CEU Faculty, Alumnus Present Books on Jewish History

Three CEU professors and an alumnus presented recently published books dealing with various aspects of Jewish history at a book launch December 6 hosted by the Jewish Studies Program at CEU.

Andras Kovacs, who heads the Jewish Studies Program and is a professor in the Nationalism Studies Program, co-edited with Randolph Braham, the doyen of Hungarian Holocaust research, the fourth volume of a series on the Shoah in Hungary, titled "The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later" (CEU Press, 2016). The book includes 12 chapters focusing on the newest trends in the Hungarian historiography of the Holocaust, and in particular on the debates about the memory of the Holocaust. As Kovacs noted at the book launch, given the recent attempts to reinterpret the role of the Hungarian state and to minimize and even to deny its responsibilities for the genocide against Jews in Hungary, such avenues of research are becoming increasingly relevant.

Andrea Peto, professor in the Department of Gender Studies, co-edited "Women and the Holocaust: New Perspectives and Challenges" (Warsaw: IBL, 2015, to be republished by CEU Press) with Louise Hecht and Karolina Krasuska. The collection combines a focus on Central-Eastern Europe with that on gender and its intersections with aspects such as nationalism and sexuality. Describing the obstacles encountered while collecting and publishing contributions from female scholars from the region, Peto expressed hope that the publication of the volume by CEU Press will make the work widely available, allowing it to serve as an example for similar projects.

"Modern Jewish Scholarship in Hungary: The “Science of Judaism” between East and West "(Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2016) was co-edited by Professor Carsten Wilke of the Departments of History and Medieval Studies, who currently also serves as the director of the Center for Religious Studies. Professor Wilke and the other editor, Tamas Turan of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences published what is certain to become a groundbreaking contribution on the history of the Wissenschaft des Judentums in Hungary. Drawing attention to the richness of this vastly underexplored subject, Wilke emphasized that the volume strives to provide an overview of the history of Jewish studies in Hungary, outlining its development from the 19th century to end of the 20th, and provide bibliographies for further research.

A graduate of CEU’s PhD program in the Department of History, Ferenc Laczo is an assistant professor of history at Maastricht University. His most recent monograph, "Hungarian Jews in the Age of Genocide: An Intellectual History" was published by Brill this year. Relying on a vast source base ranging from the major Hungarian Jewish periodicals to thousands of interviews conducted with Holocaust survivors, Laczo traces the intellectual trajectories of Hungarian Jewry in the years leading up to the Shoah, as well as their responses to genocide during and in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe that befell them. According to Laczo, it was his fascination with the Jewish intellectual debates of the era that brought him to devote to the topic both his doctoral dissertation at CEU and the current volume.