This article provides materials for an institutional history of academic Hungarian Orientalism through the life of Gyula Germanus (1884-1979). Using hitherto unexploited archives, this text explores his education, integration into academia, and career up to 1939. I argue that Germanus was an assimilated Hungarian of Jewish origin with a strong loyalty to the state. His two conversions – to Calvinism in 1909 and to Islam in 1930 – also transformed him from a minor Turkologist into a popularly acclaimed Arabist. This study demonstrates that academic Orientalism as a national science was a contested vehicle of social mobility in the Hungarian transition from an imperial to a nation-state setting.
Gyurgyák JánosA Zsidókérdés Magyarországon (Budapest: Osiris Kiadó2001) pp. 61-87. Vera Ránki The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Jews and Nationalism in Hungary (New York: Holmes and Meier 1999) pp. 72-77.
Letter dated 25 June1910from Germanus to Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church in Box 1 A/13 A Dunamelléki Református Egyházkerület Ráday Levéltára (the Raday Archive of the Dunamelleki District of the Hungarian Reformed Church in the following RL).
Alder and DalbyThe Dervish of Windsor Castle p. 492.
Letter dated 14 December1907Box 36 MFM. Antall “Germanus Gyula (1884-1979)” pp. 306f.
Letter dated 25 June1910from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. I have not found any trace of Germanus at any Oxford college so far.
Letter dated 7 October1908from Vámbéry to Germanus Box 36 MFM.
Letter dated 19 February1909from Vámbéry to Germanus Box 36 MFM.
Germanus arrived in Budapest in June1909. Letter dated 25 June 1910 from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. Cf. 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL. Thus his later narrative of collecting “the honey of knowledge for years” in England (Germanus “A félhold fakó fényében” p. 81; repeated in Antall “Germanus Gyula [1884-1979]” p. 307) is exaggerated as he spent 18 months (January 1908-June 1909) there.
Letter dated 25 June1910from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. For the exact date cf. his “Nyilatkozat” (Statement) dated 30 May 1940 490 d K636 MOL.
Letter dated 16 January1912from Kúnos to Minister in KAIH I BCEL. Note dated 30 April 1911 in KAIH I BCEL.
Ligeti Lajos“Az Akadémia könyvtára és az orientalisztika”Magyar Könyvszemle1 (1977) pp. 3-13. There has been also significant research on the Ottoman conquest of Hungary including the quest to regain the precious medieval library of King Matthias. Arbanász Ildikó and Csorba György “Magyar kutatók az isztambuli levél- és könyvtárakban a második világháború előtt” in: Dobrovits Mihály (ed.) A kísérlet folytatódik – Vámbéry tanulmányok II (Dunaszerdahely: Lilium Aurum 2005) pp. 7-46.
Letter dated 15 September1915from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.
Letter dated 16 September1915from Ministry to Kúnos Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL. Cf. the previous argument of having no other teachers!
Letter dated 17 October1915from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.
Letter dated 7 March1918from Secretary of State to Kúnos Box 1918/19 KAIH BCEL.
Letter dated 16 December1915from Germanus to Magyar Királyi Keleti Kereskedelmi Akadémia Felügyelő Bizottsága Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.
A handwritten note dated 9 May1916Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL. Yet in the curriculum for the first semester of academic year 1916/17 only Turkish classes are registered under his name. Sheet dated 10 October 1916 Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL.
Dr. Germanus GyulaTúrán (Budapest: A szerző saját kiadása [The writer’s own publication]1916) p. 2.
During1916he wished to be promoted from “instructor” to “university lecturer” (rendes tanár). Letter dated 17 April 1916 from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL. Refusal dated 4 May 1916 from Ministry to Kúnos Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL. In 1917 his request was again refused. Letter dated 30 October 1917 from the Minister of Religion and Education to Khuen-Héderváry Károly Box 36 MFM.
Copy of a letter dated 17 October19196/b 35 KKDH BCEL.
A report by Germanus dated 3 October19216/b 35 KKDH BCEL. The document survived as part of a court process against a teacher Dr. Géza Birkás who accused Germanus of Communist cooperation letter dated 8 November 1921 from the Dean to the Minister 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL. Germanus signed a student’s (Ferenc Szanter) certificate in March 1919 in Budapest Box 1918/19 KAIH BCEL.
