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2011 | 2(17) | 125-142

Article title

CENSORSHIP GAMES AMONG THE POLISH EMIGRE COMMUNITY IN HUNGARY IN THE YEARS 1939-1945 (Przygody z cenzura polskiej uchodzczej spolecznosci na Wegrzech (1939-1945))

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Civilian and military emigres of the wartime period who had come to Hungary when the Polish-Hungarian border had been temporarily open (17-28 Sept. 1939) had a relatively rich artistic and cultural life. Thanks to the Hungarian authorities, the Polish emigres even formed their own institutions. As a result, some kind of press was started and approximately 60 newspapers and magazines were in circulation. What is more, 300 different books and brochures were duplicated in 13 publishing houses. In Budapest, the Polish Institute (Instytut Polski) and Polish Club (Swietlica Polska), among others, organized several dozen public cultural performances. Polish publications and books were controlled by the Press Department of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This censorship function was held by Istvan Meszaros (1891-1964), who later became a famous translator of the Polish literature. After the Nazis entered Hungary in March 1944 he was substituted by Sandor Vajlok. Meszaros was always pro-Polish: he never questioned or refused any Polish publication, was secretly helping the Polish emigres. However, he was unable to oppose the intervention of the Embassy of the Third Reich in Budapest which temporarily stopped the publication of the leading emigre periodical 'Wiesci Polskie' ('Polish News') from the 12 May to the 3 June 1941. The reason of it was a quotation from Churchill's speech allegedly off ensive to the German nation. Among public performances which had serious problems with the official Hungarian authorities, two of them must be mentioned. The first was a guest performance by an emigre puppet theatre from Ipolyhidveg, presenting Polish Nativity Scene on 23 Feb. 1943 in the Polish Institute: the organizers and performers were denounced to the police authorities because the puppet of Herod resembled Hitler. The second was a performance of the youth group from the Polish secondary school in Balatonboglar, planned in Budapest on 16 May 1943, but cancelled at the last minute (as a result of the suggestion put forward by the Hungarian authorities who feared to irritate Nazis). Apart from the official Hungarian censorship, there was also an internal censorship of all religious publications held by the Polish Catholic Chaplaincy.






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  • Krzysztof Wozniakowski, Instytut Informacji Naukowej i Bibliotekoznawstwa , Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie, ul. Podchorazych 2, 30-084 Krakow, Poland


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Publication order reference


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