György Dalos

    is a Hungarian writer and historian. Born in Budapest, he studied in Moscow in the 1960s. After being accused of being a “Maoist deviant” he spent seven months in prison and was barred from publishing although he was allowed to translate. In 1977 he helped to launch the opposition movement against Hungary’s communist regime; in the late 1980s he co-edited the East German samizdat journal Ostkreuz and wrote his most acclaimed book: The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin. From 1987 to 1995 he divided his time between Vienna and Budapest, contributing to German newspapers and radio. From 1992 to 1997 he was the director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Berlin. György Dalos is the recipient of the Adalbert von Chamisso prize, and in 2010 he was honoured with another major literary award, the Leipzig Bookfair Prize, for his book Der Vorhang geht auf. Das Ende der Diktaturen in Osteuropa (The Curtain Goes Up. The End of Dictatorships in Eastern Europe). “Antisemitism, which is the distorted image of the Jew, has always had many faces. Since the attempt to put it into practice as a systematic ideology resulted in genocide, it has lived on as several varieties of an parasitical expression, from relatively harmless, often unreflecting prejudice right up to openly hate-filled language that has forced itself onto the margins of politics. Neither its “more subtle” nor “cruder” version exists in isolation: sometimes it is driven by the envy of a more successful literary colleague, sometimes it forms part of a critique of the current situation of a particularly strong “anti-capitalist” bent. European antisemitism of recent decades does not go where any ideological winds blow. Instead it represents a variety of different values. As the election slogan of Hungary’s István Csurka’s right-wing populist party shouted from all escalators of the Budapest metro: ‘We are neither on the right nor on the left – we are Christians and Hungarians’. Unlike their predecessors, the 1990s Jew-haters were initially outraged to be referred to as antisemites. But by now no denials are necessary anymore: the force of habit has prevailed.”