Lost Prestige

Géza Jeszenszky

ISBN: 978-1-9433596-17-1
Helena History Press
411 pages

This book is not about how present-day Hungary has recently lost so much of the prestige it won with its heroic uprising in 1956 and its role in the fall of the communist satellites in 1989. Rather, it is the story of the formation of Hungary’s image abroad before and during World War I. That contributed to the exceptionally harsh terms the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty meted out to Hungary: the historic kingdom was reduced to one third of its territory and population, leaving 3.5 million Hungarians outside the new borders. Despite the constant discrimination the Hungarian minorities have faced in most of Hungary’s neighbours in language use, education and administration, today they number about 2.5 million and they want to enjoy all the rights international law recommends and local self-government would provide.

Géza Jeszenszky  chronicles how the very favourable reputation of Hungary and the Hungarians, established in their 1848–49  war for a liberal constitution and independence from Habsburg absolutism, was seriously damaged in the decade preceding the First World War. He shows its causes: the internal political crisis in 1904–06 undermined the notion that Hungary was a stabilizing and liberalizing factor in the Habsburg Monarchy; the almost daily London Times reports by its extremely well-informed correspondent, H.W. Steed, exposed the short-sighted social and electoral policies of Hungary’s political elite; and increasing awareness of the unfair treatment of the non-Hungarian national minorities, as revealed (with bias and exaggeration) by the political writer R.W. Seton-Watson. All of which coincided with the ascendancy of progressive social and political reforms in Britain, in the light of which Hungary appeared “backward”. Finally, what counted most, was that despite its strong Anglophile sympathies Hungary found itself among the enemies of Great Britain in the Great War, on the side of Germany, the power which was seen as a threat to the British Empire and its command of the seas. 

The relationship between foreign policy and the national image is followed through the chronological account of the metamorphosis of Hungary’s image in Britain. The book also explores the alleged similarities between English and Hungarian society and values. A final chapter describes how succeeding generations of Hungarians of various political stripes reflected on that lost prestige and its role in the making of the national tragedy, the Treaty of Trianon.

About the Author, Géza Jeszenszky

Géza Jeszenszky is a retired professor of history at Corvinus University of Budapest, as well a politician and diplomat. Instrumental in the transition of Hungary into a democracy in 1989, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first freely elected government (1990-94) after the fall of communism. From 1998 to 2002 he served as the Hungarian ambassador to the United and States and to Norway and Iceland from 2011 to 2014.

He was visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in Warsaw, Poland, and in Cluj/Kolozsvár in Romania. He is the author of a large number of scholarly publications. His latest book in English is Post-Communist Europe and Its National/Ethnic Problems (Budapest, 2009). His memoir and analysis of Hungary’s relations with its neighbors during the years of the regime change (in Hungarian) was published in 2016. This present work is a translation of his highly regarded history of the changing of view of Hungary in Great Britain 1894-1918. (Az Elveszett Préztizs) and has recently been revised and updated by the author for the anglophone reader. 

Frankfurt Book Fair: October 16-20, 2020 Frankfurt Germany


The Frankfurt Book Fair (a.k.a. Frankfurter Buchmesse or FBM) is the most important event for the books, media, related rights and licenses sectors in the world. It takes place every October in Messe Frankfurt. Notable representatives, publishers, booksellers, film producers and authors attend the FBM show each year. The previous edition of the Buchmesse in Frankfurt received over 7300 exhibitors from 102 countries, close to 10,000 journalists and 286,500 visitors.

Convention Details: https://www.buchmesse.de/

The Story of Sidonie C.

Freud’s famous “case of female homosexuality”

Ines Rieder, Diana Voigt
Translated by Jill Hannum and Ines Rieder

Ines Rieder (1954–2015), writer, activist, archivist, curator, translator, historian and internationalist.

Diana Voigt (1960–2009), scholar of German language and literature and theater arts.

Jill Hannum, freelance editor and translator, also the author of AIDS in Nepal (1997).

The Story of Sidonie C.

ISBN: 978-1-943596-12-6
378 pages, with 70 black-and-white photos, paperback

Now finally available in English, this biography of Margarethe Csonka-Trautenegg (1900–1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never-before-identified “case of female homosexuality”, her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and taped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.

