„die helfte hier und die helfte zu hause” The history of the Germans in Hungary from 1944 to 1953. Documentary volume.

Principal investigator: Ágnes Tóth

Period: 2015-2020

Grant, funding agency: Bundesministerium für Kultur und Medien

Research questions and objectives:

The aim of the research is to reveal and publish in Hungarian and German the circumstances and the political, economic, and social contexts of the post-Second World War migration processes affecting Hungary, including settlements within the country, the deportation of Germans, Slovak–Hungarian population exchange, the “repatriation” of Szeklers from Bukovina, and the placement of Hungarian refugees from neighboring countries.

During the exploration, we pay special attention to the following aspects.

Legal regulation of settlements
- The theoretical substantiation and justification of the settlements during the preparatory work.
- The resolutions of the parties and the development of the issue in politics.
- Foreign policy determinants and influencing factors.
- What laws and regulations dealt with the settlements.
- Legal gaps in legislation and implementation instructions and anomalies in laws.
Realization of each migration process
- The compliance of the individual migration processes—internal settlements, the resettlement of Germans, Slovak–Hungarian population exchange, and Hungarian refugees from neighboring countries—with the legal regulations.
- The date of implementation of the settlements, territorial differences, and the reasons for the differences.
Operation of the central state administration apparatus (ministries, settlement bodies)
- Law and powers of the various public administrations.
- The way and organization of their cooperation.
- Can we find instances at the lower levels of the administration—county, local—when the central instructions were not fully implemented?
The attitude of the local society and the relationship between the local majority society and the displaced persons
- Sources of conflict: new settlers vs. local society; displaced-new settlers vs. local society; Swabian–Slovak Hungarians vs. settlers vs. local society.
- Coexistence: is there any kind of help for each group? Is it group specific or rather person specific?
 The resolutions, attitudes, and active role of the churches
- Has the position of each church in principle regarding settlements developed?
- In what public forums was the churches’ position voiced?
- Was there a difference of opinion between the leaders of the churches and the lower priesthood on this issue?
- What kind of national bias can be perceived, if at all?

Research history:

Although several studies and regional and monographic processing were carried out in connection with the topic in the first half of the 1990s in Hungary, the research is topical in several respects.

The research process outlined above has come to a halt. In the case of the counties involved in the settlements and migration, the source exploration and processing did not take place everywhere. The published results are of uneven quality, so there is no way to perform a comparative study.

No volume of documents presenting the processes in their complexity has been prepared on the topic.

In the meantime, several sets of documents related to the work of the highest bodies of the state administration—documents of the President of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, documents of the State Security Services—were previously archived by researchers. In addition, in the last decade and a half, archival collections related to the topic of ecclesiastical archives as well as the Archives of Political History have become available.

In recent years, other countries in the region, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, have begun to work on the topic. The largest and most successful undertaking of recent years is the four-volume collection of documents presenting the events in Poland, published in parallel in Polish and German: Unsere Heimat ist uns ein fremdes Land geworden… ”Die Deutschen östlich von Oder und Neisse 1945-1950. Documents from the Polish Archives. Wojewodschaften Pommerellen und Danzig (Westpreussen), Wojewodschaft Breslau (Niederschlesien). Herausgegeben von Wlodzimierz Borodziej und Hans Lemberg. Marburg, 2004.

The results published in the region, as well as the need for comparative analyzes, make it urgent for Hungarian historians to carry out the exploration of sources on the basis of the same methodological principles and to publish their results.

Research methods:

The nuanced approach to the topic methodologically requires the exploration of various sources, including archival documents generated at different levels of public administration and national and county dailies.

During the selection of sources we focused on the motivations of the actors, the presentation of the individual steps of collective responsibility, the territorial differences and their causes, the relationship of certain groups of society and of institutions to the Germans, and the presentation of economic, political and cultural stratification within the community. We considered it important to show the impact of events and political decisions on the lives of individual people.

Research results in 2019:

From the end of the Second World War to the beginning of the 1950s, profound changes took place in the life of the German minority in Hungary. The events of this period—the deprivation of rights, expropriation, expulsions, deportations, and internal resettlements—represent a fundamental turning point in the history of the Germans in Hungary.

As a result of the research, a bilingual volume containing approximately 400 documents was published during the year, presenting the situation of the Germans in Hungary in the context of the domestic and foreign policy processes of the period.

Thanks to the detailed introductory study, the publication of summaries of documents in Hungarian and German, and the appendix, the resource collection can be used in education, and it also provides an opportunity for researchers to explore specific aspects and encourages further research with new questions.

Publications, databases:

Dokumentumok a magyarországi németek történetéhez 1944-1953./ Quellen zur Geschichte der Deutschen in Ungarn 1944-1953. A dokumentumokat válogatta és a bevezető tanulmányt írta: Tóth Ágnes. Budapest, Argumentum, 2018. 1424.pp.

Ágnes Tóth: Integration im Prinzip – Diskriminierung in der Praxis. Die Deutschen in Ungarn 1948-1956. In: Integration oder weitere Diskriminierung? Die Lage der deutschen im Karpatenbecken in den 1950er Jahren. Symposium der Kanrad-Adaneuer-Stiftung und der Landesselbstverwaltung der Ungarndeutschen vom 19. Januar 2016 in Budaörs/Wudersch. Konrad-Adaneuer-Stiftung e.V. Auslandsbüro Ungarn. Budapest, 2016. 25-36.

Tóth Ágnes: Integráció elméletben – diszkrimináció gyakorlatban. Németek Magyarországon 1948-1956. In: Pro Minoritate, 2016. nyár. 47-55.

Tóth Ágnes: A múlt birtokbavétele – önmagunk megismerése. A magyarországi németek kitelepítéséről. In: Új Egyenlítő, 2016. június 34-39.

Tóth Ágnes: A német nemzetiségi oktatás újjászervezése Magyarországon (1950-1952). Levéltári Szemle, 2015. (65.évfolyam) 1. szám. 29-43.

Tóth Ágnes: A nemzetiségi oktatás irányításának szervezete és tevékenysége Magyarországon az ’50-es évek első felében. Iskolakultúra, 2015. 9. szám. 75-89.

Ágnes Tóth: Struktur und Tätigkeit der Leitung des Minderheitenunterrichts in Ungarn in der ersten Hälfte der 1950er-Jahre. In: 25 Jahre Erinnnerung an das geteilte Europa. Jahrbuch für deutsche und osteuropäische Volkskunde Band 56. (ISSSN 0075-2738, ISBN 978-3-8309-3337-3). Waxman Verlag, Münster-New York, 156-171.

Tóth Ágnes: Nemzetiségi oktatás Magyarországon, 1945–1950. In: Szorosadtól Rijekáig. Tanulmányok Bősze Sándor emlékére. Szerk. Ma­yer László, Tilcsik György. Bp.: Magyar Levéltárosok Egyesülete, Megyei és Városi Levéltárak Vezetőinek Tanácsa, 2015. 319-326. p. (A Magyar Levéltárosok Egye­sü­lete kiadványai; 14