People in Spite of History

Stories Found in an Attorney Archive in the Banat Region
Author: 
ISBN: 
978-963-386-407-4
cloth
$85.00 / €75.00 / £67.00
Publication date: 
2021
342 pages, 35 b&w photos

Three generations of a family of lawyers have run a firm founded in 1893 in the small city of Becskerek (today in Serbian Zrenjanin), first part of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg monarchy, then Hungary, then Yugoslavia, then for a while under German occupation, then again part of Yugoslavia and finally Serbia. In the Banat district of the province of Vojvodina, the multiplicity of languages and religions and changes of place-names was a matter of course.

What is practically unprecedented, all files, folders, and documents of the law office have survived. They concern marriages, divorces, births, and testaments, as well as expulsions, emigrations, incarcerations and releases of these largely rural and small-town dwellers. Mundane cases reflect times through war, peace, revolution, and counter-revolution, through serfdom and freedom, through comfort and poverty. The files also show everyday lives shaped in spite of history. Tibor Várady transforms them into affecting and vivid vignettes, selecting and commenting without sentimentality but with empathy. The law office of the three generations of the Várady family demonstrates that the legal profession permits and in difficult times even requires its members to defend the ordinary men and women against the powers of state and society. 

FOREWORD by Richard Buxbaum


What is This Book about?
I. ON THE RELEVANCE OF HISTORY

II. THREE BECSKEREK STORIES -- Featuring Local Jews and Germans in the Leading Roles
An anacrusis
1.The Eckstein Case
2. Socks on the Chandelier, Lives by a Thread
3. The Freund/Baráth Document

III. HUNGARIAN STORIES OF BANAT - People and Formulae
1. An Early Attempt to Topple the Soviet Power in Hungary
2. The Case of István Bakai with Various Armies
3. Is There a Window to Shoot From?

IV. A STORY FROM THE BORDER OF BANAT
From Goose-down Business and Border Trespassing to Concentration Camp

V. DIVORCES, NEAR DIVORCES, AND SHAM DIVORCES
1. A Near Divorce
2. Divorces and Sham Divorces in the Wake of World War Two
3. A Husband Who Very Seldom Visits Pubs and Only in the People's Interest

VI. LEGENDS CHECKED IN LEGAL FILES
1. The Messinger
2. Dueling in Becskerek

VII. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ECONOMIC SITUATION – Lawsuits in the Years of the First Five-Year Plan
Some Perspective in Introduction
1. Corn or Corn Flour
2. Even if the Money is Made Available, I Cannot Transfer It
3. Cooperative Denial
4. A Calf-Killing Against the People’s Interests
5. Mafia-type Activity in the Years of the First Five-Year Plan

VIII. EXPLOITING FASCISM AND ANTI-FASCISM IN DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS AND CHURCHES

1 Fascism for Household Use in Becskerek
2 A Cynical Anti-People Smile (From Behind the Window)

VI. LEGENDS CHECKED IN LEGAL FILES

  1.      The Messinger
  2.      Duels in Becskerek

VII. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ECONOMIC SITUATION – Lawsuits in the Years of the First Five Year plan

  1. Some Perspective in Introduction

    1. Corn or Cornflour
    2. Even if the Money is Made Available, I cannot Transfer if
    3. Cooperative Denial
    4. A Calf-Killing Against the People’s Interests
    5. Mafia-type Activity in the Years of the First Five-year Plan

    VIII. EXPLOITING FASCISM AND ANTI-FASCISM IN DISPUTES BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS AND CHURCHES

    1        Fascism for Household Use in Becskerek - Jemrics néni a.k.a. Adolf Fichtner    
    2        A cynical anti-people smile (from behind the window)