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26. September 2022 08:00 - 30. November 2022 17:00
CfP - WorkshopsThe 1952 German-Jewish Settlement and Beyond. New Perspectives on Reparations During and After the Cold War
On 10 September 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Israel, and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany signed a historic agreement in Luxembourg, according to which Germany was to pay Israel the costs for “the heavy burden of resettling so great a num...Weiterlesen...
26. September 2022 08:00 - 13. January 2023 23:59
FellowshipsCall for Fellowships 2023/24
Fellowships 2023/24 at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) (german version below) The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) invites applications for its fellowships for the academic year 2022/2023. The VWI is an academic institution dedicate...Weiterlesen...
01. October 2022 18:00 - 02. October 2022 01:00
InterventionORF-Lange Nacht der Museen am VWI
Simon Wiesenthal (1908–2005) widmete sein Leben nach dem Holocaust der Aufklärung und Strafverfolgung von NS-Verbrechen. Das Museum im Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI) lädt dazu ein, die Bedeutung von Wiesenthals Dokumentationsarbeit für die Holocaust-Forschung...Weiterlesen...
05. October 2022 15:00
VWI invites/goes to...+++CANCELLED+++ Christoph Dieckmann: Shoah, Warfare and Occupation 1938-1945
VWI goes to Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies Historians have long examined the complex, close relationship between the Holocaust and the German war effort. Using Lithuania as a case study, Dieckmann takes a new look at this relationship that includes German occupatio...Weiterlesen...
20. October 2022 18:30
Simon Wiesenthal LectureGideon Reuveni: The Phantom Giant And The No-Key Gate. The German-Jewish Settlement And The Holocaust
When on September 10, 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Israel and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany signed a reparation agreement in Luxembourg, this settlement was considered historical. Official publications from both sides portrayed it as a...Weiterlesen...
27. October 2022 15:00
Alma Mater RevisitedNorman Domeier: Weltherrschaft und Völkermorden. Die Lochner-Version der Hitler-Rede vom 22. August 1939 als Schlüsseldokument nationalsozialistischer Weltanschauung
Alma Mater Revisited Eigentlich sollte die Geheimrede Hitlers vor der Wehrmachtführung am 22. August 1939 auf dem Obersalzberg zu einem zentralen Beweisstück des Nürnberger Prozesses 1945/46 werden. Denn in dieser Ansprache, wenige Tage vor dem deutschen Angriff auf Polen, hatte der ...Weiterlesen...

The Numerus Clausus in Hungary

 

Antisemitism, Gender, and Exile a Hundred Years On

 

Act XXV/1920, the so-called numerus clausus law, which was passed by the Hungarian National Assembly in September 1920, has the dubious merit of being the first antisemitic law of the post-First World War era. With the ostensible aim of reducing the overcrowding of Hungarian universities after the Treaty of Trianon, the law pegged enrolment to the ratio of ‘races’ and ‘nationalities’ in the general population. However, the antisemitic agenda of Hungary’s counter-revolutionary regime, the tenor of the corresponding parliamentary debate, and the physical violence inflicted on Jewish students by right-wing student organisations left no doubt about the law’s anti-Jewish intent.

 

The law’s quota of six percent for Jewish students drastically reduced the previous high representation of Jews at university faculties. It also led to the flight of thousands of Hungarian Jewish students (the so-called NC exiles) to universities abroad, robbing the country of many future leading lights of Western academia. Despite the persistent obfuscations and myths surrounding it, historians agree that the law’s breach of the principle of equal citizenship paved the way for the openly discriminatory anti-Jewish laws enacted in Hungary in the late 1930s and, ultimately, the Hungarian Holocaust.

 

Women were particularly affected by these state-sanctioned university policies. Hence, gender and politics form the central focus of this project. An early case of illiberal social engineering, the law reflected but also contributed to the deepening divisions in Hungarian society. Our research sets out to gauge its impact on competing perceptions of race, gender, and class, as well as long-term developments of Hungarian society, such as women’s emancipation and Jewish assimilation.

 

The research will proceed in two complementary directions: First, the law’s impact on Hungarian Jewish women and their decision to venture abroad to study, postpone higher education, or jettison it altogether will be analysed. Daughters of middle-class, assimilated Hungarian Jewish families were at the vanguard of higher education since the partial opening of the faculties in the late 19th century, their ratio in the faculties of arts and medicine reaching strikingly high levels by the end of the First World War. They were thus disproportionally disadvantaged by the NC law, singled out both as women and as Jews by the interwar regime’s deeply conservative agenda and by university administrators who were eager to reverse women’s wartime gains – an endeavour they largely succeeded in. The project will compile data on Jewish women’s enrolment at Hungarian universities, establish their ratio among the NC exiles, and map out the outlines of transnational student networks between 1920 and 1938.

 

In the second stage that aims to explore the broader social and cultural implications of the NC law, memoirs, oral history sources, and the archives and press of the Hungarian Jewish community will be assessed to answer the following questions: How did the law change the educational strategies of Hungarian Jewish families? Did it slow down Jewish assimilation and reinforce Jewish identity? Of particular interest here is the Hungarian Jewish family, the primary agent of women’s higher education in the pre-First World War period, and its potential to assume, under external pressure, a more conservative gender dynamic.

 

The project results will be of considerable interest to historians of Hungary and East Central Europe, twentieth-century antisemitism, and intellectual migration from Nazi Europe. The parallels with North American elite universities, where antisemitic measures were widely practised without ever being formalised, also point to the comparative potential of our project.

 

The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

Responsible for the project are Judith Szapor (McGill University, Montreal), Éva Kovács (Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien – VWI and Ágnes Kelemen(Central European University.

 

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