Friederike Kind-Kovács

Botstiber Fellow
Period of Stay: 
March 2019 – June 2019
Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Research on Totalitarianism, Dresden, Germany
Project Title: 
Budapest’s Children: Destitution, Humanitarian Relief and Revisionism in the Aftermath of the Great War
Project Abstract: 

This book project takes one of Central Europe’s major urban spaces, the capital city Budapest, to reconstruct how, in the aftermath of WWI, this social hotspot turned into a core “laboratory” of transnational and transatlantic humanitarian intervention. Focusing simultaneously on the humanitarian donor nations and the Hungarian “receiving end”, the analysis sheds light on the ambivalent repercussions of relief on local societies and transatlantic power relations. In tracing these transnational encounters that revolved around practices of feeding, clothing, and rehabilitating, Budapest’s child relief reveals that, while a truly trans-national endeavour, it was in its core a deeply national undertaking. While the US could manifest its global power by presenting itself not only as a winner of the war but also of this humanitarian ‘war against hunger’, Hungary could rewrite its international reputation from an ‘enemy’ to a ‘victim’ nation, thereby codifying its revisionist claims that still reverberate in today’s society.