A Hungarian high school textbook on the numerus clausus of 1920

A few days ago we had a new visitor to Hungarian Spectrum who called himself “Éljen Fidesz” (Long Live Fidesz). He had a peculiar notion about the meaning of numerus clausus as it was applied in a law enacted by the Hungarian parliament in 1920. He turned to Wikipedia and found that “Numerus clausus (‘closed number’  in Latin) is one of many methods used to limit the number of students who may study at a university. In many cases, the goal of the numerus clausus is simply to limit the number of students to the maximum feasible in some particularly sought-after areas of studies.” The Wikipedia article adds that “the numerus clausus is currently used in countries and universities where the number of applicants greatly exceeds the number of available places for students.”

This is a grave misunderstanding of the Hungarian version of the numerus clausus that aimed at restricting the number of Jewish students in all Hungarian universities.

Of course, I don’t know the age of our Fidesz fan, but if he is in his 30s he most likely used Konrád Salamon’s textbook, which is the most popular choice of high school teachers. Not necessarily because it is the best but because in the days when students had to pass a test to be admitted to college or university the test questions were based on this textbook. Salamon’s text is for grade 12 when the history of the twentieth century is taught. The cover is decorated with modern and folk art and perhaps not by accident at least two of the pictures contain religious motifs. It is published in a large-size format (28 x 20 cm) and is 300 pages long. So, as one can imagine, it is packed with facts.

One could write pages and pages about the shortcomings of the book. László Karsai, historian of the Holocaust, wrote a lengthy critique of the way in which several high school and college textbooks deal with Jewish themes and the Holocaust, including Salamon’s text, which I have in manuscript form. Page 57 of Salamon’s book has three sentences about the numerus clausus. The first sentence states that the “members of the right and the extreme right forced through the acceptance of the law that was devised to decrease the overproduction of university graduates.” He adds that this meant quotas for “races [népfajok] and nationalities” according to their proportion in the population as a whole. And finally, Salamon writes that this law “placed Hungarians of Jewish origin in a  disadvantageous position.”

Anyone who is familiar with the Hungarian political situation in 1920 and knows anything about the numerus clausus understands that the law had nothing to do with the overproduction of  university graduates. In fact, at the two new universities in Pécs and Szeged there was a shortage of students. The two new universities, by the way, weren’t really new. They existed before, one in Kolozsvár (Cluj) and the other in Pozsony (Bratislava), but after Trianon they were moved to Szeged and Pécs respectively.

It is also wrong to say, as Salamon does, that it was only the extreme right that insisted on the introduction of a law that restricted enrollment of students of Jewish origin. The greatest supporters of the bill came from the ranks of the Party of National Unity, and even people who were considered to be moderate, like Kunó Klebelsberg and István Bethlen, were in favor of it.

Mária M. Kovács, Afflicted by Law: The Numerous Clausus in Hungary, 1920-1945 / IPon.hu

Mária M. Kovács, Afflicted by Law: The Numerus Clausus in Hungary, 1920-1945 / IPon.hu

Currently I’m reading a book on the numerus clausus  (Törvénytől sújtva: A numerus clausus Magyarországon, 1920-1945 / Afflicted by Law: The Numerus Clausus in Hungary, 1920-1945) by Mária M. Kovács, a professor at the Central European University in Budapest. In it Kovács shows that if the removal of Jewish students was intended to encourage children of the Christian middle class to enter university in greater numbers it was clearly a failure. But this wasn’t the aim of the bill. The leading politicians of the period were trying to restrict the number of Jews in the professions and the arts. In order to achieve their goal they reinterpreted the meaning of “izraelita.” Until then the word simply meant someone who considered himself to be a member of a religious community. With the adoption of the numerus clausus suddenly Hungarian Jews were considered to be an ethnic minority. According to Kovács, the law was unconstitutional both formally and substantively.

And finally a few words about Jewish overrepresentation in higher education. Yes, on the surface that seems to have been the case. During the academic year of 1918-1919 there were 18,449 students enrolled; of this number 6,719 were Jewish. One reason for these lopsided figures was that very few students came from villages and  small towns. Most of them were city dwellers, and Hungary’s Jewish population was concentrated in larger cities. In Budapest 25% of the inhabitants were Jewish. The other reason for this overrepresentation was that a greater number of Jewish youngsters finished gymnasium and took matriculation exams than did their non-Jewish contemporaries. In 1910 among Jewish men over the age of eighteen 18.2% took matriculation exams, among Catholics only 4.2% and among Protestants only 3.9%. And since you needed to matriculate in order to enter university one mustn’t be terribly surprised at the lopsided statistics. Kovács quotes the antisemitic Alajos Kovács, head of the Central Statistical Office, who found the situation “terrifying.”

