zealots consisted of the most abject rabble
of Jerusalem and of robbers escaped to Jerusalem from the country.’ – as Zajdó
wrote of the group of people who after coming into power in Jerusalem introduced
a system of terrorism.24
As a continuation of that article, a book by Károly Sareloea university professor in Edinburgh published in 1926 was introduced with the title Soviet Russia, i.e.,
experiences in Soviet Russia. While this book also emphasised the similarities of
Bolsheviks and Zealots, it was critical of the representatives of Russian communism
described as merciless dictators. He said ‘The leaders of the Russian Bolsheviks
are blood descendants of the Zealots of Jerusalem. Driven by thirst for blood
and power they did not have mercy on their own compatriots so how could their
descendants of a similar mind have mercy on people of alien nations?!’25 At the
same time, it turned out from the article that the author thought the greatest problem of Bolshevism was its adversity to religion, which he linked to the Empire of the
Antichrist, i.e., Russia: ’ The Christian religion is a forbidden thing in Russia; in the
republic of the Antichrist, even school children are demanded to publicly commit
themselves to atheism (Godlessness)’.26The book, however, did not only write about
Bolsheviks but the Jews also appeared. It underlined that ‘Jews played a big part
in the most cruel appearances of Bolshevism and the majority of Bolshevik leaders
are Jews’, then he advised that ‘the leaders of all Bolshevik revolutions - whether in
Budapest or in Bavaria —were Jews everywhere and every time, i.e., the leaders of
the world revolution are also Jews.’27The book also warned that Bolshevism is not
the conspiracy of the Jewry and proposed ‘to separate the majority of Jews from
Bolshevism and its crimes and only a negligible minority of Jews should be regarded
as drivers of the world revolution’.28
A prophecy Zajdó thought important to underline in his article reflected the
international tensions against the Jews. According to it, in his book Károly Sarolea
‘prophesied the vast spread of anti-Semitism and that pogroms fatal to the Jews
will come across unless a Jewish state is established under the protection of the
League of Nations somewhere in Central Asia where the Jewish masses can be

23
24
25
26
27
28

László Zajdó: Két könyv a bolsevizmusról. Szeretet. [Two books on Bolshevism.] 10 May 1926 / 5
Op.cit.
László Zajdó: Két könyv a bolsevizmusról. Szeretet. [Two books on Bolshevism.] 25 May 1926. 3.
Op.cit.
Op.cit.
Op.cit.

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settled to escape the unavoidable pogroms’.29So the author only released his stereotypes against the Jews partially, because he did not refute that a minority of Jews
are the labourers of Antichrist and enemies of the Christian Church as drivers of the
world revolution by connecting themselves to Bolshevism.

The Jewish issue as a religious topic in the 1930s
In the 1930s, but mainly in the second half of the decade, the articles related
to Jews increased in number in the Hungarian Protestant press in Czechoslovakia. The topic of the writings was strongly linked to the issues of conversion and
the Jewish mission. This is proved by a text by Imre Narancsik published in the
monthly of Protestant students Baráti Szó [Friendly Word] on the issues of Jewish
conversion in 1930.30 First of all, you should notice that the article approached
the question of the Jewish mission from a positive aspect and emphasised in that
regard the importance of love and acceptance. ‘Our Holy Christian Church received the great command of mission: ‘Spread everywhere in this big world and
baptise all the peoples. That is why so much is devoted to convert the pagans in
faraway countries. So we have to receive the Jews also with love and introduce
them with pleasure to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. But there must be order in
this field as well.’– he remarked in the writing, where he considered it important
to underline consciousness and consistency with regard to the mission.31 Next,
according to the customs of the age, the article emphasises the lengthy process
of the preparation for conversion, which is complex and involves a lengthy procedure. In the closing part of the article, the author warns that the baptism of Jews
is a process of many factors, which requires the person to be converted - in this
case the Jews - first of all to have a sincere conviction in the face of Christ: ‘If the
presbytery approves admission and authorises the pastor for baptism, then the
Jews coming to us are baptised always in the Church at a mass of the community
(possibly on Sunday morning): but they must first prove their faith that Jesus Christ
is the true Messiah and that they only believe in mercy for their sins and eternal life
by the Lord Jesus. Then baptism follows that is witnessed by the community standing. This is how we admit the good souls turning over to us among the peoples of
God into the Church of the Lord Jesus.’32

29
30
31
32

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Op.cit.
Imre Narancsik: Zsidók áttérése. [Jewish conversion] Baráti Szó. 1930. Vol. 1, October, 14.
Op.cit.
Op.cit.

