Blinken OSA Archivum
HU OSA 369-1-1 Sociological Survey Interviews Related to the Roma in Hungary 1971
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Title
Sociological Survey Interviews Related to the Roma in Hungary 1971
Identity Statement
Date(s)
1971 - 1971
Identity Statement
Description Level
Series
Identity Statement
Extent and medium (processed)
9 Archival boxes, 1.12 linear meters
Context
Name of creator(s)
Roma Sajtóközpont Egyesület
Context
Archival history

Part of the documents of the groundbreaking sociological research on the Roma in Hungary called Gypsy Research, conducted in 1971, was rescued by Gábor Havas (see more in section Scope and Content). On the request of Péter Bernáth, Havas handed over these documents from his own archives to the Roma Press Center (RPC) for the purposes of making photocopies. RPC wished to use the interviews as resource for research and journalism. The entire archives of RPC, including these records, was deposited with the Blinken OSA Archivum when the RCP archives was terminated. The Archivum physically arranged, boxed, and provided an item level description in 2020 and 2021.

Further documents of the 1971 research project are in the series HU OSA 368-1-3 in the fonds István Kemény Personal Papers. The two series are closely connected and complement each other.

The Kemény fonds includes 44 interview transcripts that are missing from the RPC collection.

Gábor Havas found several more interview transcripts in the Zsolt Csalog collection held at the National Széchényi Library, and identified interviews conducted by Magda Matolay, believed to have been lost. Copies were handed over to Voices of the 20th Century (https://20szazadhangja.tk.hu/en) and to the Blinken OSA Archivum. These four collections thus have overlaps and complement each other.

On Gábor Havas’ insistence that all surviving interviews of the 1971 research project be kept in one collection, curator of the RPC fonds Zsuzsa Zádori, following a rather unusual archival practice, made photocopies of interviews that were missing from the original RPC material. As a result, the fullest possible set of interview transcript of the research on the Roma in 1971 is in the series HU OSA 369-1-1.

Content and structure
Scope and content (abstract)

István Kemény was hired by the Councils Office of the Council of Ministers, specifically by Imre Zagyva, to conduct a representative survey about the Roma in Hungary. The project ran under the auspices of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Sociology; fieldwork started and finished in 1971. The fieldwork was done by young researchers at the beginning of their career, as well as by young people interested in the topic but without any research experience. The latter were required to conduct one or two trial interviews and Kemény decided to hire or fire them. Zsolt Csalog, the highly-experienced anthropologist and researcher, participated as early as in the preparatory phase in 1970, and played a crucial role in the fieldwork. He conducted a pilot survey in Barcs to try the research means. Kemény’s intention was to include Roma, therefore he hired Menyhért Lakatos, Imre Sziklai, and, for a short period, József Choli Daróczi.

Description by Gábor Havas.

Content and structure
Scope and content (narrative)

The process of the sociological research project, details, and findings:

Each field-worker was assigned to a county where they conducted interviews in selected towns and villages, as specified in the survey instructions. Besides taking the survey questionnaire, they were to select Roma they considered worth interviewing, as well as non-Roma representatives of institutions that played an important role in the lives of and were in regular touch with the Roma (municipal councils, schools, police), and conduct and tape narrative interviews. The narrative interviews followed a structure and focused on certain topics. Kemény instructed the researchers that after the fieldwork, they were to write case studies on their counties. To gather sufficient information on their counties, field-workers visited villages outside their assignments, too. At these places, surveys were not taken, but some interviews were conducted. Interviews were recorded on tape and later typed up in three or four carbon copies. One copy was handed over to research leader István Kemény, and one to the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for administrative reasons. One or two copies remained with the interviewers. The transcriptions were meant to faithfully follow the voice recording, including sloppy or awkward sentences, digressions, interjections, characteristics of regional dialects and of bilingualism. Most of the interviews begin with presenting the circumstances of making the interview and introducing the interviewee. There is one item in the series that probably is an exception: based on the quality of the written text, it is highly probable that Menyhért Lakatos did not record the interview but wrote it down from memory—and possibly from notes. However, there is no clear proof for that.

