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Budapest: Yellow Star houses

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Budapest: Yellow Star houses

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In Hungary, 70 years ago, 2,000 houses in Budapest were designated as “Yellow Star Houses” and today, 1,600 of them are still there, although in many cases their occupants don’t know the history of their homes.

In June 1944, around 220,000 Jews were forced to move into these Yellow Star Houses, whole families being given just one room to live in. Subsequently, they were moved into the ghetto from which most of them were eventually sent to concentration camps. Less than half of them ever returned.

Tamás Márton is now 84 and has lived in a Yellow Star house since he was a child. His mother died in a concentration camp and he remembers the subsequent events very clearly: “We didn’t want to tell my grandmother that her daughter had died. And in 1945, no, during the spring of 1946, one day during dinner suddenly she told my father, “I want to tell you something: “Get married! You can not live with a dead woman!”

This year, the Open Society Archives organised a project to map the yellow star houses and to hold a series of commemorations at each house.

István Rév, the events organiser, said: “This 70 year-old, tragic chapter of this city’s history, is something we know very little about. Yellow Star houses have never been talked about. So this event is helping people to own the city, because you cannot feel at home if you don’t know the place you live in.”

For more information see:
the official website.

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