People in Spite of History
Stories Found in an Attorney Archive in the Banat Region
Foreword by Richard Buxbaum, Translated by János Boris, Owen Good and Péter Balikó Lengyel
Three generations of a family of lawyers have run a firm founded in 1893 in the small city of Becskerek (today in Serbian Zrenjanin), first part of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg monarchy, then Hungary, then Yugoslavia, then for a while under German occupation, then again part of Yugoslavia and finally Serbia. In the Banat district of the province of Vojvodina, the multiplicity of languages and religions and changes of place-names was a matter of course.
What is practically unprecedented, all files, folders and documents of the law office have survived. They concern marriages, divorces, births and testaments, as well as expulsions, emigrations, incarcerations and releases of these largely rural and small-town dwellers. Mundane cases reflect times through war, peace, revolution and counter-revolution, through serfdom and freedom, through comfort and poverty. The files also show everyday lives shaped in spite of history. Tibor Várady transforms them into affecting and vivid vignettes, selecting and commenting without sentimentality but with empathy. The law office of the three generations of the Várady family demonstrates that the legal profession permits and in difficult times even requires its members to defend the ordinary men and women against the powers of state and society.
About the Authors
Tibor Várady is an internationally-recognized legal scholar. He received his basic law degree in Belgrade, and his S.J.D. at Harvard Law School. After graduation he started working in his family law firm in Becskerek (today Zrenjanin). He is professor emeritus at Emory University, and professor emeritus at the Central European University. Parallel with his scholarly work, he published prose works and essays in several languages including fourteen literary books.
|Central European University Press, an imprint of Central European University Press|
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