Turbulent history, troublesome heritage: Political change, social transformation, and the possibilities of revival in the “Old Jewish Quarter” of Budapest

Szívós, Erika (2015) Turbulent history, troublesome heritage: Political change, social transformation, and the possibilities of revival in the “Old Jewish Quarter” of Budapest. Hungarian Studies, 29 (1-2). pp. 93-120. ISSN 0236-6568


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This article explores the history of Belső-Erzsébetváros, the Inner 7<sup>th</sup> District of Budapest, an urban area regarded as a historic Jewish quarter in today’s discourse. The historical summary focuses on societal transformations caused by political changes and historical tragedies during the 20<sup>th</sup> century. One explicit goal is to show in which ways the Inner 7th District of Budapest is unique among similar historic districts of other Central European cities: in Central European comparison, a large proportion of its population — just like the Jewish population of Budapest in general — survived the Holocaust. Therefore Jewish heritage has been experienced differently there than elsewhere in cities of the region. After briefly introducing the historical evolution of the Inner 7<sup>th</sup> District before World War II, the article portrays local society, and explores the social relations that characterized this area until the last years of the World War II. Patterns of ethnic and confessional intermixing will be interpreted as defining characteristics of the district in the interwar period. Then the author will show the way wartime events and political measures disrupted the social fabric of the neighborhood, and transformed the local population dramatically by the spring of 1945. At the same time, patterns of survival will be also emphasized. After discussing the impact of World War II and the Holocaust, the article will highlight the post-1945 shifts in local society, exploring the impact of migration as well as the connection between societal transformation and the area’s physical decay in the Communist period. Finally, the author will briefly touch upon the past 25 years, discussing the possibilities of revival in the area, pointing out the role of Jewish heritage in the recent rediscovery of the neighborhood.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > BM Judaism / zsidóság
D History General and Old World / történelem > D4 Modern History / új- és legújabb kor története > D731-838 World War II (1939-1945) / II. világháború története
H Social Sciences / társadalomtudományok > H Social Sciences (General) / társadalomtudomány általában
H Social Sciences / társadalomtudományok > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare / szociálpatológia, segélyezés > HV6322.7 Genocide / népirtás, holokauszt
Depositing User: László Sallai-Tóth
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2016 11:16
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 23:22

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