Volume 2 Issue 3 CONTENTS

Ferenc Laczó

“I could hardly wait to get out of this camp, even though I knew it would only get worse until liberation came”

On Hungarian Jewish Accounts of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp from 1945–46


Contrary to influential assertions on the early postwar silence surrounding the extermination of European Jewry, in Hungary, as in a number of other countries, extensive documentation of the Holocaust had already begun in the 1940s. In addition to postwar trials, published memoirs and early historical works, thousands of Hungarian Jewish survivors articulated their experiences in the offices of the National Relief Committee for Deportees (DEGOB) in 1945–46. However, these sources have not yet been systematically analyzed and early witness accounts in particular remain heavily underrepresented in historiography. This study is an effort to begin to redress this imbalance by examining 349 DEGOB accounts that discuss Buchenwald, a major Nazi concentration camp and a contested lieu de mémoire. It reveals that returnees defined, represented and assessed Buchenwald in varying ways, their perspectives depending not only on factors such as when and where they stayed in the camp and what they had to endure while there, but also on which other camp they arrived from and the conditions under which they traveled. My analysis of early Hungarian Jewish accounts of Buchenwald also reveals that while a number of interviewees understood their escape from the group of Jewish prisoners within the camp as the key to their eventual survival, others tended to use ethnic labels to identify the perpetrators of violence against them. Moreover, two major narratives were circulating regarding the liberation of the camp: the accidental Nazi failure to complete their program of extermination and another involving a successful uprising of the inmates against their tormentors. Last but not least, the paper argues that some of those who survived Buchenwald and subsequently entered the DEGOB offices showed clear awareness of the Nazi extermination program, but they preferred to discuss it in indirect ways.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Veronika Csikós
The Bishop and His Chapel:
The Hédervári Chapel in Győr and the Episcopal Chapels of Central Europe around 1400

Among the spectacular life stories of the prelates of Central Europe, that of János Hédervári, bishop of Győr (northern Hungary), is remarkable from several perspectives. He was one of the bishops who played an active political role in the history of his country and, as a figure of the church who founded a private chapel, also a representative of an important tradition of Central European episcopal patronage. The first part of my paper deals with János’s life, which has not yet been made the subject of detailed study. More precisely, I will emphasize János’s role as a confidant of Queen Elisabeth and someone who assisted as such in her endeavor to hinder the future king, Sigismund of Luxemburg, from seizing the Hungarian crown. János managed to become bishop just a few months before Sigismund ascended to the throne, but he was to spend the first two decades of his episcopal rule in the shadow of political neglect. During these two decades, however, János nurtured a remarkable artistic culture in his episcopal town. Between 1386 and 1403 the Gothic building of the Győr Cathedral was built, as was the delicate structure of the Holy Trinity Chapel, the chapel he himself founded. Through an architectural analysis of the chapel in the second part of the paper, I aim to demonstrate that a structurally complex and prestigious building was constructed under his auspices – and in spite of the fact that the diocese of Győr was by no means the richest among the bishoprics of the country. Furthermore, I will argue that the Holy Trinity Chapel not only integrates the latest architectural features of its era, but also mingles them with a unique structure and adaptations from non-episcopal architectural models, which lends it an individual character and makes the chapel an interesting Hungarian case of episcopal patronage in the late fourteenth century.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Vinni Lucherini
The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333): Its Political Implications and Artistic Consequences

The aim of this article is to reconstruct the journey of Charles I, King of Hungary (1310–1342), from Visegrád to Naples in the year 1333. Through an analysis of documents written in the Angevin Chancellery in Naples from 1331 to 1333 (all physically lost, but accessible through transcripts published during the 1800s both in Naples and in Budapest), papal letters of the same period, and some major medieval and modern narrative sources, I try to understand the reasons that brought Charles I to Naples and to clarify the strong political implications, even long-term ones, that the journey had for the history not only of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Sicily but of the Kingdom of Hungary as well. Looking closely at an Angevin document from 1333, never contextualized in the historical moment it was issued, I will formulate new hypotheses concerning the artistic consequences the journey had on the funerary politics of Robert of Anjou, King of Sicily (1309–1343), and on the commissioning of monumental tombs intended to solemnly guard the remains of prominent members of the Angevin dynasty in the cathedral of Naples.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Gábor Klaniczay
Efforts at the Canonization of Margaret of Hungary in the Angevin Period

