Farewell from the peasantry

The disintegration of peasant society is a long process whose most tragic chapter followed after the Second World War. The exhibition summons up the moments of farewell.
Szerző: Skanzen 2018. március 17.

Farewell from the peasantry 

 

The disintegration of peasant society is a long process whose most tragic chapter followed after the Second World War. After having implemented the compulsory delivery of produce (requisition), the forcible seizure of products (“sweeping the lofts”), the listing of kulaks and other intimidating measures, the communist regime hit the final nail in the symbolic coffin of the peasantry with the forced and aggressive collectivization. 

 

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The permanent exhibitions of the Hungarian Open Air Museum in Szentendre evoke first of all the daily life, the holidays and the traditions of the Hungarian peasantry as centuries had shaped them.  The exhibition however has the purpose to highlight a subject less known. We present the process of disintegration of the peasant lifestyle, the disappearance and brutal liquidation of this social group by using a peculiar method of setting-up. Texts, images, sound and objects illustrate a social group’s suffering and the end of their traditional way of life.  

 

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The exhibition’s subject is based on the decades-long research carried out by the ethnographer Friderika Bíró and the historian Lajos Für. The result of their scientific research is recorded in three volumes: Historic essay outlines the history of the Hungarian peasantry, Interviews  is composed of original recollections and narratives of peasants and the Collection of Sources  gives an insight into the tragic one and a half decade following 1945 through archive documents of the period richly illustrated with photos.

 

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Recollections and stories reflect personnel fates, human destinies as confirmed by the several thousand minutes of recording and the huge pile of written documents, seemingly dull historic data. The tragic events of the 20th century – with their adverse consequences up to now - shaped the fates and broke the lives of the peasantry. The exhibition summons up the moments of farewell. Former peasants say good-bye to all, which used to rule their life before: the soil, the family, the farm, the tools, the festive days, the village and their memories. This is not a willing farewell; it is a forced partition, due to aggression.  

 

Learn more about this historical episode in the House of Drávacsehi, in the Southern-Transdanubia regional unit of the permanent exhibition.

Hungarian peasantry exhibition peasant farewall thematic exhibition


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