mercredi 9 janvier 2013

The Frightening Hungarian Crackdown

"In November, 2012, the Nobel prize-winning novelist Imre Kertész announced his retirement. The writer, who as a fourteen year-old was transported to Auschwitz, has become one of Europe’s most eloquent and respected literary witnesses to the Holocaust. In books such as “Fateless” and “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” he has made the paradoxical case that “the concentration camp is imaginable only and exclusively as literature, never as reality—not even—or rather least of all—when we have directly experienced it.” Since his working life has been devoted to this act of imagination, his decision to house his archive not in his native Hungary but, rather, in Germany appears to be a profound gesture of reconciliation. Yet, when I said so on Twitter, a Hungarian writer friend e-mailed to tell me that Kertész’s decision was also driven by more negative concerns:
I’m afraid there is something more to it: he has also good reasons to believe that in Hungary his legacy wouldn’t be treated with as much respect as in Germany, as he is regarded by the current political elite as an “unHungarian” and then I’ve been euphemistic. For example, currently his work is not part of the Hungarian national education programme, due to some changes in school material in which, at the same time, three famously antisemitic writers have been included.
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