2014_4_Konrád

pdfVolume 3 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Miklós Konrád

The Social Integration of the Jewish Upper Bourgeoisie in the Hungarian Traditional Elites

A Survey of the Period from the Reform Era to World War I

In the spirit of the principles of liberal nationalism, which dominated Hungarian political life from the Reform Era to the end of World War I, Christian politicians and intellectuals tirelessly emphasized their firm belief that, in addition to acculturating and identifying with the Hungarian nation, the Jewry must also integrate socially into majority Christian society. This call for integration also allotted a task to the Christian members of Hungarian society, namely that they welcome their compatriots into their social circles. The views of contemporaries notwithstanding, according to whom the greatest aspiration of the Jewish haute bourgeoisie was to gain acceptance into the circles of the traditional social elites and their families, this striving was really only characteristic of the second and third generations of upper-class Jewish families. With regards to the last stage of integration, in other words marriage into the families of the traditional elite, with one exception that confirms the rule, this was only possible for Jews if they were willing to convert. Following the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, decades that were more open from the perspective of integration into the social sphere, the traditional elites closed ranks. The National Casino, which had been founded in 1827, accepted its last Jewish member in 1872. Neither the Country Casino that was created in 1883 (it was referred to as the Országos Kaszinó, i.e. the word “nemzeti,” or “national,” was replaced with “országos,” which means national in the more political sense) nor the Park Club (which was created in 1895) ever had a single Jew among their members, though both had many Christian members who had converted from Judaism. This constituted a clear contradiction of the liberal promise of social integration, though at the same time it also indicates that exclusion was not (yet) based on concepts of race.

Keywords: social integration, Hungarian Jews, Jewish conversions, mixed marriages

“What can the Hungarian nation justifiably and rightly expect of the Jews?” Hungarian novelist and public figure Kálmán Mikszáth raised this question in an editorial published in Szegedi Napló (Szeged Journal) in October 1880. While Mikszáth placed expectations on the “Jews,” he also did not neglect to write on the obligations of the “Hungarians”:

Thus while the Jewry must do everything it can in order to draw closer, in its education and culture, its social concepts and customs, to educated Hungarian society, Hungarian society must embrace the Jewry and ease and promote its integration.1

In the spirit of liberal nationalism, which was the dominant political ideology of the period beginning with the Reform Era and ending with World War I, the Christian politicians and intellectuals of the time were far more likely to put emphasis on the obligations of the Jews to acculturate and to cultivate a sentimental attachment to the Hungarian nation. At the same time, the integration of the Jewish inhabitants of the country, who had been emancipated in 1867, clearly depended on the willingness of the majority society to welcome them among their ranks. The program of the liberals of the Reform era, which called for the transformation of Hungary into a bourgeois liberal state, brought with it a call for the removal of the “social dividing walls” (to use the jargon of the time). The destruction of the “dividing walls” that prevented the integration of the Jews whose acculturation was to strengthen the Hungarian ethnic group was part and parcel of this program.

The Christian minority of the Hungarian upper bourgeoisie which began to emerge in the first half of the nineteenth century and by the early twentieth century had grown to include some 800–1000 families, consisted for the most part of German burgher families who had settled in Hungary considerably earlier and entrepreneurs who had come to Hungary in the 1830s and 1840s, mostly from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.2 For the Jews, who constituted the majority of this upper bourgeoisie, in case they wished to gain acceptance into a Hungarian Christian milieu, this could only be the aristocracy of birth and the upper echelons of the nobility that began in the 1870s to refer to itself as the “gentry” and, later, as the “historical middle class”.3

In this essay I attempt to offer an answer to the question of the actual extent to which these “dividing walls,” i.e. the social obstacles to the integration of upper-class Jews, were (or were not) dismantled. How inclined were members of the traditional elites to come into contact in social circles with members of the Jewish upper class, or to accept Jews into their clubs, homes and families? And to the extent that there was hesitancy or resistance, could it be overcome if a member of the Jewish upper class were to convert?

Historiography has paid little attention to the question of the social integration of the Jewry in Hungary, and the scholarship that has been published on the subject has tended to deal primarily with the wealthier social strata.4 At the same time, the absence of a comprehensive survey covering the entire period in question is a clear sign of the lack of research on the subject. Although this would provide a useful means of assessing the extent of social integration, there has been no comprehensive empirical study on Jewish membership in the casinos.

In the first section of this essay, I examine the question of the extent to which members of the Jewish upper bourgeoisie actually sought to gain acceptance into the circles of the traditional elites. I then offer a chronological survey of the period, which spans almost a century, in which I trace the shifting dynamics of acceptance and exclusion. Finally, in part to offer some counterbalance to the indispensable but nonetheless clearly subjective contemporary assessments and later recollections on which I draw in the first two sections, I present the findings of my research on the number of professing or converted Jews who were integrated into the three most prestigious clubs of the traditional elites, the National Casino, the Country Casino, and the Park Club.

Strivings towards Integration

The first question concerns simply the extent to which the striving to gain acceptance into the traditional social elites can be considered characteristic of the Jewish haute bourgeoisie, if indeed it can be considered characteristic at all. According to the almost unanimous opinion of contemporaries, all prosperous Jews craved integration. In the short stories published in the Reform Era, the primary characteristic of the figure of the wealthy Jew, who was almost portrayed negatively, was still avarice.5 This portrayal began to be supplanted in the 1850s and 1860s by the cliché of the nouveau riche Jew who longed to curry the favor of the magnates and looked down on his more modest coreligionists.6 From the 1880s on, in the novels of Christian authors, the figure of the wealthy landowning Jewish “new noblemen” who converted to Christianity (or had his children converted) in order to gain acceptance among the aristocratic families for himself or for his children was at times an unsympathetic character, at times a fallible one, but one who was always motivated first and foremost by his desire for integration. This portrayal also represented an implicit criticism of the traditional, biased, hidebound elite that refused to accept wealthy Jews into their circles.7 This image did not change substantially in the literature of the turn of the century. In Ferenc Herczeg’s 1903 novel Andor és András (Andor and Andrew), the father of one of the protagonists is a genuine self-made business man proud of his successes but who spares no effort to gain acceptance into the aristocratic Trotting Club, “where he has no business being and where they have no desire whatsoever to let him in.”8

In the literary works of Jewish authors one finds even more negative depictions of the Jewish upper bourgeoisie. As early as the 1860s, the image of the parvenu was coupled with the contention that this class itself was responsible for anti-Semitism. In the 1866 narrative by Bertalan Ormody, the primary cause of anti-Semitism is still the worship by wealthy Jews of the “idol of money,”9 while in Ferenc Molnár’s first novel, published in 1901, it was their yearning to rub shoulders with the aristocracy and the gentry.10 In other works, for instance a comedy by Ignác Acsády published in 1880 or Ferenc Molnár’s humorous sketches of 1911, the image of wealthy Jews is less negative, but their longing to mix with the Christian elites remains a prominent element of the satire.11 In more ambitious works, such as Tamás Kóbor’s 1911 novel, the old accusation again emerges according to which the snobbishness and cowardice of prosperous Jews was “the only reason for anti-Semitism.”12

This accusation found expression in works of non-fiction as well, for instance in the campaign speeches of Vilmos Vázsonyi, the leader of the Democratic Party.13 The cliché of the wealthy Jew who sought to worm his way into Christian society was also an important element of the bourgeois radicals’ critique of the Jewish haute bourgeoisie. According to this critique, instead of taking part in the struggle for the democratic transformation of the country, the Jewish upperclass submitted to the wishes of the traditional elite, which it served with servile cowardice in the hopes of winning acceptance into its ranks.14

