Here I am, in Budapest, with my colleague Taly, who pulls out of our offices one of the most stunning and moving books I’ve ever seen. It’s a collection of acknowledgements from different Jewish communities to celebrate 25 years of the Joint.
So it’s November 1939 … and everything is about to change. Most of those who wrote these letters – certainly those living outside of Budapest – would be killed in the Shoah.
But there is a timeless beauty, an elegance, and a wondrous gratitude in some of these letters. They speak of hope, of help, of relief. They are amazing to read.
“There is no Jew, who would not demand God’s blessing to your work, but thousands and thousands of mothers and children are praying fervently, because they had direct opportunity to enjoy your extreme kindness and nobility.”
“… Where danger was most despairing, [and help] the most urgent, you appeared and brought help. Who would be able to thank you? God sees and has seen all you did…”
“There are many who are preaching humanity. It is easy to proclaim it by words, but difficult to prove in deeds. You have chosen the more difficult and also the most noble way, when you protected and helped our social establishments, giving them possibilities to act.”
I’ve put photos of the documents here, and you can click on them to see them better. But hopefully we’ll get more copies – there are many – and upload them to our archives so they can be accessed and viewed by many more people. It’s a privilege, and a rare opportunity, to see this aspect of our history.