Letter dated 11 February1922in 5/b 4 I/880 KKDH BCEL. Kúnos – who remained Institute director for its first year – asked for Germanus’ promotion on the argument that he also taught at the Theological Academy and that his promotion had been delayed only by the war. Letter dated 3 May 1922 from Kúnos to “Méltóságos Uram” (Teleki?) 5/b 4 I/880 KKDH BCEL.
Letter dated 30 January1923written to the Faculty by an unknown individual (illegible signature probably Dengl János) in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.
Letter dated 15 February1923Germanus to ? (the Dean?) accompanied by medical proof dated 14 February 1923 in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.
Letter dated 29 September1923Germanus to ? in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.
Letter dated 11 October1924from the Faculty (Dean?) to ? 5/b 6 I/1735 KKDH BCEL.
A note by the Dean dated 16 February1926and the complaints of Germanus dated 3 January 1927 both in 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.
Note dated 8 February19266/b 35 KKDH BCEL in which Germanus refers to having already worked as a translator at the Court of Budapest about which there is no data so far.
Letter dated 9 May1927Germanus to Dean 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.
Note dated 26 June19266/b 35 KKDH BCEL. In his memoirs he writes that thanks to his “book” the Government of Mustafa Atatürk invited him to new Turkey in 1928: Germanus “A félhold fakó fényében” p. 103. The book in question is an article Germanus Gyula “A török forradalom” in: Budapesti Szemle n. 604 (March 1928) pp. 342-371 that was also published in French in three parts during March-April-May 1928 as Jules Germanus “Pensées sur la Révolution Turque”in: Revue de Hongrie Vol. 21 n. 27-28-29. Yet in another (unpublished) memoir he dates his trip to 1927. “Emlékezéseim a PEN Clubra” dated 12 February 1966 Box 28 MFM.
Letter dated 2 August1931from Germanus to Ministry of Education in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL.
Letter dated 3 August1931from Germanus to the Dean (Teleki) in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL. Cf. Balazs Ablonczy Pal Teleki (1879-1941): The Life of a Controversial Hungarian Politician (Boulder: East European Monographs Budapest: Institute of Habsburg History 2006).
Letter dated 20 January1932Dean to the Ministry and letter dated 31 March 1932 Dean to the Ministry both in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja 490 d K636 MOL. Cf. also the letter of Germanus to the Dean dated 21 December 1931 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.
Germanus Gyula“Vámbéry Ármin”Nyugat(December 1932) electronic version http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00022/00548/17157.htm 16 November 2011.
Letter dated 26 September1935Germanus to “Polgármester” (Mayor of Budapest) “több ízben tárgyaltam Abdul Latiffal a Gül-Baba bizottság megbízásából [...] kérésemre pathologikus módon reagált [...] önmagából kikelve bosszút forralt.” Box 35 MFM. (“I had discussions with Abdul Latif on behalf of the Gül-Baba committee [...] hearing my request he reacted in a pathological way [...] completely beside himself he planned revenge.”)
Letter dated 5 May1933from Abdul Latif to Le Consul D’Egypte à Vienne; (old system of cataloguing:) ʿĀbdīn Maḥfaẓa 195 Dār al-Wathāʾiq al-Qawmiyya (Egyptian National Archives).
Anonymous article“al-Islām fī l-Majar” in al-Siyāsa al-Usbūʿiyya(1937?) press cut in Box 35 MFM.
Letter dated 26 September1935Germanus to “Polgármester” Box 35 MFM.
Letter dated ? October1935to Minister from Gül Baba Committee Box 35 MFM.
Letter dated 22 June1936to Germanus from Egyetemi Tanács Box 35 MFM.
Letters dated 14 June 1936 and 15 June19366/b 35 KKDH BCEL.
Philip K. HittiHistory of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present (New York: St. Martin’s Press1953) p. 119. Hans-Jürgen Philipp (review author) “Bibliografija Saudovskoj Aravii (Bibliographie Saudi-Arabiens)” in: WI Vol. 26 (1986) pp. 243ff.