Germans in Hungary - 1950-1990

Funding: OTKA
Duration: 01/09/2015 – 31/08/2020

The research aims to investigate the circumstances and political, economic, and social aspects of the migration processes that affected Hungary after World War II. Such processes include resettling people within the country, the expulsion of the ethnic German population, the Slovak-Hungarian population exchange, the “bringing home” of the Székelys of Bukovina, and measures to cope with Hungarian refugees from neighboring countries.

The project is significant because it aims at presenting Hungary’s minority policies between 1950 and 1990—an uncovered historical period—in a monograph. Moreover, how they had an impact on such minorities, particularly on the social situation of the German community living in Hungary, a scientific milestone for subsequent comparative research in neighboring countries.

The researcher will perform a complex analysis of the demographic, economic, and institutional factors related to such policies—as well as the integration and assimilation processes involving the minorities. For that, she will survey archive documents from different state administration levels, and daily newspapers and German ethnic press of the period besides social statistical data. A second step involves conducting up to 12 structured interviews with minority politicians who played a vital role with the German community in Hungary in that period. The approach will offer an internal perspective to the project.

By shedding light on the roots of current processes and actions involving minorities, the project fills a history gap that has societal impact, as it helps identify the gears that shaped Hungarian society and state practices. To transfer knowledge, the researcher will give educational presentations and lectures at minority high schools in Hungary and at events arranged by German minority organizations—for instance, Deutsches Haus and Jakob Bleyer Heimatmuseum. The communication strategy includes publishing press articles with Hungarian- and German-papers both in Hungary and in Germany. 

Principal investigator (PI):

Ágnes Tóth 
Senior Research Fellow 
Researcher profile page 

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