Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács


Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung
Landshuter Str. 4, Zi. 315
93047 Regensburg
Tel.: +49 (0)941 / 943 - 5474
Fax: +49 (0)941 / 943 - 5485


Central Europe's Starving Children: Humanitarian Child Relief in Budapest after WWI

In the context of twentieth century history, WWI and the dissolution of Europe’s multiethnic empires had a traumatic impact on the aggravation of poverty throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Especially children as the most vulnerable and deprived social group suffered most intensely from the silent side- and after-effects of the war, mainly from neglect, contagious diseases, housing problems and severe starvation. The present habilitation project explores the effects of WWI and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on the extensive pauperization of children in Hungary. Yet, this book project equally aims to identify how the war also yielded a new public awareness of children’s concerns and international humanitarian visions of their relief. This book project exemplifies the dynamic changes of the societal practices of child relief as well as the altering notion of childhood. The conclusions to be drawn will allow tracing the evolution from imperial child relief policies during WWI to the internationally designed and implemented philanthropic practices of the immediate post-war period to an increasingly nationalized approach towards poor children from the 1930s onwards. This research project examines in particular how the visual representation of children’s mutilated bodies joint with the call for their immediate relief brought the suffering of needy Hungarian children to public attention throughout Europe and the United States. As famine and poverty were seen as triggering factors for Eastern Europe’s social and moral degeneration, visually complaining about children’s suffering served as a political instrument to push for Europe’s social re-education. Examining the ways, in which the call for children’s relief played heavily on feelings of empathy, compassion, and pity, will serve to better understand the social and political employability of children in the early twentieth century.

Siehe auch die Projektskizze in Newsletter Nr. 6, Sommersemester 2016, der Graduiertenschule

Curriculum Vitae

Frankfurt a.M.
1999-2001: Magisterstudiengang, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg i. Br.
2000-2007: Stipendiatin des Begabtenförderungswerkes Villigst
2001-2002: Master’s Program in Modern History, University of St. Andrews
2004-2008: Promotionsverfahren, ZZF, Potsdam
2005-2006: „Doctoral Support Program“, CEU, Budapest
2007-2009: Stipendiatin des Frauen-Karriereförderprogramms, Cusanuswerk
2009: Nominierung der Dissertation für den Leibniz-Nachwuchspreis
Seit 2009: Akademische Rätin a.Z., Geschichte Südost-und Osteuroaps, Universität Regensburg
2010-2012: Stipendiatin des „Fast Track“-Programms der Robert Bosch Stiftung
2012-2014: Wissenschaftliches Netzwerk (DFG): „Sozialfürsorge und Gesundheit in Ost- und Südosteuropa im langen 20. Jahrhundert“ (gemeinsam mit Dr. Heike Karge)




  • (Hg. mit Jessie Labov) "Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond. Transnational media during and after socialism, New York: Berghahn Books 2013. (Paperback-Ausgabe 2015)

Aufsätze in Zeitschriften und Sammelbänden


2016/17    "The Making of Hungarian Refugees: From Statelessness to Homelessness after the Great War", Special Issue on "Statelessness and the Stateless in the 20th Century," edited by Kathrin Kollmeier, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 2016/17. (submitted to editor).

2016    "American Food for Central Europe: Children’s feeding stations in post-WWI Budapest", Special Issue on: “Politics of Food and Drink In and Of CEE”, edited by Gábor Egry, New Perspectives, Summer 2016. (submitted to editor)

2016    "Compassion for the Distant Other: Children’s Hunger and Humanitarian Relief in Budapest in the Aftermath of WWI", in: Beate Althammer, Lutz Raphael, Tamara Stazic-Wendt (Hg.): Rescuing the Vulnerable: Poverty, Welfare and Social Ties in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Europe. New York: Berghahn Books spring 2016. (peer-reviewed)

2016    "The Great War, the Child’s Body and the ‘American Red Cross’,”, in: European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire, spring 2016. DOI: 10.1080/13507486.2015.1121971

