Jewish Roots and Revival
Hungarian Jewish history in a nutshell
Before the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in Budapest, creating one of the World’s largest and most diverse Jewish community. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy brought a golden age for its Jewish citizens. However, the years of prosperity and inclusion soon ended and were replaced with decline and exclusion, resulting in the Holocaust. After the Second World War and the fall of communism, a Jewish renaissance had begun in Hungary; the community opened cafés, cultural hubs and launched festivals: a vivid and unique Jewish community is rejuvenating in Budapest’s downtown.
This walk explores Jewish life in Budapest since the 19th century until today. We explore the remains of the Jewish golden age, learn the story of Orczy House a close-knit Jewish community living in a massive downtown building, containing several kosher restaurants, a butchery and coffee shops, two synagogues and a ritual bath. We revisit the dark memories of the 20th century, such as the infamous ghetto wall during the Second World War, and learn how the children and grand-children of victims and survivors face this multi-generation drama.
We finish our tour by celebrating the contemporary Jewish renaissance of downtown Budapest. We check out how an old kosher salami factory metamorphosed into a kosher-style restaurant, learn to read Jewish motifs on secular buildings and visit a charming hidden synagogue, almost unknown among locals as well.