While the fieldwork was going on, i.e., in most part of 1971, researchers met regularly on Tuesday afternoons in the Institute for Sociology, in Iván Szelényi’s office, which he lent to István Kemény on these occasions. (Kemény was not an employee of the Institute, hence he had no office there.) Apart from discussing the practical matters related to the project, these meetings functioned as seminars. Kemény made a point of systematically enrich the sociological and methodological knowledge of participants with a very diverse expertise and help them process and analyze their fieldwork experience. He regularly reiterated his own theory of lifestyle groups to explore the fine structures of social stratification and identify the differences between Roma groups of various backgrounds and history. At the Tuesday meetings, experience, problems, and conflicts from the fieldwork were discussed, too, which helped improve interviewing techniques and methods. On a few occasions, the person responsible for a county summarized their fieldwork, delineating typical phenomena and social tendencies. These brief presentations were followed by animated discussions inevitably inviting participants to exercise self-reflection and to think about what they should reconsider in their work method and attitude toward the research topic.

While—owing to the regular meetings and Kemény’s professional qualities, critical mind, pedagogical skills, and charisma—much tighter and intimate relationships formed among the participants than usually in such projects, and sensitive political issues were discussed, the political climate did not spare the research project. In late 1970, Kemény presented the main findings of another research on poverty led by himself to a selected small group of sociologists at the Academy headquarters. However reserved his presentation was, he broke one taboo: contradicting the official ideology, he publicly stated that poverty existed in Hungary caused partly by structural problems. Because of this “transgression,” the Communist party leadership declared him a persona non grata in Hungarian sociology, and was gradually deprived of all research possibilities. As the Roma research was already progressing, it was not cancelled, but inconveniences were caused. For instance, director of the Institute for Sociology Kálmán Kulcsár banned the Tuesday meetings from the building, which made finishing the fieldwork and handing in supplements harder. After a break, the seminars continued in private homes but with a different attendee group and about different topics.

There was a certain amount of turnover in the group of researchers. Some only got as far as to conduct their trial interview or did not make to the end of the project for personal reasons. Others were happy to participate in the fieldwork undertaking some tasks, but could not cover a whole county. As a result, after finishing their own counties, the core members of the group helped out in or took over entire counties. There were significant differences in the frequency of attendance at the Tuesday meetings that in turn greatly impacted participants’ commitment and quality of fieldwork.

This list shows which researcher worked in which county, as well as the number of surviving interviews:

County, Name of Researcher, Number of Interviews

Baranya – Gábor Havas 21

Bács-Kiskun – Menyhért Lakatos, József Mogács, Lajos Pass, Ottília Solt 8

Békés – Menyhért Lakatos 8

Borsod – Gábor Egri, Gábor Havas, Kálmán Rupp 14

Csongrád – probably no interview was made 0

Fejér – János Máté, László Szegő, Judit Vásárhelyi, Erika Törzsök 21

Győr-Sopron – András T. Hegedűs, Mária Neményi 21

Hajdú-Bihar – József Choli Daróczi, András Nagy 3

Heves – János Dávid, Magda Matolay 9

Komárom – János Máté, Erika Törzsök, Judit Vásárhelyi 38

Nógrád – János Dávid 14

Pest – Gábor Egri, Gyula Molnár, Imre Sziklai 39

Somogy – Zsolt Csalog 0

Szabolcs-Szatmár – Menyhért Lakatos 8

Szolnok – Zsolt Csalog 5

Tolna – probably no interview was made 0

Vas – Gyula Molnár 22

Veszprém – Gabriella Lengyel 6

Zala – Gabriella Lengyel 9

Budapest* – Mária Bálint, Attiláné Ballay, József Mogács, Zsuzsa Sándor, Imre Sziklai, Erika Törzsök 25

* Trial interviews were mostly made in Budapest.

The interviews were never meant to be representative: as opposed to surveys following a strict sampling method, in this project it was accidental, due to a number of factors, where, with whom, and how many interviews were conducted. A surprisingly low number of interviews were made in Borsod, Heves, and Szabolcs, the counties with the highest rates of Roma population, while relatively many in Vas, where the proportion of the Roma was definitely low. Furthermore, not all of the interviews survived. Nevertheless, the existing interviews paint a faithful picture of the diversity and internal stratification of the Roma in Hungary in the early 1970s. Interviewees include the highly-integrated and/or -assimilated Roma population, groups living in total exclusion and extreme poverty, as well as Roma sticking to old lifestyles with only slightly modernized traditional occupations.

