Book Launch & Panel Discussion How it Happened: Documenting the Tragedy of Hungarian Jewry

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 20185:30PM - 7:30PMThe Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
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Celebrating the publication of How It Happened: Documenting the Tragedy of Hungarian Jewry, Randall Hansen, Interim Director of the Munk School, invites you to a provocative discussion about the Holocaust in Hungary. Doris Bergen, the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, will moderate a panel featuring the distinguished scholars Judit Molnár, Professor at the University of Szeged, and Attila Pók of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Also speaking will be the book’s editor, Nina Munk, whose great uncle Ernő Munkácsi, the former chief secretary of the Central Jewish Council in Budapest, wrote the original, seminal Hungarian edition of How It Happened immediately after the Second World War.

A gripping first‐hand account of the devastating “last chapter” of the Holocaust, How It Happened is a unique testament to the senseless brutality that, in a matter of months, decimated what was Europe’s largest and last‐surviving Jewish community. Examining only those critical months of 1944 when Hitler’s Germany occupied its ally Hungary, Munkácsi describes the Jewish Council’s desperation and fear as it attempted to prevent the looming catastrophe and struggled to grasp the immensity of a tragedy that would take the lives of 427,000 Hungarian Jews in the very last year of the war.

Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and edited by Nina Munk, this long‐overdue translation by Péter Balikó Lengyel makes available Munkácsi’s profound and unparalleled insight into the Holocaust in Hungary, revealing the “choiceless choices” that confronted members of the Judenrat forced to execute the Nazis’ orders. With an in‐depth introduction by Ferenc Laczó, a brief biography of Ernő Munkácsi by Susan Papp, ample annotations and a glossary by László Csősz and Ferenc Laczó, two dozen archival photographs, detailed maps by Michael J. Fisher, and a thorough index by Rebecca Carter-Chand, How It Happened is an essential resource for historians and students of the Holocaust, the Second World War, and Central Europe. Copies of the book will be for sale at the event.


Daria Dumbabze


Attila Pók
Deputy Director of the Institute of History, the Research Centre for the Humanities at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Executive Vice President of the Hungarian Historical Association; Senior Researcher at the Institute of Advanced Study in Kőszeg

Judit Molnár
Professor at the University of Szeged

Nina Munk
Canadian‐American Journalist and Author

Doris Bergen
Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, Department of History, University of Toronto

Randall Hansen
Opening Remarks
Interim Director, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

Main Sponsor

Hungarian Studies Program


Joint Initiative in German and European Studies

Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

German Academic Exchange Service

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