May 23, 2024

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When the Hungarians came to Bavaria

DrHe looks at this 282-page doctoral thesis on regional history and suggests two questions: Should it be broad in scope? Also: Is everything important there? After reading, an hesitant yes is followed by a resolute refusal. Because the approach is not suitable for knowing “under what conditions the integration of Hungarians in Bavaria could be successful or difficult”. If, out of fidelity to scientific terminology, factors in the countries of origin “which were favorable to emigration” are explained, it becomes noticeable that historical regional norms do not capture the whole of reality.

With regard to the work of the state, the work is rich in evidence and knowledge. After the suppression of the Hungarian uprising by Soviet forces in the early days of November 1956, Bavarian State Minister Walter Stein issued a statement to the press on November 8 regarding the accommodation of Hungarian refugees. What followed, and which Rita Case fondly envisioned for every memo and correspondence, was a bureaucratic masterpiece in the best sense of the word: reasonable, goal-oriented, committed to the common good, concerned with the population and concerned with newcomers. Officials at various administrative levels between the municipalities and the federal government acted tirelessly and according to the rules, but were also guided by their own interests, always tacitly thinking about the advantages of their own power and the financial resources associated with it. Of the approximately 200,000 refugees who left Hungary between October 24, 1956 and the spring of 1957, with a large majority heading to Austria, but also to Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Germany received 14,500 people permanently, and Bavaria received 1,451. People.

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