Articulating the Unprecedented

Documentation and Research of the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry

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Hungary was among the first countries where extensive documentation of the extermination of the European Jewry started already during the 1940s. More than 3500 survivors gave their testimonies to the National Relief Committee for Deportees (DEGOB) as early as 1945–46, contributing to what was to become one of the largest collections of early witness accounts worldwide. The first part of the presentation will be an attempt to analyze this collection.

The presentation will subsequently address the beginnings of the Hungarian Holocaust historiography through an analysis of the early postwar works of Jenő Lévai, one of the great pioneers the Hungarian Holocaust scholarship who surprisingly remains little known internationally. The presentation will focus on four of his major works published between 1945 and 1948 to reflect on his thematic priorities, key interpretations as well as long-term influence. 

Ferenc Laczó– historian with a PhD from the Central European University, Budapest. Currently a research fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg. His main fields of interest are cultural and intellectual history of modern Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th century, Jewish history and the history of Christian-Jewish relations. His bookFelvilágosult vallás és modern katasztrófa közt.Magyar zsidó gondolkodás a Horthy-korban[Between Enlightened Religion and Modern Catastrophe. Hungarian Jewish Thought in the Horthy Era] was published this year.

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