Nóra Berend: Jews and the Hungarian State

Two Models from Medieval to Modern Times

Simon Wiesenthal Lecture, 19. März 2015


In Hungary, official memory and history discourses often distinguish between 'Jews' and 'Hungarians', harking back to the Horthy-era concept of the 'Christian national' state. This dichotomy clashes with modern ideas of citizenship and acts as a carrier of antisemitism. This lecture analyses the role of political authority in fostering integration or exclusion over a long time span. It begins with the attitudes of those holding political power in the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages, when the distinction between Jews and Christians was based on religious affiliation. In particular, two processes will be examined: one leading to increased integration, granting protection and rights, and the other promoting segregation, demonisation and hostility. The lecture will then focus on key moments in modern history, exploring the functions of these two contradictory but related processes. It will finally tackle the question of the role of the state in (dis)continuities between medieval exclusion and modern antisemitism.


Chair: Béla Rásky (VWI)



Nóra Berend is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, UK. She is currently working on historical constructions of identity in medieval and modern Hungary. Her earlier publications include At the Gate of Christendom: Jews, Muslims and 'Pagans' in Medieval Hungary, c. 1000 - c. 1300 (2001), and the co-authored Central Europe in the High Middle Ages: Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, c. 900 -c. 1300 (2013).



Veranstalter: Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI) in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Zeitgeschichte der Universität Wien, dem Österreichischen Staatsarchiv und dem DÖW



Donnerstag, 19. März 2015, 18.30 bis 20.00 Uhr



Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs, Minoritenplatz 1, 1010 Wien



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