While there is no exact data on how many interviews were taken, it is certain that there were considerably more than the currently existing 290. In theory, a full set was submitted to the Institute for Sociology. In the mid-1980s, Gábor Havas was contacted by a staff of the Institute, informing him that the documents of the 1971 Roma survey were being scrapped and he must hurry there to save what he can. Havas inspected the papers placed in cardboard boxes in the corridor, and transported all of the interviews to his home. Going through them carefully, he established that the set was very incomplete: interviews made, for instance, by Zsolt Csalog, János Dávid, Gábor Havas, Gabriella Lengyel—all of whom Havas knew to have conducted interviews—were missing. On the other hand, there were interviews conducted by people, such as Attiláné Ballay, Gábir Egri, János Máté, József Mogács, and Imre Sziklai, Havas never even had known to have participated in the project, because they never attended the Tuesday meetings. Havas had a copy of all of his own interviews, and so did Gabriella Lengyel of hers, to fill in the blanks in the collection. At that time, Zsolt Csalog lived abroad and could not be contacted. In hindsight, Havas thinks it was a grave mistake not to have talked to Csalog and Kemény, after they had returned from emigration, about how to recover missing interviews. “What I failed to do then, can hardly be done today; the truth is, in the early 1990s, no one even though about making the set of interviews complete. This happened only in the mid-2000s, when the staff of the Roma Press Center proposed it,” wrote Havas. He was contacted by Péter Bernáth on behalf of RPC, who asked him to lend his interviews for copying. Then Bernáth started to investigate the whereabouts of other missing interviews. He contacted one-time participants of the project János Dávid, Gabriella Lengyel, and Mária Neményi. All three contributed with their interviews. However, Bernáth failed to obtain any meaningful information on Csalog’s interviews. Havas only learnt as late as in 2013, that Éva Bognár, Csalog’s last partner, handed over the estate she kept to the manuscript collection of the National Széchényi Library. When going through the material, Havas found several documents related to the 1971 research project, but none of the interviews conducted by Csalog. At the same time, he found seven interviews conducted by Magda Matolay in Heves County, which were made in this research project beyond doubt—they are dated April to July, 1971 (F445/1244, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1249, 1250, 1251, 1252). Havas placed a copy of them in the Voices of the 20th Century archives. Another set of copies were placed in HU OSA 361-1-1 at the Blinken OSA Archivum in 2021.

Most probably, many interviews are still missing; the most important among them, the ones conducted by Csalog, who worked alone in two counties (Somogy and Szolnok). He wrote a study on both counties, as well as additional case studies (Barcs, Jászfényszaru). Evidence clearly shows that Csalog went to two other counties as well (Csongrád, Békés). In the estate held at the National Library, Havas found a typewritten document of 145 pages (F445/80) consisting of four separate writings: the two county studies (Somogy, Szolnok), one entitled „Findings of the Pilot Surveys Taken in the Gypsy Settlement in Barcs,” and an eight-page paper „The Gypsies in Szentes, Csongrád and Makó.” The fact that these writings were typed up in one document suggests that the latest case study was made for the Kemény research project, too. Most probably, so was „Gypsies in Békés County” found in the Csalog estate, which was the final paper of a research started in January 1972, discussing in detail the towns Békés, Doboz, Endrőd, Mezőberény, Orosháza, Szarvas, and Szigethalom in the county. Csalog, an ardent and excellent practitioner of in-depth sociological interviewing, thus appears to have visited several towns in four counties in the frames of a research project applying this method. Knowing the methodological considerations of the research project as well as Csalog’s working method and attraction to the genre of fictional literature based on taped in-depth interviews (published in

Nine Gypsies

;

Peasant Novel

;

I Wanted to See the Sea

, etc.), it seems unimaginable that he did not make a large number of interviews. However, at the same time there is no irrefutable evidence of his having done so. In his study on Szolnok County, he only quotes from interviews with teachers, allowing only to conclude that he interviewed teachers. In the paper on Somogy County, Havas found one single interview excerpt in which the Roma interviewee says a few sentences about his Roma identity and his relationship with Roma subgroups. In the rest of the case studies, Csalog does not include interview excerpts at all. To conclude, there is no clear evidence either having or not having conducted interviews.

Though not participating in the Roma survey because she was busy working in the research on “economic managers,” Ottilia Solt did some fieldwork in Bács-Kiskun County, including making a number of interviews. However, these did not survive. Havas could identify five of his own interviews without any surviving copies: with József Balogh in Bogádmindszent, György Orsós in Cserkút, István Kalányos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta, János Kalányos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta, István Lakatos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta.

It is clear that Havas taped and then typed up these interviews because he abundantly quoted from all of them in his paper on Baranya County. It is probable that interviews made by other researchers are missing too, especially ones belonging to interviewers whose material was not found in the Institute for Sociology, such as János Dávid, Gabriella Lengyel, and Mária Neményi.

