Volume 1 Issue 3-4 2012

Volume 1 Issue 3-4Migration History

Table of Contents

Articles

 

Gábor Gyáni

Migration as a Cultural Phenomenon

Abstract

Abstract

For a long time conceptual explanations of mass migrations rested on economic and social premises. The notion of chain-migration, for instance, was given considerable reinforcement with the adoption of the economic “cost-benefit” terminology, as was the phenomenon of transplanted networks. In time, however, scholars began to consider structural mechanisms less and aspects of individual selection more. The latter included giving greater attention to cultural factors. However, mass physical relocation, explained with reference to series of individual decisions either accepted or encouraged by the community, goes against the attachment to place necessary for the strengthening of the nation state, which finds form in the institutionalization of citizenship. Growing internal (national) integration and the social disintegration that accompanies mass migrations makes it necessary to devise compulsions that encourage and hasten assimilation. Under its influence, the significance of foreignness and the phenomenon of otherness as a fact of everyday life intensifies. In the case of Hungary, this is illustrated the most clearly by the metaphorical conflation of Budapest’s alleged “foreignness” with its alleged “Jewishness.”
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Heléna Tóth

The Historian’s Scales: Families in Exile in the Aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848

Abstract

Abstract

This essay examines political exile in the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions from the perspective of the history of the family on the basis of case studies from the Habsburg Empire and the German lands. I focus on two processes: first, the ways in which family members of political refugees (and political prisoners) became refugees themselves; and second, the role of family members of political refugees in obtaining amnesty for the entire family. Although officially most of the family members of political refugees were immigrants who went through the official channels to obtain passports, they treated their own migration as a political matter and, equally importantly, they were treated by bureaucrats in their home countries as political migrants. These perceptions, in turn, had consequences when the family decided to return from abroad. An understanding of the process whereby families became unwilling migrants in the aftermath of the revolutions of 1848 sheds light on how amorphous the practice of political exile was in the middle of the nineteenth century, as well as on the breadth of the collective aspects of this punishment.
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Balázs Ablonczy

Instead of America. Immigration and Governmental Influence in the Hungarian Émigré Community of France between the Two World Wars

Abstract

Abstract

Using the typology of French sociologist Stéphane Dufoix, this essay attempts to discern the moment at which an emigrant community based on political opposition begins to function according to a dynamic of center and periphery. Following this shift, influential figures of the home country take its institutions and its direction from their political opponents. A physical fight that broke out in August 1929 in Roubaix, an industrial city in northern France, between Hungarian communists and Catholic workers offers a case study that sheds light on the change of strategy of the Hungarian government in its approach to the Hungarian emigrant communities. Before 1914, the liberal politicians of the time made little effort to organize the several hundred-thousand Hungarian speaking emigrants living abroad, for the most part in North America (in part because the national minorities of Hungary were overrepresented among the emigrants). In contrast, after 1918, at a moment of history when the notion of the nation as an organic entity had risen to prominence, Hungarian speakers living outside Hungary were seen self-evidently as subjects of political policy. After 1920, the United States closed its gates to immigrants from Eastern Europe. France consequently became important, in part as a country in which there was a dire need of labor for reconstruction following the war. While the community of Hungarian emigrants was never as large numerically as the Polish, Russian, or Italian communities, by the end of the 1920s and the early 1930s there were some 50,000 Hungarians living in France. This essay is an examination of the political policies adopted with regards to them.
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Tibor Frank

Approaches to Interwar Hungarian Migrations, 1919–1945

Abstract

Abstract

The social upheavals that followed the First World War drove astonishing numbers of people in all directions. Russian and Ukrainian refugees escaped Bolshevism in Belgrade; Poles were relocated into reemerging Poland; Hungarians escaped from Romania and the newly established states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Many people went on substantial and extended study tours to Germany, much as others had done before the war. Migrations were not limited to Jews suffering from the political and educational consequences of the White Terror in Hungary. Yet Jewish migrations were a definitive pattern of the 1920s, when the “Numerus Clausus” act of XXV: 1920 excluded many of them from college. A significant, though smaller, group of non-Jews also left Hungary at the same time. Motivated by anti-liberal politics, poverty, or curiosity, gentiles of mixed convictions and confessions hit the road and tried their luck in Paris, Berlin, or Hollywood.
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Matěj Spurný

Czech and German Memories of Forced Migration

Abstract

Abstract

Individual memories are neither a simple mirror of the official narrative of memory nor are they simply its photo negative. In this essay the author examines the ways in which the Czech and (Sudeten) German master narratives of the post-war forced migration of the German speaking inhabitants penetrated into individual memories. Collective remembrance often replaced the memories of actual experiences. However, examples taken from particular interviews from recent years reveal that individual experiences and memories, which earlier were not considered acceptable in the public sphere and in some contexts had even been dangerous, can at least be integrated as exceptions into the structure of national master narratives, which in consequence lose their incontestability. The study of the memories of the post-war expulsion of Germans has been an important task for historians over the course of the past twenty years or more. But this has been a topic of interest not only for historians. These often contrasting memories have figured prominently in one of the most important post-1989 political and identity debates in Central and Eastern Europe. The article compares the development of memories and narratives of post-war flight and expulsion in Czechoslovakia and (West) Germany. The author considers how the individual memories of flight and expulsion compare with the collective memories, and he also attempts to identify the circumstances under which the individual memories offer an alternative vision of the past.
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András Lénárt

