Exploring the Jewish Life Worlds of Historic Budapest: Jewish Heritage and the Greater Public since 1990
Erika Szívós, (Eötvös Loránd University, ELTE), Budapest.
In recent decades, the revival of distinct quarters of Budapest has been intertwined with the rediscovery of the city's Jewish heritage. Jewish cultural and religious traditions, which had existed only in latent or strongly limited forms prior to 1990, became explicit and visible after the fall of Communism and began to shape the identities of certain Budapest neighborhoods in quite overt ways. The remembrance of collective traumas has finally become possible to express in the public sphere, and, as a result, Jewish places of memory have multiplied in the city's urban space since 1990. Remembering the Jewish past of Budapest, however, has several dimensions today which are not at all related to persecution, World War II, and the Holocaust. Initiatives which aim to present former Jewish life worlds to a broader audience, in fact, challenge the earlier dominance of the Holocaust in public memory. This lecture aims to explore recent practices of remembrance, stressing the diverse and creative ways the city's Jewish history is remembered and exploited today (e. g. city walks, educational and museum projects, commemorations, festivals, theatre performances, book publishing, oral history archives, and local community initiatives.