Abstract

In the interwar period, Hungary's academic professions were transformed from a politically liberal & professionally orientated elite into an illiberal pressure group attracted to radical politics. Here, based on research in the archives of the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors, the Chamber of Engineers, & the Chamber of Lawyers, the special organizational & economic logic behind the radicalization of the professions is considered, with attention to the Jewish question, which inevitably played a role since 50+% of all lawyers & doctors (MDs) in Hungary at that time were Jews. The organizational segregation of Jewish professionals in the interwar period preceded the introduction of the anti-Jewish laws of 1938/39 that banned Jewish applicants from the professions. Later, after the German occupation of Hungary in Mar 1944, lists of Jewish MDs were directly handed over to the Nazis by the leadership of the Chamber of Doctors to ensure the quick & efficient deportation of Jewish MDs from the country in the months of the Hungarian Holocaust. The political behavior of the engineering & medical professions, both in the forefront of illiberal movements, is compared to that of the legal profession, which, at least in terms of its corporate policies, resisted joining forces with illiberal movements & governments.