For a long time these contemporary assessments were adopted a-critically by Hungarian historians,15 who could also find confirmation of their views in the thesis of “feudalization,” which was popular for a time in the historiography in the West and which was applied by William McCagg to Jews in Hungary who had obtained titles of nobility.16 The thesis, according to which the Jewish upper bourgeoisie longed to gain acceptance into the social circles of the magnates and the nobles was first called into question by László Varga. In an essay published in 1983, he persuasively argued that, in contrast with the widely accepted view, marriages of Jews into families that belonged to the traditional elites did not reach “mass proportions.” The vast majority of upper-class Jews who bore noble titles had been ennobled in recognition of the roles they had in fact played in strengthening the economy of the country, and the purchase of estates had been motivated by carefully considered economic interests, not the desire for integration. In Varga’s assessment, the view according to which the Jewish upper bourgeoisie in general longed to rub shoulders with the “traditional ruling class” was “fundamentally” exaggerated.17 In an essay published a few years later, Viktor Karády was even more emphatic. With its “archaic lifestyle” and dwindling economic influence, the traditional elite “obviously” did not represent a milieu into which the Jewish upper class would integrate. “Remaining in an alliance with this elite was expedient as long as this elite was in power, but ‘assimilation’ into it would have been a suicide attempt.”18

On the basis of our actual knowledge, one cannot determine the precise extent to which members of the Jewish upper class actually strove to gain acceptance into the social circles and families of the traditional elites. As I have attempted to show, the literature and journalism of the time presented a uniform picture. The cliché of the wealthy Jew craving the company of aristocrats and old noble families is also found in memoirs and recollections. Hilda Bauer, who was somewhat familiar with this social strata because of her contact with the friends and acquaintances of her brother, writer and poet Béla Balázs, made the following claim: “The greatest ambition of the wealthy and distinguished Jewry of the time was to befriend and come into contact with distinguished Christian families, if possible families that belonged to the gentry or the aristocracy.”19

Other people’s recollections contradict this contention. In the literary memoirs of Anna Lesznai, for instance, her grandfather on her mother’s side, József Deutsch, who acquired Hungarian nobility in 1879, is presented as a merchant who looked with scorn on the ancient nobility and was proud of his bourgeois and Jewish background, as well as the “feinbürgerlich” spirit of his home.20 József Lukács, the father of philosopher György Lukács, also seems in no way to have sought to curry the favor of the traditional elites. When his family moved into a villa on Gellért Hill (a prosperous neighborhood in Budapest) in 1917, one of their neighbors suggested that they pay a visit to countess Margit Bethlen, the wife of count György Bánffy, who lived nearby. According to Mária Lukács, her father firmly dismissed the idea: “My father said he will not fawn over the counts. If by chance they should meet, then fine, but he would not go.”21

Marrying into the Traditional Elites

One can make the following claim with reasonable confidence: in the Dualist era, the desire to win acceptance into the circles of the traditional elite was less characteristic of the generation that had acquired significant wealth than it was of their children and grandchildren, members of the second and third generation of upper-class Jews, who had been born into prosperity. This is most evident if one examines trends in marriages. This by no means constituted a break on the part of the younger generations with the efforts or wishes of their parents, since the choice of a spouse among these social strata was less a matter of love than it was a means of strengthening the family’s social position, in other words a decision either made by or least approved by the head of the household. In any event, sooner or later, among a significant proportion of upper-class Jewish families, at least one member married into a family belonging to the traditional social elite.22

As far as we know, these marriages were preceded by the conversion of the Jewish bride or bridegroom with only a single exception, and in this case, too, eventually the Jewish partner converted. Before the law of 1894: XXXI. on the introduction of civil marriage came into effect, baptism was naturally inevitable. Since the law did not permit conversion to the Jewish faith, a Jew could only marry a Christian after having converted. This often took place immediately before the wedding. Ottilia Schosberger, the daughter of Henrik Schosberger and Zsófia Hellmann (neither of whom left the Jewish fold), was baptized on July 1, 1882. The next day, she married Baron Pál Bornemisza.23

As of October 1, 1895, it was no longer necessary for a Jew to convert in order to marry a Christian in a civil ceremony. The introduction of civil marriage, however, did not bring about any change with regards to the entry of wealthy Jews into the aristocracy and the upper layers of the “historical middle class” through marriage. With the exception of Melánia Blaskovich de Ebeczk, a member of the illustrious Blaskovich family, not a single man or woman belonging to these social strata and sharing their cultural values married a Jew.24 (As for Melánia Blaskovich, she not only married Hermann Königswarter, who was Jewish, but also acquiesced to the request of her father-in-law, Viennese Baron Moritz von Königswarter, and herself converted to Judaism. After her father-in-law’s death, both she and her husband converted to Catholicism.25) For wealthy Jews who hoped to marry into families belonging to these circles, conversion remained even after 1895 a compulsory and self-evident precondition. However, it is important to stress that those who were willing to convert achieved their goal. In contrast with the situation in Germany, in Hungary there were hardly any cases of an upper-class convert to Christianity who, wealth and conversion notwithstanding, was unable to find a spouse belonging to a noble or an aristocratic family.26

Social Mixing: a Chronological Overview

The next question is to what extent the traditional elite was willing to mix with unconverted Jews and accept them into its social circles?

One can speak of social contact (that went beyond professional contexts) between Jews and Gentiles as of the Reform Era in Hungary, the period in which liberal ideas began to gain ground and an already relatively broad layer of entrepreneurial Jews began to emerge. In 1831, August Ellrich, a German from Berlin, published a book on his travels in Hungary. According to Ellrich, while there were many wealthy and “elegant” Jews in Hungary, “one searches in vain among them for high society, badges of honor, or medals and ribbons,” since “the Hungarian” is unwilling to sit at the same table as a Jew.27 Nonetheless—and this can be regarded as the first sign on the institutional level of increased social openness with regards to Jews—in the 1830s and 1840s many casinos and societies accepted Jews as members. According to Michael Silber, from this perspective, the nobility was more socially open than the traditional Bürgertum.28

Beginning in the 1850s and the 1860s, the directorships of share holding companies became one of the major sites of interaction between wealthy Jews and male members of the noble and especially aristocratic families.29 This contact, of course, was confined to a narrow, formal framework, and it is quite possible that some of the aristocrats were not terribly happy about it. In 1855, Imre Vahot, who was striving to promote the social acceptance of acculturated Jews, found himself compelled to remark: “In this perspective, the Hungarian aristocracy, which is fiercely proud of its roots, still shows the greatest antipathy and even scorn for the Jew.”30

In the period that began with the defeat of the 1848 uprising against the Habsburgs and came to an end in the late 1870s, the tendency, nonetheless, is clear: the aristocracy and, even more so, the (more) liberal members of the nobility grew increasingly open to the idea of mixing with Jews. This harmonized with the emergence of more favorable attitudes towards Jews in general. As Dávid Kóhn writes, in the 1850s and 1860s:

The Jews, even if they did not have political rights, […] enjoyed a better position in the social sphere in Hungary than they ever did later. […] In many of the cities in the provinces, the distinguished nobility and burghers, who were engaged in passive resistance, did not invite the distinguished officials who had served in the Bach and Schmerling era to the festivities when they were organizing merry gatherings, even if, and indeed particularly if the officials were Hungarians to the core; in contrast, they invited and were glad to welcome the more refined Jews to their parties, and not just the men, but the female members of their families as well.31

In the 1860s more and more casinos and societies opened their doors to Jews.32 This philo-Semitic mood found symbolic expression on December 19, 1860, when a “banquet of brotherhood” was held in the European Hotel with some 600 participants,33 and in the spring of 1867 (not long before the emancipation of the Jews in December of that year), when the so-called Equality Circle was founded. The goal of this Circle, which was created on the initiative of Móric Szentkirályi, the lord mayor of Pest, was to foster amicable relationships between Jews and Christians. Its first president was general György Klapka, who in 1866 had been permitted to return to the country from exile. Ignác Barnay, the secretary of the Israelite Community of Pest, was elected vice president. Soon after having been founded, it had 600 members, 250 of whom were Jewish.34

Contact between Jews and gentiles was not limited to formal, institutional contexts. In 1869, in addition to Anton von Schmerling and Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust, Elek Thaisz, the chief commissioner of police of Pest, and Ferenc Házmán, Buda’s (last) mayor, were all present at the marriage in Vienna of the daughter of Popper Lipót and Henrik Goldberger, who two years earlier had been granted Hungarian nobility. They were joined by lord lieutenants, royal councilors, and “many other important people, without regards to religious difference.”35

