Volume 6 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Digital Trauma Processing in Social Media Groups: Transgenerational Holocaust Trauma on Facebook

Anna Menyhért

University of Amsterdam

In recent years, more and more social media (Facebook) groups have been created dealing with memories of the Holocaust in Hungary. In this article, I analyze and compare two groups, “The Holocaust and My Family” and “The Descendants of the Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust” in the framework of my research project on the concept of digital trauma processing, entitled “Trauma Studies in the Digital Age: The Impact of Social Media on Trauma Processing in Life Narratives and Trauma Literature: the Case of Hungary.” I show how the concept of trauma and trauma processing itself are changing in the digital age as a consequence of the element of sharing (in posts and comments in digital media) gains more importance and thus counteracts the element of silence, which was considered the most important element of trauma on several levels. How does digital sharing of memories of traumas help unblock previously blocked avenues to the past, and how does it contribute to the processing of collective historical traumas and consequently to the mobilization of memories, modernization, and the transformation of identities? I examine how the given characteristics of the different types of Facebook groups, public or closed, influence the ways in which people communicate about a collective historical trauma. I touch upon the issue of research ethics in connection with the handling of sensitive data in social media research. I examine the book The Holocaust and My Family, a collection of posts from the group, and analyze as a case study a post and the related comments, in which a descendant of a perpetrator comes out in the group.

Keywords: collective historical trauma, Holocaust, digital trauma studies, social media, Facebook groups, social media research ethics

Volume 6 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Erasing, Rewriting, and Propaganda in the Hungarian Sports Films of the 1950s*

Péter Fodor

University of Debrecen

In the years following World War II, the radical structural transformation of Hungarian society and the establishment of the communist dictatorship affected the functioning of sports as a social subsystem. At the time, the Hungarian public still remembered the sporting successes of the Horthy era (the Berlin Olympics, the 1938 FIFA World Cup) from the previous decade. Thus, the Sovietization of sports as a social subsystem had two intertwining goals in Hungary: in addition to creating a new institutional framework for sports, the regime also had to ensure good results, which were regarded as a matter of prestige. Like the daily press, the schematic film productions of the era were also characterized by the ideological utilization of sports. A typical example of the schematic style was Civil a pályán [Try and Win, 1951] by Márton Keleti, which used classical comedy elements to bring together the world of the factory and the world of the soccer field. Keleti’s film was intended to popularize a centralized mass sports movement of Soviet origins called “Ready to work and fight” and to communicate the party’s message to professional sportsmen who were considering emigration. The two versions of Csodacsatár [The Football Star, 1956 and 1957], also by Keleti, reveal a lot about the changes that the role of sports in state propaganda and political image construction underwent after the loss to West Germany in the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final and then after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. My paper seeks to interpret these films within the context of the era’s political and sports history.

Keywords: films and Communism, sports and Communism, football, soccer, Ferenc Puskás, the Golden Team

Volume 6 Issue 2 CONTENTS

The Legacy of World War II and Belated Justice in the Hungarian Films of the Early Kádár Era

Tamás Bezsenyi and András Lénárt

National University of Public Service and National Széchényi Library – 1956 Institute

In this article, we analyze the role of Hungarian films made in the 1960s in representing the traumatic legacy of World War II. With the solidification of the official narrative of the Holocaust in the mid-1960s, the Hungarian film industry also started to reflect on the tragedy of the Jews at the same time (which was not a terribly conspicuous part of the official narrative). The article focuses on six films as illustrations of the extent to which it was possible to reflect on the traumatic past in the early Kádár era, with particular emphasis on the legacy of the Holocaust. The films selected revolve around the question of individual responsibility, but they also depict psychological conflicts and portray the character’s attempts to prompt collective remembering. We argue that despite the communists’ claims of moral superiority, peace and reconciliation remains unattainable for the characters in the films because of the inability of the new social milieu to facilitate the process of coming to terms with past traumas.

Keywords: representations of the Holocaust, film and historical trauma, Hungarian films in the 1960s, Antal Páger, Holocaust and memory on film

Volume 6 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Discursive (De)Constructions of the Depoliticized Private Sphere in The Resolution and Balaton Retro

Zsolt Győri

University of Debrecen

In this article I examine Gyula Gazdag and Judit Ember’s documentary The Resolution [A határozat, 1972] and Gábor Zsigmond Papp’s Balaton Retro [Balaton retró, 2007] as examples of the discursive production of paradoxes permeating the consolidated Kádár regime. I present the first film, portraying the character assassination of József Ferenczi (the executive manager of the Felcsút cooperative farm in the early 1970s) as a case study of state socialist technologies of power and strategies of constructing the narrative of the immoral and profiteering leader type, the corrupted servant of the community. This fabricated narrative is actually contested by members of the cooperative farm for whom Ferenczi is a symbol of the reform spirit and the promise of prosperity. I argue that the critical power of the film resides both in its meticulous dissection of the discursive and administrative methods used to create enemy images and its reluctance to present a local example of vilification as a general feature of the state socialist episteme. The Resolution presents the consolidated Kádár regime as an establishment torn between rigid ideological foundations and society’s desire for a depoliticised market economy, suffering from the political pressure to remain true to the spirit of communism and the social pressure to allow a greater degree of economic liberalism.

