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Bilder und Sprachen von Not, Gewalt und Mobilisierung. Das östliche Europa nach 1918 in medialen Repräsentationen

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IOS Regensburg 12.–13. April 2018

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19. März 2017
Publications

Publication by Eszter Varsa at Nationalities Papers: “The (Final) Solution of the Gypsy-Question:” Continuities in Discourses about Roma in Hungary, 1940s-1950s

Eszter Varsa: “The (Final) Solution of the Gypsy-Question:” Continuities in Discourses about Roma in Hungary, 1940s-1950s. In: Nationalities Papers 45, Nr. 1 (2017), Online am 2.12.2016, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1080/00905992.2016.1241221

Although the repression and elimination of Roma from Hungarian society in the 1940s did not reach the same extent as in the German and Austrian part of the Third Reich, their characterization as lazy and work-shy, used to justify their persecution, was similar. This paper establishes the presence of racial hygienic discourse related to Roma during the late 1930s and the first half of the 1940s in Hungary, and traces its survival and influence on regional policy-making in the postwar period. It furthermore explores the transformation and adaptation of racism and eugenics to the socialist ideology of equality based on citizens’ participation in productive work in the early state socialist period, including the first Party declaration on the situation of Roma in Hungary in 1961. Specific attention is paid to the role of medical experts who discussed the “radical solution of the Gypsy-question” in the early 1940s and the immediate years following World War II. Reflecting on wider transformations of racism in the postcolonial and post-World War II period in Europe and North America, the paper contributes to scholarship that complicates the evaluation of the state socialist past, including the connection between medicine and politics in Cold War Europe.