Editorial


S:I.M.O.N. is an e-journal of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI). It appears twice a year in English and German language. S:I.M.O.N. aims at both a transnational and comparative history of the Holocaust and Jewish Studies in Central and Eastern Europe within the broader contexts of the European history of the 20th and 21st century, including its prehistory, consequences and legacies as well as the history of memory.

S:I.M.O.N. serves as a forum for discussion of various methodological approaches. The journal especially wishes to strengthen the exchange between researchers from different scientific communities and to integrate both the Jewish history and the history of the Holocaust into the different “national” narratives. It also lays a special emphasis on memory studies and the analysis of politics of memory.  S:I.M.O.N. uses a double-blind review system, which means that both the reviewer’s and the author’s identities are concealed from each other hroughout the review process.

Shoah: The journal deals with the history of the Shoah from multidisciplinary, transnational and comparative perspectives. It seeks to integrate studies on Jews as well as on other groups of victims of the Holocaust, especially on Roma, and of so far less researched regions of (East) Central and (South) Eastern Europe.

Intervention. The journal reports on research projects and their transmission into public events. It also informs about current educational and remembrance programs.

Methods. The journal serves as a forum for the discussion of methodological approaches as, for instance, the everyday history, oral history, gender history, the history of violence, anti-Semitism and racism and the theory of memory and memory politics.

DocumentatiON. The journal contributes to critical approaches on using and interpreting archival materials in the 21st century. 

Download the current issue S:I.M.O.N. 2017/1.

Articles

Download PDFMy research – through a history of the Budapest building managers (in Hungarian házmester) – asks to what degree agency mattered amongst a group of ordinary Hungarians who are commonly perceived as bystanders to the Holocaust. I analyse the building managers’ wartime actions in light of their decades-long struggle for a higher salary, social appreciation and their aspiration to authority. Instead of focusing on solely the usual pre-war antisemitism, I take into consideration other factors from the interwar period, such as in this paper the tipping culture. In my PhD thesis, I claimed that the empowerment of the building managers happened as a side-effect of anti-Jewish legislation. Thanks to their social networks and key positions, these people became intermediaries between the authorities and Jewish Hungarian citizens, which gave them much wider latitude than other so-called bystanders. That is to say that an average Budapest building manager could bridge the structural holes between the ghettoised Jewish Hungarians and other elements of 1944 Hungarian society as a result of his or her social network. This article argues that the actions of so-called bystanders in general, and the relationship between Budapest building managers and Jewish Hungarians in particular, can only be understood by placing them in a longue durée. Furthermore, it suggests that it is impossible – and unhelpful – to allocate building managers to a single category such as ‘bystander’. Individual building managers both helped and hindered Jewish Hungarians, depending on circumstances, pre-existing relationships, and the particular point in time. 

SWL-Reader

Download PDFIn Hungary, official memory and history discourses often distinguish between ‘Jews’ and ‘Hungarians’, harking back to the Horthy-era concept of the ‘Christian national’ state. This dichotomy clashes with modern ideas of citizenship and acts as a carrier of antisemitism. This lecture analyses the role of political authority in fostering integration or exclusion over a long time span. It begins with the attitudes of those holding political power in the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages, when the distinction between Jews and Christians was based on religious affiliation. In particular, two processes will be examined: one leading to increased integration, granting protection and rights, and the other promoting segregation, demonisation and hostility. The lecture will then focus on key moments in modern history, exploring the functions of these two contradictory but related processes. It will finally tackle the question of the role of the state in (dis)continuities between medieval exclusion and modern antisemitism.

Events

Download PDFDuring the clerical-fascist Slovak State, "Tóno" Brtko, a docile and poor carpenter, is offered the possibility to 'aryanise' the small Main Street sewing accessories shop of Rozália Lautmannová. Torn between his good-natured principles and his greedy wife Evelyna, he finally agrees to take over the shop by making the deaf and senile lady believe he is her nephew arriving to help her out. Yet he then discovers that the business is bankrupt, and Ms. Lautmannová is only relying on donations from the Jewish community. While letting his wife believe he is making money from the shop, he gradually becomes a supporter of the old lady. More and more, a cordial relationship between the two evolves. When the Slovak authorities finally decide to deport the Jewish population of the small town, Tóno, in a deep conflict with himself and his values, finally opts for hiding Ms. Lautmannová – a decision which turns into tragedy. Obchod na korze won the 'Oscar' for Best Foreign Language Film in 1966. The film was presented on the occasion of a VWI-Visuals presentation on 29 January 2015 in Vienna's Admiralkino.

Die ungarische Zwangsarbeit in Wien, in den Jahren 1944/45, deren Spuren wir im Rahmen des Projekts „BEWEGT ERINNERN“ am 27. Mai 2014 freilegen wollten, ist eine Erinnerungsgeschichte, die innerhalb der Wiener Stadtgeschichte einen „blinden Fleck“ darstellt. Die Spuren dieser wichtigen Erinnerung offenbaren sich weder in der Stadtarchitektur noch im Stadtmobiliar auf eine lesbare Art und Weise, es existieren auch keine Erinnerungsorte, die unsere Aufmerksamkeit auf diesen Inhalt oder auf diese Identität lenken würden. Für die Wienerinnen und Wiener sind es womöglich Räume, welche in anderen Stadtgeschichten eine Rolle spielen, mit der betrachteten Epoche aber nicht mehr in Verbindung gebracht werden, da sie ja auch keine erkennbaren oder deutlichen „Zeichen“ oder „Spuren“ dieser Geschichte auf der Haut tragen. Aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig, eine Geschichte, eine Erinnerung, die sehr wohl noch besteht und präsent ist, auch wenn sie in der Textur der Stadt kaum mehr zu erkennen ist, wieder in die Erinnerung zu rufen, indem man an gewissen Orten dieser Geschichte gedenkt. Durch die Gedenkfahrt wurde also eine Veränderung des Stadtbildes angestrebt, indem Erinnerungsorte hinzugefügt wurden, um ein tieferes Verständnis von Räumen zu erlangen.

Die Idee einer Bustour durch Wien im Gedenken an ungarische Zwangsarbeiterinnen und Zwangsarbeiter 1944/45 bot die Gelegenheit, unsere, im Rahmen des Lehrgangs Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation an der Universität für Angewandte Kunst theoretisch erarbeiteten Konzepte auch praktisch umzusetzen. Die Gedenktour wurde so zu einem Versuch, durch ein tieferes Verständnis von mental und real verschütteten und vergessenen Identitäten von Räumen, die individuelle Rekonstruktion eines Stadtbildes zu bewirken, indem wir diesem neue Erinnerungsorte hinzufügten. Es ging um einen Prozess, der eine persönliche Aneignung der Stadt und ihrer Identität anregt, aber auch umsetzt.

 

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