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Eastern Europe: Continuity and Change (1987–1995)


Edited By Irena Grudzinska-Gross and Andrzej W. Tymowski

The book consists of articles from East European Politics and Societies, a journal published in the United States that first appeared in 1987. This selection is composed of papers written by the journal’s founders and early authors, among them Zygmunt Bauman, Tony Judt, Katherine Verdery, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Elemer Hankiss, Vesna Pusic, Maria Todorova. The first section Before the Change consists of texts written in the late 1980s; its authors tried to identify the cracks that would undermine or reform the existing system. In the second part of the book Alternative Futures contributors sketched the directions of the changes as they were just getting underway. The authors hoped that politics, economics, and societies were now free to reinvent themselves. The texts in the third section, Legacies of the Past, written before, during, and after the time of most drastic changes, show how the shadows cast by the histories of individual nations and the region as a whole continued to burden political strategies as well as daily lives.
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A Fatal Compromise? The Debate Over Collaboration and Resistance in Hungary: István Deák


A Fatal Compromise? The Debate Over Collaboration and Resistance in Hungary

István Deák


On 27 July 1944, in a well-known pastry shop lodged in the Buda foothills, plainclothesmen of the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie attempted to arrest Endre Ságvári, leader of the Young Communists. Before he was killed, Ságvári managed to wound three of the agents with his revolver. An intellectual with a doctoral degree in law, he was thirty-one years of age and belonged to a well-to-do Jewish family. Far from making him a rarity, Ságvári’s origins and education typified the membership of the country’s minuscule underground Communist party (400 members in 1936 and around 20 at liberty in 1942). Not even his courage was extraordinary, for within Hungary’s anti-Nazi movement, the Communists (and some small Zionist groups) were known to be the bravest and the most likely to fight it out with the Germans and the Hungarian authorities.1

Subsequently, Endre Ságvári became the most celebrated martyr of the Hungarian working-class movement: under the Communists, scores of streets, parks, and public establishments were named after him. True, his widow, herself an underground Party fighter in World War II, suffered persecution in the 1950s, but that, too, typified the lot of Hungary’s “homegrown” Communists in the Stalinist period. Because Ságvári himself was conveniently dead, all the Communist leaders, from the Stalinist Mátyás Rákosi to the more humane...

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