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In 1937 the Protestant papers published six articles on the Jews in total. The
increase of the number of writings must have been related to the so-termed ‘national
union’ and with international, political and social processes – including anti-Jewish
actions and the spread of anti-Semitism. The majority of articles in 1937 were published in the official paper of the Protestant Church, i.e., in the weekly Református
Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School] published from 1921 to 1938.
Most articles touched upon the conversion of Jews and the Jewish mission, in addition, several writings were published related to the ‘racial’ ideology of Germany, and
the authors also discussed the issue of the ideological stands of Jews and related
problems. Most writings discussed the Jewish issue not from a racial perspective
but as a religious issue as opposed to the Christian faith.
The first article was published by Lajos Nagy in 1937 with the title Szekták és
az ellenük való küzdelem [Sects and the fight against them].33 The writing dealt with
the Millenist (Jehovah’s witnesses) movement established in the United States of
America.34 He believed the Jews provided the funds for the establishment of this
new religious sect: ‘It is a peculiar thing that while the Millenists hate and despise
the Christian churches and disparage them all the time, they especially like, what
is more, praise the Jews particularly the Zionists. So it is understandable that the
Jews provide significant funds for the movement. In 1924, a Swiss physician Dr
Fehrman publicly said at a meeting held in St. Gallen that the Millenists are financed
by the Jews. The Millenists sued Dr Fehrman, but the court acquitted him since he
could prove his statement.’ – he wrote in the article.35 With regard to assumptions
related to Zionist Jews, it has already been hinted that Zionism was strongly present
among the Jewish community in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period. Zionist organisations were less loyal either to the system or to the Hungarian parties and they
could be placed more on the left side of politics.36 This fact could also contribute to
the negative prejudices against Zionist Jews appearing in the Hungarian Protestant
press in Czechoslovakia.

33 Sz. n. : c. n. Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1937, Vol. 17 issue 13, 2.
34 The Millenists or by their other name Jehovah’s Witnesses is a sect based on Adventist traditions established
by Charles Taze Russel (1852-1916) in Philadelphia in the 1870s. He believed nobody before him had interpreted the Holy Book correctly. More on the topic: Magyar Katolikus Lexikon. [Hungarian Catholic Encyclopaedia] http://lexikon.katolikus.hu/J/Jehova%20tan%C3%BAi.html
35 Sz. n. : c. n. Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1937, Vol. 17 issue 13, 2.
36 Éva Kovács remarks the following in this regard: ‘If the Jewish Party was unable to materially shape the identity of Jews because of its political failures and narrow inactive actions, the Zionist movement could do
so much better. Teaching the Hebrew language, the self-education of Jewish youth and re-training them
for instance to farming positions, the scout movements organised to create an independent Jewish state,
which were often quite militant, were all aimed to shape a basically new Jewish identity in which Jews were
not only regarded as a denomination or national minority but as a nation.’ Éva Kovács: Disszimiláció, zsidó
azonosságtudat, regionális identitás Szlovákiában [Dissimilation, Jewish identity, regional identity in Slovakia ]
(1920-1938) Regio – Kisebbségtudományi Szemle. 1991/2. http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00036/00006/
pdf/03.pdf Cf.: Attila Simon: Kettős szorításban, [In a double grip.] op. cit. pp. 7-8.

