The word RESCAPE is made up of the words Return and Escape denoting the fact that the project consists of two equally important, diversely accentuated, but supplementary parts. Both parts focus on the historical period of forced migration (1938-1956), hence the Shoah, the liberation and the expulsion during the Communist dictatorship, however approaching it from different perspectives. In the so-called Return project homecoming, the difficult geographical and emotional way back home becomes the central topic of analysis, while the Escape project documents the dramatic story of survivors escaped persecution in the cataclysm of the twentieth century in Hungary.

We shall note that although there are plenty of projects conducted on the historical period of forced migration (1938-1956), most of them focus on general political history and less on personal experiences. We believe that beside facts and figures, personal memories and stories could contribute to deepen our knowledge on deportation, extermination and expulsion and provide a better understanding of our past which at the same time affects our conceptions of present and past. In other words, we make the present by remembering the past; which thus serves as a point of departure for new decisions and actions.

In this project personal life stories demonstrate "histories” instead of "history”, the heterogeneity of lived experiences. They show that people coming from various ethnic, social and gender backgrounds recall diverse, sometimes even contradictory memories on concentration camps or forced labour as well as interpret differently the notion of home, the idea of the nation, the ideology of Communism or the principles of morality.

As for the material that is used, biographical interview collections of the Voices of the 20th Century Archive – interviews with Hungarian Survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp, former forced labourers from Hungary and Slovakia and émigrés of 1944-1956 – constitute the backbone of the RESCAPE project.

Considering methodology, life story interviews are analyzed with the using biographical analysis and mixed text analysis. This technique combines objective hermeneutics and methods of narration analysis as well as makes it possible to analyse the intersections between experienced and narrated life, or between the institutional and individual aspects of reality, within the context of one’s biography.

Besides preserving, processing materials and providing the opportunity for historical and political researches, our aim is to offer methodological tools for analysis and to contribute to the dissemination and teaching about these historical periods. That is to say that with the rich and bilingual material developed in the project, teachers in Hungary and abroad will have an effective tool in their hands to commemorate the victims of Nazism and Communism in their own schools and communities. Furthermore, pupils and students would have rich sources to discuss about the events, experiences and lessons of WWII that eventually lead to both the founding of the European Community and the establishment of totalitarian regimes.

As a consequence of the above, this web-site is constructed to contribute to the commemoration of the victims of Nazism and Stalinism to the interested public. It helps future research and educational projects by providing sources and pedagogical material to enhance reflections on the causes and consequences of Nazism and Communism. It also provides opportunities domestically and internationally for cooperation among organizations active in this field of action.

The project was initiated by the Voices of the 20th Century Archive (Institute of Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences) in cooperation with the following institutions and scientific networks: Mauthausen Memorial (Vienna), Karta Foundation (Warsaw); Visual History Archive (Berlin), Dokumenta (Zagreb), Memorial (Russia), HAVER Informal Jewish Educational Public Benefit Foundation, Student Organisation of Social SciencesAssociation of Hungarian History Teachers and with the Department of Community and Media Studies, University of Pécs. RESCAPE project is financed by EACEA ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme. Special thanks for Tímea Baumann, György Németh and István Vörös.

Project staff:

habil. Dr. Éva Kovács, project leader

CsC. Tímea Tibori, project coordinator

Prof. Dr. György Csepeli, expert

Prof. Dr. Antal Örkény, expert

Gárdos Judit, edition, digitization

Anna Szász, translation, web design

Dr. Zsuzsa Vidra, project manager

Dr. Máté Zombory, education, edition