Abstract | In his current lecture, Attila Novák examines how the concept of Zionism changed in the post-1948 totalitarian socialist state of Hungary, where Zionist organizations were initially banned and lawsuits were filed against Zionist (or so-called „Zionist”) leaders. In the decades of the state socialist period (1948–1989), several definitions and formulations of Zionism were used by the state security service and the police. In 1952-53, for example, it also served to mark the members of the Party opposition of Jewish descent, while after the fall of Stalinism and then in the long decades of Janos Kadar (General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party), a kind of „rational” use was introduced. Although the term Zionism was mainly used to describe any Jewish community activity which went beyond the confines of the state-accepted Jewish religious existence, some people (from the same state security circles) started to view Zionism as the founding ideology of the state of Israel.
BIO | Historian. Senior research fellow at the Thomas Molnar Institute for Advanced Studies (National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary). He studied History and Philosophy at ELTE (Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary), where he earned his BA, MA and PhD. He also studied at the CEU Nationalism Studies Program (MA, 1999). Attila Novak was editor of the Hungarian Jewish cultural monthly Szombat from 1999 to 2011. He has been at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1994/with the help and guidance of Prof..Ezra Mendelsohn) as a research fellow and received a post-doc scholarship from the Yad Vashem (The International Institute for Holocaust Research, 2003). He has published widely on the History of Hungarian Jewry during and after WWII, the 1944 Zionist Rescue Movement, and the political and ideological problems of Zionism in East-Central Europe and State of Israel. He served as Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Hungary in Tel Aviv between 2012-2016.
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