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The next writing is linked to the consequences of the racial ideology of contemporary Germany. The article pointed to the establishment of a new - racially
based - religious movement and advised that not only the Jews but Christians and
Christianity were also in danger because it had been built on the religion of Semitic
peoples - i.e., the Jewish faith. ‘It is a fact that as nationalistic ideals gain momentum, a great spiritual movement started, which wants to create a new and separate
German popular religion based on the new ideology of ‘blood and race’. [...] The
attacks launched by Hauer the spiritual leader of the new German religious movement are even more dangerous due to his scholarly stance. He believes Christianity
is a spiritual product of Semitic peoples and it does not match northern peoples
so the German race does not need Christ.’ 37 The same question was discussed in
an article on the establishment of a pagan religion by Ludendorff, which was published under the title ‘Ludendorff and Christianity’ in the paper Református Egyház
és iskola [Protestant Church and School]: ‘As it is reported by German church papers, Ludendorff - under the influence of his second wife - has established a philosophical religious-pagan league to pursue his anti-Semitism freely. He has rejected
the Old Testament and he has rejected the New Testament to feel free from the
influence of pastors and he is announcing total paganism. In his journal, he cannot
find sufficiently condemnatory terms to describe Christianity. He says that it is an
alien religion that kills racial characteristics and damages the union of the people.
He believes the Bible serves the Jews’ goals.’38Both articles called attention to the
common roots of Jewry and Christianity which may render them a common enemy
against Nazi ideology. This recognition called attention to the dangers of the new
type religious lines in Germany rather than that of Jews. Such processes might have
promoted an understanding of the two religions.
The conversion of the Jews and the Jewish mission in the period were particularly important parts of the Jewish issue within the church, therefore, they appeared
in several articles. Robert Smith, a Scottish pastor in Prague and György Knight,
Scottish pastor in Pest as appointed Jewish missionaries of the Scottish Church, in
addition to speaking about the local problems of the Protestant Church witnessed in
the course of their travels in Czechoslovakia, touched upon the issue of the Jewish
mission as well. György Knight believed it was only worth establishing specific Jewish missions in cities such as Budapest and Prague. He said, ‘the experience of the
Scottish Church both in Budapest and in Prague is that you do not need to go out
and collect the Jews in such cities as they are coming on their own initiative and ask
for education. But where Jews live in Orthodox communities they have been used

37 Sz. n.: A kereszténység németországi helyzete. [The position of Christianity in Germany.] Református Egyház
és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1937. Vol. 17, issue 16, 5.
38 Sz.n.: Ludendorff és a keresztyénség. [Ludendorff and Christianity] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant
Church and School]. 1937. Vol. 17, issue 22,7.

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to for several hundred years, such as in Slovakia and Ruthenia, both of us believe it
would not be wise to organise a specific Jewish mission, on the contrary, it would
be incorrect’.39 The article underlined the different position of Jews in Slovakia and
Ruthenia emphasising the presence of traditional Orthodox Jews in Sub-Carpathia,
who have rejected assimilation. He also called attention to ignorance that - in his
opinion - is one of the sources of the adverse feelings of Jews towards Christians.
At the same time, he called upon Christians to exercise self-reflection and correct
behaviour towards Jews: ‘It is probable that a Christian he will meet in everyday
life in trade and other areas does not sufficiently present the Master’s character
and therefore, is unable to break down the wall of ignorance and suspicion. In the
course of our visits, we have seen with pleasure in many places excellent relationships between Protestants and Jews where there were no traces of anti-Semitism.
But how many times ‘this good relationship’ is the common feeling of two minorities
in overcoming the same difficulties. I wonder if there is any of ‘the Christian feeling
toward a fellowman or whether it is a polite tolerance of each other’s religious beliefs
characterising 20th century’ - György Knight emphasised in his writing. He closed
it with encouragement to exercise tolerance, Christian spirit and love.40 György
Knight also discussed the issue of the Jewish mission in his writing ‘Why is the Scottish Christian school attractive to the Jewish people?’ In it he rejected anti-Semitism.
He underlined free will, free of any constraints as the secret of the success of the
Scottish mission school he led, which can by no means be reconciled with antiSemitism: ‘Why is the Scottish Christian school so attractive to the Jewish people?
The answer is that they know the school is fully based on Christian principles and
anti-Semitism is banned from it. They also know that in this school nobody would be
forced to convert. Many grateful parents have already said thank you to the school
for the good religious education provided for their children, which was beneficial to
their character.’41
The next article has the most negative approach of all press materials reviewed
dealing with the Jewish issue again in a political-ideological context. László Keresz39 György Knight: Csehszlovákiai utazásunk néhány benyomása. [Some impressions from our travels in Czechoslovakia.] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1937. Vol. 17, issue 21, 4.
40 To close the writing he called for tolerance, Christian spirit and love to be exercised by Protestants towards the
Jews: ‘This was the question we asked ourselves when we were among you. And therefore, we decided
to ask the Church to approach its Jewish neighbours in the name of Jesus in their loving spirit and with
the devotion given to us in Jesus. We would not like to see a separate mission in Ruthenia but we would
like if each Christian were the mirror image of Christ in the eyes of his Jewish neighbours.’ György Knight:
Csehszlovákiai utazásunk néhány benyomása. [Some impressions from our travels in Czechoslovakia.] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School] 1937. Vol. 17, issue 21, 5. At the same time, he
called attention to facing the difficulties of the future and to presenting a proper stance by the Protestant Church
in the Republic: ‘Should God give courage and wisdom to the Protestant Church to face all the specific
challenges it will face and I wish the Good should have the strongest power in the Republic.’ Op.cit. p. 5
41 György Knight, Scottish pastor: A Skót Misszió ma. [The Scottish Mission today.] Református Egyház és
Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1937. Vol. 17, issue 30, 2.

