Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Tamás Kende

Fellow Dr Tamás Kende

June - November 2020

1989-1991: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Center for East- and Central Europe junior research fellow (Social and Cultural History of Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries)

1992-1995: University of Miskolc, assistant professor (teaching East-European early modern history), 1995-2000 part-time assistant professor

2000-2005 Institute of Political History Budapest research fellow (Communist historiographies of Eastern Europe, Social and Cultural History of the Hungarian Communist Party, former party archives in the post-Communist period)

2006-2013  Ferenczy Museum, Szentendre: historian-museologist (photo- and film exhibitions, digitalization of museal relics, collection and documentation of photos and of museal moving images) Exhibitions: „Danubius – Fluvius Pictorum” in Szentendre (2008), Bratislava (2009), Budapest (2010), Vienna (Spring of 2011, see also; „Szabós in Szentendre” – Szentendre in the epoch of Kádár (Szentendre and Cegléd: spring-winter of 2011.) No More Traditions’s Chains Shall Bind Us (OSA Galeria Centralis – Budapest, 2013 summer) virtual exhibitions:;

2014- independent curator

2015- independent research fellow of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung’s project: Post-War Antisemitism

Research project at the Kolleg

The Klassenkampf Behind The Rassenkampf – Inner fronts of the Soviet society during and after the War

In September 1945 four former Jewish frontoviks from Kiev addressed Stalin in a desperate letter. According to the letter in Kiev the politically most dangerous legacy of the German occupation was still the popular and the nomenklatura’s general antisemitism which allegedly led to an anti-Jewish pogrom. Behind the Kiev incident we can detect grave social conflicts that sharply endangered the public and social order of the Soviet Union during and after the war. The massive evacuation and re-evacuation hit most heavily the liberated Western territories of the USSR,. The housing stock of the cities was heavily damaged what made the countless and endless domestic and legal conflicts over the housing even tenser. It was the case of Kiev also, from where many Jews could be evacuated at the beginning of the war, and tried to regain their legal rights for their previous, occupied by war-time inner migrants apartments.

Tensions between the representatives of the nachal’stvo and the population, especially among the Red Army’s soldiers have been detected during, and right after the war. Similar tensions could be detected between Red Army soldiers, and the NKVD. In September 1945 a Jewish NKVD officer was insulted in Kiev by Red Army soldiers on leave, trying to settle their right for accommodation, just recently suspended by the Soviet authorities. The insulted NKVD officer killed his attackers, thus causing a dangerous disturbance in the neighborhood.

Although the latent tensions and social-political conflicts during and right after the war within the Soviet society could take the form of antisemitic incidents, the reduction of the processes to antisemitism is an oversimplification. My intention is to look behind the antisemitic incidents, or those incidents which were interpreted as antisemitic ones, to disclose those inner front-lines within the Soviet society that were constructed during and right after the war. Between 1941-1949 high number of reports on antisemitic incidents reached the party, and the state apparatus, not to mention the Jewish Antifascist Committee.

Even in the war-time and/or postwar Soviet Union antisemitism could be a “cultural code”, a language through which certain taboos could be named. The USSR's unified military barrack in fact was divided between the actual “We” and “Them”, the Haves and the Have Nots, the system and its actual critics. If one takes a closer look into the contemporary sources can see, that the real front-lines inside the USSR laid not between the Jews, and the Gentiles, but between the Haves, and the Have Nots, between the privates and their officers, between the soldiers and the NKVD personnel, between the hungry and therelatively well to do, etc. Jews could have been found on both sides of the actual front-lines.

The research examines on memoirs, (front-) diaries, and contemporary (party, NKVD, etc.) reports the perceptions of the “Jewish question” and/or the antisemitism. As in the case of the stories on the evacuation, they reveal the contemporary possible inner-fronts inside the USSR, which could hardly be re-constructed along national or confessional lines.


Vérvád. Egy előítélet működése az újkori Kelet-Európában. Osiris, Budapest, 1995. (Blood Libel. The Mechanism of a Prejudice in moder Eastern Europe).

Az intézményes forradalom. A kommunista párttársadalmi és kulturális története Borsod megyében 1945-1956. (The Institutionalized Revolution. A Social and Cultural History of the Communist Party in Borsod County 1945-1956). MNL, Budapest-Miskolc, 2014.


Other publications:

The Language of the Blood Libel in East- and Central-European History. in: Pride and Prejudice. (ed. by László Kontler) CEU Press, Budapest, 1995. 91-104.

Левая критика социально-полиутической системы в Восточной Европе во второй половине 1960-х годов. Научный Альманах "Варианты", 1. Москва, 2009, 43-51.

The (anti-) Marxist Geistesgeschichte of Party Histories in Eastern Europe (Presentation at the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Amsterdam  August 2010.) Storia della Storiografia – Histoire de l’Historiographie, 2012. 2. 151-164.

Counter-) Revolution in the Museums. An East European View. In. Zhilyaev, Arseny – Budraitskis, Ilya (eds.): Pedagogical Poem. The Archive of the Future Museum of History. Marsilio,Venice, 2014. 25-38

Wer aber ist die Partei? History and Historiography. In. The Faces of the Agent: Memory of Everyday Collaboration in Eastern Europe during the Communist Regimes. Ed. Péter Apor, Sándor Horváth, James Mark. 2017. In print.

Kép, önkép, múltkép. Tanulmányok Szentendre történetéről. Szentendre, Ferenczy Múzeum, 2015. 12-121.

From Jewish Bolshevism to Anti-Semitic Communism Or A Quest for an Ultimate Adjective. Moderne Antisemitsmen an der Peripherien und seine Kolonien 1880-1945/ Modern Antisemitisms in the Peripehries of Europe and its Colonies 1880-1945. Ed. By Raul Carstocea and Éva Kovács. New Academia Press, 2017. In print.

Wer aber ist die Partei? History and Historiography. = The Faces of the Agent: Memory of Everyday Collaboration in Eastern Europe during the Communist Regimes. Ed. Péter Apor, Sándor Horváth, James Mark. 2017. 269-286.

Jewish Communism versus Bolshevik Antisemitism or the Quest for the Right Adjective. = Ed. Carstocea, Raul - Kovács, Éva: Moderne Antisemitismen an der Peripherien Europas und seine Kolonien 1880-0945 / Modern Antisemitisms in the Peripheries of Europe and its Colonies 1880-1945. New Academia Press, 2018. 237-265.

Anti-Semitism and inner fronts in the USSR during Worl War II. European Review of History / Revue Européenne d’Histoire, 2019. 6. 963-976.

Péter Apor - Tamás Kende - Michala Lônčíková - Valentin Săndulescu: Post-World War II anti-Semitic pogroms in East and East Central Europe: collective violence and popular culture European Review of History / Revue Européenne d’Histoire, 2019. 6. 913-927.