István Deák

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István Deák (born 11 May 1926) is a Hungarian-born American historian, author and academic.

Deak was born at Székesfehérvár, Hungary into an assimilated Jewish family that had converted to Roman Catholicism.[1] He was educated at a Catholic gymnasium (high school) in Budapest[2] and began his university studies in 1945 at the University of Budapest.[3] His studies were disrupted by the war and postwar chaos, and he left Hungary in 1948, following the communist takeover. He then studied history at the Sorbonne in Paris and worked as a journalist in France and for Radio Free Europe in West Germany.[2] In 1956, unable to gain residence in France, he settled in New York City where he studied modern European history at Columbia University under Fritz Stern.[2] He obtained his doctorate in 1964 and spent the next 33 years teaching at Columbia. He was the Director of Columbia's Institute on East Central Europe between 1968 and 1979.

Deak has written extensively on eastern and central European history and politics. His publications include Weimar Germany's Left-wing Intellectuals (1968); The Lawful Revolution: Louis Kossuth and the Hungarians, 1848-1849 (1979); Beyond Nationalism: A Social and Political History of the Habsburg Officer Corps, 1848-1918 (1990); and Essays on Hitler's Europe (2001). He edited and partly wrote, together with Jan T. Gross and Tony Judt, The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath (2000). He has also written extensively for the New York Review of Books and other periodicals.

In 1964 Deák was able to visit Hungary for the first time since his departure, and thereafter he regularly attended academic conferences in Hungary and worked to re-establish links between American and Hungarian historians.[2] In 1990, following the fall of the communist regime, he was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He retired from teaching in 1997 and was later a visiting professor at Stanford University. He has continued to publish on European history, particularly issues relating to the Holocaust.[4] His wife, Gloria Deak, is an art historian.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biography from István Deák at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b c d Center for Austrian Studies, newsletter fall 2000
  3. ^ Columbia University bio
  4. ^ "Istvan Deák: Memories of Hell" in The New York Review of Books, June 26, 1997