The death last month of Count Kuno von Klebelsberg, for many years Minister of Education in the Bethlen government, recalls the position he took on the question of numerus clausus and his frequent clashes with Jewish opinion in Hungary and abroad on this subject.
When Count Klebelsberg appeared before the Council of the League of Nations in 1925 to present the defense of the Hungarian Government against the indictment of the numerus clausus law by the late Lucien Wolf, on behalf of the Joint Foreign Committee, he explained his case by saying that in the view of the Hungarian Government the numerus clausus is not intended to remain a permanent institution but a temporary provision due to the exceptional situation created by the Treaty of Trianon, and that it may be modified as soon as the social and economic life of Hungary recovers its former stability.
Hungary has been dismembered by the Treaty of Trianon, he said. Two-thirds of her territory and two-thirds of her population have been torn away, leaving her with scarcely a third of her former population, and less than a third of her territory, with a capital containing a population of a million inhabitants out of a total population of eight millions. All the great central organizations which formerly administered the country remain in Hungary, while nearly everything which needed to be administered has been taken away. A great number of intellectuals were thus deprived of the possibility of continuing their occupations. There was further an emigration en masse, either voluntary or involuntary, of Hungarian intellectuals from the territories detached from Hungary to the territories which remained attached to her. Scarcely had the Treaty of Trianon come into force before the number of Hungarian refugees amounted to 320,000 persons from transferred territories, 80 per cent of whom were intellectuals with their families. Between the census of 1910 and that of 1920 the number of intellectuals increased by 50 per cent, the magistrates, professors and doctors by 50 per cent, the lawyers by 25 per cent, the chemists by 33 per cent, and of State officials by 100 per cent. The Hungarian Government had to reduce the number of State officials in connection with the financial reconstruction. This reduction, which was supposed to benefit the finances of the country, has increased the difficult situation of the intellectual classes. The result has been an undue increase in the middle classes. The evil was increased