From the editors
Memories. For most of us, the word conjures up an image from our
childhood, our youth. The word has a pleasant and homey feel to it, and
reveries of our past touch our hearts. But as we wander through our
deepest memories, will it occur to us that there might be some people who
would rather forget? These would be people whose hearts do not fill with
satisfaction at the memories of their past, but are even horrified, agitated,
or haunted by them, people who do not know how to deal with their
memories and want only to be free of them, and see liberation from their
irrepressible memories in forgetfulness.
“Controversy can be a great silencer” (Riley, 2001: 151).
“The Holocaust occupies a prominent place in the collective memory of the UK.” – writes Paul Salmons in the opening sentence of his essay (2003:139). Let me alter this sentence to be descriptive of Hungary: The Holocaust does not occupy a prominent place in the collective memory of Hungary.
by Attila Novak
Following World War II, the youngest generation of the eliminated and decimated Jews, their surviving children were for the most part put in children's homes. These homes were in part connected to the old Jewish infrastructure, but new homes were also established. One of the aims were to try and replace the exterminated families, and so everyday life and upbringing attempted to follow the famly model.
The first time I went back to Ravensbrück was some fifty years after. I was terribly afraid, but felt that I had to. And now I am glad that I did it, I received a lot of love from young people out there and that gave me new strength. I am not discontent.
Why do we need such writings when there is a Holocaust Memorial Day?
Why do we need them when the democratic states of the world regularly remember the horrors of the middle of the 20 th century?
Why do we need them when books like the monumental work of Randolph L. Braham about the tragedy of the Hungarian Jewry on more than 1300 pages: The Politics of Genocide - The Holocaust in Hungary are published?
We need these writing because authentic historical works focus on the extermination of the people and they never mention that eighty-year-old uncle Keller was taken by the beard and pulled all along between the benches of the Nagyfuvaros Street Synagogue
Diary is remembering, remembering is personal history: a precious historical source.
The methods of its historical elaboration are often defined: the author presents history through his personal experiences, from a peculiar perspective.
On the one hand it is something precious: history is put together from human stories and the result is history with flesh and blood characters participating, acting, suffering in it. These flesh-and-blood people are not the least different from the students and teachers present at the lesson.