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tury in his article on Dr. Ábrahám Kuyper, Protestant theologian also spoke about
Dr Kuyper’s article ‘Liberals and Jews’, which work clearly placed Christianity above
Jewry and made it appear in the context of liberal ideology.42 Kuyper represented a
radical view in his writing saying that ‘the current danger is not in the Jews embracing liberalism but in the liberals becoming fully Jewish. In addition, he also emphasised that isolation is one of the main problems of Jews: […] Despite reform efforts and different existing religious lines, the Jewish community is a strictly closed
group, which - as a result of its spiritual impact on liberalism - provides the group’s
efforts with a kind of fanatic character fully antagonistic to Christ.’43 He pointed out
at the same time that Christians have an obligation to show an example to Jews and
to prove that spiritually they are above them: ‘We have no possibility to drive the
Jews into some better direction. […] The only behaviour appropriate to a Christian
vis-a-vis the Jewish community is to compete with them in ethical earnestness; to
show that spiritually we are above them; to missionize them with our love, words
and help.’ – said Kuyper. The author (Keresztury) - despite the above - defended Dr
Ábrahám Kuyper at the end of the article saying ‘Kuyper was a Protestant Christian
and could not be anti-Semitic. He believed the Jews will have a part to play in building God’s country in the future’.44
In 1938, several articles related to Jews were published in the Protestant
press. In them the so-termed Jewish issue and the related problems were present
with more and more emphasis.45 The first article by Károly Garamvölgyi on a text
by R. H. Markham was launched with a different topic with the title ‘How do foreign
papers write about us’.46 The article described the position of the Jews in Munkács
(Mukacevo) in an extremely negative attitude. The ironic writing emphasised the
conservative behaviour and habits of the Jews in Sub-Carpathia: ‘In Munkács our
guide said there were 24 synagogues. They and the Jews visiting them provide
the city with an oriental touch. There, in the heart of Europe you can feel being in
Baghdad or in Jerusalem. Thousands and thousands of boys and youth wear earlocks, foreign wide-brimmed hats and ugly black suits while countless priests wear
caftans, fur hats and other characteristic paraphernalia.’47 The article also under-

42 Keresztury: Dr. Ábrahám Kuyper. 1837-1920. Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School].
1937. Vol. 17, issue 48, 3.
43 Op.cit. 3.
44 Op.cit. 3
45 The origin of the Jewish issue goes back to the destruction of the Jewish state (A.D. 70). Since the Jewish
community got dispersed in the world, the lack of their connecting into the normal business life often gave rise
to enmity against them. Pogroms occurred against them among others in Spain then in Russia, etc. In Hungary,
anti-Semitism advanced from the end of the 1800s, when Jews started to be discriminated also politically. More
on the topic, cf.: Kislexikon. [Small Encyclopaedia] http://www.kislexikon.hu/zsidokerdes.html
46 Károly Garamvölgyi: Hogyan írnak rólunk a külföldi lapok? [How do foreign papers write about us?] Református
Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1938, Vol. 18 issue 2, 5.
47 Op.cit.

