Mini Salzburg 2013

by ada

Mini Salzburg is an educational summer day camp, held every two years, where children have their own “state”, they chose their government democratically and learn, how society works. It looks pretty fun and the kids definitely seem to enjoy it.

You might not know about it (which is fine; who knows anything about Hungary anyway, haha), but this kind of children’s republic actually existed in reality, in Hungary, after WW2. It was called Gaudiopolis (Joy City) and gave home for almost 800 orphans between the years 1945 and 1950. It was founded by a Lutheran pastor, Sztehlo Gábor, maintained autonomy and was financially, politically and culturally completely independent from the Hungarian government. The children received education by Sztehlo and his volunteers, and also worked to support themselves. Gaudiopolis had  its own constitution and laws, a prime minister chosen democratically by the children themselves, a democratic parliament and an own monetary system with own currency (Gapo-Dollar). They also practised complete freedom of religion. Except for some occasionally donations from the International Red Cross, they received help neither from the Hungarian government, nor private persons. In 1950, the Hungarian Communist Party took the buildings away and the children were transported into state orphanages. Democracy (both for children and adults) was over for the next forty years.

The 1947 movie Valahol Európában (Somewhere in Europe), is loosely based on the real story of Gaudiopolis and is considered to be one of the best Hungarian movies ever. You can read its (very short) English summary here or watch the whole movie here (in Hungarian, though). Some information on Sztehlo Gábor is here. I couldn’t find anything about Gaudiopolis in English, which really is a shame, because it was quite a unique phenomenon in the European (and, I guess, also in the international) politics.

And some photos of Mini Salzburg.

Mini Salzburg 1

Mini Salzburg 20

Mini Salzburg 4

Mini Salzburg 6

Mini Salzburg 7

Mini Salzburg 23

Mini Salzburg 15

Mini Salzburg 22

Mini Salzburg 11

Mini Salzburg 8

Mini Salzburg 2

Mini Salzburg 10

Mini Salzburg 18

Mini Salzburg 14

Mini Salzburg 21

Mini Salzburg 5

Mini Salzburg 17

Mini Salzburg 19

Mini Salzburg 16

Mini Salzburg 13

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