New EHRI Documennt Blog | Identifying the author of an anonymous diary from the Holocaust in Hungary

Picture of Robi Politzer in Budapest, found in the diary
Tuesday, 7 March, 2023

While on his EHRI Conny Kristel Fellowship at Yad Vashem in August 2022, Barnabas Balint discovered the author of an anonymous diary from a Hungarian Jew in wartime Budapest. The search for the identity of the author drew on clues in the text of the diary, photographs folded between its pages, census records, and school records. It traversed archives at Yad Vashem, The Hungarian National Pedagogical Library and Museum, and the University of Southern California. By combining sources from archives across the world, the search was a true reflection of the international approach encapsulated in EHRI.

The successful research led to the name of the author of the diary, Jenő Politzer, broadening this history and making it more personal. It is also an example of the transnational nature of Holocaust research and points to ethical challenges when dealing with intimate documents like diaries that were never expected to be published.

Barnabas Balint is a doctoral candidate at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. His multi-lingual research (English, French and Hungarian) combines the history of childhood, gender, and identity to explore the lives of Jewish youth during persecution in Hungary.

Read the Document Blogpost

Image: Picture of Robi Politzer in Budapest, found in the diary. University of Southern California Special Collections – ‘Anonymous Hungarian Jew Diary, Collection no. 6071’.