2015    "Voices, letters, and literature through the Iron Curtain: exiles and the (trans)mission of radio in the Cold War”, in: Linda Risso: Radio Wars: Broadcasting During the Cold War. New York: Routledge 2015. (reprint of a special issue)

2014    “Crossing Germany’s Iron Curtain: Uncensored Literature from the GDR and the Other Europe,” East Central Europe 41 (2014): 180-203. (peer-reviewed)

2014    "Forbidden Fruit: Smuggling and Publishing Across Borders in Ancien Régime France and Cold War Eastern Europe" (mit Jessie Labov) in: Jan C. Behrends and Thomas Lindenberger (Ed.): Publishing and the Public Sphere. Transnational Perspectives. Berlin: Lit Verlag 2014: 257-289.

2014    "Memories of Ethnic Cleansing and the local Iron Curtain in the Czech-German Borderlands," Nationalities Papers 42, No. 2, (2014): 199-222. (peer-reviewed)

2013    “The ‘Other’ Child Transports: World War I and the Temporary Displacement of Needy Children From Central Europe,” Journal of the History of Irregular childhood 15 (2013): 75-109. (peer-reviewed)

2013    "'Voices, letters, literature through the Iron Curtain': Exiles and the (trans-)mission of radio in the Cold War," Cold War History 13, No.2, (2013): 193-220. (peer-reviewed)

2013    "Samizdat-Tamizdat: an entangled phenomenon?" (mit Jessie Labov), in: Friederike Kind-Kovács and Jessie Labov (Hg.): Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond. Transnational media during and after socialism, New York: Berghahn Books 2013, 1-23. (peer-reviewed)

2013    “Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty as the 'echo chamber' of tamizdat", in: Friederike Kind-Kovács and Jessie Labov (Hg.): Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond. Transnational media during and after socialism. New York: Berghahn Books 2013, 70-91. (peer-reviewed)

2012    "(Re)Joining the Community of Letters? The circulation of uncensored literature in/of Cold War Europe", in: Teresa Pinheiro, Beata Cieszynska and Eduardo Franco (2011): Ideas of/for Europe. An Interdisciplinary Approach to European Identity. Frankfurt: Peter Lang 2012, 177-195.

2011    "Historische Ambivalenzen von "Transfer"- und Grenzgeschichte(n): Bevölkerungsverschiebung und Literaturschmuggel im bayerisch-böhmischen Grenzraum", in: Markus A. Meinke (Hrsg.): Die tschechisch-bayerische Grenze im Kalten Krieg in vergleichender Perspektive. Politische, ökonomische und soziokulturelle Dimensionen. Regensburg 2011, 93-108.

2011    "Die erzählten Grenzen. Geschichte von Unten - Lebensgeschichtliche Interviews im bayerisch-böhmischen Grenzraum". (with Sabina Blomann, Roxana Hila, Julia Kling, Markus Meinke), Blick in die Wissenschaft 23 (2011), 3-10.

2010    "Life stories reconnected: Publishing tamizdat as a symbolic act of recreating biographical coherence?", in: Sari Autio-Sarasmo and Brendan Humphreys: Winter Kept us Warm: Cold War Interactions Reconsidered, Aleksanteri Cold War Series 1: 2010, Kikimora Publications, Helsinki 2010, 170-191.

2008    "An "Other Europe" through Literature: Recreating a European literary "Kontinent" after Helsinki", in: Jose Faraldo/Paulina Gulinska-Jurgiel/Christian Domnitz, Europe in the Eastern Bloc. Imaginations and Discourses. Cologne, Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2008, 267-299.

2005    "Vom Untergrund in den Mainstream: Samizdat, Emigrationsliteratur und Tamizdat und die Neuerfindung Mitteleuropas in den achtziger Jahren.", (mit Jan Behrends) Archiv für Sozialgeschichte (45) 2005, 427-448.

