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Jaap Scholten – Comrade Baron: A Journey Through the Vanishing World of the Transylvanian Aristocracy
3rd May 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Scholten’s book – for which he won a distinguished history prize in his native Holland – is a fascinating piece of social history about Transylvania in the Communist aftermath of World War II. In the early hours of 3rd March 1949, almost all members of the Transylvanian aristocracy were arrested and loaded into lorries. That same day the Romanian Workers’ Party was pleased to announce the successful deportation and dispossession of all large landowners… Scholten travelled around Romania investigating what happened to the various families, speaking to descendants and those who still remembered them and piecing together this very difficult period of persecution and dispossession from many, often very personal, threads.
‘On my way out I cast another glance at the dark arched corridor where three Teleki descendants lived in the 1950s like mice in a bottle’.
A long-term resident of Budapest, Scholten’s literary output has previously consisted of novels and short stories, widely known on the continent but not (yet) translated into English.
The book was first published in English by a Hungarian publisher, Corvina, with no international distribution; we imported our copies directly from Budapest all through last year. (Scholten had promised one of his contacts that he would not allow the book to be published in Romanian or Hungarian during her lifetime, owing to her fear of repercussions on herself and her family). We are pleased that there has been sufficient interest in the book for it to be taken up by the Helena History Press, based in the US, whose new (and slightly expanded) edition will come out on 15th April.