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lined that the Jewish religion cannot be popular and attractive to people because
it fails to adapt to the reality of everyday life with its Orthodox behaviour: ‘But the
holy places are not really spectacular. They are dirty, neglected, crumbling and
old. In most synagogues there are very old books written in a language not spoken
any longer. There is very little connection of those texts and the grey events of everyday life. They are the most fanatic Jews, they stick painfully to their ceremonies
but they are highly different from their forefather: Jacob. The religion of Munkács
makes life smooth but it kills progress.’48 On the other hand, it should be noted
that the article did not only emphasise the negative features of Jewry but it also
condemned the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches as opposed to the
Protestant Church.49 So - similarly to previous articles also discussed above - this
article also advertised the superiority of the Protestant Christian Church compared
to other religions including the Jewish religion.
The next article published in 1938 carried the title ‘Is there a Jewish issue?’ in
the paper Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School], in which
it spoke about the negative attitude towards Jews in a neighbouring country - probably in Hungary. Regarding the church papers of the country, it criticised that he
could not read even one article in them discussing the Jewish issue from a Christian perspective and displaying the stance of Protestants clearly. At the same time,
with regard to the Christian attitude towards Jews, the article presented the Dutch
Protestants as an example, who did not force their Jewish fellowmen to convert
but testified of Christ with their life: ‘The Dutch never force them to become Christians, still they had become ones because they had noticed in the Dutch that they
had had something in their faith that had been more than theirs. The life of Protestant Dutch men could become a guiding light for them and so they recognised the
path to salvation, they recognised Christ.’50 Next, the article criticised the attitude
of Hungarian Protestants towards the Jews and called upon the Protestant Church
to exercise self-criticism. He said Hungarian Protestants had never done much for
a ‘real’ conversion of the Jews: ‘We also have members of our church who used to
be Jews. And if we complain about them saying that many of them are not true Protestants and true Christians, then we should place our hands on our hearts and ask
ourselves whether we have been examples for them with our God-fearing life with
a strong light; whether they are the only reasons why they have not yet learnt Christ
truly. Did they have to see that the life of Protestant Christians is a life higher than
48 Op.cit.
49 ‘These churches in fact cannot lead their followers who are struggling for a better life. And if the people in
their misery look for leaders, they have to find them outside the church. This is a terrible reality of Europe.
If the churches want to overcome dictators they have to serve the masses more faithfully. That is the only
way.’ Op.cit.
50 Sándor Ágoston: Van-e zsidókérdés. [Is there a Jewish issue.] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant
Church and School]. 1938. Vol. 18, issue 21, 1.

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theirs in spirit?’51 The article also emphasised that the discrimination of converted
Jews is present inside the Protestant Church. He also underlined that making such
difference is not correct and called for tolerance and total acceptance of Jews: ‘If
we could have a census counting how many of original Protestants are truly Christ’s
children and how many of the converted Jews are Christ’s children, whether this
figure would shift the balance to the benefit of original Protestants? Now, let us raise
the question again: is there truly a Jewish issue you have to face and you have to
solve? All Protestant people should raise the question: how many fellowmen I have
gained from Christ with my God-fearing life? That is the question […]’.52
The next article also published in Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant
Church and School] discussed in a similar tone that as for the conversion of Jews,
it is not the efforts for assimilation that is important but the command of the Gospel.
The article discussing the address given by bishop Dr László Ravasz at the Upper
House said ‘the Christian Church can never give up its mission towards the Jewry
and that command. […] The Christian Church will never give up its missionary command for the sake of any popular racial theories. At the same time, the Christian
Church must emphasise that it is not led by the laws of assimilation in its struggle
to win over the souls but by the command of the eternal Gospel. We do not baptise
a soul to let him assimilate to a club but to encourage him to assimilate to Christ.’53
Next he discussed the motivation of the Jews’ conversion is very important. Here,
he most probably made reference to the high rate of Jews converting at the time,
which often did not happen out of religious belief but in the interest of assimilation.
In the end, he suggested ‘the Christian churches should show wise moderation in
accepting the Jews. We do have a sufficient number of bad Christians from among
our own members, why should we import a large number from among our Jewish
fellowmen?’54
The next article was published under the title ‘Community Work. The ORLE
Conference in Debrecen’. Again, you should quote the address given by bishop
László Ravasz from the writing in which he again emphasised the importance of the
Jewish mission.55 In his address promoting self-reflexion and quite strict with regard
to Protestants, he advised ‘Jesus said: ‘Go and render all peoples your disciples’
[…] on that basis we cannot exclude any people from that task. Therefore, the Prot-

51 Op.cit.
52 Op.cit.
53 Keresztyénység és a zsidó kérdés. [Christianity and the Jewish issue.] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1938, Vol. 18 issue 24, 7.
54 Op.cit.
55 Zoltán Csomár: GYÜLEKEZETI MUNKA. A debreceni ORLE konferencia. [COMMUNITY WORK. The ORLE
Conference in Debrecen.] Református Egyház és Iskola [Protestant Church and School]. 1938, Vol. 18 issue 39, 5.