The 1870s saw the emergence of a stratum of provincial Jews who, with their wealth, their lifestyle, and sometimes their freshly acquired noble titles, constituted a potential partner for the local elites. In 1872, Mór Moscovitz, who had been ennobled in 1867, purchased an estate in Zemplén County of some 4,000 “hold,” or roughly 2,300 hectares. His son, Géza Moscovitz, Anna Lesznai’s father, who enjoyed horseback riding and hunting, settled here. The local aristocratic families and propertied noblemen accepted him into their social circles, the families often rubbed elbows.36 According to the autobiography of Vilmos Vázsonyi’s wife, her father, Jakab Schwartz, a landowner from Mátészalka, “had close friendships with the most influential upper-class families,” in part because, since he was the district president of the Liberal Party, the preparations for the elections were held in his home.37

As far as the political center was concerned, in addition to sharing gossip in the hallways of parliament, some Jewish representatives had friendly relationships with members of the traditional political elite. In the club of the Liberal Party, Károly Sváb, a Jewish man who had been elected to parliament in 1875 and who in 1885 was nominated member of the Upper House for life, was regularly the fourth at Kálmán Tisza’s tarot card table, alongside István Nedeczky and Mór Jókai.38

According to contemporaries, anti-Semitism, which began to gain ground in the beginning of the 1880s, found manifestation in efforts to hamper the social integration of Jews. The acquisition of ancient estates by Jews, Ferenc Pulszky wrote in 1880, gave rise to increasing antipathy towards these new estate owners, even among members of the gentry that still owned their estates:

We vilify the Jews if they obtain wealth, only rarely do we let them socialize with us, and then we are angered if they leave the country, which indeed gave them civil equality, but only rarely social equality. […] And if they remain in the country and bind their interests to the soil of the homeland, purchase livestock, and farm the land as we do, or better than we do, we do not love that either, we do not socialize with them as we do with other neighbors, and even if we don’t say it, we still think it: a Jew is still a Jew.39

According to the weekly periodical Egyenlőség (Equality), which played an important role in the life of the Neolog Jewish community from the moment of its founding in 1882, the first palpable sign of anti-Semitism was precisely the sudden halt of social integration.40 In 1883, one author, who looked back nostalgically on the 1870s, wrote the following:

One of the basic preconditions of social integration is mutual informal contact. The first vile outgrowth of the current perverted tendency was precisely the termination of this informal contact. At the beginning of the 1870s, how many mixed women’s associations were there, Jews were accepted as members in the casinos, in various circles. In social circles, at balls, etc. the most beautiful harmony prevailed. […] Today we see everywhere a certain coldness, capricious moods, motions from all sides for the elimination of Jews from the casinos. Jews are left out of elite balls all over the country, they are never asked to serve as organizers.41

Other authors, however, felt that political anti-Semitism hardly did anything to worsen the already deplorable situation. According to the anonymous author of a pamphlet published in the middle of the 1880s:

Hatred and distrust of Jews always existed, it was just latent—in public life and social relations, however, it always found form. […] The difference between the state of affairs today and the state of affairs earlier is simply that what before was latent or only manifest in social relations today is openly proclaimed.42

The case of Mór Wahrmann, a banker and the first Jewish member of Hungarian parliament, clearly illustrates that the situation was more complex than this might suggest. In 1883, all of Budapest, as it were, was present for the wedding of his daughter, Renée Wahrmann, and Izidor Krausz de Megyer in the synagogue in Dohány Street. The guests included minister of finance Gyula Szapáry, former minister of finance Kálmán Széll, and lord mayor Károly Ráth.43 Many important figures of public life were frequent guests in Wahrmann’s home as well, the press regularly reported on his Thursday salons, particularly if the guests on a given occasion were unusually prominent. In February, 1881, for instance, in addition to composer Ferenc Liszt, poet and novelist Pál Gyulai, and literary historian Zsolt Beöthy, several influential members of the political elite were also among Wahrmann’s guests, including Gyula Szapáry, Frigyes Podmaniczky, Albert Apponyi and Kálmán Széll, who also brought his wife (and this detail is not irrelevant).44 His guests, however, were not nearly so hospitable. As an anonymous author who was familiar with “Budapest society” (i.e. the Christian elite of the capital) wrote in 1886, “the aristocrats are happy to go to [Wahrmann’s] lunches and evenings, but extending an invitation to him is not really on the agenda.”45

In the first half of the 1890s, Christian authors tended to write about how signs of anti-Semitism, while gradually disappearing from political life, continued to find manifestation in social life, and to discourse on the isolation and exclusion of the “Lipótváros,” the central district of Budapest the name of which was used as a synonym for the Jewish upper bourgeoisie.46 In contrast, from the end of the 1880s articles in the Jewish press claimed to have observed mild improvements. With “patriotic joy,” the author of an article published in Egyenlőség ushering in 1889 made the following claim:

Ostentatious exclusiveness is beginning to disappear from social life as well. […] While in the so-called civilized states, the knights of darkness have not yet put down their arms, here the open battle has ended, the open attacks have fallen silent.47

In 1896, the 1,000th anniversary of the arrival of the Hungarian tribes in the Carpathian Basin and the year that followed significant reforms in ecclesiastical policy, Ödön Gerő, a journalist who was active in Jewish community life as well, wrote with confidence:

Here live the children of chance, there the favorites of good fortune. Here they begin as barons, there barony is the final goal. The differences are huge, but the great storm that is brewing, the rumbles of which one can already hear, will herd them together.48

However, in the same year Miksa Szabolcsi, the editor-in-chief of Egyenlőség, wrote of new obstacles:

Particularly this year, our Christian brothers are taking heed to ensure that no Jew dances, at least not with them. Since the Tiszaeszlár plague [a blood libel that sparked anti-Semitic agitation across Hungary in the first half of the 1880s], there have never been as many Jew-free balls in Budapest as there were this year. […] Abhorrence of the Jew is spreading again.49

Seven years later, Miklós Zay wrote an essay on the social position of Jews. He made no mention of any chronological break, but his recollections confirm Szabolcsi’s assessment:

In 1897, I was president of the first of the great balls of the capital, and when it came time to see to the invitations, I was shocked to hear that not a single Jewish family was on the list of names. For a while I protested, but the members of the organizing committee affirmed over and over again that the group that was attending the ball would not come if we were to invite Jews. I personally ascertained the veracity of this statement.50

According to Zay, the antipathy towards Jews had not passed at the time he wrote his essay: “they accept someone obligingly in a social circle until they learn he is a Jew, but relations grow chilly as soon as the truth comes out.” Nonetheless, he remained cautiously optimistic for the future.51 Influenced by the anti-Semitism that, as of the end of the 1890s, was becoming increasingly prevalent, the articles in Egyenlőség were in contrast increasingly pessimistic. By the end of the century the journal had definitely come to represent a different standpoint. In 1900, Ádám Lipcsey, one of the Christian authors (and also the child of a noble family), made the warning:

Let us not willfully close our eyes to the clear facts of experience, and let us admit the sad truth, that so-called ‘social anti-Semitism’ is present today in more meaningful and more general proportions than when, in the good old Istóczy days, this form of idiocy aspired to obtain political role and rank.52

Until 1914, the writings in Egyenlőség that touched on the question of the social acceptance of the Jewish elite showed none of the earlier optimism. On the contrary, they were increasingly bitter. At the beginning of 1902 it came to light that the organizing committee (led by Sándor Wekerle) of the lawyers ball, which was regarded as one of the most elegant carnival balls, had not included a single Jew on its list of 1,500 people. According to Egyenlőség, this was a symptom of a general trend:

We note it in part simply to rub it under the noses, should the occasion arise, of the doubting Thomases who wish to ignore the shameful spread of the canker of social anti-Semitism, which is much more dangerous than official anti-Semitism.53

Six months later the weekly was even more emphatic in its phrasing:

It is an indisputable fact that the Jews—and exceptions do not disprove the rule—day by day, and in particularly more recently, are losing ground. And this loss of ground is especially noticeable in the social sphere. […] The Jew cannot gain position in society, in so-called Christian society, which either looks down on him or loathes him.54

The authors of these kinds of statements did not care much for nuance. Thus it is not clear which social stratum was more closed to the Jewish haute bourgeoisie, the aristocracy or the stratum that by the turn of the century thought of itself as the “historical middle class,” but which was referred to by contemporaries as the “gentry.” As far as the world of the magnates was concerned, the aforementioned Géza Moscovitz had good relationships with several aristocratic families.55 However, the charismatic landowner may well have been merely an exception that confirmed the rule. Moreover, if one believes his daughter’s recollections, some aristocrats accepted his invitations to lunch only reluctantly because they had to confer with him on issues pertaining to the affairs of the county.56

Most magnates did not even go this far. When Albert Edward, prince of Wales and from 1901 until his death in 1910 king of the United Kingdom, spent time in Hungary in the 1890s, he stayed for a time in the home of a Jewish banker. His host organized a hunting expedition in his honor, to which the prince invited numerous guests. “Miklós Pálffy, my step-mother’s brother, was one of the people invited,” Mihály Károlyi recalls, “but he declined the invitation, saying that he would not set foot in the house of a Jew.”57 In 1901, Ferenc Molnár contended that indebted barons who, in their extreme need, “sold themselves to philo-Semitism […] sank deeper in the eyes of their former social circles than the countesses who ended up in the Orpheum [a kind of music hall].”58 Two years later, Ferenc Herczeg made a similar claim: “A real baron who is not impoverished and yet nonetheless socializes with rich Jews is in and of itself a suspicious phenomenon.”59

If some aristocrats were at times willing to grace the homes of a Jew with their presence, only very rarely was a Jew ever invited into their homes, as is clear from the writings printed in Szalon Újság (Salon News), which was published between 1900 and 1913. One of the goals of the periodical, which was intended “exclusively for the aristocracy,” was to give an “exhaustive” account of the “inner life of the aristocracy” and the “life in the salons.”60 In the list of names of the people who were invited to weddings, evening gatherings, and receptions between 1900 and 1913 one finds few converted Jews or descendants of converted Jews, only a dozen or so in the course of the entire thirteen years. This was nonetheless significantly more than the number of unbaptized Jews, since in fact there was only one Jew among the names, Géza Moscovitz, who was present at the wedding of prince János Liechtenstein and countess Maricza Andrássy in 1906.61

A few people’s recollections suggest that the upper circles of the “historical middle class” were somewhat more open, at least in some provincial cities, such as Nagyvárad (today Oradea, Romania). While according to Mrs. Dezső Fehér, a childhood friend of Adél (Léda) Brüll, “this was a rare bridging of classes even in Várad,” in the 1890s

the lovely Adél Brüll and her parents—our cirlces ascertained with a mix of amazement and envy—was accepted in Várad by the “upper-class society.” Adél and her parents are invited to grand, exclusive carnival parties: the Museum Ball, the Carpathian Ball, the Bachelors’ Ball, and the Casino and Officers’ ball.62

True, in 1901 not one of the roughly forty Jewish lawyers in the city was included among the organizers of the lawyers ball in Nagyvárad,63 but in his characterization of the city at the beginning of the 1910s Ernő Ligeti too emphasized the openness of the Christian elite:

His despotic disposition notwithstanding, Ferenc Miskolczi, the strict lord lieutenant of the county, about whom people were saying that he had had “everything deleted from the body of law that was not valid in Bihar [the county in which the city of Nagyvárad was found],” did not hesitate to sit down in the Royal to play cards with Samu Kepes or other Jews.”64

The question is further complicated by the fact that in the upper layers of Hungarian society (as indeed in turn-of-the-century Hungarian society in general), the “dividing walls” were not simply fault lines between Jews and Christians. In addition to the fact that there were relatively impermeable walls between the aristocrats and the nobility and indeed within the aristocracy and the nobility,65 there was an aversion not only to Jews but more generally to anyone of bourgeois descent.66 When in the 1890s Jenő Rákosi and Ferenc Herczeg (who like Rákosi was of bourgeois Swabian extraction) expressed their regret that some layers of Budapest society, layers which in their view had been called upon to unite, were in fact not uniting, in their denotation of the different layers they broke this society up into overlapping social, professional, and religious categories. As Jenő Rákosi wrote in 1893,

Considering the various professions, society is separated into castes in Budapest. The leaders of the individual castes come into contact with one another and sometimes one is in the social circle of another, but the layers themselves hardly come into contact with one another. […] There is no salon in which all of Budapest would feel at home. The world of writers and artists lives separately from the rest, the aristocracy lives separately, the prominent Jewry lives separately, the middle class and the people with official ranks live separately.67

Three years later Herczeg wrote on the world, or rather the worlds, of the parties in Pest:

The process of integration has failed. […] There are as many parties as there are groups of people who isolate themselves from one another. There are parties for magnates, parties for the gentry, parties for residents of Lipótváros, parties for the bourgeois (the latter two do not overlap entirely), parties for artists, and lots of other parties. Each of these groups has its own separate intellectual world, separate merrymaking and socializing habits, and even separate language.68

The question arises, did their religious status constitute any additional disadvantage, beyond the disadvantages they already faced because of their bourgeois extraction and their trades, for wealthy Jews who wished to gain acceptance into the social circles of the aristocracy or the upper echelons of the “historical middle class” and hoped that their social equality with these strata would find expression in formal manifestations of acceptance, beyond mere socializing in casual contexts such as horse raises, pubs, and similar locales. For their contemporaries, the answer was clear. As Zay wrote,

Over the course of the years, considerable riches have accumulated in the hands of the Hungarian Jews. They have purchased livestock and estates, innumerable urban buildings have been constructed with their money, and this rise in finance has been accompanied by the desire for a rise in society. Above and beyond all is, there is only one path to further ascent for the wealthy and distinguished Jew: abandon his fathers’ faith and have himself baptized.69

A decade later Sándor Bródy wrote a very pithy encapsulation of the situation of the upper-class Jew: “He has nowhere to go, and if he moves, at most he leaves himself behind.”70

Jews and Converts from Judaism in the Social Circles of the Traditional Elite

With regards to membership in the National Casino and the Country Casino, into which candidates were co-opted by Casino members, the disadvantage of being Jewish was indisputable. The National Casino, called Pest Casino until 1830, had been founded by István Széchenyi in 1827. The Country Casino was established in 1883 at the initiative of Arisztid Dessewffy, the secretary of the house of representatives. At the time of its foundation the National Casino had 45 members, the Country Casino 352. The number of members of the National Casino grew to 750 by the end of the nineteenth century, while the Country Casino reached almost 2,000 by the beginning of the 1910s. According to the regulations of each, belonging to the Jewish faith was not an obstacle to membership.

On the occasion of the assembly of the National Casino on June 10, 1827, Széchenyi stated the goal of the club:

In our homeland too there should be a place for an assembly of the distinguished, where leading, illustrious and well-educated, intelligent and sensible men from all classes of society could meet with one another either to engage in amicable conversation or to read various political newspapers and useful agricultural, scholarly, and artistic monthly writings, and also amuse themselves appropriately in their empty hours.71

Thus, as Gábor Gyáni has noted, when the National Casino was created Széchenyi himself thought not so much of “the separation of the social layers as he did of their mingling within certain borders.”72 This intention found expression in the fifth paragraph of the first detailed regulation, the regulation of 1878, which specified the conditions of membership:

Any upright, independent man who is refined in his conduct and of an unblemished reputation can be a member of the Casino if he is elected with the necessary majority according to the manner prescribed below. Neither political party sympathies nor class difference can be decisive at the time of admission or expulsion.73

With regards to the Country Casino, in its press release the committee in charge of the work in preparation for its foundation made the following statement:

The goal [of the institution] is to create a center for contact between members of the Hungarian middle class which, in addition to providing a site for socializing, will also serve to promote reflection that will further public interests and the exchange of ideas and nurture a sentiment of unity in order to help realize common interests.74