Theoretically, the county studies and case studies on smaller topics could help give an accurate estimate of the number of missing interviews. However, not all researchers in charge of a county produced a county study, and not all of these studies are available.

The findings of the 1971 research project were published in an internal publication of the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences entitled

Report on the Research on the Situation of the Gypsies in Hungary Conducted in 1971

in 1976. The Foreword explaining the editorial guidelines includes a footnote which lists six county studies:

Zsolt Csalog, Somogy County (The Foreword mistakenly names Menyhért Lakatos as author); Zsolt Csalog, Szolnok County; Gábor Havas, Baranya County; Gyula Molnár, Pest County; Gyula Molnár, Vas County; Erika Törzsök, Komárom County.

Editor Mária Palkovics, however, decided to include only the Szolnok County study fully and one chapter from the Baranya County study in the volume.

The study on Somogy County, as well as all of Csalog’s writings related to the 1971 research are held at the manuscript collection of the National Széchényi Library:

F445/478 The Gypsies in Somogy County; F445/477 The Gypsies in Békés County; F445/480 The Gypsies in Szentes, Csongrád and Makó; F445/481 The Gypsies in Jászfényszaru in 1971; F445/80 Findings of the pilot survey conducted in the Gypsy settlement in Barcs.

Havas’ county paper „Woodcarver Gypsies in Baranya County” was nearly fully included in the volume

Research on Gypsies

(Művelődéskutató Intézet, Budapest, 1982, ed. Mihály Andor).

According to Havas, the rest of the county papers were never published.

Apart from István Kemény’s final paper and the county studies, a number of case studies were produced on specific villages or topics. These can be a useful source to analyze and interpret the interviews.

Series description by Gábor Havas.

Content and structure
Accruals
Not Expected
Content and structure
System of arrangement

Almost all of the interview transcripts in the Roma Press Center collection are xerox copies.

Besides the interview transcripts, the series includes studies, drafts—some of them are contemporary typewritten manuscripts—related to the 1971 research project.

The Blinken OSA Archivum saved a few of the original folders in which the papers had been kept, with a view to use them in exhibitions and other events.

In describing the interviews, the Archivum observed the rules of handling personal data. Instead of full names of interviewees, initials are used in the Title /Original Title fields, followed by the place of the interview (city, county). However, the archival documents (the transcripts) are not sanitized: in the Archivum’s Research Room, researchers will be given photocopies of the original documents. In the Contents Summary field, the cataloger entered descriptive key words as well as the interviewer’s name.

Each document is placed in an individual folder, i.e. each interview is one archival record. As a result, each interview has a unique archival identifier, or call number.

The physical and intellectual processing and keywording was done by Erzsébet Szöllősi.

Conditions of access and use
Conditions governing access
Partially Restricted (295 Folder/Item Restricted - -1 Folder/Item Not Restricted)
Conditions of access and use
Conditions governing reproduction
Third party rights are to be cleared.
Conditions of access and use
Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The overwhelming majority of the documents are photocopies of typescripts made in 1971. Characteristic of typing on contemporary typewriters and papers, some letters are hardly seen or missing altogether, certain letters or entire sections are faint. This may make reading the pages hard.

Allied Materials
Publication note
Apart from the case studies mentioned, the following are known to exist: János Dávid on Nagybátony; János Dávid on Kazár; János Dávid on Nógrád County, Gábor Egri on Nyíri and Tiszakarád; István Kemény, “The Gypsy Population in Hungary” (the abridged version of the final study published in <i>Valóság</i> 1974:1); Menyhért Lakatos, Gypsy Community, Gypsy Settlements (<i>Valóság</i> 1974:1); Gabriella Lengyel, The Musician Gypsies in Letenye (<i>Zalai Tükör</i> 1974, Vol 2, pp 25–41.) Digitally available: http://www.sulinet.hu/oroksegtar/data/magyarorszagi_nemzetisegek/romak/tanulmanyok_a_ciganysag_helyzete/pages/008_a_letenyei_muzsikusciganyok.htm); Kálmán Rupp, On the Gypsy Question in Hungary (In <i>Report on the Research Project of 1971 on the Situation of Gypsies in Hungary</i>. Publication of the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 1976).
Description Control
Archivist's note
The item level processing and cataloging was carried out by Erzsébet Szöllősi in year 2021. Cataloging project supervisor: Zsuzsanna Zádori. Editors: Zsuzsanna Zádori and Judit Hegedűs (Blinken OSA).
HU OSA 369-1-1 Sociological Survey Interviews Related to the Roma in Hungary 1971
BookIconSeries Description
Context
Hierarchy
Statistics
Folders / Items
Identity Statement
Title
Sociological Survey Interviews Related to the Roma in Hungary 1971
Identity Statement
Date(s)
1971 - 1971
Identity Statement
Description Level
Series
Identity Statement
Extent and medium (processed)
9 Archival boxes, 1.12 linear meters
Context
Name of creator(s)
Roma Sajtóközpont Egyesület
Context
Archival history

