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Literary Works on the Second and Third Generations of Holocaust Survivors in Hungary – Presence or Absence?


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In Hungary, during the decades of the communist regime, mentioning Jewish values or wounds would not have fit into the idealistic consensus (and uniformity, even more). So, virtually 100,000 Hungarian Jews tried to hide or forget their roots.

After the regime change in 1989, the Jewish revival progressed with tremendous force. The children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, who had hardly heard anything about Judaism or even about the history of their family at home, suddenly “reinvented” Jewish life. Institutions and grassroots places with an informal, but distinctly Jewish spirit, were born. For the new generations their Jewishness became a positive, almost “sexy” distinction from anybody else.

Interestingly, literature did not take over this vibrant revival. Despite the fact that the significant part of the Hungarian writers, especially the winners of international awards, are of Jewish descent. Thus, Jews are overrepresented in Hungarian literature. Nevertheless, this is a traditional tendency in Hungary that writers don’t really like to belong to minority groups. That’s why, Jewish themes or even the topics of the Holocaust and the representation of the life of the Second Generation, hardly fit into this mainstream perception. Recently, some of the Third and the Fourth Generation - mostly lesser-known, younger writers and especially women - have already begun to investigate the repressed memory of their families.




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Link to book (paywalled), Specific Aspects in the Life and Care of the Offspring of Shoah Survivors in Germany

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Pécsi-Pollner, Katalin Literary Works on the Second and Third Generations of Holocaust Survivors in Hungary – Presence or Absence?. Routledge International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Descendants of Holocaust Survivors. Routledge. 2023:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-3820