The first statutes of 1883 dropped the term “middle class” in response to the anxieties of the aristocratic members and defined the casino as a social club of “the educated classes of Hungarian society,” but the phrase returned in 1889. The modified regulations defined membership as consisting of people who belonged to the middle class, both “intellectually” and on the basis of their “positions of wealth.” According to the founding document, “any independent upright, man who is refined in his conduct, patriotic, and of an unblemished reputation and past” could be a member.75

Contemporaries tended to refer to the National Casino as the Magnates Casino and the Country Casino as the Gentry Casino. They considered each a place for gatherings of members of the respective social strata. In the case of the National Casino, the term did not actually apply to all of the members. According to historian Beáta Nagy, in the period beginning with the foundation of the Casino and ending in 1941, “at least half [of the members at any given time] had titles as princes, counts, or barons, and more than two-thirds of them were counts.”76 In other words, almost half did not belong to the aristocracy. According to Gabriella Eőry, in 1883 and 1913, 44.8 percent and then 52.4 percent of the members of the Country Casino had been state, municipal, county or judicial officials. In 1883, 20.5 percent and in 1913 14.9 percent was landowning, 25.7 percent and then 17.8 percent was comprised of lawyers or other people belonging to the intelligentsia, 2.8 percent and then 6.9 percent worked in industry, trade, or banking.77

In the National Casino, as soon as 1829, Széchenyi proposed to the general assembly that Jews be allowed to seek membership. His proposal had the support of only five other members, including Miklós Wesselényi, while almost fifty people voted against it, and it seems not solely out of antipathy towards the Jews. As one of the people who voted against the proposal explained, “it is not possible, among us, to draw closer to the Jews, for experience has shown that the magnates do not even wish to draw closer to the nobility or the burghers.”78 In 1832, the Casino rejected the application for membership submitted by Mózes Ullmann, who had converted some seven years earlier and went by the Christian name János Mór, and in 1837 it rejected the application of the yet unbaptized Sámuel Wodianer.79 In the course of the 1840s, however, the National Casino accepted in its ranks four upper-class Jewish converts and one Jewish doctor: Sámuel Wodianer in 1841 (who now as a convert was successful in his application for membership), Ferenc Weisz Bernát in 1844, Albert Wodianer the Elder (son of Sámuel Wodianer) in 1845, Bernát Ullmann in 1847, and finally, as the first Jewish member of the institution, Mór Moscovitz in 1848.80 Moscovitz, who died a Jew,81 had become the family doctor and confidant of Gyula Andrássy the Elder in the 1830s.82 He unquestionably had Andrássy to thank for his acceptance into the Casino. His singular position is illustrated by the fact that, while in the course of the following eleven years six more converted Jews were accepted as members by the National Casino (two members of the Wodianer family, two members of the Koppély family, which in 1867 changed its name to Harkányi, and two members of the Ullmann family, which in 1867 changed its name to Szitányi), it was not until 1860 that another Jew was made a member of the Casino, Ignác Hirschler, an ophthalmologist who between 1861 and 1863 served as president of the Israelite Community of Pest.83 Hirschler’s election, which clearly was not made independently of the awakening of political life in Hungary, meant the beginning of a new peculiarly liberal era in the life of the National Casino. Between 1860 and 1872, another eight Jewish men were made members of the National Casino.84 Considering the antecedents and what followed, this is striking even if the number of baptized Jews who have been admitted during this period remained slightly superior, ten altogether. What the father began, the son involuntarily brought to completion: following the election of Géza Moscovitz in 1872, the Casino only accepted converted Jews or their descendants, a total of fifteen people by 1918.85 In 1913, with the death of Géza Moscovitz, the National Casino, which over the course of the years had accepted ten professing Jews and 35 converted Jews or descendants of converted Jews, became, from the perspective of denominational belonging, entirely “Jew-free.”

In the case of the Country Casino, the situation is much simpler. As critics of the institution noted,86 the Casino never once accepted a single Jew as a member. It did accept converted Jews and descendants of converted Jews, however. At the end of 1883, the Casino had 632 members. Politically, the club was very heterogeneous, including among its members fervent liberals, like Dezső Szilágyi and Sándor Kozma, on the one hand and no less fervent anti-Semites, like Géza Ónody and Iván Simonyi, on the other. There were at least eight converts or people of Jewish descent among them.87 In 1913, which was to prove the last year of peace in the Dualist Era, of the 2,036 members of the Casino, about 36 were of Jewish descent.88

It is worth taking a moment to examine, alongside the National Casino and the Country Casino, the third most important social organization of the elites of the capital city, the Park Club, and its policies and practices with regards to the acceptance Jewish members. Unlike the two casinos, not only was the Club open to women, women actually enjoyed decision-making power equal to that of male members. Decisions regarding the acceptance of female members were made exclusively by the women’s committee.89 The founding assembly of the Park Club was held on January 15, 1893 and the sumptuously furnished club opened its doors in April 1895.90 The founder, baron Béla Atzél, was driven by the desire to create a forum in which the aristocracy and the wealthier, more refined families of the nobility would intermingle.91 It is possible that initially he had intended to admit professing Jews to the club. According to popular opinion, he was not fond of Jews, but he himself always denied this.92 In 1899, he gave up his position as co-director in the Country Casino because his fellow members had rejected the application (which enjoyed his support) of the later converted but then still unbaptized Arthur Egyedi, a factory owner and member of the national assembly.93

According to the 1893 draft of its statutes, the Park Club was established in order to provide “a pleasant center for contact between the refined classes of Hungarian society.”94 The text in the first yearbook, which was published in 1900, was essentially the same. According to the 1911 yearbook, the mission of the club was the following:

To create a pleasant center for contact between the refined classes of Hungarian society which, in addition to providing a site for socializing, will also serve to promote educational goals and goals that are in the public interests, and also promote the exchange of ideas, encourage various kinds of sports, and nurture a sentiment of unity.95

In the early years, Atzél was successful in his endeavor. According to an account published in Az Újság (The News) in 1910, “the very best of the aristocracy and the nobility filled [the Club’s] rooms.” Following his death, the situation slowly changed:

Today the Park Club is exclusively a club of aristocrats in which there are only a few scattered members of the nobility who, however, have cut themselves off entirely from their own circles and therefore can no longer be regarded as belonging to this strata.96

According to the recollections of Pál Hoitsy, Atzél allowed “one or two refined Jewish people and many converts of Jewish descent” into the Park Club.97 In fact, only the second part of this contention is accurate. In 1900 and 1910, the club had at least 20 converts or people of Jewish descent among its members, but in 1900 it had not a single professing Jew and in 1914 it had only one, if indeed it can be considered relevant, from the perspective of this inquiry, that as of 1907 the club had a member of the Viennese Rothschild family, baron Alfonso Rothschild, among its members.98

* * *

While in some periods—more so in the 1860s and 1870s and less so at the turn of the century—to be unconverted was not an obstacle for upper-class Jews to develop social contacts, good neighborly relations, or even friendships with members of the traditional social elites, belonging to the Jewish faith utterly excluded real social integration that went beyond occasional social contacts dictated to some extent by liberal political etiquette. Considering that—with one exception that only confirmed the rule—neither the aristocracy nor the elite of the “historical middle class” entered into marriages with unbaptized Jews, and keeping in mind the reluctance of the National Casino and the refusal by the Country Casino and the Park Club to accept Jewish members, one can reach the following conclusion: though even conversion did not ensure acceptance into these layers of Hungarian society, it represented an inescapable precondition of institutional-symbolic and structural integration. This constituted a contradiction of the liberal promise of acceptance. At the same time, the fact that the clubs and families that closed themselves off to professing Jews were open to converts does indicate that the practices of exclusion were not (yet) based on principles of race.

 

Archival Sources

Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára (=MNL OL) [National Archives of Hungary, Central Archive in Budapest]

A64. tekercs, Szentistvánvárosi (Lipótvárosi) r. kath. plébánia, kereszteltek anyakönyve.