Leonie Puttkamer, 1919, the great love of Sidone’s life
Sidone Csillag as a young woman
At age 17, Margarethe Csonka fell deeply in love with a stunning and notorious upper-class courtesan, attempted suicide when she was rejected, and was sent by her parents to Prof. Freud to be “normalized”. The attempted “cure” was a failure.

This biography of Margarethe Csonko-Troutenegg (1900-1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never before identified “case of female homosexuality,” her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and toped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.

“The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes.”

-ANDREAS BRUNNER co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna)

Praise for The Story of Sidonie C.

Sidone Csillag as a young girl

Thanks to extensive historical research and quotations from contemporary files, documents and magazines, Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt were able to create a sensitive biography of this self-confident, courageous woman, and a vivid picture of the Sigmund Freud era in Vienna and the lesbian subcultures there in the 1920s and 30s. The authors follow beautiful, aloof, upper-middle class Sidonie Csillog through the nearly 100 years of her life, from her analysis with Freud to her lost- minute flight from the Nazis, and her restless, decodes-long search for a new home ofter WWII. The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes

-Andreas Brunner, co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna), is a gay activist, historian, curator and tour guide specializing in the queer history of Vienna.

You hove such shrewd eyes. I would never wont to hove you as my enemy.” As “Sidonie C.” recalled many decodes later, these were Sigmund Freud’s porting words upon ended his treatment of her in 1919 . … Her story will appeal to a brood range of readers interested in general biography, twentieth-century history, queer- and gender studies and culture studies. But especially for students of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic history, it offers a unique opportunity. It is rare for psychoanalysts to learn anything about their patients’ lives ofter they leave treatment, much less to read a full biography. The English-speaking analytic audience is now in the fortunate position of being able to pursue the development of this intriguing woman and to draw their own conclusions regarding Freud’s and Locon’s insights into her.

-Jeanne Wolff-Bernstein is a practicing analyst in Vienna, a member of the Wiener Arbeitskreis fur Psychoanalyse (WAP) and of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PIN C). She choirs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, and is on the faculty of the New York University Post-Doctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Sidone Csillag as an old woman

Freud worried that his clinical histories tended to read like novellas. Thanks to Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt, we ore now given the opportunity of discovering the larger-than-fiction life of Sidonie Csillog, the protagonist of Freud’s lost published case, his controversial treatment of a “young homosexual woman.” Questions left unresolved in Freud’s account find their answers when we follow the amazing life of this daring modern heroine who, Jewish by birth, fled the Nazis in her beloved Vienna to spend time in Cuba, Thailand, Spain, Brazil, Fronce, and the United States- always pursuing her wish for freedom and self-expression. The vivid details of her life history yield new keys for a revisionist reading of the psychoanalytic treatment of homosexuality.

-Patrkia Gherovki is a psychoanalyst, author of Please Select Your Gender and Transgender Psychoanalysis, among other books, and co-editor of Lacon On Madness: Madness Yes You Can’t; Lacon, Psychoanalysis and Comedy; and Psychoanalysis in the Barrios.

Tomáš G. Masaryk, a Scholar and a Statesman

The Philosophical Background of His Political Views

Zdenĕk V. David

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Tomáš G. Masaryk, a Scholar and a Statesman

ISBN: 978-1-943596-13-3
360 pages, cloth

The importance of the political thought of Thomas G. Masaryk (1850−1937), the first president of Czechoslovakia, has been based on two considerations. One was his image as the principal shaper of the democratic culture in inter-war Czechoslovakia. The other image was as a model of political prudence and sagacity not only for East-Central Europe, but one recognized universally. He was called by his contemporaries “the wisest European of today” and “the greatest man in Europe.” John MacCormac, writing in the New York Times in 1930, saw in Masaryk a personage of the same caliber as Washington, Lincoln, and Wilson.

Masaryk brought to his political activity the assets of profound background in scholarship, as well as a religious flavor. A leitmotif of Masaryk’s intellectual search was his desire to establish a religious dimension to the human experience. Unable to accept his native Catholicism, whether traditional or liberal, he turned to the two modernizing trends in German Lutheranism that had jettisoned traditional dogma and liturgy.

