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Museum Hosts International Conference on the Holocaust in Hungary

WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) are convening a major international conference on the Holocaust in Hungary at the Museum in Washington, DC, on March 19, 2014. 

Coinciding with worldwide commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the deportations of Hungarian Jews on March 19, 1944, the conference will present recent scholarship on the Holocaust in Hungry and foster ongoing international scholarly cooperation. Emerging and leading scholars will address a range of topics, including postwar Hungarian Jewish refugees; the Catholic Church, nationalism, and antisemitism in Hungary since 1989; the Hungarian Holocaust in Transylvania; the Hungarian forced labor service; and antisemitic and anti-Roma policies in present-day Hungarian politics. Presenters hail from the United States, Hungary, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

The conference occurs at a moment when Holocaust memory in Hungary is under serious threat from local and national actors within the Hungarian state. Paul A. Shapiro, director of the Mandel Center, testified to the severity of the situation before Congress on March 20, 2013.

“And what about the Holocaust itself?” Shapiro asked. “Is that history secure [in Hungary]? Recently, three major Holocaust-related monuments in Budapest—the Holocaust Memorial and Documentation Center, the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, and the bronze shoes on the banks of the Danube, which memorialize the 10,000 or more Jews shot into the river during the final months of the war—have been vandalized. Assaults on Jewish institutions and members of the Jewish community have become more common, which is an outgrowth, in my opinion, of the government’s attempts to revise Hungary’s Holocaust history, lay blame on the victims, and exonerate the perpetrators. Is the echo of the 1930s and the Holocaust in today’s Hungary alarming? I leave it to you to judge.”

Shapiro and Dr. Randolph Braham, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, CUNY, will deliver opening remarks. The seminar runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. View the conference program.

The conference is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. RSVP here.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to promote human dignity, confront hatred, and prevent genocide. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide. For more information, visit ushmm.org.

The Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies is one of the five institutes comprising the Center for Jewish Studies of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The Rosenthal Institute sponsors lectures as well as a variety of research and scholarship programs sponsored by the “J. and O. Winter Fund” supported by Gábor Várszegi. It also publishes a Holocaust studies series.

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