Part of the documents of the groundbreaking sociological research on the Roma in Hungary called Gypsy Research, conducted in 1971, was rescued by Gábor Havas (see more in section Scope and Content). On the request of Péter Bernáth, Havas handed over these documents from his own archives to the Roma Press Center (RPC) for the purposes of making photocopies. RPC wished to use the interviews as resource for research and journalism. The entire archives of RPC, including these records, was deposited with the Blinken OSA Archivum when the RCP archives was terminated. The Archivum physically arranged, boxed, and provided an item level description in 2020 and 2021.

Further documents of the 1971 research project are in the series HU OSA 368-1-3 in the fonds István Kemény Personal Papers. The two series are closely connected and complement each other.

The Kemény fonds includes 44 interview transcripts that are missing from the RPC collection.

Gábor Havas found several more interview transcripts in the Zsolt Csalog collection held at the National Széchényi Library, and identified interviews conducted by Magda Matolay, believed to have been lost. Copies were handed over to Voices of the 20th Century (https://20szazadhangja.tk.hu/en) and to the Blinken OSA Archivum. These four collections thus have overlaps and complement each other.

On Gábor Havas’ insistence that all surviving interviews of the 1971 research project be kept in one collection, curator of the RPC fonds Zsuzsa Zádori, following a rather unusual archival practice, made photocopies of interviews that were missing from the original RPC material. As a result, the fullest possible set of interview transcript of the research on the Roma in 1971 is in the series HU OSA 369-1-1.

Content and structure
Scope and content (abstract)

István Kemény was hired by the Councils Office of the Council of Ministers, specifically by Imre Zagyva, to conduct a representative survey about the Roma in Hungary. The project ran under the auspices of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Sociology; fieldwork started and finished in 1971. The fieldwork was done by young researchers at the beginning of their career, as well as by young people interested in the topic but without any research experience. The latter were required to conduct one or two trial interviews and Kemény decided to hire or fire them. Zsolt Csalog, the highly-experienced anthropologist and researcher, participated as early as in the preparatory phase in 1970, and played a crucial role in the fieldwork. He conducted a pilot survey in Barcs to try the research means. Kemény’s intention was to include Roma, therefore he hired Menyhért Lakatos, Imre Sziklai, and, for a short period, József Choli Daróczi.

Description by Gábor Havas.

Content and structure
Scope and content (narrative)

The process of the sociological research project, details, and findings:

Each field-worker was assigned to a county where they conducted interviews in selected towns and villages, as specified in the survey instructions. Besides taking the survey questionnaire, they were to select Roma they considered worth interviewing, as well as non-Roma representatives of institutions that played an important role in the lives of and were in regular touch with the Roma (municipal councils, schools, police), and conduct and tape narrative interviews. The narrative interviews followed a structure and focused on certain topics. Kemény instructed the researchers that after the fieldwork, they were to write case studies on their counties. To gather sufficient information on their counties, field-workers visited villages outside their assignments, too. At these places, surveys were not taken, but some interviews were conducted. Interviews were recorded on tape and later typed up in three or four carbon copies. One copy was handed over to research leader István Kemény, and one to the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for administrative reasons. One or two copies remained with the interviewers. The transcriptions were meant to faithfully follow the voice recording, including sloppy or awkward sentences, digressions, interjections, characteristics of regional dialects and of bilingualism. Most of the interviews begin with presenting the circumstances of making the interview and introducing the interviewee. There is one item in the series that probably is an exception: based on the quality of the written text, it is highly probable that Menyhért Lakatos did not record the interview but wrote it down from memory—and possibly from notes. However, there is no clear proof for that.