 

Országos Széchényi Könyvtár [National Széchényi Library] (=OSZK)

Plakát- és Kisnyomtatványtár [Collection of Bills and Leaflets]

Gyászjelentések [Death Notices]

Kny. D 3. 350. A „Park-Club” alapszabályai. (Az alapítók alakuló közgyűlésének elfogadásra ajánlott alapszabály-javaslat.) [Rules of Park Club: Proposal Submitted for Consideration by the General Assembly of the Founders]. N.p. [Budapest], 1893.

Kézirattár (=Kt) [Manuscript Collection], Oct. Hung. 730. Vol. 9, 18, 23. Jüdische Delikatessen. Öregebb Bonyhády Perczel István tulajdona.

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Szalai, Anna. “Bevezető” [Introduction]. In Házalók, árendások, kocsmárosok, uzsorások. Zsidóábrázolás a reformkori prózában [Peddlers, Lessees, Innkeepers, Usurers: Portrayals of Jews in the Prose of the Reform Era], edited by Anna Szalai, 7–97. Budapest: Osiris, 2002.

Szatmári, Mór. “Báró Atzél Béla.” Egyenlőség, April 1, 1900.

Szatmári, Mór. Közszellemünk fogyatkozásai [Shortcomings in the Public Mentality]. Budapest: Werbőczy, 1898.

Széchenyi, István. Naplói [Diary]. Vol. 3. (1826–1830). Edited by Gyula Viszota. Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1932.

Széchenyi, István. Naplói. Vol. 4. (1830–1836). Edited by Gyula Viszota. Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1934.

Széchenyi, István. Naplói. Vol. 5. (1836–1843). Edited by Gyula Viszota. Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1937.

Tóth, Árpád. “Asszimilációs utak a késő-rendi társadalomban. A zsidóság szerepvállalásáról a reformkori pesti egyesületekben” [Paths to Assimilation in Late Feudal Society: The Assumption of Roles by the Jewry in the Associations of Pest in the Reform Era]. In Léptékváltó társadalomtörténet. Tanulmányok a 60 éves Benda Gyula tiszteletére [Social History that Shifts the Scale: Essays in Honor of the 60th Birthday of Gyula Benda], edited by Zsolt K. Horváth, András Lugosi, and Ferenc Sohajda, 156–85. Budapest: Hermész Kör–Osiris, 2003.

Varga, László. “A hazai nagyburzsoázia történetéből” [From the History of the Hungarian Haute Bourgeoisie]. Valóság 26, no. 3 (1983): 75–88.

Vázsonyi, Vilmos. Beszédei és írásai [Speeches and Writings]. Vol. 1–2. Edited by Hugó Csergő and József Balassa. Budapest: Országos Vázsonyi-Emlékbizottság, 1927.

Vázsonyi, Vilmosné. Az én uram [My Husband]. Budapest: Genius, n.d. [1931].

Vécsey, Tamás. Tisza Kálmán. Politikai és publicisztikai tanulmány [Kálmán Tisza: Political and Journalistic Study]. Celldömölk: Dinkgreve Nándor, 1931.

Vezér, Erzsébet. Lesznai Anna élete [The Life of Anna Lesznai]. Budapest: Kossuth, 1979.

Vezér, Erzsébet. “A mindennapi élet története. Beszélgetés Popperné Lukács Máriával” [The History of Everyday Life: Conversations with Mrs. Maria Lukács Popper]. Kritika 14, no. 6 (1985): 25–31.

Vigyázó, Gyula. A magyar zsidóság és a keresztény társadalom [Hungarian Jewry and Christian Society]. N.p.: Szerző kiadása, 1908.

Viola [Gyula Vezerle]. Visszaemlékezések. Korrajz az 1860–61-iki időszakról [Reminiscences: Sketch of the Times, 1860–61]. Vácz: Serédy Géza, 1878.

Vörös, Károly. “Pest-Budától Budapestig 1849–1873” [From Pest-Buda to Budapest]. In Budapest története a márciusi forradalomtól az őszirózsás forradalomig [The History of Budapest from the March Revolution to the Chrysanthemum Revolution], edited by Károly Vörös, 117–320. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1978.

Zs. J. [Zsoldos, Jenő.] “Zsidó a magyar regényirodalomban” [The Jew in Hungarian Novels]. In Zsidó Lexikon [Jewish Encyclopedia], edited by Péter Ujvári, 984–86. Budapest: A Zsidó Lexikon kiadása, 1929.

1 [Kálmán Mikszáth,] “Istóczy tizenkét röpirata,” Szegedi Napló, October 17, 1880, n.p. [1].

2 Péter Hanák, “Magyarország társadalma a századforduló idején,” in Magyarország története 1890–1918, ed. idem (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1978), 446.

3 By “upper echelons” I mean those persons of noble origin who still owned their (large) estates and/or had obtained high-level positions in the state or county administration.

4 Of the groundbreaking works, one should mention the following: William O. McCagg, Jr., Jewish Nobles and Geniuses in Modern Hungary (Boulder: East European Quarterly, 1972); Vera Bácskai, A vállalkozók előfutárai. Nagykereskedők a reformkori Pesten (Budapest: Magvető, 1989); Michael K. Silber, “A zsidók társadalmi befogadása Magyarországon a reformkorban. A ‘kaszinók’,” Századok 126 (1992): 113–41; György Kövér, A felhalmozás íve. Társadalom- és gazdaságtörténeti tanulmányok (Budapest: Új Mandátum Könyvkiadó, 2002); Árpád Tóth, “Asszimilációs utak a késő-rendi társadalomban. A zsidóság szerepvállalásáról a reformkori pesti egyesületekben,” in Léptékváltó társadalomtörténet. Tanulmányok a 60 éves Benda Gyula tiszteletére, ed. Zsolt K. Horváth, András Lugosi, and Ferenc Sohajda (Budapest: Hermész Kör–Osiris, 2003), 156–85.

5 For a comprehensive summary of the image of Jews in the prose of the Reform Era see Anna Szalai, “Bevezető,” in Házalók, árendások, kocsmárosok, uzsorások. Zsidóábrázolás a reformkori prózában, ed. idem (Budapest: Osiris, 2002), 7–97.

6 J. Zs. [Jenő Zsoldos], “Zsidó a magyar regényirodalomban,” in Zsidó Lexikon, ed. Péter Ujvári (Budapest: A Zsidó Lexikon kiadása, 1929), 985.

7 Ifj. Kornél Ábrányi, Régi és új nemesek (Budapest: Athenaeum, 1881); Gergely Csiky, Az Atlasz család (Budapest: Franklin, 1890).

8 Ferenc Herczeg, Andor és András (Budapest: Singer és Wolfner, 1925), 47–48.

9 Bertalan Ormody, “Zsidó aristokrátia. Regényes korrajz (Vége),” Regélő, July 31, 1866, 68–69.

10 Ferenc Molnár, Az éhes város (Budapest: Pesti Szalon Könyvek, 1993), 235–40.

11 Ignác Acsády, Aranyországban (Budapest: Weiszmann Testvérek, 1880); Ferenc Molnár, “Disznótor a Lipótvárosban,” in idem, Hétágú síp. Tréfák, karcolatok, tárcák (Budapest: Franklin, 1911), 198–245.

12 Tamás Kóbor, Ki a ghettóból, vol. 2 (Budapest: Franklin, 1911), 191.

13 Vilmos Vázsonyi, Beszédei és írásai, vol. 1, ed. Hugó Csergő and József Balassa (Budapest: Országos Vázsonyi-Emlékbizottság, 1927), 296.

14 “Kortörténeti jegyzetek. A mi zsidóink,” Huszadik Század 9, no. 2 (1908): 402–03; Oszkár Jászi, “A magyarországi reakció szervezkedése,” Huszadik Század 11, no. 1 (1910): 372.

15 Ernő Lakatos, A magyar politikai vezetőréteg 1848–1918. Társadalomtörténeti tanulmány (Budapest: Szerző kiadása, 1942), 73. Emma Lederer, A magyar társadalom kialakulása a honfoglalástól 1918-ig. (N.p. [Budapest]: Népszava, n. d. [1947]), 169–70.

