“The House of Fates will open its gates next year, on the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust”, Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás announced.

“The government decision also includes the fact that the owner of the Holocaust museum will be the Jewish Community, something which is unique in Europe”, he added.

The Government will be providing a budget of 2 billion forints (EUR 6.1 million) to Priority State Investment Centre Non-Profit Cls. for this purpose, and will also be contributing to the operating costs of the memorial site.

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The Government will be establishing the House of Fates in cooperation with the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH), headed by Rabbi Shlomo Köves, and the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and Eastern European History and Society, directed by Mária Schmidt; the museum’s owner will be the EMIH, the Minister said.

Mr. Gulyás explained: “The terrible acts committed by the Nazi and Communist dictatorships of the 20th century can never be forgotten”. “The fact that in Hungary the organised, mass transportation of Jews to death camps only occurred following the German occupation on 19 March 1944 does not mask the responsibility and guilt with relation to the fact that following this the state did not protect its citizens. There is no collective guilt, but there is state responsibility”, the Minister declared.

“The task of the memorial site will be to present personal fates through which people can not only learn about the era, but also understand what happened, and particularly from the perspective of the child victims of the Holocaust”, Mr. Gulyás added.

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At the Holocaust Memorial established at the station in Józsefváros, Budapest, Rabbi Shlomo Köves, who is himself the decedent of Holocaust survivors, spoke about the fact that the Holocaust, the Jewish community and anti-Semitism is often spoken about today, but that the quantity of these words does not transform into quality. “Not only the majority society, but young Jews too are characterised by apathy, and there are only around 2-3000 Holocaust survivors still with us today”, he said, adding: “We must somehow find a different way of talking about the Holocaust”.

“With relation to the Holocaust, the most important thing is not necessarily the passing on of information, but the development of a personal link and an emotional relationship. The Holocaust is not an internal Jewish matter, but an issue for all of society, affecting human morals and the lowest depths of the human soul”, he explained. “We must also talk about the targets of the Holocaust, the Jewry: who were they and what has their culture given to Hungary and the world”, Rabbi Köves added.

“There are those who choose the easier path, that of protest and resentment, and there are those who cooperate. One must look at what is created, and not at who creates it. The gesture represented by the fact that the state is establishing a Holocaust museum that it then entrusts to the Jewish community is an invitation to work jointly”, the EMIH Chief Rabbi stated.

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Rabbi Köves told reporters that at the invitation of Mária Schmidt he had already been made aware of the concept behind the exhibition several years ago, which he regarded as suitable, and has yet to meet anyone who have seen the design and found anything at fault with it. The memorial includes a fifty-minute program that presents the various episodes of the stripping of Jewish rights, deportation and the return of the Jews in the period between 1938 and 1948, primarily from the perspective of child victims and survivors.

“Every secondary school pupil must visit this museum at least once”, the Rabbi said thanking Gergely Gulyás, Minister of State for Budapest and its Agglomeration Balázs Fürjes and Mária Schmidt, as well as historians András Gerő and György Haraszti.

In response to a question on whether the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) will also be involved in the establishment of the memorial, Mr. Gulyás repeated: “The Government will be establishing the museum in cooperation with the Foundation led by Mária Schmidt and the EMIH. “This is something I can only endorse”, Rabbi Köves added.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)