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. 

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
$30

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.

Being Hungarian in Cleveland

Maintaining Language, Culture, and Traditions

Endre Szentkiralyi

Being Hungarian in Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, has been the U.S. hub for all things related to Hungary and Hungarians since the nineteenth century. Between the mid-1800s and the late 1990s, the city welcomed six major waves of Hungarian immigrants. The community they created had its heyday in the late 1960s, when Hungarian schools and churches, arts, music, publishing, radio and TV, and civic organizations— especially scouting—all flourished. Today, Cleveland’s Hungarian community remains vibrant and continues to value and preserve its heritage despite the ongoing impact of economic, social and cultural changes, demographic shifts and gentrification.

In this work, historian Endre Szentkiralyi examines the concept of “being Hungarian in Cleveland,” using a variety of methodologies and drawing on his 47 years as an active member of that community. He looks at the community historically and sociologically via in-depth research into its language and literature, culture, and traditions, with a focus on the years from 1950 to the present.

Szentkiralyi also documents contemporary Cleveland Hungarians’ culture, values, language use, and traditions, and analyzes how and why these elements serve to perpetuate their community and slow its assimilation. His methodology is qualitative, comparative, and interdisciplinary and uses primary (and some secondary) sources and personal interviews to encapsulate what it means to be Hungarian in Cleveland and how that meaning has changed over the years.

Today, though Cleveland’s unique Hungarian community is shrinking, its extensive roots—significantly shaped by succeeding generations—run deep, and Szentkiralyi’s research attests to the fact that it is still thriving. In his conclusion he addresses recent developments, including the communication and outreach strategies of the community’s core organizations, and offers a hopeful outlook for its changing but enduring future.


Endre Szentkiralyi studied English and German at Cleveland State University, earned an MA in English at the University of Akron, and earned his PhD at the University of Debrecen. His earlier book was Cold War to Warm Cooperation: the Military Service of Cleveland Hungarians 1950–2014 (Zrínyi Publishing). He has also edited several books of oral histories
(including Clevelandben még élnek magyarok?), and worked on the 56Films documentaries Inkubátor and Megmaradni, both of which deal with Hungarian-American communities. He currently teaches English and German at Nordonia High School near Cleveland, and is the president of the United Hungarian Societies, an umbrella organization encompassing 8 Hungarian churches and 13 civic organizations in the greater Cleveland area.


Endre Szentkirályi takes the complicated sociological task of critically examining the Cleveland Hungarian community—his very own—more seriously than anyone else has in recent memory. This book is at the same time a humble tribute to the history of the famously rich Hungarian cultural life in Cleveland and a sober portrayal of the community’s challenges in our modern age. He lucidly portrays the devastating effects of suburbanization on community life, which should serve as a flashing exclamation mark to local city planners and policy makers in Budapest alike. Szentkirályi shows how beautifully Hungarian and American traditions can merge over time, and portrays important generational shifts in the life of the Hungarian diaspora. Everchanging, constantly reinventing and redefining itself, but always proud of its roots.

—Anna Smith Lacey, Executive Director, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation

This well-crafted book could be one of the most important works on what it means to grow up in a vibrant Hungarian-American community in the United States. Szentkiralyi’s book is accessibly written and informed by the most recent research that documents the breadth and depth of activities engaged in by Hungarians in Cleveland to maintain and retain their ethnic identity. This book serves as a rich and valuable resource for historians, ethnographers, and sociologists; it provides a framework for understanding one community’s efforts to maintain and cherish its ethnic identity while
contributing constructively to the social fabric of the larger community. Through this book, one can better understand the sources of richness and diversity in American life.

—Klara Papp, PhD, AHEA President, Graber Term Professor of Health Learning, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio

This wonderful book tells the story of how an ethnic group came to the United States, and quickly and successfully became Americans contributing to their new home, while at the same time maintaining, preserving and passing on their rich Hungarian culture from generation to generation. It is a story of how these new Americans built churches and social and cultural institutions that are still in existence today; such as the Hungarian Scouts Exteris, dedicated to teaching the younger generations about their language, culture, history. It is programs such as that of the scouts that are the foundation of Hungarian language survival and cultural life not just in Cleveland, but throughout the Hungarian diaspora. Endre Szentkiralyi’s research shows us how the Hungarian American community of Cleveland has changed with each succeeding generation but how it has nevertheless successfully managed to maintain its Hungarian culture and institutions.

—Ferenc Koszorus Jr., Chairman Emeritus American Hungarian Federation

July 1944: Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled

Géza Jeszenszky ed.
— former Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs 1990 – 1994
— former Hungarian Ambassador to USA, Norway, and Iceland

July 1944
Deportation of the Jews of Budapest Foiled

The aim of this volume is to shed light on a little known controversy about the most tragic year 1944, in Hungary: did a unit of the Hungarian army prevent the deportation of 300,000 Jewish Hungarians living in Budapest to the Nazi death camps?

Colonel Ferenc Koszorús used the 1st Hungarian Armored Division under his command to force the removal of the gendarmerie loyal to the pro-Nazi puppet government and ready to carry out the deportation of the Jews from Budapest. By that time the Regent, Admiral Horthy, under international pressure and learning from the Auschwitz Protocol of what was in store for the deported Hungarian nationals, ordered the ending of the deportations. There were rumors in town that the pro-Nazi and rabidly anti-Semitic State Secretary Baky was planning a coup to remove the Regent and to continue the deportations. As the round-up of Jews, contrary to the order of the Regent, was started on the outskirts of Budapest, Col. Koszorús, with the approval of Horthy entered Budapest with his troops and sent a courier to Baky threatening him with military action unless the gendarmerie is evacuated. Baky had no alternative but to comply. This action foiled both the coup (if that was really planned) and the continuation of the deportations.  The Jews of Budapest were thus temporarily saved and Wallenberg and others could help them to survive the war until the Soviet Army occupied Budapest and expelled the Germans by February 1945.

The late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) called Col. Koszorús a “Hero of the Hungarian Holocaust” as entered in the Congressional Record on May 26, 1994. In his introduction, Mr. Lantos said, “I rise today to recognize one of the great heroes of the Hungarian holocaust. Ferenc Koszorus, who at great personal sacrifice to his own life, saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps.” 

Contributors to this volume include its editor, Géza Jeszenszky, Col. Attila Bonhardt, head of the Military Archives in Budapest, journalist and author Charles Fenyvesi, historians István Deak, Tamás Stark, Susanne Berger, Deborah Cornelius, the son of Colonel Koszorús, Ferenc Koszorús Jr., and the late renowned Hungarian historian György Ránki. The remarks of the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos complete the volume. The Appendix includes translations of archival documents from the German Foreign Office related to Hungary’s role in World War II and specifically on the deportation of its Jewish population.

A Nation Adrift The 1944-1945 wartime diaries of Miksa Fenyő Az elsodort ország

Translated from the original Hungarian by Mario Fenyő

Description:

A Nation Adrift


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 NYUGATand 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.”

Fateful Years 1938–1945 (Végzetes esztendök 1938–1945)

Vilmos Nagy de Nagybaczon
with an introduction by George Schöpflin
— MEP for Hungary 2004-present
— former Jean Monnet Professor of Politics, University of London

Description:

Fateful Years 1938–1945

Little known outside of Hungary, Vilmos Nagybaczoni Nagy (30 May 1884–21 June 1976) was the first Hungarian to be named “Righteous Among The Nations” by Yad Vashem. 

Born into a family of minor nobility of Székely ancestry in Parajd, Transylvania [now Praid, Harghita County, Romania], Nagy showed early promise. Following a distinguished early career, he rose to the rank of general in the Royal Hungarian Army. In a politically motivated move on 31 March 1941, he was retired with the rank of Lieutenant General.

In September 1942, the Hungarian Regent, Miklós Horthy, asked General Nagy to return from retirement and accept the portfolio of Minister of Defense. In this position Nagy attempted to keep the military out of politics, rein in the pro-Nazi faction of the Army, and struggled to modernize and preserve the military in order to prevent a repeat of the tragedy that befell it during World War I. His insistence on the humane treatment of all who served, including those serving in the labor companies, made Nagy a target of the Arrow Cross, which pressed for his removal from office. Under constant attack by the far right Nagy resigned on 8 June 1943. 

Not satisfied with having Nagy removed as minister, after its government takeover in mid-October 1944, the fascist Arrow Cross, had the gendarmerie arrest him at his home on 16 November. After being held at a prison facility of the Arrow Cross, he was transferred to the prison in Sopronköhida. As the Red Army approached, the prisoners, were transported to Germany. Released on Sunday 28 April 1945. Nagy was in Zimmern when the US forces reached there on 1 May.

General Nagy returned to Hungary in 1946, and while a freely elected government was in place, he wrote his memoir of the critical period from 1938-1945 Végzetes esztendök (“Fateful Years”) first published in 1947. After the Communist takeover of 1947, he was unjustly attacked, his apartment confiscated, and his pension revoked. He found employment as a gardener and caretaker at the tree nursery of the Pilis Park Forest, later he found employment as a metal smith.

In 1965 this decent man, who never abandoned his principles, was named the first Hungarian “Righteous Among The Nations” by the Yad Vashem Institute of Jerusalem. Vilmos Nagybaczoni Nagy remained active until his death by writing, editing, and reading. In 1964, he revised and updated his memoir, translated into English in this edition. 

Vilmos Nagybaczoni Nagy died in Piliscsaba on 21 June 1976, shortly after his ninety-second birthday.

Translated from the original Hungarian by Thomas Cooper

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

Sławomir Łukasiewicz

Description:

Third Europe

The genesis of the federalist thought that the book discusses is related to the collapse of the international order in East Central Europe in the years 1938-1939, which also marked a breakthrough in political concepts. One of the projects widely discussed beginning in the fall of 1939 was the idea of combining Poland’s and Czechoslovakia’s war efforts, which soon developed into federalist concepts, leading, in turn, to particular political gestures: the Polish-Czechoslovak Declaration of November 11, 1940; a joint project of a constitution of a future Polish-Czechoslovak Federation; and, finally, the Declaration from January 1942. The process was also reflected in the activities of other groups from East-Central Europe — including Polish circles — in the United States. The Declaration of November 1940 coincided with the publication of the inaugural issue of the journal New Europe and World Reconstruction, after the war the same milieu created another initiatives — Polish Federalists’ Association in America (Związek Polskich Federalistów — ZPF), Czechoslovak Polish Research Committee or the journal “The Central European Federalist”. The journals and organizations aspired to influencing U.S. policy. Poles and their Central European colleagues in exile cooperated with the American Committee for European Reconstruction during the war or with the National Committee for a Free Europe (later Free Europe Committee) after the war. There were many more initiatives referring to federalist ideas which incubated in the United States. Chronologically, the first organizations dealing with such problems included the International Peasant Union and the Christian Democratic Union of Central Europe. Another, much more important initiative was the Assembly of Captive European Nations — ACEN — established in 1954. ACEN included both representatives of national committees, which were part of the Free Europe Committee and representatives of CDUCE, the International Peasant Union, the Socialist Union of Central-Eastern Europe and the Liberal Union of Central Europe.

The goal of the political federalist thought was to offer the best solution to the situation in which Poland found itself after World War II. There were differences of opinion about the actual structure of the federation of states (or nations) that was to be established, about the way of establishing it and the political options that were proposed. However, the common assumption was that, without joint activism by the émigrés, followed by collective action by the countries of East Central Europe, independence could not be gained.

Sławomir Łukasiewicz, Hab. PhD, historian, Europeanist. Since October 2015 director of the Institute of European Studies, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration. Head of the Research Department at the Lublin branch of the Institute of National Remembrance, 2011-2015 coordinator of research program on Polish political exile 1939(45)-1990. Author of the books Trzecia Europa. Polska myśl federalistyczna w Stanach Zjednoczonych, 1940-1971 [Third Europe. Polish federalist thought in the United States – 1940-1970s], Warszawa-Lublin 2010; Partia w warunkach emigracji. Dylematy Polskiego Ruchu Wolnościowego “Niepodległość i Demokracja” 1945-1994[Émigré party. Dilemmas of the Polish Freedom Movement  “Independence and Democracy” 1945-1994], Lublin-Warszawa 2014; and several publications about Polish émigrés and their European visions (e.g. “Poles in European Federal Movement”, Warszawa 2005) as well as about activities of Polish communist intelligence after the II World War. Editor among others of Tajny oręż, czy ofiary zimnej wojny? Emigracje polityczne z Europy Środkowej i Wschodniej[Secret weapon or the victims of the Cold War? Political émigrés from Central and Eastern Europe], Lublin 2010; Towards a United Europe: an Anthology of Twentieth Century Polish Thought on Europe, Warsaw 2011; Polska emigracja polityczna 1939-1990. Stan badań[Polish political exile 1939-1990. Research reports], Warszawa 2016.

Endorsements:

A ground-breaking book that unveils a world hitherto unknown to the English-language reader — even though this world was based in the United States. Required reading for any student of political exile and emigration

Piotr H. Kosicki, University of Maryland

Third Europe is about an idea. Many émigrés from East Central Europe who left their native lands because of World War II and communism wound up in the United States, where they were free to discuss the future shape of Europe and quickly discovered new inspiration — not only in regional traditions but also in the thoughts of the American Founding Fathers. Sławomir Łukasiewicz recounts the fate of these thinkers, illustrates the historical and political context in which they would act and create, and discusses the concept of a federalized East Central Europe. Many of these ideas are still current, which is why this book is not only of scholarly importance but also is significant in contemporary discussions about this topic.

John Micgiel, President and Executive Director (Kosciuszko Foundation)

The outbreak of the Second World War and the complete collapse of the world order created at Versailles led anti-Fascist, democratic politicians and intellectuals from Nazi-occupied Europe to work out plans for a future lasting and peaceful European settlement. In such a context, the projects that envisioned federalist or confederalist solutions formed the origins of the quest for a European union that was destined to characterize post-war Western Europe. Ideas put forth by the émigré political leaders and scholars from East-Central Europe were part of a process that was not limited to the war years but continued long after the ‘iron curtain’ had divided Europe and were of paramount relevance to defining the characteristics of the ‘return to Europe’ after 1989. Professor Lukasiewicz’s study explores those plans in detail on the basis of broad and in-depth research. This important scholarly contribution offers food for thought for everyone who is interested not only in the history of the European integration but also in the image of a continental order that was nurtured by Polish politicians and intellectuals.

Antonio Varsori, professor, History of International Relations, University of Padua

Comrade Baron

Jaap Scholten

Comrade Baron

In the darkness of the early morning of 3 March 1949, practically all of the Transylvanian aristocracy were arrested in their beds and loaded into lorries. That same day the Romanian Workers’ Party was pleased to announce the successful deportation and dispossession of all large landowners. Communism demanded the destruction of these ultimate class enemies. Under the terror of Gheorghiu-Dej and later Ceaușescu the aristocracy led a double life: during the day they worked in quarries, steelworks and carpenters’ yards; in the evening they secretly gathered and maintained the rituals of an older world.

To record this unknown episode of recent history, Jaap Scholten travelled extensively in Romania and Hungary and sought out the few remaining aristocrats who experienced the night of 3 March 1949. He spoke to people who survived the Romanian Gulag and met the youngest generation of the once distinguished aristocracy to talk about the restitution of assets and about the future. How is it possible to rebuild anything in a country that finds itself in a moral vacuum?

An extraordinary, passionate 
and important work

  • Jury, Libris History Prize
  • Shortlisted for the Bob den Uyl
    Prize for best travel book 2011
  • Winner of the Libris History Prize 2011

This is a classic in the lines of Patrick Leigh Fermor

Norman Stone, professor of modern history, Oxford

Combining a warm heart with the tenacious pursuit of truth, Jaap Scholten restores to vivid life the world of the Transylvanian aristocracy from its glory days to its tragic finale. Scholten thereby captures a missing piece of history and provides the reader with a gripping journey through a lost world.

Kati Marton, author and award winning former ABC News correspondent

I have enjoyed this book so much – such a great tale, with brilliant original research and source material, and so many stories, tragic, humiliating, painful, yet all engrossing and highly readable.

Petroc Trelawny, BBC Radio 3 presenter and journalist

Jaap Scholten, (Enschede, 1963) studied Industrial Design at the Technical University in Delft, Graphic Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy of Arts in Rotterdam (BA), and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest (MA). He has published seven books: collections of short stories and three novels. His novel, De wet van Spengler (Atlas Contact, 2008), was chosen “novel of the year” in the Netherlands. His latest book, Kameraad Baron (AtlasContact, 2010) is the winner of the Libris History Prize 2011. His novels and short stories are translated into German, French, Hungarian, Croatian. In 2011 Scholten created and presented a six-part television series for the VPRO about hidden worlds in Central and Eastern Europe. He has lived in Budapest since 2003. The English edition of Comrade Baron will be released by Helena History Press on May 1, 2016 and distributed worldwide through Central European University Press.

The War of the Princes: The Bohemian Lands and the Holy Roman Empire 1546-1555

Petr Vorel
Helena History Press, 274 pages

Description:

The War of the Princes

The mid 16th century represents a turning point in the history of Central Europe. The power politics of Emperor Charles V of Habsburg, culminating in the first phase of the military conflict with the opposition within the Holy Roman Empire (1546-1547), after a short time ran up against the effective resistance of protestant princes, who after the subsequent military victory (1552) used diplomacy to force the emperor to accept the Lutheran reformation (1555). After the subsequent abdication of Charles V, the main activities of Habsburg politics within the empire were taken over by his younger brother Ferdinand I., then King of Bohemia. 

