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Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:44:53 EDT by admin, 91116 views
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
History paper by Várdy, Steven Béla and Várdy, Ágnes Huszár (all papers)
Hungarian Gymnasiums in Postwar Germany
Following the end of World War II, between ten to fifteen million refugees found themselves in Postwar Germany. Although scattered all over in the remnants of Hitler’s empire, most of them congregated in southern Germany. The majority of these refugees consisted of Germans, who either fled from the invading Soviet hordes, or were expelled from their homelands by the new settlers. These refugees consisting of about twenty different nationalities, among them Hungarians, who constituted about 10-12 % of the total.
The situation changed in the fall of 1945 when about 90% of the Hungarians repatriated, and their numbers in Germany declined to 122,000. At the same time elections were held in Hungary, which was won by the ant-communist Smallholders Party. It collected 57% of the votes, versus the Communist Party that received only 17%. As Hungary was under Soviet occupation, the communists did not take their defeat easily. They started a campaign against all rival political parties, whose leaders were accused of being American spies. This lead to their arrest, conviction, and deportation to the Gulag. This also produced a new wave of refugees from Hungary.
Those Hungarians who remained in Germany were put into refugee camps, where they had to survive for years. They established various political and cultural institutions to make their lives tolerable. Most important among these were their Gymnasiums (eight–year preparatory schools) that were to perpetuate their original way of life. The first and most important among these camp schools was the Hungarian/Gymnasium of Passau/Waldwerke. Founded by Prof. Béla Csejtei as a coeducational school, it functioned from the fall of 1945 trough the fall of 1951, while after 1951 it absorbed virtually all of the smaller schools. By 1958 almost all of the remaining schools had been merged into the Passau/Waldwerke Gymnasium. The school was transferred to a permanent location in the fortress of Burg Kastl in the vicinity of Munich. There it remained until its dissolution in 2006.
Brief Professional Bio:
Steven Béla Várdy is a McAnulty Distinguished Professor of European History at Duquesne University, longtime Director of the University's History Forum, and former Chairman of the Department of History. He is the author, co-author, or editor of two dozen scholarly books, well over one-hundred scholarly articles, and nearly one-hundred encyclopedia articles and book reviews.
Prof. Ágnes Huszár Várdy, Ph.D., is a former professor of English and Communications at Robert Morris University, is now Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at Duquesne University. She is the author, co-author, or editor of nearly a dozen books, and close to a hundred articles, essays and reviews. Prof. Ágnes Huszár Várdy is also the author of two historical-social novels, Mimi and My Italian Summer.