PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR VERONIKA SZEGHY-GAYER FROM THE CENTRE OF SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES SAS
Veronika Szeghy-Gayer, a researcher from the Centre of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS, won the prestigious Mark Pittaway Article Prize for an article on the Aryanization of Jewish property in Košice at the end of World War II. The text was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Department of History of the UPJŠ Faculty of Arts in Košice, The city and History. The prize, which aims to highlight high-quality scientific work in the field of Hungarian studies, is awarded by the Hungarian Studies Association.
Dr. Szeghy-Gayer, an expert on Slovak-Hungarian relations, Jewish communities in Slovakia until 1945, nationalism and inter-ethnic relations, wrote an article entitled Petitioners of Jewish Property in Košice: A Case Study on the Holocaust and Local Society in a Slovak-Hungarian Border Regio co-authored with László Csősz, historian and employee of the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives in Budapest. Researching the Aryanization of Jewish property at the local level in the Slovakian-Hungarian border region is, according to the authors, a question that has not been researched so far.
"In our analysis, we examined 253 petitions submitted by local residents to obtain rental rights to apartments inhabited by Jews and supporting documentation stored in the Archives of the City of Košice. Our primary research question was to find out who these applicants for Jewish apartments were and how and why they got involved in this process," explains the award-winning scientist.
In the text, the authors examined the social stratification of applicants, their professional structure, gender, ethnic origin and other social indicators. They present and interpret their arguments, excuses and motivations. They also included in the research the startling question of the extent to which these ordinary men and women understood that they were benefiting from mass murder.
The contribution of the publication was also emphasised by the jury. "One of the main strengths of the study is the close attention paid to the bigger picture, which characterizes the dramatic demographic changes in the city due to the deployment of the German and Hungarian armies, the deportation of Jews and the arrival of war refugees, each of which presents specific challenges for the city administration. The work relies on carefully researched archival sources that allow the interests and voices of individuals to be heard and reconnected to the circumstances of the political and racial war. Readers will also gain insight into the potential involvement of these individuals in mass murder, which may have an ethical message for our current political environment in Eastern and Central Europe. Csősz and Szeghy-Gayer brilliantly incorporate rich primary sources into their article on an important topic that is still under-covered," say Katalin Cseh-Varga, John K. Cox and Borbala Zsuzsanna Török.
The study is freely accessible HERE.
Edited by Katarína Gáliková