Jewish Quarter

Budapest, Hungary


Anastasia Chukovskaya

Jewish Quarter is the territory of a former ghetto. Not long ago, ruined houses stood here with nailed up windows. Today, the quarter is a hive of activity. Along with kosher stalls and mikvah for women, you will find here noisy ruin pubs, crowds of tourists thronging the synagogues, hasid children in kippahs and tallits running from school and whole families strolling on Saturdays. What was preserved is now protected by UNESCO. Only facades are left from many houses, waiting for what will happen to them. Some houses were chosen by promoters for new bars, while some will be given grants from the government for repairs.

When strolling the quarter, you may notice a house with stained glass windows and the stars of David, a house with a seven-branched candlestick in Síp utca, an orthodox school in a Jewish house near the synagogue in Kazincy utca and remains of a ghetto wall which can be spotted from Kiraly 15. Rumbach and other streets have golden plates on the ground with the names of killed Jews who used to live here. One of the most touching Shoah memorials is located on the Danube beyond the Parliament. Children's footwear are scattered on the shore, commemorating 80 000 Jews who were shot and thrown in the river.

The history of Hungarian Jews is very rich, but if you are interested in more and want to know details of the heroic act of a Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, then you should go on excursion to the synagogue in Nagy diofa utca or to Massolit book cafe in Nagy diofa utca. Massolit has a plenty of books dedicated to the Jewish quarter, as well as books in English, including a collection of books by recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature Imre Kertész, a Hungarian Jew who was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 14.


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