Sonstige Veröffentlichungen und Rezensionen

  • Budapest’s Eastern Train Station: From the Past to Today’s (Child) Refugee Crisis”, London: Homepage der Reluctant Internationalists, 12. Oktober 2015
  • 2013 "Cold War Broadcasting" (Collective Book Review). H-Soz-u-Kult, 01.10.2013
  • [Rezension von:] Daniel Laqua (Ed.): Internationalism reconfigured : 
transnational ideas and movements between the world wars. London [u.a.]: Tauris, 2011. Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 52 (2012)
  • [Rezension von]: Rüdiger Dannemann: Lukács und 1968. Eine Spurensuche. Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag 2009. In: Ungarn-Jahrbuch. Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Hungarologie. Bd. 30 (2009-2010), S. 291-294.
  • [Rezension von]: Julia Obertreis/Anke Stefan: Erinnerungen nach der Wende: Oral History und (Post)Sozialistische Gesellschaften. Essen: Klartext 20. In: Südost-Forschungen Bd. 68, (2009), München 2010, S. 714-718.
  • [Rezension von]: Catherine Andreyev and Ivan Savický "Russia Abroad. Prague and the Russian Diaspora, 1918-1938", New Haven: Yale University Press 2004, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte (46) 2006.
  • Tagungsbericht: "Massenmedien im Kalten Krieg", in: Potsdamer Bulletin für Zeithistorische Studien, Nr.30/31, Januar 2004, S. 54-60.


01/2016: “Refugee Slumming. Budapest’s Housing Crisis after the Great War”, Leipzig Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe (GWZO).

12/2015: “Transatlantic Humanitarianism: American Child Relief in Hungary after the Great War”, Department of American Studies, Regensburg University.

11/2015: "American Food for Central Europe: Milk Kitchens and Children’s Feeding Stations in Post-WWI Budapest", ASEEES, Philadelphia.

07/2015: “Biopolitics as body politics: Sorting children’s bodies in post-WWI Hungary,” Study Group of Graduate School of Southeast European Studies, Regensburg University.

07/2015: “The Body of the Starving Infant: An Object of Biopolitical Surveillance (1918-1927),” Birkbeck College, London.

02/2015: “Fear of Europe’s Moral and Physical Degeneration: Child Poverty after the Great War“, Workshop on The Politics of Fear in East Central Europe in the 20th Century, Regensburg University.

04/2014: “International and National Jewish Child Relief in Interwar Hungary“, ESSHC Vienna.

07/2013: “The Children of the Railway Coaches“: The removal and temporary statelessness of refugee children from the former Hungarian territories after WWI, Salzburg.

06/2013: “Holiday from War: Child Transports across the Austro-Hungarian Empire”, SHCY, Nottingham.

06/2012: "Enfance, Guerre et Migration (Forcée). Comment Reconstruire la vie des enfants hongrois?", Regensburg.

05/2012: "The Visual Represenation of Child Transports and Children's Forced Migration From War to Post-War I Hungary", Forschungskolloquium Göttingen.

05/2012: "Save the (Hungarian) Children: WWI as a trigger of children's social in/exclusion", DHI London.

04/2012: "Picturing the poor child: Photography as social politics of (trans)national Child Philanthropy in interwar Hungary", ESSHC Glasgow.

02/2012: "The Children of the Railway Coaches": The removal and temporary statelessness of refugee children from the former Hungarian territories after WWI, DHI Washington.

01/2012: "The manifold Faces of (Child) Poverty and Child Relief in Post-WWI Hungary", Central European University, Budapest.

06/2011: ‚What is a (Hungarian) child worth to you?': The Visual Representation of International Child Relief Programs in the immediate aftermath of WWI, SHCY, Columbia University (US).

04/2011: “’Then the Czech came and made it bitter and sour to us.’ Narratives about guilt and innocence in the Bavarian-Bohemiam border region”, BASEES, Cambridge University, UK.

