Milk Sauce and Paprika

Migration, Childhood and Memories of the Interwar Belgian-Hungarian Child Relief Project

Vera Hajto

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The compelling story of Hungarian children living with Belgian families during the interwar period
Children who migrated without their families were noteworthy participants of interwar European migration history. Milk Sauce and Paprika tells the story of Hungarian children who were sent to Belgium in the framework of a humanitarian project between 1923 and 1927.

Based on a wide variety of sources such as official documents, contemporary newspapers, photographs, family correspondences, biographies and interviews, this book examines the history of the Belgian-Hungarian child relief project and describes its social and cultural impacts on the families involved in both countries.

This compelling story of one of the first mass European child migration movements offers new insights in the dynamics of national and religious communities. Furthermore, it sheds light on intimate family life and contemporary habits and values regarding parenting and co-parenting in the interwar period. Cutting across national and cultural borders, this monograph connects individual and collective memory with the experiences of childhood and migration.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Acknowledgements

Introduction
Migration and Childhood
States, Organisations, Families and Children: Levels of Analysis
Concepts: 'Holiday' -; 'Migration' -; 'Foster'
About Childhood: Archives, Ego-documents and Oral History

Part I
States, Institutions, and the Welfare of Children
Chapter 1. Nations and Actors
International Relief Projects for Children and Pacifistic Objectives
Economy, Politics and Social Circumstances -; Belgium and Hungary
Introducing the Actors: the State, the Organisers and the Catholic Church

Chapter 2. Practising Propaganda and Negotiating Collective Identities: “Catholic people of the Kempen! Think about the Hungarian children”
In the Newspapers
During Festivities
From the Travel Reports
'Are the Children Suffering from Hunger in Hungary?': Mission Statement in the Form of a Polemic
Concluding Remarks to Part I

Part II
The Family Network -; The Best Interests of the Child
Chapter 1. The Hungarian Nation and the Best Interests of its Families and its Children
“Walking Red Tulips”: They are the Future of the Hungarian Nation
Fairy Tales, Mythical Figures and the Relief Project
Fairy Tale Gone Bad?
Practising Social Control

Chapter 2. About the Families
Staying with Families
What Kinds of Families?
Assistance to the Families
The Question of 'Adoption'

Chapter 3. Representation and Bonding of Families
Photographing the Family -; Photographing the Hungarian Child
Exchanging Letters -; Creating Families
Concluding Remarks to Part II

Part III
Children -; Migrants -; Identities: Between 'Motherland' and 'Home'
Chapter 1. The Returned Ones
Exchanging Letters -; Retaining Attachment
'Anna uit Hongarije'

Chapter 2. Staying in Belgium -; Family and Friends
Letters from Home and Migrant Children
Girlfriends in Sisterhood
Hungarians around Us -; the Beginning of an Organisation
Collective Remembrance -; Bonheiden 2007
Remembering Individually
Concluding Remarks to Part III

Conclusion
Structure and Agency in Migration and Childhood
Memory that Defines
Life after the Relief Project

Appendices
Appendix 1. Confessional distribution of the Hungarian population around 1930
Appendix 2. Statistics of the Hungarian children who participated in the international relief project in the different countries
Appendix 3. Quantitative data on the relief project based on the lists of names of the Hungarian children (1923-1927)
Appendix 4. Estimation of number of children that remained in Belgium after the relief project

Notes
Illustration credits
Sources
Bibliography
Index

Format: Monograph - ebook

ISBN: 9789461662071

Publication: September 15, 2016

Languages: English

The stories of double belonging in the memories of the by now ninety-year-old Hungarian child migrants—inhabiting two lives, two families—linger long after the reader finishes the book. Hajtó offers us a glimpse into the ways the politicization of children and childhood in the wake of 1918 inscribed itself onto the bodies of real, living people.
Ilse Josepha Lazaroms, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2018, pp. 457-459, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/hcy.2018.0056

 

'Milk Sauce and Paprika' is een diepgravend, meerlagig boek, dat voortvloeit uit het doctoraatsonderzoek van Vera Hajto. Het boek is uitermate interessant voor al wie als student of onderzoeker met migratiegeschiedenis bezig is. 
Leen Beyers, Volkskunde, 2017, 2


 

Vera Hajtó kijkt tegelijkertijd met de bril van een antropologe, sociologe en historica. Met haar originele probleemstelling positioneert ze zich op de intersectie van verschillende onderzoekdisciplines, waardoor haar bijdrage zonder twijfel, zeker in de Belgische context, pionierswerk mag worden genoemd. Hoe dieper in het boek, hoe meer de individuele getuigenissen centraal komen te staan en de geschiedkundige insteek enigszins naar de achtergrond verdwijnt. De auteur weet trefzeker de groeiende verstrengeling van kinderwelzijn en natievorming aan te wijzen [...]
We kunnen met klem stellen dat Vera Hajtó door middel van haar uitgebreide set aan analytische en linguïstische skills en haar originele positie in het ruimere onderzoeksveld de typische valkuilen van een gevalstudie met succes weet te vermijden.

Chiara Candaele, Contemporanea, Jaargang XXXIX, 2017, Nummer 1