Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Weight of History

I’m here in Budapest with a terrific group from CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston). And one of the issues we’re grappling with is the history that’s all around us.

Our (Jewish) guide made a fascinating reference to how she loves going for a swim in the beautiful Danube river … that same river into which were shot and killed so many Jews in 1944.

And we’re walking around a city around homes which belonged to Jews, from where Jews were expelled. So much of the city was built by Jews. So much of the Jewish story here is tragic.

In the building in which the federation of Jewish communities sits, you hear that Adolph Eichmann had his offices there.

As you walk through the central streets you learn how much was built by Jews, who were killed and persecuted (and not just during the fascist period).

The weight of history can be oppressive. Even though so many Hungarian Jews survived. Even though there is a real story of renewal and revitalization. There is also a past.

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