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Limits to religious freedom

After the trauma of the secession of Hungary (after World War I), national conservative forces dominated the political and the cultural landscape, cutting back some of the liberal legislation of the late 1800s. Hungary became a small country surrounded all around by countries that had formerly belonged to her – and large ethnic Hungarian minorities. The country got involved into World War II and came under German occupation on the 19th of March 1944. In the following few months the vast majority of Hungarian Jewry – enjoying relative security until then – was deported and killed (Hungary lost ¾ of its Jewish population).
After World War II, the communists came into power with Soviet assistance and eliminated the democratic structures, human rights as well as the rule of law. Communist authorities systematically harassed clergy and believers. Religious freedom was only on the dead paper of the Constitution. The "separation" imposed was nothing else but strict state control and persecution. As control over the churches became almost total, open persecution got somewhat milder ("goulash communism"), but the guiding principles did not change until 1989. In the 70s and 80s churches were relatively free to worship within church buildings but there was no space for any kind of social action (communication, charity, organizations, institutions, religious orders etc.).

D 20 September 2012    ABalázs Schanda

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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