In Balaton Retro the popular tourist destination, Lake Balaton, is constructed as a spatial metaphor of both the crisis of the authoritarian system and of Goulash Communism (the name given to the system in Hungary, which constituted a quiet deviation from orthodox doctrines of Marxism-Leninism). The popular notion of the lake as the Hungarian Riviera came into being at the intersection of eastern and western understandings of welfare: on the one hand, the welfare state providing workers cheap holiday opportunities through a network of state-run holiday apartments and camps for children, and on the other, individual welfare, the possessors of which (usually citizens of Western Europe) sought leisure in modern luxury hotels. The emergence of private houses available for well-salaried Hungarian customers was another sign of the many dualities and hybrid meanings uncovered by Papp’s film as symptoms of the general state of the nation during the Kádár era. My analysis of the agency of the voiceover narration will reveal that Balaton Retro is not a manifestation of Ostalgie, but a critical meta-commentary on nostalgic memory. To conclude, I will describe retro as the commodification of a material past and nostalgia as a somewhat sinister legacy of state socialist identity politics.

Keywords: Kádár era, Goulash Communism, cinema, representations of communism, retro, post-communist nostalgia, documentaries

Volume 4 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Zsombor Bódy

Enthralled by Size Business History or the History of Technocracy in the Study of a Hungarian Socialist Factory*

 

In this essay, I examine the extent to which the terms and concepts of business history are useful in furthering an understanding of the development of a socialist enterprise, the Hungarian Ikarus bus factory. I come to the conclusion that the factory, which manufactured buses for all of the member states of COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, 1949–1991), was not really able to take advantage of and turn a profit off of the economies of scale that the enormous market offered. The reason for this was that the socialist enterprise was not able to bring technological advancement in line with the need to make profit. The large investment in the bus factory rested on a technocratic vision which mechanically linked technical development with the solution to economic problems. This technocratic vision, which was found both in the West and in the countries of the Eastern Bloc, fit particularly well into the system of state socialism.

Volume 4 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Judit Klement

How to Adapt to a Changing Market?

The Budapest Flour Mill Companies at the Turn of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

 

The focus of this article is the steam mill enterprises in Budapest at the end of the nineteenth century, a time when these companies were no longer enjoying their most profitable years. While earlier their high-quality flour had been sold for good profits on the markets of Western Europe, they found themselves slowly pushed from the marketplace by increasingly intense price competition, which was in part a consequence of the crisis in agriculture and, quite simply, the globalization of agriculture. While they were still able to produce for the undeniably important markets within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and ever higher customs duties on agricultural products helped strengthen their production for these markets, the demand for expensive flour on the domestic market was significantly smaller than in Western Europe. Confronted with the changes that had occurred in the marketplace, the mills in Budapest tried to adapt in a variety of different ways. In this article, I examine these strategies, focusing in particular on the very distinctive expansion of one of the mill companies.

Volume 4 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Ágnes Pogány

Crisis Management Strategies after World War I

The Case of the Budapest Flour Mills*

 

The history of the big Budapest flour mills reached its finale in the second half of the 1920s. By then, it had been clear to all players that the Hungarian flour mill industry could not return to the prosperity of the nineteenth century and indeed had become one of the many crisis branches of the Trianon economy. The grave problems of the branch were not without antecedents. The big mills in Hungary had begun to lose ground in the global market in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Their declining competitiveness manifested itself in reduced exports, drops in price, and increasing domestic rivalry. The big Hungarian commercial mills sought solutions to overcome their problems that were similar to the solutions adopted by other foreign companies at the time. They strove to cut production costs and increase profits by establishing economies of scale and scope with horizontal and vertical integrations. Companies used basically two means to limit competition between firms: they organized cartels or they merged with their rivals to control their economic environment. In this article, I analyze how these crisis management practices were applied to meet corporate needs in the interwar period. I investigate these questions mainly as a case study of the biggest Hungarian flour milling company, the Első Budapesti Gőzmalom Rt. (First Budapest Steam Mill Co. later: FBSM), based on its archival documents and articles that were printed in the contemporary economic press.

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