Research: Remembrance and Entertainment
With the cultural grant support of the European Commission called ‘Active European Remembrance’, we could make an old dream of ours come true: to reach the last living generation that can still tell the tales of this forgotten Jewish district. We made dozens of interviews, hundreds of hours of documentary footage, found hundreds of old documents and photographs in archives and family albums, and created our own archive about the history of the Jews of Teleki square, Budapest.
Outcomes of the project:
We create and publish a fine archive-quality book of our most significant photographs, additionally writing essay books about the historical background of the district and finally, produce a documentary. Most of it will be introduced during a few day conference in the autumn of 2014.
It has never been our goal only to show what happened within the walls of the shtiebel. We also aimed to present how the community evolved, and where we are in that process. Through the photos of this album, ‘The Shtiebel – the Last Prayer House on Teleki Square’, the readers can learn about the history of the shtiebel at 22 Teleki Square and get a glimpse into the exceptionally colorful chronicle of the Budapest Jewish community.
This isn’t just a publication about the past. While the opening paragraph quotes the Teleki Square flea market milleu from archive photos of the first decades of the 1900s, the next part brings the shul to life in the various periods between 1920 and 2013.
The album will be published both in English and Hungarian
At this work we propose to connect culture and history. During the Oral history interviews we encourage our interviewees to present any objects or pictures dating back to or before the Shoah, and with these digitized items we created our own collection. Many of our volunteers spent days and weeks searching for documents, pictures and any references to the area in public archives, libraries, picture galleries, museums and other collections. Our main goal is to save what only the oldest generation can remember about not only the WW2 but the also the whole 20th century. It needs to be clarified, that this is a never ending story. Now, we are working on five main topics: the history of the market at the Teleki square, the Jewish demographic changes in Józsefváros from 1850 until 1945, the history of the Jewish population in the district during the war and the Jewish resistance. Moreover, we work on the religious life not only at the Teleki square, but also in the whole district. The topics will be published in two separate volumes first only in Hungarian.
Documentary: Uncle Juci
Shootings begin as early as 2003, continued 2009 and ended in 2014. We began to make interviews with some old people about the story of the shtiebel and their life from a Jewish aspect. We had cooperation with a French documentary filmmaker, Barbara Spitzer. The film with a little help could be a French-Hungarian co-production which we could promote in both countries, moreover in Detroit at the end of this year. The first completed section of the film was presented to an audience in the Wörösmarty Cinema, Budapest. However, our main target is the open presentation of this movie in the Autumn 2014.
Through the photography, essay book and documentary hidden cultural treasures are revealed, that neither residents of Budapest, nor the district (Józsefváros), not even those living around Teleki Square really knew about.