Zdenĕk V. David’s main interest is to probe the mind of the man as revealed through his writings on philosophy and religion, and to map out his position in relation to the principal Austrian, British, French, and German – to some extent also American and Russian – thinkers with whom he dealt in his philosophical and religious writings. He focuses on the ideas behind Masaryk’s political pronouncements and activities.

Interview with Lovice Maria Ullein-Reviczky, the translator of 
German War, Russian Peace

The Hungarian Tragedy by Antal Ullein-Reviczky

When was the first time you decided to translate your father’s memoir? And what has influenced your decision?

Lovice Maria Ullein-Reviczky

We have to go a long way back for that one, to when I first met President Árpád Göncz at the Hungarian Embassy in London in 1992. The President was in London together with Foreign Minister, Dr Géza Jeszenszky, and they invited me to return home. It was then that the “homecoming” of my late father, Antal Ullein-Reviczky, was organised, with a Festival in Budapest, the Budapesti Pünkösdi Fesztival, May-June 1993, with President Göncz as Patron.

President Göncz
Budapesti Pünkösdi Fesztival, May-June 1993, with President Göncz

The event attracted hundreds of guests from all over the world, with many international investors visiting Hungary for the first time. President Göncz welcomed the guests with these words:

“I am very pleased to welcome you among the patrons of the 1993 Budapest Whitsun Festival. When I accepted the patronage of this Festival and of the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Award, I did this not only to pay tribute to someone who struggled for Hungarian independence, but also in the hope of creating new traditions adding to the glamour of our city and broadening the scope of its cultural offer. I trust that all of us will find the programs of this and future festivals satisfactory.”

The first edition of the Hungarian translation of Antal Ullein-Reviczky’s memoirs, Német háború – orosz béke, hardcover souvenir edition, was presented to President Göncz and to other members of the Hungarian Government who were on the podium. It then became clear to me that this very important story deserved an English translation.

Having such a close relationship to the author of the memoir is a very unique situation for a translator. Does it pose special challenges when carrying out the translation, or did it make it easier to find the right style and voice in the English language version?

It was indeed a unique situation, you could call it an example of the bond between father and daughter. I should like to mention that this is not only the rendering of text from French to English one word at a time, unexpectedly I also became the editor when Prof. Dr. Tibor Frank handed me this challenging task. I supplemented the text with additional material from the URA archive, footnotes, photographs and documents, so it is a new international version of the original 1947 French edition, “Guerre allemande-paix russe”. I am now considering a German edition “Deutscher krieg – russischer frieden”.

It has been almost 5 years since the English version was published. Can you tell us about the reception of the book? What kind of feedback have you received?

German War Russian Peace

Well, the first thing people notice is the iconic book cover, everyone loves the photograph of father Telling a story to little Lovice about bad people who invaded Hungary (in his own handwriting on the original photograph).

The feedback has been five stars from all those I know as well as on reviews and from leading academics. Let me quote a few:

“One of the best, if not the best, historical memoir of Hungary in the disastrous years of 1938 to 1945 now published for the first time in the English language.”

Amazon reader’s review

“The Memoirs has been printed in three languages. This review is based on the most recent English edition, the translated by Ullein-Reviczky’s daughter Lovice Maria Ullein-Reviczky, and with a foreword by Historian Tibor Frank who specializes in Hungarian political history and Hungarian-English relations. The memoir has been supplemented with additional documents and photographs.”

Journal of Southeast European Studies

“The new English edition of “German War-Russian Peace” the memoir of Hungarian diplomat Antal Ullein-Reviczky is allowing so many more readers to learn about Hungary during the fateful years that led to its demise as a free country after WWII. Deeply anti-fascist, Antal Ullein-Reviczky was a witness to history and as such his observations are extremely valuable for all those who are interested in Hungary. The book is highly readable and provides information that will enhance our knowledge of a period historians should study with an open mind. Antal Ullein-Reviczky was an outstanding individual with sharp insight combined with a strong sense of fairness, compassion and patriotism which clearly defines him as someone who tried to do the right thing against all odds.”