12/2010: „Thinking, publishing and broadcasting 'Europe': The early mission of Radio Free Europe and its effect on featuring European Tamizdat”, University of Reading (UK).

11/2010: “Who cares? The struggle of philanthropists and nationalists over child welfare in inter-war Hungary", ASEEES, Los Angeles (US).

11/2010: Organisation zweier international besetzter Panels zum Thema “The Embattled Child I: Childhood during the Inter-War Period and during the War" & "The Embattled Child II: Childhood during the Post-War Period and during the Cold War" für die ASEEES, Los Angeles (US).

10/2010: „Opposition in the GDR and in the Other Europe: Entangled but Distinct Worlds?”, GSA, Oakland (US).

09/2010: „The embattled child or how the First World War affected Hungarian child welfare”, Universität Salzburg.

09/2010: Teilnahme am Roundtable „Archives, Research and Education: Where and How RFE/RL History Meets?”, Open Society Archives, Budapest.

07/2010: „The ambivalence of transfer across borders: the Bavarian-Bohemian Border from post-War to Cold War.” ICCEES, Stockholm.

11/2009: „Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty as the ‚echo chamber’ of tamizdat”, AAASS, Boston.

11/2009: „Diplomaten, Antiquare und andere 'Brieftauben': Literaturschmuggel zwischen Prag und Weiden in den 1980er Jahren", Südost-Institut, Regensburg.

10/2009. „Lifestories reconnected: Tamizdat as a universal human experience across the Iron Curtain“, 9th Annual Aleksanteri Conference, Helsinki.

07/2009: „Von der Shoah zum Gulag: die biographische Bedeutung des Tamizdat aus dem Anderen Europa“, Lehrstuhl für Geschichte Südost- und Osteuropas, Universität Regensburg.

05/2009: “The ambiguity of the ‘Other Europe’: From a ‘Europe behind the Iron Curtain’ to ‘a Europe without the Iron Curtain’, Chemnitz Universität.

02/2008: „The Role of friendship and trust for the social practice of smuggling Tamizdat“, OSA, Budapest.

11/2007: „Tamizdat as an imagined community of letters“, AAASS, New Orleans.

11/2007: Organisation einer Reihe internationaler Panels und Roundtables zu „The transfer of literature between East and West during the Cultural Cold War“ für die AAASS-Convention in NewOrleans.

09/2006: Einführender Vortrag der Konferenzorganisatoren: “From Samizdat to Tamizdat”, Institut für die Wissenschaften des Menschen (IWM), Vienna.

07/2006: „Tamizdat: independent media crossing borders from L’Ancien Regime to today’s Europe“, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Berlin.

11/2005: „In the name of Europe: East-West publishing initiatives facing the Helsinki Final Act", International Samizdat Resarch Association (ISRA), OSA, Budapest.

11/2005: „In the name of Europe: East-West publishing initiatives facing the Helsinki Final Act" ZZF, Potsdam.

10/2005: „The Helsinki Final Act and the freer movement of ideas beyond borders”, Berliner Kolleg für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas (BKVGE), Berlin.

06/2005: „Reinventing the Centre of Europe: The destiny of Central Europe as a shared intellectual project of dissident thinkers in East and West in the late Cold War”, CEU, Budapest.

04/2005: „A stream of Culture beyond the Iron Curtain. Tamizdat as a new frame for transnational communication between Central Europe, Paris and New York”, auf dem Young Scholars Forum, Deutsches Historisches Institut Washington (DHI), Arlington, (USA).

11/2004: “Central Europe-Paris: an entangled  history? The “Central European debate” and its reception in Parisian Magazines in the 1980s, Graduate School of Social Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warschau.

10/2004: “Civil Society in Transition: Tamizdat as a Transnational Frame for the Liberation of Society from Political Rule”, Institute for the Revolution of 1956, Erdötarcsa.

07-08/2003: Vorstellung des Promotionsprojektes: “Trans-Atlantic Summer Institute in German Studies”, University of Minnesota/ZZF, München.

Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovacs