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In the summer of 2017, the heads of the Simon Dubnow Institute in Leipzig and the VWI discussed the possibility of a joint fellowship combining the respective thematic research focus of each institution: ‘Jewish Studies’, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and racism. After a trial run, decisions will have to be made about further applications and future selection criteria, and funding will have to be secured exclusively from third parties.


István Pál Ádám

Dubnow-Wiesenthal-Fellow (02/2018–06/2018)


The Path of Jewish Hungarian Lawyers through Modernity


ADAMJewish middle-class families played a key role in the modernisation of Hungary. This project will investigate the contribution of Jewish Hungarian lawyers to the development of the Hungarian legal order. It will concentrate on lawyers living and working in Budapest between 1867 – the year of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise – and 1947. Their professional achievements and their public activism were most apparent in the fight for the full emancipation and social acceptance of Hungarian Jewry, which will be explored primarily with the help of documents from Budapest archives, but also by means of personal papers.


The most important examples come from the lives, work, and legal cases of Géza Dombovári Schulhof senior and his son Géza junior. Géza senior was born in 1848 and died in 1918, while Géza junior was born in 1878 and committed suicide during the Holocaust. Each of them had his own law firm in Budapest, and both of them engaged in public and scholarly affairs as well. Géza Dombovári Schulhof was active in a period when the emancipation of the Jews was still a novelty, and the majority population challenged this political decision by every possible methods, including blood-libel accusations and parliamentary speeches. His son, Géza Dombováry, fought against a more violent form of antisemitism in the years after the First World War. At the same time, both of these gentlemen contributed to the Hungarian rule of law with academic works. Through their lives, work, and legal cases, complemented with similar examples from other legal practices, this project will outline the history of those several hundred Jewish Hungarian lawyers who constituted the most significant part of this professional group in the era.


István Pál Ádám holds a PhD in History from the University of Bristol. Adam‘s first book, the Budapest Building Managers and the Holocaust in Hungary (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) was partly written during his first tenure at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute. Adam also spent two years in Prague as a postdoctoral fellow at Charles University and the CEFRES French Research Centre in Humanities & Social Sciences. His latest publications include the study Paramilitary Extremism in Interwar Hungary and its Anti-Jewish Argumentation, which was published in the journal of the Masaryk Institute Střed/Centre 1/2017, 9-33.

July 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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