Istóczy, Gyözö°

views updated


ISTÓCZY, GYÖZÖ ° (1842–1915), Hungarian lawyer and antisemitic politician. Forced to resign his position as judge because of an irregularity he had committed, he began to develop a persecution mania, claiming that "the Jews" had "framed" him; this seems to have been the origin of his pathological hatred of Jews. In 1872 he was elected to parliament, where, in 1875, he attacked Jewish emancipation on the grounds that it would encourage further Jewish immigration. In 1878 he suggested that the Jews should be transported to Palestine, where their statehood should be reestablished, declaring that "among their [Arab] fellow-Semites the Jews could beneficially employ their manifold talents, and at the same time assist the financial regeneration of the ramshackle Ottoman Empire." In 1880 Istóczy tried to found a German-type antisemitic union and incited college students to anti-Jewish demonstrations. In the same year he founded a monthly paper, Tizenkét Röpirat ("Twelve Pamphlets"), which contained the most primitive and virulent anti-Jewish propaganda. He modeled himself on the most notorious German Jew-haters, such as A. *Stoecker and A. *Rohling. He accused the Jews of enslaving the Christian Magyars through usury and the press, calling upon the Hungarians to defend themselves against these dangers. Istóczy and his friends were largely responsible for creating the atmosphere in which the ritual murder charge was brought against the Jews of *Tiszaeszlar in 1882. In 1883 Istóczy founded the Anti-Semite Party, which obtained 17 seats in parliament in 1884. Tizenkét Röpirat became the party's official mouthpiece and continued to appear until 1892, but the party itself existed until 1895. After its demise Istóczy retired from active political life and published Hungarian versions of several works of classical literature, such as Josephus' Jewish War (1900), Contra Apionem (1903), and, in the same year, *Tacitus' "Observations on the Characteristics of the Jews" (from his Historiae). Istóczy's translations are, on the whole, unscholarly and clearly show his political bias.


Istóczy Gyözö országgyulesi beszédei, inditványai és törvényjavaslata 18721896 (1904); L. Venetianer, A magyar zsidóság története (1922), 314–7, 324–5; S. Hegedüs, A tiszaeszlári vérvád (1966), 20, 31–33; Z. Bosnyák, A magyar fajvédelem úttöröi (1942), 29–62 (incl. bibl.); N. Katzburg, Antishemiyyut be-Hungaryah 18671914 (1969).

[Jeno Zsoldos]