The Local Regulation of Begging in the Age of the Dual Monarchy
The paper deals with a period relatively rarely investigated in the history of social policy in Hungary: it looks at anti-poverty policy in the age of the Dual Monarchy. It describes its main characteristics, but as opposed to previous studies, which focused rather on legal history, it primarily concentrates on how the whole system operated in practice. It shows the measures the society of the era took against the problem of poverty, as well as the regulations against some of its manifestations, namely begging and vagrancy. Besides the central anti-poverty legislation and the challenges of financing the system, it describes what part private charity organizations, the central government and the public administration in the communities played in the anti-poverty policy of the age. As it was the individual settlements that constituted the basic units of anti-poverty policy during the Dual Monarchy, the practical activity of these are in the focus of the analysis. Using statistical data, archival materials, poverty policy sources about the anti-policy measures taken in the capital and the country towns, the paper examines the operation of public benefits on a local basis, the functioning of indoor poor relief and the main objectives of the regulations against beggars and vagrants, the role of the workhouse and banishment. Finally, it discusses those institutional deficiencies of anti-poverty policy that made these measures, aimed at managing the social tensions that accompanied the dissolution of traditional employment structures, ineffective.
Denominational Debates about the Career Opportunities of Catholics and Protestants in the Horthy Era
The relations of Catholics and Protestants were characterized by a unique duality in the Horthy era. On the one hand, the two religious camps made attempts to maintain denominational peace and cooperation, but on the other, they were often engaged in conflict. One of the main reasons leading to the conflicts between the Catholic and the Reformed camp were the career opportunities of those belonging to a given denomination. In the years between 1919 and 1945, the Catholics and the Protestants mutually accused each other of usurping well paid public offices as well as military, research and other positions. Many leaders of the Catholic group resented that Miklós Horthy, the regent of a predominantly Catholic country, was a Calvinist. Moreover, the prime ministers had also been Protestants for a quite long period.
The Catholic camp strove to substantiate with statistical data that the Reformed religion was overrepresented in public offices. To that end the archbishop of Esztergom, Jusztinián Serédi solicited the prime minister Count István Bethlen in 1928 to have an official report compiled about the religious affiliations of leading state officials. The document was finished in 1929 and is currently held in the archives of the Esztergom archbishopric – now we publish it as an appendix to our paper. The report bears witness to the fact that strong Protestant dominance, as insisted by the Catholics, was apparent among ministers, undersecretaries and alispáns at the end of the 1920s. But in other leading public positions Catholic dominance was more typical. The Catholic church leaders must have been surprised to face the facts – and as a result, the report was never published. Still: the propaganda about the unbearable dominance of Protestants in the public services prevailed in the Catholic press as well as at church events throughout the 1930s.
However, if, beside the most important public offices, we look at the entire population of the country it turns out that the Catholic grievances were more justifiable. As statistics shows that at the time Catholics in general were living in less favorable financial and social conditions in Hungary than Calvinists or Lutherans. But the alleged overall advantage of Protestants as far as general living condition and positions were concerned, were very often exaggerated by the Catholic camp in the Horthy era.
Models of Culture and Historical Change. An Analytical Presentation of Libanon (1936–1943), a Hungarian Jewish Periodical
The paper describes and analyzes the periodical Libanon, which was published between 1936 and 1943 in 34 issues altogether. At the zenith of Hungarian Jewish intellectual activity, Libanon started as one of the more important forums of the interwar Jewish quest for direction. Later, with the situation getting more and more desperate, it became the official publication of the National Hungarian Jewish Museum and a document of the exploration of options at the same time. However, despite its reliably high standards, its diversity tempting for scholars, and its peculiar timing, a detailed examination of the history of Libanon and the rich content of the individual issues has not been carried out yet. Our paper attempts to fill that gap through focusing on two questions (after outlining in the introduction the general characteristics of the periodical and some reasons why it is a valuable source material): on the contents of explicitly articulated models of culture, that is, different theories about the right direction in cultural self-definition, and on the other hand, on the reception and the description of the ongoing historical changes in the periodical and the articulated options of response. More precisely, we identify and present in detail five models of culture in the two main empirical sections of our paper, this way illustrating among other things the heterogeneity of the views the main authors held. We also follow how, starting from their faith in science, followed by a period of doubt that began with the intensifying discrimination in the 1930s, they arrived at urging a renewal, in some cases at a new approach towards the inherent values of the Jewry.
The Abda Murderers
In the summer of 1946, 22 bodies were exhumed at Abda, a village near Győr. The victims murdered there in November 1944 were Jewish labor servicemen returning from the Serbian town of Bor and Szabadkirályszabadja, heading for Hegyeshalom. Among the executed was the poet Miklós Radnóti. To uncover the details of the execution and to identify the perpetrators, the Ministry of Home Affairs (Belügyminisztérium, BM) launched a secret investigation in 1967 that lasted till 1975. The nationwide probe was carried out with varying intensity, and the documentation of the findings was collected under the code name “The Abda Murderers”. “The Abda Murderers” dossier was kept in the Historical Archives of the State Security Agency and has been available for research since 1995.
The Third “State Security” Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Home Affairs showed unprecedented thoroughness during the investigation. They consulted literary historians, did research in archives and at the scene, tracked down the surviving labor servicemen from Bor and dozens from among the military guards as well as Abda residents and those who had participated in the exhumation. The file contains a great deal of new information about the story of the “Bor march” as well as the execution of Miklós Radnóti and his companions. Some of these new findings support but some contradict what we previously knew of the incident. However, the primary goal of the investigation was to identify the murderers who had committed war crimes at Bor and bring them to account. Finally, the political police came up with an accurate record of the murder and named the persons suspected of carrying out the execution but was unable to fully substantiate its claims. The legal uncertainties and the accompanying political considerations – as well as the fact that some of those charged with the murders were MSZMP members – together may have contributed to the fact that in the end charges were not brought against them, and it is only now that the contents of the dossier could see the light of day for the first time.
“The Austrian Connection”. The Visits of Franz König Cardinal of Vienna at Prince-Primate József Mindszenty (1963–1971)
The mediating attempts of Franz König, cardinal of Vienna – acting on behalf of the Vatican – in the Mindszenty case were an important scene of Austrian-Hungarian ecclesiastical diplomacy during the cold war. Analyzing the case within the dimensions of our inquiry is especially interesting as it symbolizes many aspects of the latitude available for the church behind the iron curtain as well as its attempts to find a viable path. However, our research is not limited to the thematization of this “abnormal situation” brought about by the Hungarian Primate (as in the autumn of 1971 American diplomacy characterized Mindszenty's fifteen-year stay at the American embassy in Budapest), as we have the study of the question within the context of all involved powers in sight, drawing a parallel between the possibilities the churches in the satellite states had.
Due to its geo-strategic position, Austria was the connection, the bridge in ecclesiastical policy as well, in which “mission” the cardinal of Vienna, Franz König played an important role in the era discussed.
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