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Simon, Attila

ungarischstämmiger slowakischer Historiker

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hvg - Hungary | 30/09/2010

Attila Simon on the disparate versions of history in Hungary and Slovakia

Against the backdrop of tense relations between the neighbouring states Slovakia and Hungary, historian Attlia Simon draws attention to the biased versions of history to be found in the two countries' history books. Writing in the weekly paper Heti Világgazdaság the Hungarian-born Slovakian is particularly critical of textbooks used at schools: "There is still a yawning gap ... between how the two countries assess and convey their joint history. True, schools are conservative institutions which change only slowly over time, but in the meantime one generation after another is learning from history books that portray their own nation as good and tolerant and the other as bad and nationalist. The strange thing is that if there are two neighbouring nations that share a more or less problem-free joint past then it's the Hungarians and the Slovakians. They developed into modern nations within the same state framework [the Austro-Hungarian empire]. And their relationship is unburdened by mass graves - unlike Greek-Turkish, Franco-German or Serb-Croat relations. And yet despite the centuries of common history their respective versions of history are extremely different - in our schools we convey two entirely different pictures of the same past. ... Is it permissible to distort the past in history books? Don't our schoolchildren count for anything?"

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