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< All Fellows and Scholars

Dr. Zoltán Vagi

Dr. Zoltán Vagi
2003-2004 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow

"Operation Höss: The Annihilation of the Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau and its Consequences"

Professional Background

Dr. Zoltán Vagi received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history and education at Elte University in Budapest, Hungary. During his fellowship at the Museum, he was a historian for the Hungarian Holocaust Documentation Center in Budapest. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research, Dr. Vagi conducted research for his project “Operation Höss: The Annihilation of the Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau and its Consequences.”

Dr. Vagi has published nearly twenty articles and studies on his research and is well-known for his book co-authored with Gabor Kadar, Hungarian scholar and 2003-2004 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Aranyvonat. Fejezetek a zsidó vagyon történetébol [Gold Train: Chapters from the History of Jewish Assets] (Osiris Kiadó, 2001). After his tenure a revised and enlarged version of this book was published in English under the title Self-Financing Genocide: The Gold Train, The Becher Case, The Wealth of Jews, Hungary (Central European University Press, 2004). For his doctoral degree, Dr. Vagi wrote a biography of Dr. László Endre, Undersecretary in charge of Jewish matters to the Hungarian Minister of Interior who played a central role in managing the destruction of Jewish communities in Hungary, for which he was awarded the J&O Winter Foundation Scholarship from the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies of the City University of New York and a scholarship from the Elte Peregrinatio Foundation. As a historian for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Authority in Hungary, Dr. Vagi assisted in the collection of Holocaust-related archival materials throughout Hungary and contributed to the development of a permanent Holocaust history exhibition in Budapest. He has researched the Hungarian materials from the Adolf Eichmann trial held at Yad Vashem and records on Operation Höss held at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. Dr. Vagi was also invited by the United States Presidential Advisory Committee on Holocaust Assets to conduct research on Hungarian war criminals in U.S. captivity and the final fate of assets confiscated from Hungarian Jews.

Fellowship Research

During his tenure at the Museum, Dr. Vagi researched and wrote a comprehensive history of the final fate of Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz in 1944. He studied the different aspects of Operation Höss including preparations that took place in Auschwitz to prepare for Jewish Hungarian deportees, the mechanisms of plunder and value of goods confiscated from Hungarian Jews, resistance and escape attempts, and life in the camp, among a number of other important aspects related to the experience of Hungarian Jews.

Dr. Vagi was in residence at the Mandel Center from September 6 to December 29, 2003.