Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: 'Bystanders' to genocide? : the role of building managers in the Hungarian Holocaust
Author: Adam, Istvan Pal
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 756X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
My thesis - through a history of the Budapest building managers - asks to what degree agency mattered amongst a group of ordinary Hungarians, who are commonly perceived as bystanders to Holocaust? I analyse the building managers' wartime acts in the lights of their decades-long struggle for a higher salary, social appreciation and their aspiration to authority. Instead of focusing on solely the usual pre-war antisemitism, I take into consideration other factors from the interwar times, such as for instance the tipping culture. In my thesis I argue that the empowerment of the building managers happened as a side-effect of the anti-Jewish legislation. Thanks to their social networks and focal position, these people became intermediaries between the authorities and the Jewish Hungarian citizens, which gave them much wider latitude than other so-called bystanders. In other words, an average Budapest building manager could bridge the structural holes between the ghettoized Jewish Hungarians and other elements of 1944 Hungarian society as a result of his or her social network. My thesis draws heavily on the files of the Justificatory Committee [Igazolo Bizottsag] and the People's Court [Nepbirosag] , a unique set of sources collected in an immediate post-war denazifying procedure. The sources here I am working with have a dual nature: they shed light not only on the last phase of the Hungarian Holocaust, but also on the transition period of 1945-46. Thus, the last chapter explores the social judgement over the building managers' wartime conduct, while it also gives insight into their individual and collective efforts to defend themselves against the accusations. This thesis, therefore, argues that the actions of so called bystanders, and the relationship between Budapest building managers and Jewish Hungarians, can only be understood by placing them in a longer duree. Furthermore, it suggests that it is impossible - and unhelpful - to allocate building managers to a single category such as 'bystander'. Individual building managers both helped and hindered Jewish Hungarians, depending on circumstances, pre-existing relationships, and the particular point in time. In the fast-changing, fluid and complex environment of Budapest in 1944, categories such as 'perpetrator', 'bystander' and 'rescuer' were blurred and difficult to distinguish. Through an examination of this environment at the micro-level of the apartment building, this thesis brings the complexity of the Holocaust sharply into focus
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available