St Margaret of Hungary, the daughter of King Béla IV offered to the service of God, who lived her life in the Dominican convent at the Rabbits’ Island near Buda, constructed for her, and died in 1270, followed the vocation of her aunt, St Elisabeth of Hungary, who was by then one of the most popular saints in Europe. The official investigation around Margaret’s sanctity, supported by the Dominican Order, her brother, King Stephen V, and other royal families, started in 1273, first with a local inquiry, then with a witness hearing in 1276 by papal legates. Nevertheless, this process—as many other similar ones—remained unfinished in the Middle Ages, and after repeated attempts from the Hungarian kings and the Dominicans, the canonization of Margaret only succeeded in 1943. The present study is discussing a chapter in these efforts, the ones during the period of the Angevin rulers, for whom the cult of saint ancestors has been more important than for any other Hungarian royal dynasty. New studies on the canonization processes in general, and new studies on Saint Margaret in particular allow us now to see more clearly three such Angevin attempts, one in 1306, even before their accession to the Hungarian throne, one around 1340, which has been brought by Viktória Hedvig Deák in connection with the Legenda maior of Margaret, written in Avignon by Garinus, and a third in 1379, at the beginning of the Great Schism, the documents of which have recently been discovered by Otfried Krafft.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Boglárka Weisz
Mining Town Privileges in Angevin Hungary

The present study examines the privileges obtained by the mining towns during the Angevin Era. It also looks at the extent to which these privileges diverged from those granted to other towns, and how all this led to the development of the mining town as a distinct class of towns. The question itself is interesting not only with respect to urban history, but also because it brings us closer to an understanding of why these towns acted jointly in defense of their interests, and how all this led to the formation of leagues of mining towns, which by the fifteenth century were organizing themselves on a territorial basis. After a detailed examination of the legal, ecclesiastical and economic privileges the study has come to the conclusion that in the area of both legal and economic privileges significant differences and divergences can be discerned in comparison to privileges bestowed on other towns. The reason for the differences naturally is to be sought in mining, and in the need to secure the royal revenue stemming from it. From a legal standpoint, this shows up not only in the appearance of offices linked to mining, but also in the emergence of comites or rectores appointed by the king to head the mining towns. In discussing economic privileges it may be observed that, whereas other towns were motivated primarily by a desire to obtain commercial privileges (e.g., right to hold markets, exemption from tolls), mining towns were moved by the need to secure the rights connected to mining. Thanks to their special freedoms, the mining towns differed from other towns while also forming an organic part of the urban network.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

György Rácz
The Congress of Visegrád in 1335: Diplomacy and Representation

The Congress of Visegrád, held in 1335, was one of the outstanding diplomatic events in Central Europe in the fourteenth century. The present study, after outlining the general historical developments which characterized the kingdoms involved, namely Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, in the early decades of the fourteenth century, retraces the immediate preliminaries of the diplomatic summit, before all the efforts at eliminating the political and territorial conflicts which opposed Poland and Bohemia on the one hand, and Poland and the Teutonic order on the other hand, through the mediation of Charles I of Hungary, the senior ranking ruler of the region. The study examines all the chief agreements concluded during the conference, on the basis of all the available charters and the narrative sources, carefully accounting for the differences of viewpoints which characterize the narratives of chroniclers from the various countries. It comes to the conclusion that, contrary to Hungarian historiography, although the conference did have a commercial aspect, it was certainly not the main thrust of the events at Visegrád. Finally, the study makes an effort at establishing, upon the amounts of food consumed,  the number of the respective retinues of the Polish and Czech rulers, and thereby determine whether the numbers involved could be regarded as average or whether they implied a conscious show of strength on the part of the two kings.

Volume 2 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Renáta Skorka
With a Little Help from the Cousins – Charles I and the Habsburg Dukes of Austria during the Interregnum

With the death of King Andrew III of Hungary in January 1301 the male line of the Árpád dynasty that had ruled the Kingdom of Hungary for precisely three centuries died out. It was self-evident and natural to everyone that a ruler who was linked to the Árpáds through the female line must be elected to head the kingdom; however, opinions were divided as to who actually should wear the Hungarian crown. One of the important factors of the interregnum prevailing in Hungary in the first decade of the fourteenth century examined below is the support for royal candidates arriving from outside the country’s borders, which in many respects contributed to the coronation of the last remaining candidate in accordance with expectations and traditions in 1310.




HHR logo