74 Plaquette of Ignác Kúnos
gift of József Balassa , 1942
In 1919, on the occasion of twenty years of the existence of the Eastern Trade Academy, the faculty had a plaquette made for the founder and director of the institute, Ignác Kúnos. The school trained experts in trade with the East, but also played an important role in oriental research. This new field of science was often chosen by Jewish researchers, since they had already been familiar with at least one Semitic language, namely Hebrew, through their traditional Jewish upbringing. Oriental Studies was not only a path towards academia, but also towards Hungarian national culture, since the origins of the Hungarians was a popular field of research at the time, and that, too, led towards the east. Ignác Kúnus (1860–1945) was among the most acknowledged Turkologists of his time in Europe, mainly due to his unique and pioneering collection of Turkish folksongs. He died at the age of 85, in the ghetto of Pest.