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István Pál Ádám

Junior Fellow (03/2014 – 08/2014)

"Bystanders" to Genocide? The Role of Building Managers in the Hungarian Holocaust.

ADAMThis project examines the role of an understudied group of everyday Hungarians in World War II: Budapest building managers, caretakers in Hungarian: the házmester, or in German der Hausmeister. In June 1944, the Hungarian government – when setting up a ghetto – separated the Jewish and Christian residents of Budapest not by entire quarters, but by assigning certain buildings as “Jewish houses”. The building managers of these approximately 2,000 houses did not officially belong to any authority; nevertheless, on a daily basis they were responsible for enforcing discriminative regulations. They acted as intermediaries between the authorities and the Jewish citizens, which gave them much wider latitude than other so-called bystanders. I am using the files of a post-war denazifying process, testimonies, autobiographical sources and contemporary journals to show how this otherwise insignificant group of ordinary Hungarians gained power over the Jewish Hungarian citizens.


István Pál Ádám, LL.D., entered the Central European University`s History MA program after working years in a compensation project for Holocaust survivors. At the moment, he is a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, where his work is supervised by Drs. Josie McLellan and Tim Cole. In 2012, he was the recipient of an EHRI fellowship at Yad Vashem. From December 2012 until June 2013, Ádám continued his research at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

June 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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