Institute News

Fates Closed in Numbers

Temporary exhibition at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, Hungary, features clips of testimonies from the Institute’s Visual History Archive

October 17, 2010 – February 27, 2011

On September 21, 1920, the Hungarian Parliament passed law XXV, what is now known as the Numerus Clausus law.  This law – which passed with a meager total of 57 votes out of a 208-member National Assembly – limited access to universities for Jews.  A system of “closed numbers” (numerus clausus) was introduced to limit the number of Jewish students in higher education.

In order to mark this dark period of Hungarian history, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest has organized an exhibition to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the event.

The exhibition aims to show the rise in anti-Semitism in the 1920s and the evolution of Hungarian society from social and political inclusion to one of exclusion. The exhibition features testimony clips of four survivors from the Institute’s Visual History Archive, as well as posters, prints, news articles, photos, newsreels, radio speeches, and other artifacts.

Woven into the exhibit are excerpts of the testimonies of four Holocaust survivors from the Institute’s Visual History Archive. The survivors speak about the impact of the law on their and their family members’ educational careers.

Curator of the exhibition, and head historian of the Holocaust Memorial Center, Judit Molnár, explains:

“Through individual personal stories we plan to bring the atmosphere of the age closer to the current generation.  We have to make sure that today’s young people, elementary and high-school students alike, understand that exclusion, discrimination and lack of tolerance can initiate processes that in crisis situations can become unpredictable.  With the help of museum educators we are now working on the development of a complex educational material that students can go through when visiting the exhibition.”

The exhibit opened on October 17, 2010.

Magyarul itt olvasható.