Other figures often cited are the very high percentages of Jews in the medical and legal profession: 49.4% of lawyers and 46.3% of physicians were Jewish. One must keep in mind, however, that these professions attracted only 20% of all people with higher education. It is practically never mentioned that among the 30,000 college-educated civil servants one could find very few Jews–4.9% to be precise.

All in all, Kovács argues, the numerus clausus of 1920 can be considered the first anti-Jewish discriminatory law in Europe. According to some of the creators of the law it was a form of punishment of the Jews for Trianon. István Haller, minister of education in 1920, wrote an autobiography in 1926 which included a chapter entitled “As long as there is Trianon there will be numerus clausus.” The Jews must use their influence in the world to restore the old borders of historical Hungary. This opinion was shared by the entire political elite. Klebelsberg, for instance, announced in one of his speeches in parliament: “Give us back the old Greater Hungary, then we will abrogate the numerus clausus.”

And finally, on a different topic, a real gem from Konrád Salamon’s book (p. 8). The author of this high school textbook lists six reasons for the sorry state of the civilized world in the twentieth century. One of the reasons is that “the media became a significant factor in politics … and could easily influence the uninformed masses with the promise of creating material wealth quickly.” Should we wonder why Hungarian youngsters have so little knowledge of or attraction to democratic institutions? Unfortunately, the new textbooks that are being planned by Rózsa Hoffmann’s ministry will most likely be even more slanted than Konrád Salamon’s opus.

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45 comments

  1. “members of the right and the extreme right forced through the acceptance of the law that was devised to decrease the overproduction of university graduates.”

    This rang an ominous bell. When I questioned Orbán’s anti-university views, my Fidesz supporting in-laws justified his actions using almost exactly the same words. Hungary, according to them, produces too many graduates…

  2. Paul :
    “members of the right and the extreme right forced through the acceptance of the law that was devised to decrease the overproduction of university graduates.”
    This rang an ominous bell. When I questioned Orbán’s anti-university views, my Fidesz supporting in-laws justified his actions using almost exactly the same words. Hungary, according to them, produces too many graduates…

    Did you suggest that their daughter maybe should give back her diploma to make room for those who will pay for their education? THis is exactly what bugs me about the Fidesz maniacs, what hypocrites they are.
    I know that your in-laws, and I am sure your wife are truly lovely people, I just do not understand how come they do not wake up. THe Hungarian butcher in Toronto is the same. Lovely, lovely man, but all the propaganda he puts out, just makes you wonder.

  3. “Klebelsberg, for instance, announced in one of his speeches in parliament: “Give us back the old Greater Hungary, then we will abrogate the numerus clausus.””

    The Hungarian government named the new institution for education after this anti-semite politician. “Klebelsberg Intézményfenntartó Központ”

  4. sadly, Canada also had jewish quotas at some universities, like McGill and Toronto in….. 1920. I’m not sure, but I think they lasted till about the II WW

  5. Yul :

    sadly, Canada also had jewish quotas at some universities, like McGill and Toronto in….. 1920. I’m not sure, but I think they lasted till about the II WW

    Yes, so did the Ivy League Schools here. But there is a big and important difference. It was not a law that was sanctioned by parliament or congress but an unspoken practice. Yes, at Yale, the result was that only about 6% of the student body was Jewish. A whole book was written about it by Dan Oren (Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale). Dan, by the way, was a student of mine. The book came into being as a result of an undergraduate seminar paper he wrote as a senior.

    But students who were not accepted at McGill, Toronto, Harvard, or Yale could still get a degree elsewhere. That was not the case in Hungary. There the quota was across the board. 6% at all institutions of higher learning. If one didn’t get in that student had to go abroad to study. Naturally, Only the wealthiest ones could afford that luxury.

    I didn’t have space to dwell on slight regional differences. As I mentioned the two new/old universities in fact didn’t have enough students. There it was a bit easier to get in if you were Jewish.

  6. Some1 – it’s like a religion, no logic or argument shakes their belief. When it all collapses and Hungary is just a smoking pile of rubble, their take on it will be that Orbán was prevented from making Hungary great again by his/Her enemies (especially the ‘global’ and ‘external’ ones – and I’m sure I don’t have to translate that).