While the fieldwork was going on, i.e., in most part of 1971, researchers met regularly on Tuesday afternoons in the Institute for Sociology, in Iván Szelényi’s office, which he lent to István Kemény on these occasions. (Kemény was not an employee of the Institute, hence he had no office there.) Apart from discussing the practical matters related to the project, these meetings functioned as seminars. Kemény made a point of systematically enrich the sociological and methodological knowledge of participants with a very diverse expertise and help them process and analyze their fieldwork experience. He regularly reiterated his own theory of lifestyle groups to explore the fine structures of social stratification and identify the differences between Roma groups of various backgrounds and history. At the Tuesday meetings, experience, problems, and conflicts from the fieldwork were discussed, too, which helped improve interviewing techniques and methods. On a few occasions, the person responsible for a county summarized their fieldwork, delineating typical phenomena and social tendencies. These brief presentations were followed by animated discussions inevitably inviting participants to exercise self-reflection and to think about what they should reconsider in their work method and attitude toward the research topic.

While—owing to the regular meetings and Kemény’s professional qualities, critical mind, pedagogical skills, and charisma—much tighter and intimate relationships formed among the participants than usually in such projects, and sensitive political issues were discussed, the political climate did not spare the research project. In late 1970, Kemény presented the main findings of another research on poverty led by himself to a selected small group of sociologists at the Academy headquarters. However reserved his presentation was, he broke one taboo: contradicting the official ideology, he publicly stated that poverty existed in Hungary caused partly by structural problems. Because of this “transgression,” the Communist party leadership declared him a persona non grata in Hungarian sociology, and was gradually deprived of all research possibilities. As the Roma research was already progressing, it was not cancelled, but inconveniences were caused. For instance, director of the Institute for Sociology Kálmán Kulcsár banned the Tuesday meetings from the building, which made finishing the fieldwork and handing in supplements harder. After a break, the seminars continued in private homes but with a different attendee group and about different topics.

There was a certain amount of turnover in the group of researchers. Some only got as far as to conduct their trial interview or did not make to the end of the project for personal reasons. Others were happy to participate in the fieldwork undertaking some tasks, but could not cover a whole county. As a result, after finishing their own counties, the core members of the group helped out in or took over entire counties. There were significant differences in the frequency of attendance at the Tuesday meetings that in turn greatly impacted participants’ commitment and quality of fieldwork.

This list shows which researcher worked in which county, as well as the number of surviving interviews:

County, Name of Researcher, Number of Interviews

Baranya – Gábor Havas 21

Bács-Kiskun – Menyhért Lakatos, József Mogács, Lajos Pass, Ottília Solt 8

Békés – Menyhért Lakatos 8

Borsod – Gábor Egri, Gábor Havas, Kálmán Rupp 14

Csongrád – probably no interview was made 0

Fejér – János Máté, László Szegő, Judit Vásárhelyi, Erika Törzsök 21

Győr-Sopron – András T. Hegedűs, Mária Neményi 21

Hajdú-Bihar – József Choli Daróczi, András Nagy 3

Heves – János Dávid, Magda Matolay 9

Komárom – János Máté, Erika Törzsök, Judit Vásárhelyi 38

Nógrád – János Dávid 14

Pest – Gábor Egri, Gyula Molnár, Imre Sziklai 39

Somogy – Zsolt Csalog 0

Szabolcs-Szatmár – Menyhért Lakatos 8

Szolnok – Zsolt Csalog 5

Tolna – probably no interview was made 0

Vas – Gyula Molnár 22

Veszprém – Gabriella Lengyel 6

Zala – Gabriella Lengyel 9

Budapest* – Mária Bálint, Attiláné Ballay, József Mogács, Zsuzsa Sándor, Imre Sziklai, Erika Törzsök 25

* Trial interviews were mostly made in Budapest.

The interviews were never meant to be representative: as opposed to surveys following a strict sampling method, in this project it was accidental, due to a number of factors, where, with whom, and how many interviews were conducted. A surprisingly low number of interviews were made in Borsod, Heves, and Szabolcs, the counties with the highest rates of Roma population, while relatively many in Vas, where the proportion of the Roma was definitely low. Furthermore, not all of the interviews survived. Nevertheless, the existing interviews paint a faithful picture of the diversity and internal stratification of the Roma in Hungary in the early 1970s. Interviewees include the highly-integrated and/or -assimilated Roma population, groups living in total exclusion and extreme poverty, as well as Roma sticking to old lifestyles with only slightly modernized traditional occupations.

