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Prof. Dr. Béla Bodó


Bela Bodo

University of Bonn
Institute of History
Department for Eastern European History (OEG)
Konrad-Adenauer-Allee 4–6
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 4130
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Current Position

Professor for Eastern European History, Akademischer Oberrat


My current research revolves around the issue of the dependency of Jews on the state and the political and social elites in Hungary and East-Central Europe after 1848 to achieve full emancipation and defeat antisemitism. My publications have dealt with the following topics:

  1. The cooperation between the Jewish social and cultural elite and the Hungarian nobility and the Austro-Hungarian state to liberate the Jews after 1848.
  2. The successes and failures of Jewish emancipation after 1867 and the changing perceptions and roles of the aristocracy and the gentry in the emancipation process after the Tiszaeszlár Blood Libel Trial of 1883.
  3. The withdrawal of the protection of the state and the political elite from Jews and the end of the Jewish-Hungarian condominium in the final phase and the immediate aftermath of WW I.
  4. Defensive strategies ranging from cooperation with the aristocracy, the Catholic and Protstant churches to military resistance to encounter violent antisemitism during the White Terror between 1919 and 1922.
  5. Anti-discrimination campaigns led in the press to restore normalcy and diffuse tension created by the rise of new and more insidious antisemitic images, such as Jews as Communists, traitors and shirkers of their military duties.
  6. Jewish humor as a defensive mechanism to counter "fake news", understand the post-war world, defeat antisemitism, and restore sanity and self-respect after 1918.
  7. The widening emotional and political gaps between Jews, who remained dependant on the state for survival, and the political and social elites, who controlled the state, in the interwar period. The end of the cooperation and dependency of the traditional elite after the Nazi occupation of the country in March 1944 as a prelude to the genocide.

Published 2 books (2 more in preparations) and more than a dozen articles on these topics


  • 1998                    Ph.D., York University, Toronto, Canada
  • 1992                    M.A., York University, Toronto, Canada
  • 1990                    H.B.A. University of Toronta, Canada
  • 1988                    B.A., Kossuth Lajos University, Debrecen, Hungary

Academic Positions, Honors and Grants

  • 2015–present      Associate Professor for Eastern European History, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2013–2014          Imre Kertész Kolleg Fellowship, University of Jena, Germany
  • 2011–2015          Tenured Associate Professor, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA
  • 2008–2010          Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, Missouri State University, Sprinfield, MO, USA
  • 2007–2008          Visiting Assistant Professor, California State University, Stanislaus, CA, USA
  • 2004–2006          Visiting Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, USA
  • 2002–2004          Visiting Assistant Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
  • 2000–2002          Lecturer, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA
  • 1998–2000          Lecturer, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada

Selected Publications 

  • Black Humor and the White Terror: Jewish defensive strategies in Hungary after WW I. (final stages in preparation, expected publication by Routledge in 2021).
  • The White Terror: Political and Antisemitic Violence in Hungary, 1919–1923. New York/London: Routledge, 2019.
  • Pál Prónay: Paramilitary Violence and Anti-Semitism in Hungary, 1919–1922. Pittsburgh University Press: Beck Papers 2010.
  • Faith, Family and Fatherland: Conservatism and Right Radicalism in Interwar Hungary. In: M. Bresciani (ed.): Conservatives and Radicals: Europe between First and Second World War (1918–1945). Routledge 2020.
  • International Communities, Democratization and the Fate of Ethnic Minorities in Interwar Hungary. In: S. P. Ramet (ed.): Interwar Eastern Europe, 1918–1941: The Failure of Democracy-building, the Fate of Minorities. Routledge 2019.
  • Actio und Reactio: Roter und Weißer Terror in Ungarn, 1919–1923. In: C. Koller, M. Marschik (eds.): Die Ungarische Raterepublic 1919.Vienna: Promedia 2018.
  • Towards an Interactional Theory of Sexual Violence: The White Terror in Hungary between 1919–1921. In: R. Kučera (ed.): Beyond Defeat and Victory: Physical Violence in East-central Europe, 1917–1923. Oxford University Press 2017.
  • The White Terror in Hungary, 1919–1921: The Social World of Paramilitary Groups. In: Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. XLII 2011.
  • Hungarian Aristocracy and the White Terror. In: Journal of Contemporary History 45 (4), October 2010.
  • The Tószegi Affair: Rumors, "the People's Verdicts" and Provincial Antisemitism in Hungary, 1919–1921. In: Yad Vashem Studies XXXVI/II, Winter 2008.

Public Outreach

  • Strange Rituals. Documentary based on my book, "Tiszazug: The Social History of a Murder Epidemic." Made by History Channel and shown nationwide on December 30, 2010.
  • BBC Radio Drama entitled Behind God's Back, based on the same monograph, December 2007.
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