In the past few years, Hungary has been portrayed as a negative example of memory politics in both mainstream and academic press. It was charged with being the “ground zero” for a paradigm change in World War II memory politics that was echoed in Poland when the right-wing populist PiS government passed its infamous law on criminalizing certain perspectives in historical research. The elements of this paradigm change include the nationalization of a hitherto transnational narrative, de-Judaization, competing victimhood, establishing new terminology, double speech, and anti-intellectualism. The talk discusses examples of how this new Holocaust memory paradigm is created in cooperation with international institutional actors and the academic community in Hungary. It also analyses the impacts of the war of Russia against Ukraine on the illiberal Holocaust narrative.
Andrea Pető is a historian and a professor at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University in Vienna and a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on gender history and social history in the 20th century. She was awarded the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values in 2018. Recent publications include The Women of the Arrow Cross Party. Invisible Hungarian Perpetrators in the Second World War (2020).