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Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security
History/Political Science paper by Petrás, Éva (all papers)
Theory, Results and Historical Background of Béla Kovrig’s Sociological Account of Hungarian Refugees of 1956
Béla Kovrig (1900-1962) was a professor of sociology, Christian democratic politician, and a prominent member of public life in interwar Hungary. After confrontation with Communist authorities Kovrig left Hungary in October 1948, and, after a short stay in Italy, emigrated in the United States. He settled in Milwaukee and became a professor of sociology at Marquette Univervsity. Kovrig also actively participated in the American-Hungarian émigré community’s politics. He joined the Hungarian National Committee, the umbrella organization of the Hungarian expatriate community, and helped the work of Ferenc Nagy and István Barankovics.
In 1957 Kovrig started a research among the Hungarian refugees of 1956. He prepared a questionnaire, which was distributed among thousands of refugees in the United States and Canada, and he also made some interviews with certain freedom fighters. He summarized and analized his findings in his manuscript “National Communism and Hungary. The Way of an Idea – A Sociological Account”, which was preserved in the Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University and finally published in Hungarian (Kovrig Béla: Nemzeti kommunizmus és Magyarország. Egy eszme története) in 2016.
In my contribution I introduce Kovrig’s theory, summarize his results and show the historical context of his researches. My presentation is based on archival and documentary material that can be found at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in Országos Széchényi Könyvtár and in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security in Budapest.
Brief Professional Bio:
Éva Petrás (PhD), Hungarian historian. She studied at Pécs University with specialization in history and English. She received MA degree in modern history at Central European University (1995). She continued her studies at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) between 1995 and 2000 and obtained her PhD in the department of History and Civilization of EUI in 2003. As a researcher she worked in Budapest in European Comparative Minority Research Institute (Európai Összehasonlító Kisebbségkutatások Közalapítvány) between 2005 and 2008. Since 2009 she has been working in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára), Budapest. Her publications include studies and monographs in comparative minority research, church history in the twentieth century and recently in the history of the Hungarian state security (check list: www.mtmt.hu/PetrásÉva - Magyar Tudományos Művek Tára/Holdings of the Hungarian Scientific Works) firstname.lastname@example.org