    Their daughter’s diploma was actually awarded by the USSR (or possibly Ukraine by then), so I’m on dodgy ground with that line of argument. (And, strangely, for supporters of such an anti-communist party, they are quite nostalgic about the old Soviet education system.)

    On a related note – hearing people who spent most of their lives in the USSR, speaking so passionately about Hungary’s future and the crimes of the past, makes me wonder just how much of Fidesz-Jobbik’s support comes from such people? Until the early 90s, their knowledge of Hungary was almost entirely based on two brief visits a year and watching Hungarian TV, and yet they feel fully justified in having the most extreme opinions about what is wrong with the country, whose fault it is/was, and how it is to be remedied.

    There’s a similar situation in the UK, with ex-pats returning from years in the ‘colonies’, horrified at what they find and desperately wishing England was as they remember (or imagine) it was in the 50s. But the similarity ends there, because the parties they would tend to support (e.g. UKIP) are never going to win a ‘two-thirds’ election victory.

  7. Paul :

    And, strangely, for supporters of such an anti-communist party, they are quite nostalgic about the old Soviet education system.

    According to research by Maria Vasarhelyi, almost 50% of Fidesz voters are fond of Kadar. Then again, if you look at the way the party runs the country, it’s kind of a throwback.

  8. I had to suffer through Salamon, it’s a big pile of crap. The best History textbook in my opinion is Herber-Martos-Moss-Tatár-Tisza: Történelem 1-6. Yes it also contains a lot of facts, but it is up to a teacher to make the students memorize them or just use it as a reference. It’s a lot more than what an average high school student should be expected to learn (I read them all outside of class when I was in high school anyway just out of enjoyment) but used well it is a great text.

  9. This made the news today in Hungary:

    Newly surfaced 19th century painting of antisemitic nature (blood libel) is attributed to the Hungarian painter Munkacsy. The painting might have been owned by the Tsar Alexander III.

    http://index.hu/kultur/2013/03/04/antiszemita_pornot_festett_munkacsy_mihaly/

    ——————
    Reminder:
    Verdict on Klubradio will be promulgated tomorrow, at 8:10 in the morning.

    Location:
    Fovárosi Törvényszék, II., Csalogány u. 47-49., fsz. 4.

    http://www.birosag.hu/sites/default/files/allomanyok/ossz_targy_jegyzek/10.het__1.pdf

  10. Numerus clausus in Hungary

    The Hungarian Numerus Clausus was introduced in 1920. Though the text did not use the term “Jew”, it was nearly the only group overrepresented in higher education[citation needed]. The policy is often seen as the first Anti-Jewish Act of twentieth century Europe.[3]

    Its aim was to restrict the number of Jews to 6%, which was their proportion in Hungary at that time; the rate of Jewish students was approximately 15% in the 1910s.[4] In 1928—because of the pressure of liberal capital and League of Nations—a less explicit version of the act was passed. In the period of 1938–1945 the anti-Jewish acts were revitalised and eventually much worsened, partly due to German Nazi pressure, but also due to the liquidation of left-wing or centrist Hungarian parties during the White Terror.[4]

    Many Hungarian scientists such as Edward Teller emigrated partly because of the Numerus Clausus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerus_clausus

    Numerus Cluasus in Canada:
    A Good book about the antisemite Numerus Clausus in Canada:

    Louis Rosenberg,Morton Weinfeld: Canada’s Jews: A Social and Economic Study of Jews in Canada in the 1930s

    http://books.google.hu/books?id=ORDFC43PDZwC&pg=PR14&lpg=PR14&dq=%22numerus+clausus%22+in+canada&source=bl&ots=8OMhu2isBv&sig=07jrkxZW8eM-Z3pE2IK0kSigWJg&hl=hu&sa=X&ei=dZk1UZrDFYeYO7LZgIAN&ved=0CE8Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=%22numerus%20clausus%22%20in%20canada&f=false

    NUMERUS CLAUSUS IN THE UNITED STATES:

    Numerus clausus in the United States

    Although never officially legislated, between 1918 and the 1950s a number of private universities and medical schools introduced numerus clausus policies limiting admissions of students based on their religion or race to certain percentages within the college population. One of the groups affected by these policies was Jewish applicants, whose admission to some New England and New York City-area liberal arts universities fell significantly between the late 1910s and the mid-1930s.[5] For instance, the admission to Harvard University during that period fell from 27.6% to 17.1% and in Columbia University from 32.7% to 14.6%. Corresponding quotas were introduced in the medical and dental schools resulting during the 1930s in the decline of Jewish students: e.g. in Cornell University School of Medicine from 40% in 1918–22 to 3.57% in 1940–41, in Boston University Medical School from 48.4% in 1929–30 to 12.5% in 1934–35. During this period, a notable exception among U. S. medical schools was the medical school of Middlesex University, which had no quotas and many Jewish faculty members and students; school officials believed that antisemitism played a role in the school’s failure to secure AMA accreditation.[6]

    In addition to Jewish applicants, Catholics, African-Americans, Eastern/Southern Europeans, and women were also targeted by admission restrictions. African-Americans, in some instances, were outright excluded (numerus null) from admission: e.g., at Columbia University. The most common method, employed by 90% of American universities and colleges at the time to identify the “desirable” (native-born, white, Protestant) applicants, were the application form questions about their religious preference, race, and nationality. Other more subtle methods included restrictions on scholarships, rejection of transfer students, and preferences for alumni sons and daughters.

    Legacy preference for university admissions was devised in 1925 at Yale University, where the proportional number of Jews in the student body was growing at a rate that became alarming to the school’s administrators.[5] However, even prior to that year, Yale had begun to incorporate such amorphous criteria as ‘character’ and ‘solidity’, as well as ‘physical characteristics’, into its admissions process as an excuse for screening out Jewish students;[5] but nothing was as effective as legacy preference, which allowed the admissions board to summarily pass over Jews in favor of ‘Yale sons of good character and reasonably good record’, as a 1929 memo phrased it. Other schools, including Harvard, soon began to pursue similar policies for similar reasons, and Jewish students in the Ivy League schools were maintained at a steady 10% through the 1950s. Such policies were gradually discarded during the early 1960s, with Yale being one of the last of the major schools to eliminate the last vestige with the class of 1970 (entering in 1966).[7] While legacy admissions as a way of screening out Jewish students may have ceased, the practice of giving preference to legacies has continued to the present day. In the 1998 book The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, authors William G. Bowen, former Princeton University president, and Derek Bok, former Harvard University president, found “the overall admission rate for legacies was almost twice that for all other candidates.”

    The religion preference question was eventually dropped from the admission application forms and informal numerus clausus policies in the American private universities and medical schools were abandoned by the 1950s.

    Numerus clausus in Poland

    Poland tried to introduce a formal Numerus Clausus law in 1923, but faced objections from the League of Nations. However a Numerus Clausus was unofficially introduced in 1937 by some universities and the share of Jewish students was limited to 10%, which was the proportion of Jews in the population of Poland (compared to 20–60% before regulation).

    The official reason for the policy was that during the Russian Tsar’s rule, Poles were denied education in Polish, and the schools were badly funded. The advocates of the solution pointed out that the limit would balance the chance to enter university of all nationalities in Poland (Polish, Lithuanian, Belorussian, Ukrainian, German etc.).

    The other reason given by the supporters of the idea was that it was an attempt to equal the chance of children from countryside families who had very limited access to education to the chance of the children of Jewish families living in the towns and cities. This was because, the Polish intelligentsia of Jewish origins formed at least 40–50% of the whole Polish educated class.

    Similar policies, but based on preferential treatment of peasant children and working-class children, were introduced after World War II, with significant success. The children from working-class families had preference over students from the intelligentsia and bourgeois classes.

  11. Ne eljen a Fidesz!
    The size of the Jewish population of Budapest was more than 15% in 1920.
    Almost all of the student of the capital’s colleges came from the prosperous areas of Budapest. So their rate reflected the population ration of Budapest and surrounding.
    The reduce the Jewish to 6% did not help the rural and urban poor.
    The selfish non-Jewish Hungarians of Budapest benefited from it.
    Just like now.
    The resources will be allocated to a selfish inner minority.

  12. Eva S. Balogh :

    13 13 13 13: “The size of the Jewish population of Budapest was more than 15% in 1920.”

    Let’s be quite precise. In 1910 Budapest had a population of 800,371 out of which 203.687 (close to 25%) declared themself followers of the Mosaic faith. In 1920 there were 215,512 Jews out of 928,996 (23.2%) and in 1925 they constituted 21.6% of the population. So much for Éljen Fidesz’s figures. And here we don’t take into consideration the number of converts who became quite numerous after 1919-1920.

  13. Éljen a Fidesz! :
    Numerus clausus in Hungary
    The Hungarian Numerus Clausus was introduced in 1920. Though the text did not use the term “Jew” …

    We too can read the Wikipedia, thank you very much.

  14. tappanch :
    Reminder:
    Verdict on Klubradio will be promulgated tomorrow, at 8:10 in the morning.
    <p

    This is getting soo ridiculous. It’s becoming a Hungaricum now. It’s like a tradition, like watching the groundhog coming out or the Busó-walking in Mohács, Hungary. One year from now our Porn Annie’s f-word hunter squad will lose the 23rd lawsuit against the Klubradio. We should make this a cult. We should go to the courthouse in costumes then hit the pubs when the ceremony is over. Life on Planet Hungary.

  15. Mutt :

    Éljen a Fidesz! :
    Numerus clausus in Hungary
    The Hungarian Numerus Clausus was introduced in 1920. Though the text did not use the term “Jew” …

    We too can read the Wikipedia, thank you very much.

    I couldn’t quote every second sentence from Mária M. Kovács’s book but let me mention something as an answer to the description of Wikipedia. Although the law itself didn’t mention Jews or a Jewish quota but the directives for its application (végrehajtási utasítás) did mention the Jews specifically and pointed out for everybody to understand that from here on the word “izraelita” means not someone who is a follower of the Mosaic faith but he is considered to be a person who belongs to the Jewish nationality even if the only language he knows is Hungarian.

  16. I never-ever understood why the Fidesz Troopers and Fidesz itself thinks that the “but there are others who do this” or “it was done by others” or “there are worst examples” is any excuse ever for anything horrific. It is like taking part in some serious crime and saying that since others got away with it, we have the right too.
    Well that is the message from Fidesz for sure, and that is their platform, and their little troopers without independent thinking capacity follow without questions. Their research is also limited to the most obvious and easily available resources, like wikipedia, and often the data is about things that happened decades ago. The difference is that other countries proudly evolved from their “previous state”, but never mind, as that small part of the info is never brought up by the little Fidesz Troopers or by Fidesz.

  17. @some1:

    I’ve observed the same on pol.hu – where you often read similar “excuses” and I usually link to this site on the different types of logical fallacies: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    The Nizkor project btw is “intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. “

  18. On http://www.1000ev.hu site (the collection of Laws from 1000AD to 2003. The law did not contain the “Jew” or other ethnic terms. So it is fact.

    Mutt :

    Éljen a Fidesz! :
    Numerus clausus in Hungary
    The Hungarian Numerus Clausus was introduced in 1920. Though the text did not use the term “Jew” …

    We too can read the Wikipedia, thank you very much.

  19. But what about the anti-semite Western Numerus clasus? USA Canada Western Europe etc..? Are there good anti-semites and bad anti-semites? Double standards?

  20. Éljen a FIDESZ! :
    But what about the anti-semite Western Numerus clasus? USA Canada Western Europe etc..? Are there good anti-semites and bad anti-semites? Double standards?

    Nah. They are all pigs.

  21. Don’t try to reason with our latest Fidesz troll – this creature is just a troll and won’t understand anything!

    I’ve quoted the term “logical fallacy” so often – but it’s helpless, these guys don’t understand logic – so let’s just ignore them!

  22. wolfi’s right, the troll’s aim is to disrupt the blog by getting everyone steamed up and arguing with him – he’s just trying to waste our time. He has no intention of learning from us, or changing his opinion one iota, so we really do waste our time bothering with him.

    Ignore him, he’ll soon get fed up and go away.

    Fidesz Control – why can’t we have the funny ones back? I enjoyed them!

  23. Yes, he is a troll, and one of his aim is to spread false information. I think that should be addressed. Obviously, there is no point in getting into an argument with him.

  24. Your dictionary is simple: “Troll” means a person who don’t share your political views.

    Please talk about the western European and American Canadian Numerus Clausus and their anti-semitic motives in the higher education of the interwar period.

    Eva: I repeat my question: “Are there good antisemites and bad antisemites? Double standards?

    wolfi :
    Don’t try to reason with our latest Fidesz troll – this creature is just a troll and won’t understand anything!
    I’ve quoted the term “logical fallacy” so often – but it’s helpless, these guys don’t understand logic – so let’s just ignore them!

  25. I think in a discussion board of this nature, one should not ignore a participant just because they do not share your opinions. (Provided that the discussion remains polite). I guess our Fidesz friend is simply trying to make the point that Hungary was not the only country to exercise prejudice, and he is right. Not that that makes prejudice any less wrong.

  26. @Nick:

    Our troll is trying to obfuscate – as they all do …

    Don’t you see the difference between a (private!) university having a numerus clausus and a law that enforces this for all of the country ?

    Typical troll behaviour: it doesn’t say that was wrong – it says: others do/did it too …

    And anyway this site is about Hungary and what’s going on right now.

    PS:

    Just look at politics.hu and the comments in any thread that has “Jew” in the title and if you then still believe that there is no antisemitism in Hungary today, well …

  27. @wolfi,
    I am well aware that there is a lot of anti semitism in Hungary today. I live here. I agree that it is totally unacceptable. I would never defend prejudice against anyone.

    My point is merely that you should not ignore someone ‘s opinion just because they do not share your own. I think our friend was discussing Hungary in the 1920s, not now.

  28. @Nick: We ignored him because he keeps bringing up a question that was already addressed in an earlier reply. He chooses to ignore that, and just keeps parroting his question (he is a troll, you know). For your information, here is what Eva said earlier on the subject:

    “Yes, so did the Ivy League Schools here. But there is a big and important difference. It was not a law that was sanctioned by parliament or congress but an unspoken practice. Yes, at Yale, the result was that only about 6% of the student body was Jewish. A whole book was written about it by Dan Oren (Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale). Dan, by the way, was a student of mine. The book came into being as a result of an undergraduate seminar paper he wrote as a senior.
    But students who were not accepted at McGill, Toronto, Harvard, or Yale could still get a degree elsewhere. That was not the case in Hungary. There the quota was across the board. 6% at all institutions of higher learning.”

    The difference, in short is that in North America there were some private institutions who set their own admission rules (and yes, you can call these practices antisemitic I think), but these rules were not mandated or initiated by the government. It wasn’t that the state declared that only a certain number of Jewish students can attend universities in the whole country. In Hungary antisemitism was embraced by the state, by the government; in North America, it wasn’t. Also, in Hungary these rules were a lot more exclusionary than in North America, as they were applied across the board, at ALL universities.

  29. Éljen a Fidesz! :
    Eva: I repeat my question: “Are there good antisemites and bad antisemites?

    Sorry, Professor Balogh is busy.
    No. There no good and bad anti-Semites. All forms of anti-Semitism are unacceptable.
    Satisfied?

  30. An :
    @Nick: We ignored him because he keeps bringing up a question that was already addressed in an earlier reply. He chooses to ignore that, and just keeps parroting his question (he is a troll, you know). For your information, here is what Eva said earlier on the subject:
    “Yes, so did the Ivy League Schools here. But there is a big and important difference. It was not a law that was sanctioned by parliament or congress but an unspoken practice. Yes, at Yale, the result was that only about 6% of the student body was Jewish. A whole book was written about it by Dan Oren (Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale). Dan, by the way, was a student of mine. The book came into being as a result of an undergraduate seminar paper he wrote as a senior.
    But students who were not accepted at McGill, Toronto, Harvard, or Yale could still get a degree elsewhere. That was not the case in Hungary. There the quota was across the board. 6% at all institutions of higher learning.”
    The difference, in short is that in North America there were some private institutions who set their own admission rules (and yes, you can call these practices antisemitic I think), but these rules were not mandated or initiated by the government. It wasn’t that the state declared that only a certain number of Jewish students can attend universities in the whole country. In Hungary antisemitism was embraced by the state, by the government; in North America, it wasn’t. Also, in Hungary these rules were a lot more exclusionary than in North America, as they were applied across the board, at ALL universities.

    Unfortunately antisemitism did exist in the US government circles also. It wasn’t written into law as it was in Hungary but it was there. I recently read a book about the US ambassador in Germany during the times the Nazis took over and there are many references about this. However, there are at least a couple of major differences:

    – this wasn’t official policy
    – it did not deteriorate into the murder of a large majority of the American Jews, as it happened in Hungary with the Jews of Hungary.

    To compare the two countries in this area is absurd.

  31. NORDICISM IN THE USA

    In the USA
    President Coolidge signs the 1924 immigration act, restricting non Northern European immigration. John J. Pershing is on the President’s right.

    In the USA, the primary spokesman for Nordicism was the eugenicist Madison Grant. His 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History about Nordicism was highly influential among racial thinking and government policy making.[53]

    Grant used the theory as justification for immigration policies of the 1920s, arguing that the immigrants from certain areas of Europe represented a lesser type of European and their numbers in the United States should not be increased. Grant and others urged this as well as the complete restriction of non-Europeans, such as the Chinese and Japanese.

    Grant argued the Nordic race had been responsible for most of humanity’s great achievements, and admixture was “race suicide” and unless eugenic policies were enacted, the Nordic race would be supplanted by inferior races. Future president Calvin Coolidge agreed, stating “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides.”[54]

    The Immigration Act of 1924 was signed into law by President Coolidge. This was designed to reduce the number of immigrants from Southern Europe and Russia, exclude Asian immigrants altogether, and favor immigration from the British Isles, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Norway.

    The spread of these ideas also affected popular culture. F. Scott Fitzgerald invokes Grant’s ideas through a character in part of The Great Gatsby, and Hilaire Belloc jokingly rhapsodied the “Nordic man” in a poem and essay in which he satirised the stereotypes of Nordics, Alpines and Mediterraneans.[55]

    Writers such as Jack London, Robert E. Howard, and H. P. Lovecraft reflected Nordicist ideas in their fictions.

    The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act (Pub.L. 68–139, 43 Stat. 153, enacted May 26, 1924), was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890, down from the 3% cap set by the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921, according to the Census of 1890. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans, among them Jews who had migrated in large numbers since the 1890s to escape persecution in Poland and Russia, as well as prohibiting the immigration of Middle Easterners, East Asians, and Indians. According to the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian the purpose of the act was “to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity”.[1] Congressional opposition was minimal.

    gdfxx :

    An :
    @Nick: We ignored him because he keeps bringing up a question that was already addressed in an earlier reply. He chooses to ignore that, and just keeps parroting his question (he is a troll, you know). For your information, here is what Eva said earlier on the subject:
    “Yes, so did the Ivy League Schools here. But there is a big and important difference. It was not a law that was sanctioned by parliament or congress but an unspoken practice. Yes, at Yale, the result was that only about 6% of the student body was Jewish. A whole book was written about it by Dan Oren (Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale). Dan, by the way, was a student of mine. The book came into being as a result of an undergraduate seminar paper he wrote as a senior.
    But students who were not accepted at McGill, Toronto, Harvard, or Yale could still get a degree elsewhere. That was not the case in Hungary. There the quota was across the board. 6% at all institutions of higher learning.”
    The difference, in short is that in North America there were some private institutions who set their own admission rules (and yes, you can call these practices antisemitic I think), but these rules were not mandated or initiated by the government. It wasn’t that the state declared that only a certain number of Jewish students can attend universities in the whole country. In Hungary antisemitism was embraced by the state, by the government; in North America, it wasn’t. Also, in Hungary these rules were a lot more exclusionary than in North America, as they were applied across the board, at ALL universities.

    Unfortunately antisemitism did exist in the US government circles also. It wasn’t written into law as it was in Hungary but it was there. I recently read a book about the US ambassador in Germany during the times the Nazis took over and there are many references about this. However, there are at least a couple of major differences:
    – this wasn’t official policy
    – it did not deteriorate into the murder of a large majority of the American Jews, as it happened in Hungary with the Jews of Hungary.
    To compare the two countries in this area is absurd.

  32. I have to ask “Eljen a Fidesz” not to burden the readers of this blog with long passages from Wikipedia concerning the Immigration Act of 1924. It has nothing to do with the topic on hand.

  33. fair enough. I guess if this guy knew how to think he would not be supporting Fidesz anyway.

  34. Our Fidesz fan seems to have a one-track mind. However, the topic of the numerus causus was extensively discussed days ago and we moved on. If you have nothing else to talk about I must stop your verbal diarrhea.

  35. Eva, please kick this idiot out!

    Just one story re the treatment of Jews and Jewish scientists (I probably have written about this before):
    One of the most famous Jewish Hungarian mathematicians was Turan Pal:

    “In 1940 Turán was sent to a labour camp, and he was in and out of various forced labour camps throughout the war. “That was long before the Nazis occupied Hungary …
    http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Turan.html

    There is this urban legend that he was saved because a guard recognised the name and asked: What is your connection to the famous Turan theorem ?
    And he answered something like: Well, I proved that theorem, that’s why it has my name on it …

    And another quote:

    His Ph.D. was supervised by Fejér, and Turán was awarded the degree in 1935. His thesis On the number of prime divisors of integers, written in Hungarian, had been published in 1934 and contained his new proof of the theorem of Hardy and Ramanujan referred to above. Even at this early stage he had built up an impressive international reputation and had seven papers in print by the end of 1935, three of which had appeared in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society. One might have expected that this brilliant young mathematician would have easily found a university position. However, this was far from the case since the severe discrimination against him because of his Jewish origins meant that he could not even obtain a post as a school teacher.

    Read that last sentence again!

