Historian and MIMC Organization founding member László Bernát Veszprémy’s Holocaust book, Gyilkos irodák (Bureaus of Annihilation) deals with the role of the contemporary Hungarian state administration in the 1944 deportations that led to the murder of approximately half a million Hungarian Jews.
Veszprémy, a historian with an MA in Holocaust Studies from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD candidate in Jewish history at the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest published his book at the well-known Jaffa publishing house.
Praise for Gyilkos irodák
In his review published in the conservative opposition weekly Magyar Hang, historian and ex-Foreign Minister of Hungary Géza Jeszenszky writes that Veszprémy’s book “deserves all praise”. His book is “exemplary in its objective tone” and is a “detailed work of national self-inspection”.(1)
Holocaust scholar István Végső, researcher at the Clio Institute wrote in the left-wing weekly 168 óra that from Veszprémy’s work “we can gain valuable new information about the role (of Hungarian bureaucrats)”. “He criticises with courage certain taboo topics”. “One strong aspect of the book is its use of not only Hungarian, but also Dutch, Israeli, German, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian archival sources”.(2)
Left-wing weekly HVG wrote that “this book is the first work that presents through the use of immense archival material what happened in the ‘bureaus of annihilation’ while Hungary morally collapsed”.(3)
Sociologist György Csepeli writes in the left-wing weekly Élet és Irodalom that “Veszprémy has written an important book, which brings us closer to understanding the anti-Semitics events of the horrible year 1944 (…)”.(4)
CEU professor of law and chair of Human Rights Program Károly Bárd wrote in the Jewish journal Múlt és Jövő that “Veszprémy’s endeavour is ambitious (…) the book is the result of highly detailed research, using the archives of nearly every country neighbouring (Hungary), but also those of the United States, the Netherlands or Israel. (…) The amount of sources used is impressive (…) There is ample material for intellectual play (…)”.(5)
The book has also received criticism from the far-right. Far-right historian Zoltán Babucs has written in the pro-government Magyar Hírlap daily that Veszprémy’s suggestion that Hungarians might have taken part in the Holocaust is “a revival of Stalinist (…) ideas”, labels the “entire nation guilty” and is “insane”. Veszprémy has written a reply, denying the accusation of labelling all Hungarians guilty.(6)
(1) Jeszenszky Géza: Bűnös magyar nemzet? Magyar Hang, 8th November 2019. Page 28. (See online here: https://adtplus.arcanum.hu/hu/view/MagyarHang_2019_11/?query=%22gyilkos%20irodák%22&pg=59&layout=s)
(6) Magyar Hírlap, 2nd January 2020. Page 12. (See online here: https://adtplus.arcanum.hu/hu/view/MagyarHirlap_2020_01/?query=%22gyilkos%20irodák%22&pg=11&layout=s)
This article has been updated to include further reviews.