Amazon reader’s review

“This is primary source material, in a highly readable form, with a very attractive presentation. It will interest historians and lay readers of history. It will especially interest those curious about the efforts made by the Hungarian government when it was trying to avoid the disaster the country was plummeting toward during WW II. It happened anyway, but not for lack of trying…”

Amazon reader’s review

“A brilliant historical document. Superb quality presentation. Highly recommended. German War-Russian Peace is a fresh, intimate and revealing insight into what went on politically in Europe before and during the Second World War. A must for experts and armchair historians alike, this personal and honest reminiscence brings a great hero to light, and offers us food for thought about political systems past and future.”

Amazon reader’s review

Please tell us how as more archival material has become available your father’s role in the events of WWII has changed or expanded.

Magyar Front Cover
Magyar Front, Fall 2010

Enormously, so much so that the archival material would fill volumes. Today Ullein-Reviczky’s reputation is unassailable, near sacred and almost inviolable, a Hungarian hero who deserves the name. His standing in post-Communist Hungary is arguably higher than it was during WWII when he struggled to save his war-battered nation. As Mother writes in her diary: Antal risked his life every day. Dr. Antal Ullein-Reviczky was also a statesman-soldier, as portrayed by Peter Czink in MAGYAR FRONT. To quote Dr. József Antall, the first freely elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the fall of Communism:

“Antal Ullein-Reviczky was brave enough to take up a stand against Hitler at a time when he risked his life by doing so, today we are aware of how many people Antal Ullein-Reviczky negotiated with at home and abroad in his efforts to secure enough help from Western powers for Hungary to be able to withdraw from the war. He was a political realist, a democratic figure whose life and work can serve as an example to all of us.”

The Raoul Wallenberg story was one that changed dramatically when it was revealed how close the link was between Wallenberg and Ullein-Reviczky (see Raoul Wallenberg Foundation: NOT A ‘NOBODY’: CHOICE OF RAOUL WALLENBERG IN 1944 NOT ACCIDENTAL 19-03-2012, by Susanne Berger, Dr. Vadim Birstein). 

Every day something new surfaces. I just received this text from Susan Berger in February 2019: The new findings underscore your father’s central role in Stockholm – both with regards to Anglo-American contacts regarding separate peace negotiations, but aiding Swedish intelligence efforts in Hungary, to aid the resistance and with the overarching aim of countering the Soviet Union. The fact that all this occurred much earlier than previously thought raises important questions also about Raoul Wallenberg’s contacts with your father in Stockholm and Raoul’s ties to Swedish intelligence, they confirm our previous discoveries which is crucial. So, your father’s role in Stockholm attains even greater significance than previously known.

As David Amante writes:

“Antal Ullein-Reviczky is the fascinating man who guides Raoul Wallenberg behind the scenes in his rescue actions, in agreement with international authorities.” (Point of No Return Wallenberg, Milan, 2014)

The one very interesting thing is that your father mentions in his memoir that he first met U.S. intelligence representatives in Stockholm on December 1, 1944. In fact, he really hit the ground running, with first meetings already on October 23, 1944. This, too, is significant, because his arrival coincided with the appointment of Carl Bonde as head of Swedish Counterintelligence. And from that moment on, the preparations for a meaningful Hungarian intelligence operation was in full swing. We knew that discussions were under way, but not that there was such a coordinated, intense effort under way already in October 1943.

Please tell us about the Activities of the URA Foundation.

The Ullein-Reviczky Foundation was created to keep alive my father’s memory. He was a renowned Hungarian diplomat and academic, who did everything in his power during difficult times to combat Nazi infiltration of his native country. The Foundation dedicates itself to maintaining the positive moral values of my father, who in difficult times defended the inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled as a human being. As for its activities, where can I start? The foundation maintains and preserves the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Historical Archive; helps to further historical research based on the Ullein-Reviczky Archive; has implemented the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Award and Scholarship programme; manages the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Centre; provides an intellectual platform where fellow humans can share information on social,economic, cultural and political issues on a regular basis; organizes meetings and other events with leading national and international representatives in the fields of politics, diplomacy, economy, society, science, culture and religion; supports Hungary by keeping up its finest and most enduring traditions and making new ones.