While there is no exact data on how many interviews were taken, it is certain that there were considerably more than the currently existing 290. In theory, a full set was submitted to the Institute for Sociology. In the mid-1980s, Gábor Havas was contacted by a staff of the Institute, informing him that the documents of the 1971 Roma survey were being scrapped and he must hurry there to save what he can. Havas inspected the papers placed in cardboard boxes in the corridor, and transported all of the interviews to his home. Going through them carefully, he established that the set was very incomplete: interviews made, for instance, by Zsolt Csalog, János Dávid, Gábor Havas, Gabriella Lengyel—all of whom Havas knew to have conducted interviews—were missing. On the other hand, there were interviews conducted by people, such as Attiláné Ballay, Gábir Egri, János Máté, József Mogács, and Imre Sziklai, Havas never even had known to have participated in the project, because they never attended the Tuesday meetings. Havas had a copy of all of his own interviews, and so did Gabriella Lengyel of hers, to fill in the blanks in the collection. At that time, Zsolt Csalog lived abroad and could not be contacted. In hindsight, Havas thinks it was a grave mistake not to have talked to Csalog and Kemény, after they had returned from emigration, about how to recover missing interviews. “What I failed to do then, can hardly be done today; the truth is, in the early 1990s, no one even though about making the set of interviews complete. This happened only in the mid-2000s, when the staff of the Roma Press Center proposed it,” wrote Havas. He was contacted by Péter Bernáth on behalf of RPC, who asked him to lend his interviews for copying. Then Bernáth started to investigate the whereabouts of other missing interviews. He contacted one-time participants of the project János Dávid, Gabriella Lengyel, and Mária Neményi. All three contributed with their interviews. However, Bernáth failed to obtain any meaningful information on Csalog’s interviews. Havas only learnt as late as in 2013, that Éva Bognár, Csalog’s last partner, handed over the estate she kept to the manuscript collection of the National Széchényi Library. When going through the material, Havas found several documents related to the 1971 research project, but none of the interviews conducted by Csalog. At the same time, he found seven interviews conducted by Magda Matolay in Heves County, which were made in this research project beyond doubt—they are dated April to July, 1971 (F445/1244, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1249, 1250, 1251, 1252). Havas placed a copy of them in the Voices of the 20th Century archives. Another set of copies were placed in HU OSA 361-1-1 at the Blinken OSA Archivum in 2021.

Most probably, many interviews are still missing; the most important among them, the ones conducted by Csalog, who worked alone in two counties (Somogy and Szolnok). He wrote a study on both counties, as well as additional case studies (Barcs, Jászfényszaru). Evidence clearly shows that Csalog went to two other counties as well (Csongrád, Békés). In the estate held at the National Library, Havas found a typewritten document of 145 pages (F445/80) consisting of four separate writings: the two county studies (Somogy, Szolnok), one entitled „Findings of the Pilot Surveys Taken in the Gypsy Settlement in Barcs,” and an eight-page paper „The Gypsies in Szentes, Csongrád and Makó.” The fact that these writings were typed up in one document suggests that the latest case study was made for the Kemény research project, too. Most probably, so was „Gypsies in Békés County” found in the Csalog estate, which was the final paper of a research started in January 1972, discussing in detail the towns Békés, Doboz, Endrőd, Mezőberény, Orosháza, Szarvas, and Szigethalom in the county. Csalog, an ardent and excellent practitioner of in-depth sociological interviewing, thus appears to have visited several towns in four counties in the frames of a research project applying this method. Knowing the methodological considerations of the research project as well as Csalog’s working method and attraction to the genre of fictional literature based on taped in-depth interviews (published in

Nine Gypsies

;

Peasant Novel

;

I Wanted to See the Sea

, etc.), it seems unimaginable that he did not make a large number of interviews. However, at the same time there is no irrefutable evidence of his having done so. In his study on Szolnok County, he only quotes from interviews with teachers, allowing only to conclude that he interviewed teachers. In the paper on Somogy County, Havas found one single interview excerpt in which the Roma interviewee says a few sentences about his Roma identity and his relationship with Roma subgroups. In the rest of the case studies, Csalog does not include interview excerpts at all. To conclude, there is no clear evidence either having or not having conducted interviews.

Though not participating in the Roma survey because she was busy working in the research on “economic managers,” Ottilia Solt did some fieldwork in Bács-Kiskun County, including making a number of interviews. However, these did not survive. Havas could identify five of his own interviews without any surviving copies: with József Balogh in Bogádmindszent, György Orsós in Cserkút, István Kalányos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta, János Kalányos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta, István Lakatos in Kozármisleny-Üszögpuszta.

It is clear that Havas taped and then typed up these interviews because he abundantly quoted from all of them in his paper on Baranya County. It is probable that interviews made by other researchers are missing too, especially ones belonging to interviewers whose material was not found in the Institute for Sociology, such as János Dávid, Gabriella Lengyel, and Mária Neményi.

