László Csősz, works for EHRI WP2, 6, 8
Member of EHRI Work Packages WP2 Trans-institutional Research Guides, WP 6 Development of Interdisciplinary Methodologies, and WP8 Publicity and Dissemination
Through the dual perspectives of Holocaust scholar and archivist, I consider the launch of EHRI a landmark event for Holocaust and genocide scholarship in Eastern Europe. Therefore it has been an honour to take a share in this massive undertaking. Back in 2009, when Project Director Conny Kristel approached us to join the EHRI consortium, I was serving as Head of Collections at the Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC). In the summer of 2014, I left HMC to take the position of Senior Archivist at the Hungarian National Archives, which became a cooperating partner and currently virtually hosts the small research team on Hungary. In my PhD dissertation I trained my lenses on the social history of Jews in a micro-region of Hungary. I have also widely published on antisemitic social and economic policies and the Holocaust, including a comprehensive documentary account of its peculiar “last chapter” (The Holocaust in Hungary. Evolution of a Genocide. Washington, DC: AltaMira Press-USHMM, 2013, with Gábor Kádár and Zoltán Vági).
Tasks in EHRI
Our tasks in EHRI included the organization of two workshops in Budapest: the first on the early documentation of the Holocaust, one of the first international scholarly events on this topic, and the second was the last workshop to disseminate the achievements of EHRI last autumn. Recently we have been also involved in the work of WP15 (Identification and Investigation), exploring and preparing descriptions on Holocaust-related archival collections in Hungary, which constitute one of the largest clusters of files in any European language from this era, and so far has been largely inaccessible to users outside Hungary. If added to this research infrastructure, I believe these sources will greatly foster international cooperation, interregional and comparative research projects, and also facilitate the integration of Holocaust history into national historiographies. The EHRI community, with the on-line discussion forum, summer universities, workshops and other features serves as an alternative to insufficient institutional networks in Eastern Europe, connecting students and scholars to the international trends and methods of our field.
Personally, I also have a number of reasons to be thankful for EHRI. I was introduced to a wonderful cohort of prolific and stimulating colleagues and enjoyed a friendly multicultural atmosphere during partner meetings and workshops. All along the project, I could always rely on the relentless help and assistance both from the Amsterdam central office and from various partner institutions. I gained experience in project management and digital humanities, increasingly important fields in the portfolio of a historian.
Most of my spare time is devoted to my wife and four kids. Apart from family programs involving movies, music and hiking, it is mostly sports which make me forget about haunting chapters of history. Besides football and swim practice, I also take daily cardio training on the steep hillside of the Buda Castle while commuting to the Archives.
EHRI Newsletter, March 2015