Comrade Baron: From the Vanished World of the Eastern European Aristocracy to Contemporary Eastern Europe
With Russia taking control of Crimea, tensions in the Eastern Block have once again come to recent actuality. During his lecture at Columbia University, Scholten will focus on Hungary and its past relationship to former Eastern Block countries. 'Comrade Baron: A Journey Through the Vanishing World of the Transylvanian Aristocracy' (2010) records an unknown episode of recent history when practically all of the Transylvanian aristocracy were arrested and loaded into lorries as Communism demanded the destruction of these ultimate 'class enemies'. Scholten has traveled extensively throughout Romania and Hungary seeking out the few remaining aristocrats who experienced that night. He spoke with survivors of the Romanian Gulag and met with the youngest generation of the once so distinguished aristocracy, to talk about restitution of assets and about the future.
This book was selected for the shortlist of the Bob den Uyl Prize for the best travel book of 2011 and awarded with the Libris History Prize 2011.
Jaap Scholten lives in Hungary with his family, where he writes columns and feature articles for the Dutch leading newspaper NRC Handelsblad and other publications.