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estant Church would never give up the Jewish mission. Anyway, the Jews would not
be such a problem seeming to be insolvable if we had been such Christians as we
should have been.’56 He closed his address as follows: ‘You cannot deny there is a
Jewish issue, but you need clear vision and love to solve it.’57
An article connecting the topic of Jews with the issue of minority Hungarians
was published in February 1938 under the title ‘The interest of the world’ in the paper Összefogás [Unity].58 The writing mentioning the political changes in Romania
expresses worry regarding the new leadership. What happened was that the King
had appointed the head of the Romanian National Christian Party Goga Octavian
to lead the country. The new Prime Minister was known of his friendship with Italy
and Germany. The article expressed the worry felt by the Protestant Church with
regard to the Jews following the new local leadership of a national line in Romania.
However, the worry was mostly focused on fears felt for minority Hungarians: ‘The
decree on servants is worrying, because it will not only hit the Jews but its effects
will be felt by Hungarians as well. It has been forbidden that Jewish families employ
Christian servant girls younger than 40 years of age. The measure is especially
harmful for the Sekler Land where the soil is quite poor. Sekler servant girls going
to faraway lands to serve could make up for the income missing from the yield of
the land. Now, this decree on servants will suddenly deprive Seklers from this safe
source of income. The new Romanian government announced national elections
will be held at the end of March and so we can only expect the current disturbing
and uncertain Romanian situation to be clarified after them.’59

Summary
In the Czechoslovak Republic, discriminative type solutions and open anti-Semitism
similar to those in Hungary could not be found in public life. This, however, does not
mean that the society was characterised by full tolerance towards the Jewish community. It was not possible simply because Slovakia seceded from the Kingdom of
56 Op.cit.
57 Op.cit.
58 Sz. n.: A világ érdeklődése. [The interest of the world.] Összefogás, [Unity] February 1938 1. 2.
59 ‘In this regard the situation is quite confusing today and we do not know what the future will bring. The
Hungarian national minority is looking at the new Romanian government torn between worries and confidence. ‘We cannot know today — the Transylvanian paper Magyar Nép (Hungarian People) is writing - what
the future will bring. Anyway there are some symptoms causing worry to Hungarians, but there are some
signs offering confidence.’ Sz. n.: A világ érdeklődése. [The interest of the world.] Összefogás, [Unity] February 1938 1. 2.

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Hungary in 1918, where political anti-Semitism had been present already from the
early 1800s. This is proved by the anti-Jewish riots happening in the Slovak areas
immediately after the establishment of the Republic. The picture is further tainted
because multi-ethnic Czechoslovakia considered providing the Jews with different
rights mainly in order to reduce the number of minorities; so from this point of view,
the Jewish issue was subordinate to the German and Hungarian issue in Czechoslovakia.
Nevertheless, we have to emphasise the positive impact of the minority fate of
Hungarians and Jews in Czechoslovakia after 1918 as well as a more liberal line of
the Protestant Church towards the Jews, which contributed to the popularity of the
Hungarian National Party mostly consisting of Protestants among the Jews living in
Southern Slovakia. All the above explains why there were no openly anti-Semitic
articles in the Hungarian Protestant press in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period.
On the other hand, the low number of such articles reveals a neutral attitude towards the topic.
While in articles published in the 1920s the Jews mostly appeared in connection with Bolshevism in an ideological-political context, in the 1930s they were
mentioned in quite different contexts. Most articles spoke about the problems of the
conversion of Jews becoming more and more topical. Although the articles were
not antagonistic to Jews and they condemned forceful assimilation, they pointed out
several times that they considered Christian ideology and their own church superior
to Jews. Later articles also emphasised the negative aspects of the conversion of
Jews, questioning their sincere faith in Christianity.
So, an open and unambiguous discrimination of Jews was not present in
the Hungarian Protestant press in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period, nevertheless a kind of ambivalence was prevalent all the time and latent anti-Semitism can be
discovered in some writings to a certain extent.
In the second half of the 1930s, as a result of political events, the number of
articles increased and they dealt with the Jewish issue in an international context.
However, the main grounds for their worries were the problems of Christianity and
those of the minority Hungarians and the fate of the Jews were considered secondary in that respect.

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