Judit Szapor

Senior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
January 2020 - March 2020
McGill University
Project Title: 
Antisemitism, Gender, and Exile: Hungarian Jewish Women and the Numerus Clausus Law in Hungary, 1920-1938
Project Abstract: 

Act XXV/1920 was the first antisemitic law of the post-WWI era in Europe. With the ostensible aim of reducing the overcrowding of Hungarian universities after WWI, it pegged admissions to the ratio of “races” and “nationalities” in the general population. The 6% quota set for Jewish students drastically reduced their representation at universities; combined with the antisemitic agenda of the Horthy-regime and the violence inflicted on Jewish students by right-wing student organizations, it also forced thousands of Hungarian-Jewish students to leave Hungary and study abroad. The law’s breach of equal citizenship paved the way for the openly racial anti-Jewish laws in the late 1930s and, ultimately, the Holocaust. This project offers a reassessment of the law from a gender perspective, with a focus on Hungarian Jewish women who were disadvantaged by university policies as both Jews and women. Based on extensive statistical, archival, and oral historical sources, the project aims to reclaim an important aspect of Hungary’s history in the interwar period and locate it in the larger history of antisemitism and women’s emancipation.