Budapest is a beautiful and storied destination, but like many European cities ravaged by Nazi occupation during WWII, a dark history exists regarding the forced labor, deportation, and execution of tens of thousands of the region’s Jews. The Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center was erected to shine a light on this disgraceful and horrifying historical period, honor the victims, examine the changes that the Jewish community underwent in Hungary as a result of the genocide, and help prevent similar atrocities from ever happening again in the future.
Beginning in 1939, tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews, minorities, sectarians, leftists and Roma were also inducted into to what was initially known as the forced-labor service. The Memorial Center’s exhibits, installations, and interactive community programs simultaneously celebrate the remaining Jewish and minority cultures and lament the loss of life and culture that resulted from Nazi war crimes.
Different components of the center approach the practical application of their mission in different ways. Founded in 2002 thanks to government support, the Documentation Center and Memorial Collection Public Foundation strives to unearth and gather physical documentation of the Holocaust for the purposes of research. An eclectically styled Synagogue designed by Lipót Baumhorn began renovations in 2003. The Tower of the Lost erected in the courtyard features the names of those 1441 settlements where, owing to the deportations, the Jewish communities have ceased to exist.
Many other exhibits, permanent and visiting, are on display Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission varies wildly depending on the amount of access one wishes to procure, age, nationality and the duration of your visit.