György Kövér: Biographic Memory of Tiszaeszlár

The paper systematically investigates the contribution of authors who were real actors in the Tiszaeszlár-affair and many decades later they wrote their reminiscences about the 1882-1883 blood libel trial (József Bary, the investigating judge; Károly Eötvös, one of the defence lawyers; Móric Scharf, a false eyewitness; Miksa Szabolcsi, a journalist). It is possible to say that they were the people who had much to recall from the past. It is important to research when their texts were composed, whether these memoirs are really authentic ones, the position in which the authors represent themselves in their narration, and last but not least how they reflect on each other. In the end the paper tries to follow the process through which these biographical memories of the actors/authors have been built into the collective memory of later generations.

 

Daniel Véri: The Tiszaeszlár Blood Libel: Image and Propaganda

This study aims to reconstruct and analyse the anti-Semitic visual reception history of the Tiszaeszlár blood libel case from the time of the affair (1882–83) up until today. It examines images created in connection with the blood libel together with their usage and function as instruments of anti-Semitic propaganda. It underlines the power of images by highlighting their role in the establishment and institutionalisation of an anti-Semitic, pseudo-religious cult centred around the figure of the alleged victim of the ritual murder accusation. Furthermore, the study identifies the main actors, their motivations, objectives and strategies, while it also explores the economical aspect of the phenomenon: the production, circulation, multiplication and distribution of anti-Semitic imagery. The Tiszaeszlár affair occurred in Hungary, but it received immediate attention in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as well as beyond. As for the anti-Semitic, artistic reception history of the case, it is a transnational phenomenon as it involves material and sources from a myriad of countries ranging from Russia to the United States.

 

Zoltán Kékesi: Awakening memory. The History of an anti-Semitic Image-Cult (1944/1964)

This article presents episodes in the long history of an anti-Semitic image cult, following its transnational route from Budapest to Dresden in 1882, its resurrection in Budapest in 1944, its transmigration to Munich and other centers of Hungarian national socialist exile and, finally, its repatriation to post-1989 Hungary. The article addresses the following questions: How do image practices and visual discourses contribute to the (re-)emergence of anti-Semitic cultures? How can they migrate into different political and geographical contexts, and help recreate the national past and reproduce exclusionary ethnic communities?

 

Başak Ergün:The (He)Art of Darkness: Constructing Prurient Gaze on Otherness

This paper attempts to analyze a painting in connection with the Tiszaeszlár Affair that took place in Hungary between 1882 and 1883. Besides the scholarly and artistic doubts about the authenticity of the painting itself, this article will be concerned with the painting as an evidence of anti-Semitic imagery, disregarding the question whether it is connected to the particular event or not. I propose a visual interpretation of the discussed painting with an interdisciplinary approach combining anti-Semitic discourses with Orientalism and feminist art-historical approaches on corporeality. Since nationalist, anti-Semitic and Orientalist discourses have always been gendered and sexualized, the mutual constructions of gender, race, class and nation will also further illuminate the subject in concern. Therefore, I argue that the demonization of the “Jewish Other” through visual arts should be examined via such ‘cross-cutting categories’ in the European context. Following Ernst Gombrich’s argument that “images should be explained through their relation to other images”, my analysis of the visual imagery of the non-European Other will also be situated in a historical context. Therefore, the similarities will be mapped up from medieval iconography to Orientalist European art and from Western war propaganda posters to popular visual images. Such an attempt requires unpacking conventional viewing constructs and methodological confinements and a close-reading of the image(s) within the framework of embodied victim-perpetrator praxis. Also, since the victim-perpetrator praxis has a mutually constitutive dynamic, the article will focus on a relational analysis of the demonized embodiment of the Other with the mythical embodiment of the victim.

 

Michael L. Miller: Debate over the Der Prozeß

This article examines the debate over the Der Prozeß (1947), a film by the Austrian director G.W. Pabst about the Tiszaeszlár ritual murder trial. The film stirred up controversy, not only because the topic was considered too provocative so soon after the Shoah, but also because an Austrian director, who had worked in the German film industry under Nazism, chose a Hungarian topic for his film on anti-Semitism. Pabst, himself, understood his film as a form of penance for the crimes of Nazism.

 

Hedvig Turai: The Jewish Male Body and the Blood Libel: János Major

In medieval blood libels and their representations, the “victims” were children, mostly young boys. Later, in the 19th century “victims” were identified as young women and the murderers as Jewish males; thus, blood libels compounded not only religious and ethnic outrage, but also fantasies and fears of sexual violation. The present essay examines how the Jewish male body, masculinity, racism, and the Holocaust are interconnected in the false accusation, through the works of Hungarian graphic artist János Major, and in particular the ways in which he approached the notorious 19th-century Tiszaeszlár blood libel case through his artistic exploration of his own Jewish male body.

 

András Müllner: Dracula embedded. The phantasmatic images of blood libel in Miklós Erdély’s film Version

In this paper I aim to analyse the neoavantgarde experimental film Version made by Miklós Erdély in 1979. This film as an adaptation was based on Gyula Krúdy’s documentary novel titled A tiszaeszlári Solymosi Eszter [Eszter Solymosi from Tiszaeszlár], and in this way it is a special remake of the last official European blood libel, which happened in 1883, in Hungary. Through presenting this story, the film is intended to be an allegory of the so-called communist show trials, and at the same time it focuses on and represents the process of the internalization of the ideological content, as it happened to young Móric Scharf, the “eye witness” of the imagined crime, who was taught rather than interrogated. Thus we got the terror and its impact on the subject, which is only one level of the film. The Version, however, speaks not only about the ideological process of the political oppression, but also about the ideological impacts of cinema. The political violence is mirrored in the medium of the film, and vice versa. Finally, at the end of the interpretation, the key meanings of adaptation as a term used in reception and media studies, and communication philosophy are converging in order to prove the impossibility of the ideal homeostatic (identity-centred) state of the reader/viewer.

 

Flóra Gadó: A version of Version verziója. On Hajnal Németh’s: False Testimony series

This essays examines Hajnal Németh’s piece, False Testimony in the framework of the current practice of artistic re-enactments, pointing out in the way in which the work relates to and moves beyond the “classical” versions of artistic re-enactments. Presenting False Testimony in the framework of Németh’s eovure, the essay analyzes the artist’s two videos and a series of photographs. This happens from several viewpoints: I examine how the work relates to Miklós Erdély’s Version, the hybridity of the piece as well as its musical and cinematographic characteristics, and I also try to analyze how, through the topic of dealing with the past and representation of trauma, False Testimony opens up the discourse to the present anti-Semitic and nationalistic tendencies. My aim is to point out why Hajnal Németh’s False Testimony has a special place among the other Tiszaeszlár receptions, within the framework of contemporary art.

 

Gwen Jones: The work of antisemitic art in the age of digital reproduction: Hungarian publishing revivals since 1989

Gwen Jones’s 2012 essay examines the post-89 revivals of antisemitic literature in Hungary. Alongside a historical overiew and introduction to the authors and works in question, the essay discusses broader contemporary trends, domestic and foreign factors such as the taboo chapters of Hungarain history and Cold War-era censorship, as well as the various distribution platforms, including the emigré press, traditional publishing and more recent online channels. The essay was first published as part of a volume documenting antisemitism in post-Communist Hungary and Poland, under the auspices of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London.