Translated from the original Hungarian by Mario Fenyő
This compelling, articulate and often painful diary was written during the ten months while Miksa Fenyő, one of the most prominent public intellectuals in Hungary, was in hiding from the Gestapo and the Hungarian Fascist Arrow-Cross. It was first published in Hungarian in 1946 as Az elsodort ország.
Fenyő was one of the founders of NYUGAT (Occident, 1908–1941) the most influential Hungarian literary publication of its age, where he served as a founding editor and critic.
From March 19, 1944, the date of Hungary’s occupation by Germany, until January 19, 1945 when Pest was liberated, he went into hiding in the homes of friends after being targeted for arrest by the Gestapo and their Hungarian cohorts.
In 1948 he left Hungary, first relocating to Rome, then Paris, eventually in 1953 he moved to New York City. His last years were spent in Vienna where he passed away in 1972. His essay titled HITLER that appeared in the fall of 1933 in NYUGAT and in 1934 as a short monograph, was the first work to expose the character and plans of Hitler and the Nazi Reich to the Hungarian public and identify the theory of race and German racial superiority as the key element in Mein Kampf. It earned him a permanent place on Hitler’s enemies list.
Zsuzsanna Varga in her Foreword says this about Fenyő’s work: “This book is a particularly important document from the final, tragic year of World War II. It was not authored by a politician or a shaper of war, nor was it fashioned for some political or moral gain. The document reflects a highly cultured man’s musings on the conditions of internal exile; it is the voice of a committed and outspoken anti-Fascist, who towards the end of the war, could have equally been killed being anti-Nazi or Jewish. His thoughts on 20th-century European and Hungarian history show the ideas of a man of letters who staunchly believes in the values of liberal humanism, and who becomes aware of the post-war threat to his ideals only too late.”