Hungarian Jewish community marks 76-years from the Holocaust online

The Association of Jewish Communities of Hungary (EMIH) marked 76 years after the liberation of the Budapest Ghetto with a unique 76 hours of online educational program which includes testimonies by survivors, public figures discussing the Holocaust, and celebrities speaking about the Jewish faith. Normally, visitors can pay their respects during a public ceremony held at the Memorial Wall on Dohany Street, however due to COVID-19 restrictions, a new way to honor the past had to be found. Budapest-born EMIH Executive Rabbi Slomo Koves said that the program will be held for three days and will offer the larger community a chance to join together and remember in unison despite the pandemic. Speakers include Olympian gymnast Ágnes Keleti, who recently marked her 100th birthday and is seen as the pioneer who almost single handedly created the sport in Israel when she came here in 1957; the Jewish-Hungarian singer György Korda; noted Jewish leader within the Hungarian Jewish community Gusztav Zoltai; and Jewish-American conservative writer Dennis Prager.The audience will be able to watch the 1955 film Budapest Spring by director Felix Mariassy and Jewish Tales, a documentary by Peter Gardos in which he asked known figures in Hungarian public life to speak about what their Jewishness means to them. Hungary, like Italy, was an ally of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. As in Italy, policies directed at Jews were not consistent and there was reluctance to treat “our Jews,” meaning Italian and Hungarian Jews, like “other” Jews, meaning foreigners. In Hungary, the Jewish community in Budapest was not directly targeted until the Nazis replaced Regent Miklos Horthy with Ferenc Szalasi. Under Szalasi, bandits from the Arrow Cross Party were encouraged to murder thousands of Jewish residents of the capital, and throwing their bodies into the Danube. The Budapest Jewish Ghetto was built in November 1944 and liberated by the Red Army in January of the following year. 

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