16 McCagg, Jewish Nobles and Geniuses in Modern Hungary.

17 László Varga, “A hazai nagyburzsoázia történetéből,” Valóság 26, no. 3 (1983): 79.

18 Viktor Karády, “Zsidó identitás és asszimiláció Magyarországon,” (1988) in Zsidóság, modernizáció, polgárosodás. Tanulmányok (N.p. [Budapest]: Cserépfalvi, 1997), 40–41.

19 Hilda Bauer, Emlékeim. Levelek Lukácshoz (Budapest: MTA Filozófiai Intézet–Lukács Archívum, 1985), 44.

20 Anna Lesznai, Kezdetben volt a kert, vol. 1 (Budapest: Szépirodalmi, 1966), 129–30.

21 Erzsébet Vezér, “A mindennapi élet története. Beszélgetés Popperné Lukács Máriával,” Kritika 14, no. 6 (1985): 28.

22 This was the case, for instance, in the following families: the Dirsztay de Dirszta family, the Ullmann de Baranyavár family, the Neuman de Végvár family, the Schosberger de Tornya family, the Groedel de Gyulafalu and Bogdány family, the Kohner de Szászberek family, the Herzog de Csete family, the Wahrmann family, the Madarasy-Beck family, the Hatvany-Deutsch family, the Gutmann de Gelse and Beliscse family, and the Ullmann de Erény family. Béla Kempelen, Magyar zsidó családok, vol. 1 (Budapest: Makkabi, 1999), 87, 96, 105, 112–13, 131, 134–35, 138, 140; vol. 2, 27, 38, 63–64, 141; vol. 3, 94.

23 Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára (=MNL OL), Szentistvánvárosi (Lipótvárosi) Roman Catholic parish, baptismal registry, roll A64. On the wedding: “Eljegyzések, esküvők,” Pesti Napló, July 3, 1882, evening edition. Excerpt in Jüdische Delikatessen. The possession of István Bonyhády Perczel the Elder. Országos Széchényi Könyvtár (=OSZK), manuscript collection (=Kt.), Oct. Hung. 730/23, 70.

24 According to Béla Kempelen, count Lajos Königsegg, who was in dire need of money, also agreed to marry the daughter of a wealthy Jewish mill owner of Arad without asking her to convert. I remain skeptical regarding this story, the account of which includes no dates, as I have found no trace of it in any other sources. See Kempelen, Magyar zsidó családok, vol. 1, 141.

25 (H-r.), “Königswarter Móricz báró,” Egyenlőség, November 17, 1893, 4–5; “Kikeresztelkedett milliomos,” Szentesi Lap, November 16, 1894, 4; “A nagyváradi püspök és a bécsi Jockey-club,” Egyenlőség, December 2, 1894, 10.

26 On the limited chances of German Jewish converts of finding spouses see Werner E. Mosse, “Problems and Limits of Assimilation: Hermann and Paul Wallich 1833–1938,” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 33 (1988): 43–65. In the case of Hungary, one finds in Kempelen’s book, in addition to the aforementioned families, several dozen examples for which—unlike the case of count Köngsegg—the dates of the weddings are known, as are the names of the children who were born to the couples and the years in which they were born.

27 Cited by László Siklóssy, “A polgári erkölcs,” (1923) in idem, A régi Budapest erkölcse (Budapest: Osiris, 2002), 407–08.

28 According to Silber, with regards to the societies the market towns were more open to Jews than the free royal cities, while in general Pest trailed behind the provinces. According to Árpád Tóth, however, with the exception of the National Casino and the Agricultural Society every significant association in Pest during the Reform Era had Jewish members in its ranks. Indeed, as I note later, one Jew did manage to gain acceptance into the National Casino. Silber, “A zsidók társadalmi befogadása,” 113–41; Tóth, “Asszimilációs utak a késő-rendi társadalomban,” 163–73.

29 Péter Busbach, Egy viharos emberöltő. Korrajz, vol. 2 (Budapest: Kilián Frigyes, 1899), 34. Károly Vörös, “Pest-Budától Budapestig 1849–1873,” in Budapest története a márciusi forradalomtól az őszirózsás forradalomig, ed. idem (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1978), 225.

30 Imre Vahot, “Parádi fürdő-élet 1855-ben,” Pesti Napló, August 6, 1855, n. p. [2].

31 Dávid Kóhn, Hatvan év múltán. Visszaemlékezések (Gyula: Dobay János, 1936), 214–15.

32 “Levelezések,” Magyar Izraelita, March 7, 1862, 83; Imre Csetényi, “A hatvanas évek és a zsidóság,” in Tanulmányok a zsidó tudomány köréből. Dr. Guttmann Mihály emlékére, ed. Sámuel Lőwinger (Budapest: Neuwald Illés, 1946), 103; Edit Kerecsényi, “Nagykanizsa társadalma és egyleti élete 1900 táján,” in Közlemények Zala megye közgyûjteményeinek kutatásaiból 1984–1985, ed. Alajos Degré and Imre Halász (Zalaegerszeg: Zala Megyei Levéltár, 1985), 109.

33 Viola [Gyula Vezerle], Visszaemlékezések. Korrajz az 1860–61-iki időszakról (Vácz: Serédy Géza, 1878), 125–26.

34 Pál Tenczer, “Sváb rabbi jóslata Falk Miksáról,” Egyenlőség, June 5, 1898, 3; Zsigmond Groszmann, A magyar zsidók a XIX. század közepén (1849–1870) (Budapest: Egyenlőség, 1917), 45.

35 “Levelezések,” Izraelita Közlöny, May 14, 1869, 180.

36 Erzsébet Vezér, Lesznai Anna élete (Budapest: Kossuth, 1979), 9–12.

37 Vilmosné Vázsonyi, Az én uram (Budapest: Genius, n.d. [1931]), 8.

38 Tamás Vécsey, Tisza Kálmán (Celldömölk: Dinkgreve Nándor, 1931), 132–33. The Zsidó Lexikon mistakenly identifies Károly Sváb as a convert. In fact, he remained a Jew all his life. See “Sváb Károly halála,” Egyenlőség, August 6, 1911, 7–8.

39 Ferencz Pulszky, “A zsidókról,” Pesti Napló, July 25, 1880, n.p. [1].

40 For more on the Neolog-Orthodox split which came about in the wake of the Jewish Congress of 1868–1869, see Jacob Katz, A House Divided: Orthodoxy and Schism in Nineteenty-Century Central European Jewry (Hanover–London: Brandeis University Press, 1998).

41 Iván Horváth, “A zsidók s a magyar társadalom,” Egyenlőség, February 18, 1883, 3–4.

42 Egy zsidó, A zsidókérdés (Budapest: Wilckens és Waidl, n.d. [1884–85]), 3–4.

43 Andor Kellér, Mayer Wolf fia. Wahrmann Mór életregénye (N.p. [Budapest]: Hungária, n.d. [1941]), 42.

44 “Szalon,” Pesti Napló, February 11, 1881, evening edition. Excerpt in Jüdische Delikatessen. The possession of István Bonyhády Perczel the Elder. OSZK Kt. Oct. Hung. 730/9, 81.

45 A budapesti társaság (Budapest: Pallas, 1886), 452.

46 Ferenc Pulszky, “Májusi liberalizmus,” Pesti Hírlap, May 26, 1892, 2. Rutilus [Szigetvári Iván], “A mi szabadelvűségünk,” Élet, April 1, 1894, 238–42.

47 Antroposz, “Visszapillantás,” Egyenlőség, January 6, 1889, 1.

48 Ödön Gerő, “Budapest fiziognómiája,” in A mulató Budapest, ed. Henrik Lenkei (Budapest: Singer és Wolfner, 1896), 49. The so-called church laws of 1894 and 1895 introduced civil marriage and civil registries, addressed the question of the religious confession of children of denominationally mixed marriages. They also guaranteed the free practice of all religions and declared the equality of Jewish religion with Christian religions.

