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The expulsion as historical turning point in the religious and cultural life of the German-Hungarian village Budaörs/Wudersch?
Published September 10, 2020

The expulsion of the German minority in Hungary at the end of World War II started on the 19th of January 1946 in the small village Budaörs/Wudersch close to the capital Budapest. The village has become well-known in the interwar period for its flower carpets prepared for the feast Corpus Christi, made by its German-speaking population until o...ver 90% of the inhabitants were forced to leave the country for the American occupation zone of Germany, a moment that has been long established as the historical turning point in the history and culture of the German minority in Hungary. The expulsion thus divides the tradition of making flower carpets for Corpus Christi into two eras. Previous research has often struggled with connecting these two eras with each other, when analyzing the development of the feast. The main goal of the research paper is to describe the situation of the Catholic Church in Hungary in the times of transition to Socialism, both on national and local level and to deconstruct the idea of the year 1946 being the one and only possible turning point when considering the changes in the tradition. A newly found source in the Esztergom Primatial Archives, an album with photos taken of the flower carpet in 1948, a present made for Cardinal Mindszenty, shows that the route of the procession has stayed the same, although changes in the number of observants and the lack of women wearing the traditional costume of Budaörs can be observed. These findings demonstrate a continuity of tradition and village life, straddling the supposed divide, and hence suggest a re-interpretation of the feast’s significance as demonstration of the catholic inhabitants’ resistance to the slowly establishing soviet system.

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Cultural Heritage or Traces of the War? A Case Study From Oblivion to Memory and ’Heritagisation’
Published September 10, 2020

The paper explores the memory of the internment camp in Tiszalök (Upper Tisza region, Hungary) in selected social, historical, and ethnic contexts. After a brief theoretical overview of key concepts such as heritagization, the author highlights some significant facts and events from the history of the camp. This camp was established after the ...Second World War, and deportees of German origin, who could not go home to their families after returning to Hungary from Russian captivity, were held there. Furthermore, the paper outlines how the history of the camp was first concealed in public, then gradually discovered by scholars and memorialized through commemorative events and a monument which was erected by the local community and former inmates. Subsequently, the author presents the case study of a deceased Hungarian woman who used to work in the camp’s kitchen. Based on several interviews with her relatives and after the careful examination of a wooden box from her estate, the author demonstrates that her family history and the history of the interned members of the German minority are closely intertwined in a way, which had been unknown to her family. Finally, the author argues that similar personal objects may reveal further untold stories and entangled memories from the postwar years.

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“It all started with the match factory in Debrecen”: Swabians from the Tokaj-Hegyalja area as forced laborers in the former Soviet Union
Published September 10, 2020

In the last year of World War II, the Soviet army occupied Eastern Hungary. Following the military order of Marshal Malinovsky, the ethnic Germans in Hungary were forced to perform forced labor. The abducted people were branded war criminals and taken to coal mines in the Don-bassin, the so called "soviet paradise". Altogether 348 people were t...aken from the ethnic german settlements of Tokaj-Hegyalja, 30 of whom never returned. The youngest of the civilians was 16 years old and the oldest 65. They were told that they had to go to the match factory in Debrecen for a "little work / Malenkij robot". Most of the deportees could only return home after 2-4 years - spent in inhumane contitions. Our project commemorates their memories. Since the years of silence are over, nowadays, we are free to talk about events that have taken place 70 years ago. We hope they will never happen again.

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Competing Nationality Politics Targeting German Communities at the Hungarian-Romanian Border Zone after the Great War
Published September 10, 2020

In my study, I focus on the events that took place in the short period after the Great War ended (1918) and before the consolidation of Romanian power in the Hungarian-Romanian Border Commission (1922) from the point of view of the artificially created ethnic category: the Satu Mare Swabians or Sathmar Swabians. The histori...ography related to the “ethnographic” aspects of these events have appeared multiple times and in several contexts and forms in the years since. However, the question of ethnicity has not arisen in relation to the population of German descent, but rather in relation to the Hungarian-speaking Greek Catholic communities of Romanian and Rusyn/Ruthenian origin who were treated by the Romanian side as Magyarized Romanians. Following this example, the Romanians later began to collect data on the Magyarized Germans, which they then presented to the Border Commission. Germans living in the territory witnessed a strong competition between identity politics and discourse supported by rival Hungarian and Romanian states. One of the key features of this rivalry was the intensive propaganda activity promoted by both the Romanian and the Hungarian authorities to gain territories to the detriment of the other.

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