Slavic Review: Third Europe

Third Europe: Polish Federalist Thought in the United States, 1940–1970s.

By Sławomir Łukasiewicz.
Reno, NV: Helena History Press LLC, 2016.
Trans. Witold Zbirohowski-Kościa. 476 pp.
Notes. Bibliography. Glossary. Index. Photographs. Maps.
$50.00, hard bound.
doi: 10.1017/slr.2018.143

Third Europe

This engrossing work deals with the organized efforts of a substantial body of political activists and intellectuals who worked together to discuss and promote the idea of a federalist solution to the national security concerns of the states in east central Europe, many of which gained their independence after World War I. These individuals, many of them Poles, realized that independence alone was no guarantee for their “third Europe” homelands—countries geographically perched between two threatening super powers—Germany and Russia. Nor were alliances with one another, with Britain and France, or their membership in international bodies like the League of Nations enough in themselves. Instead, the push for a “federalist” solution (a concept whose meaning and implications receive considerable discussion from the author) was something these individuals saw as a far better way to provide for both their countries’ individual advancement and their shared national security needs.

In the interwar period, however, the idea of federalism fell like a seed on rocky ground. The focus of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania and the Baltic states was on nation building, a focus that too often led to friction and divisions over boundary and ethnic minority issues. World War II in turn brought devastation to the region. What followed was the Soviet takeover of east central Europe, a “solution” to the issues of the region that the federalists, along with a host of other émigrés who found themselves in western Europe and the United States after the War, totally rejected. 

Out of this tragedy came a new impetus for the exiles’ patriotic thinking, and their far-sighted but realistic discussions in support of a federalist, post-Soviet, future for east central Europe. Their many activities, often taking place in concert with various American and west European activists who established organizations in the decade after World War II like the National Committee for a Free Europe, and exile groups who became involved in the Assembly of Captive European Nations, are well presented. These involved debates on a number of proposed federalist solutions—some of which focused on bi-lateral relations (most notably between Poland and Czechoslovakia) and others that extended the application of federalism to most, if not all, of the countries in the region.

Two particular features of this work merit a comment here. One involves the author’s extensive and welcome discussion of the thought and scholarship of a number of Poles who settled permanently in the United States after 1940 and went on to establish impressive and influential academic careers in this country. Four of these individuals receive particular attention. The oldest was the historian Oskar Halecki (1891–1973), who had already achieved prominence in Poland and was in the U.S. at the start of World War II. An organizer of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, which was formed in the wake of the ruthless Nazi and Soviet efforts to destroy his country, Halecki found a home at Fordham University and published extensively on Polish history through the rest of his life. A second scholar was the Kraków-born sociologist Feliks Gross (1906–2006), who wrote extensively about federalism and was based at the City University of New York. Marian Kamil Dziewanowski (1913–2005), a Polish army officer during the War who later earned his PhD in History at Harvard University, went on to enjoy a multifaceted career at Boston University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The fourth member of this distinguished group, Piotr Wandycz (1923–2017), whose work in diplomatic history at Indiana and Yale Universities gained him international recognition and saw him guiding a number of graduate students who continue to publish extensively on Polish, east-central European, and global matters. Moreover, the work of all four continues to be read and cited to this very day. A last point about this book involves the connections between the ideas of the east-central European federalists and the developments in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This subject, briefly touched upon by the author, merits a mention here. Freedom and independence for the countries of “East-Central Europe” (a term coined by Halecki), has indeed been greatly enhanced by the entry of nearly all of them into the NATO alliance from 1999 and the European Union after 2003. In a real sense these two developments represent the realization of the federalists’ dream, and it is to be hoped that the foolish criticisms of these organizations, both from within and from outside them, will not do serious damage to them.

There are also the regional organizations that have arisen in the spirit of the federalists—most notably the Visegrad group that brings Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak republics together—and the recent conversations about a broader “Three Seas Initiative.” These efforts are further testimony to the far-sighted thinking of the east-central European federalists whose aim was always the well-being of the peoples of the “Third Europe.”

Donald E. Pienkos
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee