Family Microhistories and the Social History of Twentieth-Century Hungary: Biri mama deportálási emlékirata [‘The Deportation Memoir of Mama Biri’] (1949) and the Kieselbach Series, Sorsfordulók [‘Turns of Fate’]


  • Louise O. Vasvári



Szarvas, Ungarnlager, Bergen-Belsen, Strasshof, Árpád Balázs, Hillersleben DP Camp, Péter Hajdú, István Gyenes, Juan Gyenes, Anna Maria Habermann


The deportation memoir of Biri mama (Irén Reményi) is the third publication byTamás Kieselbach, of a book series he created, Sorsfordulók: a 20. századi Magyarország drámai pillantai [‘Turns of Fate: The Dramatic Moments of Twentieth-Century Hungary’], in which his aim was to illustrate the four historical turning points of the twentieth century: 1919-1920, the Holocaust, 1956, and 1989. My interest in studying Reményi's work is, first, and most briefly, to locate its role in the Kieselbach series. Second, I want to to provide the memoir with richer context, specifically with the aid of later documentation discussing Bergen-Belsen, the Ungarnlager, and the Celle DP camp. Third, I have aimed to create a kind of narrative reconstruction from fragments that I have been able to unearth of her family history to offer a deeper understanding of her family's complex private history as a microhistory that becomes part of macro or public history in the first half of the tortured twentieth century history of Hungary.






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