CJH Features Public Program on the Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews, 1867-1940
- Tod Shapiro
- On February 11, 2016
Reported by the Flatiron Hot! News Editorial Staff
The Center for Jewish History, in a joint effort with the Leo Baeck Institute and the Hungarian Cultural Center of New York, presented another one of its fine series of public programs, this time presenting a wide-ranging program on the everyday lives of the Jews of Hungary from the 19th century through the beginning of WWII. The headline speaker was Andras Koerner, author of How They Lived: The Everyday Life of Hungarian Jews, 1867-1940. The program focused on how the diverse and heterogeneous Jewish community lived, with a focus on the incredibly rich culture in terms of day-to-day life, language, architecture, and commerce of a people. Mr. Koerner deliberately mentioned in his comments that his scholarly work is meant as a celebration of the lives of the Jews, so as to highlight life, and not the terrible catastrophe then virtually destroyed this vibrant and long-standing world. His lecture was informed by his background as an architect who appreciates the impact of a people on their cities and homes, as well as by his being a native of Hungary. The other featured speakers and members of the following panel discussion included Ilse Joespha Lazaroms, the Prins Foundation Fellow at CJH, Howard Lupovitch, Professor of Judaic History at Wayne State University, and Natalia Aleksiun, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at Touro College. Koerner lectured for 30 minutes as he showed a fascinating series of seldom-seen pictures featuring
buildngs, cityscapes, and a cross-section of the Jewish families of Hungary. The author was born in Hungary in 1940, and was able to speak with personal knowledge of the loss of the Jewish community. The other speakers lectured on the role and importance of language as it was used by the Jewish community in Hungary during the 19th and 20th centuries – German, Yiddish, and Hungarian all being spoken. Each speaker emphasized the diversity of the community that resulted in many of its different components speaking different languages at home, at work, and in academia. The presentations were followed by a round-table discussion with lively participation by the audience, as well as a reception which included some authentic Hungarian pastries and treats. For those who may have missed this fine event, please see our Flatiron Hot! News Video Clip, which includes some of the very interesting images and graphics used by the speakers during their talks.
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