The emergence of a seemingly harmonic symbiosis between Hungarian majority and Jewish minority in 19th century Hungary was a unique phenomenon in a European country where the proportion of Jews was close to 5 percent of the total population, and about 20 percent of the capital city, Budapest. However, after the shocking experience of the persecution in 1944 it was to expect that the factor –unlimited readiness for assimilation in the belief of the unlimited readiness of the majority for accepting it- that made the uniqueness of the Hungarian Jewry will cease to exist. Since quite a large group of the Hungarian Jews survived the Shoah it was not purely a theoretical question that what sort of identity strategies would emerge among the Jewish population of the country. How did the Jews react to the dramatic political changes that occurred in the decades following the Shoah, what kind of identity strategies they developed in the search for their place in the post-war Hungarian society? After a historical introduction the article discusses the changing socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the post-war Hungarian Jews, Jewish politics in the decades of communist rule and finally the identity problems emerged in the post-war decades.
Author: Andras Kovacs