Theoretically, the county studies and case studies on smaller topics could help give an accurate estimate of the number of missing interviews. However, not all researchers in charge of a county produced a county study, and not all of these studies are available.

The findings of the 1971 research project were published in an internal publication of the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences entitled

Report on the Research on the Situation of the Gypsies in Hungary Conducted in 1971

in 1976. The Foreword explaining the editorial guidelines includes a footnote which lists six county studies:

Zsolt Csalog, Somogy County (The Foreword mistakenly names Menyhért Lakatos as author); Zsolt Csalog, Szolnok County; Gábor Havas, Baranya County; Gyula Molnár, Pest County; Gyula Molnár, Vas County; Erika Törzsök, Komárom County.

Editor Mária Palkovics, however, decided to include only the Szolnok County study fully and one chapter from the Baranya County study in the volume.

The study on Somogy County, as well as all of Csalog’s writings related to the 1971 research are held at the manuscript collection of the National Széchényi Library:

F445/478 The Gypsies in Somogy County; F445/477 The Gypsies in Békés County; F445/480 The Gypsies in Szentes, Csongrád and Makó; F445/481 The Gypsies in Jászfényszaru in 1971; F445/80 Findings of the pilot survey conducted in the Gypsy settlement in Barcs.

Havas’ county paper „Woodcarver Gypsies in Baranya County” was nearly fully included in the volume

Research on Gypsies

(Művelődéskutató Intézet, Budapest, 1982, ed. Mihály Andor).

According to Havas, the rest of the county papers were never published.

Apart from István Kemény’s final paper and the county studies, a number of case studies were produced on specific villages or topics. These can be a useful source to analyze and interpret the interviews.

Series description by Gábor Havas.

Content and structure
Accruals
Not Expected
Content and structure
System of arrangement

Almost all of the interview transcripts in the Roma Press Center collection are xerox copies.

Besides the interview transcripts, the series includes studies, drafts—some of them are contemporary typewritten manuscripts—related to the 1971 research project.

The Blinken OSA Archivum saved a few of the original folders in which the papers had been kept, with a view to use them in exhibitions and other events.

In describing the interviews, the Archivum observed the rules of handling personal data. Instead of full names of interviewees, initials are used in the Title /Original Title fields, followed by the place of the interview (city, county). However, the archival documents (the transcripts) are not sanitized: in the Archivum’s Research Room, researchers will be given photocopies of the original documents. In the Contents Summary field, the cataloger entered descriptive key words as well as the interviewer’s name.

Each document is placed in an individual folder, i.e. each interview is one archival record. As a result, each interview has a unique archival identifier, or call number.

The physical and intellectual processing and keywording was done by Erzsébet Szöllősi.

Conditions of access and use
Conditions governing access
Partially Restricted (295 Folder/Item Restricted - -1 Folder/Item Not Restricted)
Conditions of access and use
Conditions governing reproduction
Third party rights are to be cleared.
Conditions of access and use
Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The overwhelming majority of the documents are photocopies of typescripts made in 1971. Characteristic of typing on contemporary typewriters and papers, some letters are hardly seen or missing altogether, certain letters or entire sections are faint. This may make reading the pages hard.

Allied Materials
Publication note
Apart from the case studies mentioned, the following are known to exist: János Dávid on Nagybátony; János Dávid on Kazár; János Dávid on Nógrád County, Gábor Egri on Nyíri and Tiszakarád; István Kemény, “The Gypsy Population in Hungary” (the abridged version of the final study published in <i>Valóság</i> 1974:1); Menyhért Lakatos, Gypsy Community, Gypsy Settlements (<i>Valóság</i> 1974:1); Gabriella Lengyel, The Musician Gypsies in Letenye (<i>Zalai Tükör</i> 1974, Vol 2, pp 25–41.) Digitally available: http://www.sulinet.hu/oroksegtar/data/magyarorszagi_nemzetisegek/romak/tanulmanyok_a_ciganysag_helyzete/pages/008_a_letenyei_muzsikusciganyok.htm); Kálmán Rupp, On the Gypsy Question in Hungary (In <i>Report on the Research Project of 1971 on the Situation of Gypsies in Hungary</i>. Publication of the Institute for Sociology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 1976).
Description Control
Archivist's note
The item level processing and cataloging was carried out by Erzsébet Szöllősi in year 2021. Cataloging project supervisor: Zsuzsanna Zádori. Editors: Zsuzsanna Zádori and Judit Hegedűs (Blinken OSA).