49 Miksa Szabolcsi, “Két irány,” Egyenlőség, February 14, 1896, 6–7.

50 Miklós Zay, “Zsidók a társadalomban,” Huszadik Század 4, no. 2 (1903): 962.

51 Ibid., 949.

52 Ádám Lipcsey, “Az idegesek,” Egyenlőség, April 1, 1900, 1.

53 “Hazug demokráczia,” Egyenlőség, January 26, 1902, 10.

54 Br. J., “A zsidóság és a társadalom,” Egyenlőség, August 3, 1902, 2–3.

55 Lajos Hatvany, Levelei, ed. Lajosné Hatvany and István Rozsics (Budapest: Szépirodalmi, 1985), 285.

56 Lesznai, Kezdetben volt a kert, vol. 1, 148.

57 Mihály Károlyi, Hit, illúziók nélkül (Budapest: Magvető és Szépirodalmi, 1977), 38.

58 Molnár, Az éhes város, 285–86.

59 Herczeg, Andor és András, 48.

60 “A „Szalon Újság”-ról. Még néhány tájékoztató szó,” Szalon Újság, December, 1900, 1.

61 “Andrássy–Liechtenstein nász,” Szalon Újság, September 15, 1906, 6.

62 Zsófia Dénes, Akkor a hársak épp szerettek… (Budapest: Gondolat, 1983), 108.

63 Endre Ady, “Napló. Pecsétek és egyebek,” (1901) in idem, Összes prózai művei, vol. 1, ed. Gyula Földessy (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1955), 414.

64 Ernő Ligeti, “Emőd Tamás,” in Ararát. Magyar zsidó évkönyv az 1944. évre, ed. Aladár Komlós (Budapest: Országos Izr. Leányárvaház, 1944), 59.

65 A budapesti társaság, 417; Győző Concha, “A társadalomról,” Budapesti Szemle 82 (1895): 352; Gábor Lajos Russay, Szobráncz gyógyfürdő (Ungvár: Lévai Mór, 1902), 84; Tamás Dobszay and Zoltán Fónagy, “Magyarország társadalma a 19. század második felében,” in Magyarország története a 19. században, ed. András Gergely (Budapest: Osiris, 2003), 436.

66 A budapesti társaság, 451; “Gentry,” Országos Gentry-Közlöny, June 2, 1889, 1. Győző Münstermann, A középosztály önvédelme (Kolozsvár: Ajtai K. Albert, 1904), 16; Mihályné Károlyi, Együtt a forradalomban (Budapest: Európa, 1978), 133.

67 Jenő Rákosi, “Budapest városrészei,” in Az Osztrák–Magyar Monarchia írásban és képben, vol. 9 (Budapest: Magyar Királyi Állami Nyomda, 1893), 191–92.

68 Ferencz Herczeg, “Zsúrok és zsúr-látogatók,” in A mulató Budapest, ed. Henrik Lenkei (Budapest: Singer és Wolfner, 1896), 117.

69 Zay, “Zsidók a társadalomban,” 960.

70 Sándor Bródy, “Tímár Liza,” (1914) in idem, Színház (Budapest: Szépirodalmi, 1964), 392.

71 A Nemzeti Casinó szabályai és tagjainak névsora. 1901 (Budapest: Franklin, 1902), 1. Henceforth I refer to the yearbooks of the Casino, which were first published in 1828 and which changed titles several times (I have consulted them up to 1918), with the title A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve.

72 Gábor Gyáni, “Magyarország társadalomtörténete a Horthy-korban,” in Magyarország társadalomtörténete a reformkortól a második világháborúig, ed. Gábor Gyáni and György Kövér (Budapest: Osiris, 2006), 230–31.

73 A nemzeti kaszinó évkönyve 1878, 56–57. Until 1878, the yearbooks of the National Casino were tight-lipped on the question of eligibility. One finds the following note in the yearbook of 1829: “Birth or religion is not to be taken into consideration.” This specification is found only in the yearbook from this year. According to the yearbook from 1830, the members of the Casino “must be men of noble conduct.” One year later the phrase was “illustrious noble conduct.” In 1834, it was switched to “upright, noble conduct.” See A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1829, 41. A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1830, 41. A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1831, 43. A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1834, 55.

74 Béla Novák, “Fővárosi kaszinók a 19. században,” Budapesti Negyed 12 (2004): 90–114, accessed May 25, 2014, http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00003/00033/novak.html.

75 Gabriella Eőry, “Az Országos Kaszinó és a középosztály,” in Zsombékok. Középosztályok és iskoláztatás Magyarországon a 19. század elejétől a 20. század közepéig. Társadalomtörténeti tanulmányok, ed. György Kövér (Budapest: Századvég, 2006), 322, 324.

76 Beáta Nagy, “Az elit társasélete a klubok, kaszinók keretében,” in Társadalomtörténeti módszerek és forrástípusok, ed. László Á. Varga, vol. 1 of Rendi társadalom – Polgári társadalom (Salgótarján: Nógrád Megyei Levéltár, 1987), 69.

77 Eőry, “Az Országos Kaszinó,” 338.

78 István Széchenyi, Naplói, vol. 3, (1826–1830), ed. Gyula Viszota (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1932), LV, 318.

79 István Széchenyi, Naplói, vol. 4, (1830–1836), ed. Gyula Viszota (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1934), 241. István Széchenyi, Naplói, vol. 5, (1836–1843), ed. Gyula Viszota (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1937), 122.

80 A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1841, 54; A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1844, 55; A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1845, 55; A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1847, 53; A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1848, 34.

81 OSZK, gyászjelentések, FM8/35797/344: Zempléni Moscovitz Mór.

82 Vezér, Lesznai Anna élete, 9–10; Groszmann, A magyar zsidók, 46.

83 A Nemzeti Kaszinó évkönyve 1860, 15.

84 The eight Jewish members, with the dates of their election in parentheses, were: Jakab Lányi (1861), Henrik Lévay (1862), Soma Rothfeld (1867), Hermann Todesco (1870), Miksa Brüll (1870), Frigyes Schey (1870), Mór Wahrmann (1870), and Géza Moscovitz (1872).

85 With regards to converts I took only their father’s side of the family into consideration.

86 Mór Szatmári, Közszellemünk fogyatkozásai (Budapest: Werbőczy, 1898), 24; Zay, “Zsidók a társadalomban,” 962; Gyula Vigyázó, A magyar zsidóság és a keresztény társadalom (N.p.: Szerző kiadása, 1908), 15–16.

87 Az Országos Kaszinó évi jelentése az 1883-ik évről (Budapest: Athenaeum, 1884).

88 Az Országos Kaszinó évkönyve 1913 (Budapest: n.p., 1914).

89 In 1900, a women’s section of the Country Casino was established, but the representatives of the two genders did not come into contact with one another in the club. The men’s directorate made the decisions regarding the admittance of women. The women’s section was dissolved in 1908. See Beáta Nagy, “„Az asszonyoknak egy szalónt kellett teremtenünk.” Nők és klubélet a századforduló Budapestjén,” in Nők a modernizálódó társadalomban, ed. Gábor Gyáni and Beáta Nagy (Debrecen: Csokonai, n.d. [2006]), 240–53.

90 “Park-Club,” Szalon Újság, April 30, 1905, 5–6.

91 Pál Hoitsy, Régi magyar alakok. A letűnt nemzedék férfiai (Budapest: Légrády Testvérek, n.d. [1923]), 69.

92 Mór Szatmári, “Báró Atzél Béla,” Egyenlőség, April 1, 1900, 3–4.

93 Ibid., 4.

94 A „Park-Club” alapszabályai. N.p., [Budapest], 1893. OSZK Plakát- és Kisnyomtatványtár, Kny. D 3. 350.

95 A Park Club évkönyve 1911 (Budapest: Hornyánszky Viktor, 1912), 51.

96 “A klubélet Budapesten,” Az Újság, December 25, 1910, 130–31.

97 Hoitsy, Régi magyar alakok, 69–70.

98 A Park Club évkönyve 1900 (Budapest: Hornyánszky Viktor, 1901); A Park Club évkönyve 1914 (Budapest: Hornyánszky Viktor, 1915).

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