A Journey through the Vanishing World of the Transylvanian Aristocracy
Jaap Scholten, (Enschede, 1963) studied Industrial Design at the Technical University in Delft, Graphic Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy of Arts in Rotterdam (BA), and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest (MA). He has published seven books: collections of short stories and three novels. His novel, De wet van Spengler (Atlas Contact, 2008), was chosen “novel of the year” in the Netherlands. His latest book, Kameraad Baron (AtlasContact, 2010) is the winner of the Libris History Prize 2011. His novels and short stories are translated into German, French, Hungarian, Croatian. In 2011 Scholten created and presented a six-part television series for the VPRO about hidden worlds in Central and Eastern Europe. He has lived in Budapest since 2003.
In the darkness of the early morning of 3 March 1949, practically all of the Transylvanian aristocracy were arrested in their beds and loaded into lorries. That same day the Romanian Workers’ Party was pleased to announce the successful deportation and dispossession of all large landowners. Communism demanded the destruction of these ultimate class enemies. Under the terror of Gheorghiu-Dej and later Ceaușescu the aristocracy led a double life: during the day they worked in quarries, steelworks and carpenters’ yards; in the evening they secretly gathered and maintained the rituals of an older world.
To record this unknown episode of recent history, Jaap Scholten travelled extensively in Romania and Hungary and sought out the few remaining aristocrats who experienced the night of 3 March 1949. He spoke to people who survived the Romanian Gulag and met the youngest generation of the once distinguished aristocracy to talk about the restitution of assets and about the future. How is it possible to rebuild anything in a country that finds itself in a moral vacuum?
Published by Helena History Press, Saint Helena, CA, U.S.A.
404 pages, paperback
$24.00/ €22.00 / £18.00
On May 3 Helena History Press will launch the worldwide English edition of Jaap Scholten's best selling book. The volume has received a wide range of enthusiastic endorsements:
"This is a classic in the lines of Patrick Leigh Fermor" Norman Stone, professor of modern history, Oxford.
"...it presents an extraordinary oral history in which the last remaining members of the aristocracy tell how Ceaușescu carried out an extermination programme against the class enemy making it an urgent testimony about an aspect of recent history as horrifying as it is unknown...an extraordinary, passionate and important work." extract from the jury report of the Libris History Prize 2011.
"Combining a warm heart with tenacious pursuit of truth, Jaap Scholten restores to vivid life the world of the Transylvanian aristocracy from its glory days to its tragic finale. Scholten thereby captures a missing piece of history and provides the reader with a gripping journey through a lost world" . Kati Marton, author and award winning former ABC News correspondent.
"I have enjoyed this book so much - such a great tale, with brilliant original research and source material and so many stories, tragic, humiliating, painful, yet all engrossing and highly readable." Petroc Trelawny, BBC Radio 3 Presenter and journalist.
Upcoming personal appearances and readings by the author in the United Kingdom and the United States that will be open to the public.
Tuesday, May 3 @ 6.30 pm John Sandoe Booksellers, 10 Blacklands Terrace London, SW 3 2SR johnsandoe.com/events/
Wednesday, May 4 @7 pm Literary (k)nights Series at the Hungarian Cultural Center. Jaap Scholten in a conversation with Petroc Trelawny, BBC Radio 3 presenter. 10 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NA Reservations may be made at email@example.com
Tuesday, May 17: Washington DC. Luncheon hosted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. For details log on to: victimsofcommunism.org/events/comrade-baron. Reservation required.
Wednesday, May 18: New York City @7 pm at Hungarian House. Hosted by the American Hungarian Library and Historical Society, the East Central European Institute of Columbia University and the Dutch Culture Program of the Consulate General of New York: 215 East 82nd Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues). Reception to follow. Suggested donation $10
Saturday, May 21: New York City @ 2-4 pm. Poets House. 10 River Terrace at Murray Street. Hosted by Helena History Press and the Dutch Culture Program of the Consulate General of New York. Conversation with the author moderated by Gabriel Sanders of Tablet Magazine. Reception to follow.
Tuesday, May 24: University of California at Berkeley @ 7 pm. Hosted by the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 7pm Heyns Room of the Faculty Club http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/iseees.html?event_ID=99298&date=2016-05-24&filter=Secondary%20Event%20Type&filtersel
Thursday, June 2 @ 6pm Stanford University hosted by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Event details to follow soon.
Books will be available for purchase and dedication at each venue.
The above is a partial list of events as of April 25.