Habitus: Arthur Koestler in Budapest

Christopher Hitchens reflects on anti-Communist writer Arthur Koestler and his milieu in Slate.

There probably is a monograph by somebody, somewhere, on the single subject of Hungarian Jewry in the 20th century, from men of letters to political dissidents to economists to nuclear physicists. Think of the context: the cafe society of the twin cities of Buda and Pest, the end of Austro-Hungary, the cockpit of Bolshevism and fascism, the most ghastly closing scenes of the Final Solution and the first armed revolution against Stalin, all of this transmitted by a diaspora of the brilliant—and much of it mediated though a language that is almost impossible for an outsider to master.”

Read the premier issue Habitus Magazine, out this spring, for a far-reaching, multi-voiced meditation on Budapest, with input from some of Hungary’s leading Jewish and non-Jewish writers.

5 thoughts on “Habitus: Arthur Koestler in Budapest

  1. And don’t forget that he was a Revisionist Zionist in his youth, a follower of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. When I was in England in 1975-77, I attempted to have him lecture a group of Betar youngsters but Koestler declined, saying he would be too depressing for their idealism.

  2. However, Budapest was not two “twin cities of Buda and Pest” by the time we can speak of “the cafe society” – that is around the turn of the Century.
    (Buda, Pest and Óbuda merged into one capital on 17 november 1873.)
    Cool quote, nevertheless! ;]

  3. Hi Kley!
    Koestler’s theory that Khazars represent the majority of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry is wrong. For information proving the dominant Israelite element in modern Ashkenazi Jews, read: Kevin A. Brook, “The Origins of East European Jews” in the journal Russian History/Histoire Russe volume 30, numbers 1-2, Spring-Summer 2003 issue, on pages 1 to 22. There will be further details in the 2nd edition of my book “The Jews of Khazaria” when it comes out around late 2006/early 2007.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.