Eichmann and Budapest’s Judenrat

On this date in 1944, two days after occupying Hungary, the Nazis set up a Jewish Council (Judenrat or Zsidó Tanács in Hungarian) in Budapest, headed by a banker, Samu Stern. At the same time, Adolf Eichmann was meeting with Hungarian Interior Ministry officials: “That evening,” he would later write, “the fate of the Hungarian […]

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The Emancipation of Hungary’s Jews

The Jews of Hungary were granted complete political and civil rights on this date in 1849 by the First National Assembly, which had been established by a revolution led by Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894). Their civil liberation lasted for just two weeks, however; after the Austrians (with Russian assistance) had suppressed Kossuth’s revolution, the Jews were harshly sanctioned with onerous taxes, imprisonment, and […]

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Holocaust-Period Films at the 2017 Berlinale

by Tony Wohlfarth THE 2017 BERLIN International Film Festival featured several period films set during the Shoah — remarkable, considering the festival’s location — reminding us how Germany has transformed over the past seventy-two years. Three titles stand out and are reviewed below.   Django THE OPENING FILM at the 2017 Berlinale, Django, is a […]

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The Rightwing Specter

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick. Yale University Press, 2017, 288 pages, indexed.   A SPECTER is haunting Europe, but it sure as hell isn’t communism. It is rightwing nationalist populism. Its targets are the European Union, globalization of capital, and immigration. If […]

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Flora Lewis

Journalist, political essayist, and international correspondent Flora Lewis died at 79 on this date in 2002. Lewis wrote for the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune and other newspapers, and blazed a trail for women as international reporters. Among the historical events she covered were the 1948 and 1967 Israeli-Arab wars, the 1956 Soviet crackdown […]

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Naming and Renaming

By Ann Cheng WHEN MY mother’s mother fled Eastern Europe for the U.S., she was on her fourth last name — the Jewish one she was born with, the non-Jewish one her family chose in the late 1930s, the French one from a fake marriage staged to escape Communist Hungary, and finally the recently chosen, […]

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Saving Jews with Salvadoran Papers

George Mandel-Mantello (1901-1992), a Jewish businessman from Bucharest who was appointed honorary consul for El Salvador in 1939 and used his status to save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, sent another diplomat and friend, Dr. Florian Manoliu, from Switzerland to Hungary to deliver papers for safe passage to Mandel-Mantello’s family on this date in 1944. Their effort came too […]

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Jewish Budapest and Hungarian National Identity

by Martha Roth Discussed in this essay: The Invisible Jewish Budapest: Metropolitan Culture at the Fin de Siècle, by Mary Gluck. University of Wisconsin Press, 2016, 272 pages. BEFORE WE GET to the Budapest of café society, cutthroat rounds of klabriatsch (a card game of legendary difficulty), bosomy beauties, wine and song, a little history […]

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December 27: The Righteous Nun

Sister Sara Salkaházi, who saved the lives of some hundred Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust, was murdered by the Arrow Cross, the pro-Nazi party of Hungary, on this date in 1944. Salkahazi, born in 1899, was a teacher, journalist, and worker-activist before she took vows in the Sisters of Social Service in 1930. During […]

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