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Gábor Szegedi

Research Fellow (10/2014 - 08/2015)


Antisemitism and Sexuality: Sex Education, Marriage Prohibitions and Race Defilement


Szegedi webIn interwar Hungary the wave of antisemitic legislation after 1938 and the closely related social and economic policies that aimed at redistribution of wealth at the cost of the Jews‘ resulted in various attempts to defining Jewishness. Jews became a race‘ and a particular spirit‘ and therefore, aside from rolling back Jewish alleged economic and social influence, the Hungarian state started a project aimed at separating Jews‘ and non-Jews‘ on a physical level, marking out desirable and undesirable bodies. The most far-reaching measure of this body politics was the 1941 Marriage Law: It prohibited marriage on a racial basis and introduced a practice of race defilement. In the race defilement proceedings individual bodies were then used to mark the boundaries of the nation using respectable sexuality‘ as the threshold between belonging and otherness. In my dissertation I examined various discourses on sexuality in inter-war Hungary, with a particular emphasis on producing sexual knowledge for young, unmarried adults. In the current project I will juxtapose these texts and practices of sex education and premarital counselling with the biopolitical normalization process of the race defilement cases after 1941; I wish to draw attention to the importance of sexuality for understanding the antisemitism of interwar Hungary.


Gábor Szegedi studied American Studies and Political Science at ELTE and History at the Central European University in Budapest, but also in Turku/Åbo, Berlin, and Durham. He defended his doctorate on sex education, marriage counselling and premarital health examinations in 20th century Hungary in June 2014 at CEU's History Department. He has worked as a translator, as a history teacher in a secondary school and for five years as policy analyst at the Australian Embassy in Budapest.

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


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