    Even before WW1 Hungary was famous for its discrimination against Jews, like Turan’s teacher Fejér. Here’s an excerpt from his biography:
    http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Fejer.html

    Although Fejér had gained an international reputation because of his outstanding papers, he did not have a permanent position in Hungary and was relatively unknown there. This is nicely illustrated by the following story. In 1905 Henri Poincaré was awarded the first Bolyai prize and arrived in Budapest to receive the award. He was met at the railway station by many high ranking officials and he immediately asked “Where is Fejér?” The Hungarian officials had never heard of Fejér so they asked Poincaré, “Who is Fejér?” Poincaré replied, “Fejér is the greatest Hungarian mathematician, one of the world’s greatest mathematicians.” Soon after this Fejér was offered the chair of mathematics at Kolozsvár in Hungary (now Cluj in Romania)

    Although already world famous and warmly endorsed by Poincaré on the occasion of the awarding of the Bolyai Prize, Fejér’s appointment to a chair at the University had been opposed by anti-semites on the Faculty. One of them, knowing full well that Fejér’s original name had been Weiss, asked during the occasion of Fejér’s candidacy: ‘Is this Leopold Fejér related to our distinguished colleague on the Faculty of Theology, Father Ignatius Fejér?’ Without missing a beat Loránd Eötvös, Professor of Physics, answered “Illegitimate son”. After that the appointment sailed through smoothly.

  36. My last post on Jewish mathematicians and the numerus clausus in Hungary is in moderation – I hope it will appear some timel

  37. You can read such a fairly tales everywhere. Hungary was a main target of Jewish immigration from Russia and other European countries. Jewish historians called the “Golden age of Hungarian Jews” in the era of pre WW1 Hungary.

    Due to the prosperity and the large Jewish community of Budapest at the start of the 20th century, Budapest was often called the “Jewish Mecca” by European Jews. Becuse Hungarians were more tolerant with Jews than Slavs (except Poland) and Germans. However Germany has no such a large Jewish community at the time.

    It simply nullify your fairly tales.

    wolfi :
    Eva, please kick this idiot out!
    Just one story re the treatment of Jews and Jewish scientists (I probably have written about this before):
    One of the most famous Jewish Hungarian mathematicians was Turan Pal:
    “In 1940 Turán was sent to a labour camp, and he was in and out of various forced labour camps throughout the war. “That was long before the Nazis occupied Hungary …
    http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Turan.html
    There is this urban legend that he was saved because a guard recognised the name and asked: What is your connection to the famous Turan theorem ?
    And he answered something like: Well, I proved that theorem, that’s why it has my name on it …
    And another quote:
    His Ph.D. was supervised by Fejér, and Turán was awarded the degree in 1935. His thesis On the number of prime divisors of integers, written in Hungarian, had been published in 1934 and contained his new proof of the theorem of Hardy and Ramanujan referred to above. Even at this early stage he had built up an impressive international reputation and had seven papers in print by the end of 1935, three of which had appeared in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society. One might have expected that this brilliant young mathematician would have easily found a university position. However, this was far from the case since the severe discrimination against him because of his Jewish origins meant that he could not even obtain a post as a school teacher.
    Read that last sentence again!
    Even before WW1 Hungary was famous for its discrimination against Jews, like Turan’s teacher Fejér. Here’s an excerpt from his biography:
    http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Fejer.html
    Although Fejér had gained an international reputation because of his outstanding papers, he did not have a permanent position in Hungary and was relatively unknown there. This is nicely illustrated by the following story. In 1905 Henri Poincaré was awarded the first Bolyai prize and arrived in Budapest to receive the award. He was met at the railway station by many high ranking officials and he immediately asked “Where is Fejér?” The Hungarian officials had never heard of Fejér so they asked Poincaré, “Who is Fejér?” Poincaré replied, “Fejér is the greatest Hungarian mathematician, one of the world’s greatest mathematicians.” Soon after this Fejér was offered the chair of mathematics at Kolozsvár in Hungary (now Cluj in Romania)

    Although already world famous and warmly endorsed by Poincaré on the occasion of the awarding of the Bolyai Prize, Fejér’s appointment to a chair at the University had been opposed by anti-semites on the Faculty. One of them, knowing full well that Fejér’s original name had been Weiss, asked during the occasion of Fejér’s candidacy: ‘Is this Leopold Fejér related to our distinguished colleague on the Faculty of Theology, Father Ignatius Fejér?’ Without missing a beat Loránd Eötvös, Professor of Physics, answered “Illegitimate son”. After that the appointment sailed through smoothly.

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