Up to now the historiography, which in the case of the central European power crisis of the mid 16th century focuses primarily on the confessional and political dimension of this conflict, has not taken the significance of the Kingdom of Bohemia (nowadays Czech Republic) into consideration in the given contexts. This is the result of the fact that the Bohemian estates did fulfill neither the mandate of their king, nor the requests of the Lutheran German princes for military aid. The relatively strong Bohemian estates army did not in the end participate in 1547 on the Habsburg side even on the Saxon side. 

But why? What really happened in Bohemia at that time? Was it the betrayal of Lutheran co-religionists in the Empire and former political allies on the domestic political scene, or the statesmen’s prudence, that prevented the country’s military devastation? How is it possible that, for the following several decades, after the Estates opposition was suppressed by King Ferdinand in the year 1547, the Kingdom of Bohemia experienced a long period of peace, unusually extensive religious freedom and extraordinary economic prosperity, even accompanied by the transfer of the Emperor’s permanent residence to Prague (in 1583)? Why, for the Bohemian royal towns which were stripped of all their assets and had their political power removed in 1547, does the second half of the 16th century represent a time of extraordinary internal cultural and structural development? Also, the Unity of the Brethren, whose members were expelled from Bohemia in 1547, represented the most important and well-organized political power in the country just half a century later. How is it possible that the Bohemian political elites, weakened by monarchal sanctions in the year 1547, managed to reject the principle of the so-called Religious Peace of Augsburg of 1555 a few years later? Why, instead of politically-enforced confessionalization, commonly applied in the Holy Roman Empire, did the Kingdom of Bohemia offer the already confessionally-broken Christian Europe its own solution: Charter on Religious Freedom (1609)?

This book does not offer any simple solution. Nevertheless, it can contribute to the understanding of the deeper roots of the complicated situation in Central Europe two generations later (at the start of the 17th century), when the Bohemian Estates and the Prague intellectual political centre became (for the last time in its long existence) a driving force of “great” European history.

About the Author:

Petr Vorel: is a Czech historian, who serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Pardubice. He holds a PhD in history and Russian studies from Charles University in Prague where he also serves as an external lecturer. He headed the Association of Historians of the Czech Republic for several years, and serves as editor in chief of Theatrum Historiae, a scientific journal published by the University of Pardubice since 2006. 

Professionally Dr.Vorel deals mainly with Czech history of the early modern period, its nobility and the history of banking. He is considered an expert in numismatic history and was the organizer of an exhibition Thousand Year Tradition of Czech Currency from X to XXI Century organized by the Czech Center of New York. In 2000 he received the Egon Erwin Kisch Award for his book, Lords of Pernštejn.

White and Red Umbrella. The Polish American Congress in the Cold War Era (1944-1988)

Joanna Wojdon

Description:

White and Red Umbrella

The Polish American Congress is an umbrella organization that represents approximately ten million Americans of Polish descent. It was founded in 1944 with the aim of representing the interests of the Polish nation in the view of the Soviet plans to subjugate Poland and at the same time of promoting the Polish American ethnic group in the United States. It is the largest and longest-lasting Polish American organization of it’s kind.

This volume presents goals and everyday activities of the Polish American Congress under the presidencies of Charles Rozmarek (1944-1968) and Aloysius Mazewski (1968-1988) who shaped its image in the Cold War era. It deals with the issues of both the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the PAC in representing Polish American interests, as a coordinator of various Polish American endeavors, as a lobbying organization, and as an institution providing cultural and social unity for Poles in America. It discusses internal and external factors that influenced the Congress, portrays the personalities of its activists and examines the PAC’s achievements and faults. 

Despite its significance in both the Polish American community and the political clout which it wields, the PAC has not attracted much scholarly attention. This book is based on the research conducted at the Immigration History Research Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the materials of the national headquarters are deposited, and in other American and Polish archives where supplementary materials and holdings of local PAC branches can be found.

Joanna Wojdon is an associate professor at the Institute of History, University of Wrocław (Poland). The history of Polish Americans after WWII is one of her major research interests, alongside the history of education under communist regime. Her research in the Polish American archives was possible thanks to the Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowship (2003) and Fulbright Senior Award (2014).