The Jewish Quarter, Budapest Reminds Us of the Past
When I went to Budapest, Hungary, I went to see the Jewish Quarter and the Budapest Jewish Ghetto. The Jewish Ghetto Budapest isn’t a sad place but one of remembrance. I researched my trip for my novel and learned about the area before I left for my trip. My book based on the true-life story of my Great-great grandfather is a heroic story. His name was Henrik Guth. He went through a lot to come to the United States. Henrik was a Protestant Jew, a term I don’t think we use today.
He was from Hesse, Darmstadt Germany. He wanted to open a bakery. Searching for a home, and bakery location, he went to five countries. Henrick left Germany, for Austria, and then, on to Budapest. In both places, he experienced, that a Protestant, wasn’t a Protestant if he had Jewish blood. Henrick, according to letters, was a Protestant Jew. His time spent in Budapest was in the Jewish Ghetto. The Budapest Jewish Ghetto experience moved him on to Moscow and a new home.
Budapest Jewish Quarter, Still Thriving
I went to the Jewish Quarter in Budapest aka the Jewish Ghetto, to see what it was like for myself. Though more modern than when he was there, it remains the Jewish center of Budapest, all these years later.
I learned that the Jew’s throughout Europe, even if a person had changed their name and religion, was still Jewish. Also if Henrik’s family converted back at the time of Martin Luther, they were still Jewish in Europe in 1850. Jews in 1850, were where part of society, yet separate, and not equal. Because of this, Henrick, couldn’t find a place for his bakery in Budapest.
He was a man without a community. At the time, people didn’t see him as a Protestant or Jew. He eventually, went to Poland. Then, finally, he moved to Moscow. In Moscow, the situation was even worse. In addition to his Jewish blood, he was poor. Poor people were serfs. Serfs were not free, in 1950, Russia.
His conclusion was, the only place for his bakery was the United States. So, that is how my family came to the United States. In the end, it was a great decision. I am thrilled to be a U.S. citizen.
Henrick became a member of a church that drove the abolitionists’ movement to free slaves, give women rights, and fought against child labor in factories. He didn’t fight in the Civil War, like my father’s side of my family, who did fight, as Union soldiers. This side of my family was politically active and helped to form a movement.
Sightseeing in Budapest Jewish Quarter
Back in Budapest, here is what I saw in the Jewish Ghetto in Budapest. I took a Free walking tour that met in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Its the only Catholic cathedral with a Saint, St. Stephen at the altar.
Here is what a Catholic altar usually looks like, Jesus is always the image shown. But not at this Cathedral – St Stephen is the center statue.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
I love these trips. Its great to get out and walk around town, learn history and where the sites are, and I always meet friendly people on tour. Most times, I continue with a person from the tour and have lunch with them or continue with them, to see other sightseeing spots with them.
You can find the Free Walking tours at the foot (front steps) of St. Stephen’s Cathedral at 10:00. You will see umbrellas, listen to the guide talking, ask questions, and pick the one you like the best. Some people might want to plan and buy a ticket for St. Stephen’s Cathedral, that is possible too.
I took the Original Walking Tour, Communist Tour, Jewish Tour, and the Alternative Tour. I think these are a great way to get exercise, at the end the guide will ask for a donation. Pay what you can.
Dohány Street Synagogue – Rumbach Street – Király Street – Gozsdu Courtyard – Kazinczy Street – Vasvári Pál Street – Klauzál tér – Wesselényi utca – Dohány Street Synagogue
The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street – shows the Moorish influence
Great Synagogue to Rumbach Street Synagogue
Budapest whether you are on the Buda side or the Pest side has great food that is very inexpensive. Some of the best have a Jewish influence or is Kosher. Many are found in the Jewish Quarter. Here is a list of several great ones to try.
Shoes on the Danube
Reflect on the Shoes on the Danube’ definitely, think about how today, is starting to remind us of our past and how we don’t want another World War. Thinking about how we treat each other and how if we are separate we can never be equal. It was hard to look at the shoes – they made me feel very sad. We all don’t treat each other well even today, little has changed.
Other Cool Sites in The Jewish Quarter
Plaques remembering Jews who lived in the Jewish Quater were killed or removed and never returned to their homes.
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