photographs and text by
On November 3rd 2004, conscription and the conscripted army ceased to exist in Hungary, ending a 135-year old tradition. Conscription is no longer part of Hungarian military obligations, and nostalgia for the army is intense. This nostalgic way of thinking is felt so much that military camps are organized for children.
Military "style" has become more and more common, as we can see in diverse aspects of our experience, from parks to business training. For some people, military style is just a fashion choice. However, for the extreme right it is part of their mental and physical training. Military "survival" or army camps for boys and young men aged 8–18 have become very trendy. The only problem is that in Hungary, this kind of camp or military training can be organized by anyone. There is no legislation for the organizations: the only rule is the prohibition of live arms.
This loose attitude keeps alive not only "hobby" soldiers and military clubs, where the members merely act militarily, but also helps extreme right organizations to acquire military technology and ability, which is part of their ideology. One of these associations, where the members call themselves national socialists (though others might recognize them as neo-nazis), a skinhead fellowship holds meetings using code words such as "military discipline and comradeship". Their event was advertised as a 3-day sports camp, where scrimmage can also be found. We have to be ready for the fact that extreme right organizations will run for state sponsorship in the future.
The Military Traditional Association in Mogyorod has been organizing military camps for children for three years, and they recently became international. The aim of these camps is to educate children about how soldiers spent their daily life decades ago. During this week, children acquire the knowledge that was taught to conscripted soldiers in their month-long basic training. The camp dwellers take part in shooting exercises – with dummy ammunition, of course.
— Árpád Kurucz took part in the Fotóporta portfolio review, held February 2010 in Budapest, Hungary.
The series "Military Camp" won first prize in the News Picture Story – Newspaper Division of the 67th Pictures of the Year International Competition.