Emigration from Hungary in 1956 and the Emigrants as Tourists to Hungary

Abstract

Abstract

This essay examines the history of visits made to Hungary by a group of first generation 1956 refugees. The members of the group attended middle school together in Austria. Some of the refugees, who were teenagers at the time, were put into schools by the Austrian authorities in 1957. Temporary schools were established with Hungarian as the language of instruction, and the refugees were able to complete their secondary school studies without even as much as a year’s delay while also learning German. Some of these students went on to seek livelihoods elsewhere, but many of them settled permanently in Austria. In the first section of the essay the author offers a survey of the statistical features of emigration from Hungary following the suppression of the 1956 revolution. This is followed by an examination from the perspective of the social sciences of the reception of the wave of 1956 emigrants. Then, on the basis of interviews, the essay analyzes how the identities of the emigrants changed, the social situations in which these changes were palpable, and how their images of Hungary changed in the wake of their visits to their homeland.
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Stefan Troebst

The Discourse on Forced Migration and European Culture of Remembrance

Abstract

Abstract

The project of a ‘Centre against Expulsions’ proposed in 2000 by the German Union of Expellees in order to commemorate the fate of some 12 million Germans who fled or were forced to leave Central and Eastern Europe in and after 1945 caused a fierce Polish-German media controversy. This had a fourfold result: (1) The governments in Warsaw and Berlin together with those in Bratislava and Budapest agreed in 2004 to found a ‘European Network Remembrance and Solidarity’ in order to deal with the tragic history of Europe in the twentieth century in a manner that fostered some consensus; (2) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe proposed to set up a ‘European Remembrance Centre of Victims of Forced Population Movements and Ethnic Cleansing’ in 2005; (3) in 2007, the Polish government decided to found a ‘Museum of the Second World War’ in Gdansk with the aim of putting the Polish view of recent history into a European context; and in 2008 the German government erected a federal Foundation ‘Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation’ in Berlin which was given the task of designing a permanent exhibition on the fate of the expelled Germans, again in the context of the history of twentieth-century Europe. Whereas more often than not the national memories of Germans, Poles and other Europeans clash over the Second World War and its consequences, the very fact that in Central Europe a bilateral or multilateral discourse on these sensitive topics is feasible is a remarkable post-1989 improvement.
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Attila Melegh

Net Migration and Historical Development in Southeastern Europe since 1950

Abstract

Abstract

This essay formulates some basic developmental patterns in Southeastern Europe (focusing on the area between Italy and the Caspian See) on the basis of some longer term macro statistics on net migration and other macro statistical time series. It demonstrates that in furthering an understanding of longer term developmental patterns, the world system approach is helpful in a modified form. In the case of state socialist economies the direct intervention of world capitalism had a long lasting impact on the migratory links of the countries within the region. Countries that were unable to counterbalance the collapse of local industry became sending countries and were partially re-ruralized and partially pushed into large scale emigration. The analysis lends credence to the neoclassic macro-economic theory of migration, but its validity with regard to per capita GDP differentials is strengthened if it is linked to positions in global hierarchies. The key point is that it is not simply GDP differentials that matter, but rather positions within the global economy, which themselves are in part the results of historical processes and linkages. In addition, people seem to have clear ideas of developmental scales which correspond quite accurately to actual per capita GDP figures. Thus people may well be aware of global inequalities and may even have clear ideas of complex sequences that might orientate them in their decisions regarding migration.
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Sándor Hites

Variations on Mother Tongue. Language and Identity in Twentieth-Century Hungarian Literary Exile

Abstract

Abstract

This essay attempts to reveal the variety of ways in which exilic or post-exilic consciousness brings about a diversity in lingual identity and the ways in which this identity is maintained, suspended, lost, expanded, regained, rediscovered, or caught in transition. The author considers how adherence to the mother tongue becomes an ideological shelter against the menace of a metaphysical homelessness for Sándor Márai; how multilingualism turns into a defense of locality for Áron Kibédi Varga; how translation comes to serve as a substitute for an unborn offspring both in the literary and the genetic sense for Endre Karátson; how, in the case of Agota Kristof a second language never fully acquired is felt to ruin one’s mother tongue precisely through a literary achievement of the highest standard; how, in the case of Tibor Fischer, the traces of a remote lingual and cultural heritage show up in a text written in a language other than one’s mother’s tongue.
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Book Reviews

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A Social History of Twentieth Century Europe. By Béla Tomka.
Reviewed by Tibor Valuch.
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Rückkehr nach Ungarn 1946–1950. Erlebnisberichte ungarndeutscher Vertriebener [Returning Home to Hungary 1946–1950. Testimonies of Hungarian German Expellees].
By Ágnes Tóth. Reviewed by Krisztina Slachta.
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Books on Twentieth-Century Transylvania

 

Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town.
By Rogers Brubaker et al.
Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during World War II. By Holly Case.
Reviewed by Stefano Bottoni.
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A visszatért Erdély 1940–1944 [Transylvania Returned, 1940–1944].
By Balázs Ablonczy. Reviewed by András Tóth-Bartos.
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Sztálin a székelyeknél. A Magyar Autonóm Tartomány története (1952–1960) [Stalin and the Székelys: History of the Hungarian Autonomous Region].
By Stefano Bottoni. Reviewed by Zoltán Novák.
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Notes on Contributors

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