‘Island Of Renewal': Hungary Has A "Prosperous Jewish Community", Says Israel’s Ambassador at March in Budapest

  • 6 May 2024 5:38 AM
  • Hungary Matters
‘Island Of Renewal': Hungary Has A "Prosperous Jewish Community", Says Israel’s Ambassador at March in Budapest
This year’s March of the Living was held in Budapest on Sunday, with participants walking from the Dohány Street synagogue to Keleti railway station.

Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, said the Hamas attack on Israel last October gave this year’s march a special significance.

Education of the younger generations is even more important now, giving them inspiration to fight racism, discrimination, and injustice, he said.

Eighty years after the Holocaust Jews are again afraid across the world, the ambassador said, but added that Hungary was “an island of renewal” with its prosperous Jewish community. He thanked the Hungarian government and said Hungary had set an example through introducing zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a video message that the Holocaust stood out in the crimes of mankind throughout world history, but added that the Jewish community was mourning over the deep tragedy of recent months. Those killed, tortured or kidnapped cry out for justice and freedom, he added.

Gábor Gordon, head of the board of the March of the Living Foundation, said the horror of the Holocaust must be remembered as one of the largest massacres of mankind, but, at the same time, “we must celebrate a love of life and a will to live.” He made special mention of the some 100 Holocaust survivors attending the march in a minibus.

Baruch Adler, deputy director of the international March of the Living organisation, said the annually organised event demonstrated the victory of good over evil forces. Adler commemorated the Ukrainian villager who hid Adler’s mother during the Holocaust, risking the life of his own family by doing so.

Referring to last October’s attack, Adler said the silence of the world was “deafening”, adding that citizens of a free world should feel ashamed for passively watching history repeat itself.

Ahead of the event, a memorial dedicated to 440,000 Hungarian Jews deported and killed between May 15 and July 9, 1944, was inaugurated in front of the synagogue.

Péter Niedermüller, the mayor of the 7th district, said it was “Hungarian society’s grave moral failing and sin that we couldn’t protect our Jewish compatriots.”

Commemoration is a way to reflect on past developments but it also obliges participants to pass on the message that “hatred and inciting hatred destroys society”. He said anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments were on the rise. “It is our right and obligation to stand by Israel,” he said.

Lights of commemoration were lit at the end of the event, the participants including Cardinal Péter Erdő, head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Andor Grósz, head of the association of Hungarian Jewish communities Mazsihisz, László Györfi, deputy leader of the United Hungarian Israelite Community , and Gábor Keszler, leader of the Hungarian orthodox Jewish community.


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"March Of the Living" To Be Held in Budapest this Sunday

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