Famous Jews and their places

Robert Capa (Endre Friedmann) "Some famous words attributed to him: ’If your pictures are not good enough, you were not close enough."

He was born into a JewishFotó: Robert Capa: Budapest, Va?ci utca, 1948family in Budapest. His parents were tailors. He studied at Madách Gimnázium (high school). At the age of 18, first he settled down in Vienna, later in Prague and finally in Berlin. He started his studies in journalism at the German Political College but he was not allowed to finish them because of his Jewish origin. He settled down in Paris, and adopted the name ’Robert Capa’ in 1934. At that time, he had already been a hobby-photographer. He was called Capa by his Hungarian friends, and the name sounded like an American name. Actually, he hoped that name would help him sell his work and succeed as a photographer. He became the war correspondent of the Vu Magazine. He documented the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, World War II across Europe: London, Italy, Paris. We was working during the Battle of Normandy, and the Israeli wars in 1950’s. His photo, ’The Falling Soldier’ was taken during the Spanish Civil War and it brought him immediate success. The picture was published first in VU magazine and then in LIFE. Whether the image was original sparked a controversy. The official view is that the photo is original, meaning Capa photographed the soldier at the moment of his death. Apart from his job, Capa’s life was full of hedonism. He had an affair with the celebrated actress Ingrid Bergman. In 1954, Life sent him to Indochina. He was working on documenting the French colonial wars, when he suddenly died in an accident, stepping on a landmine (afternoon of May 25, 5 minutes before 3). Some famous words attributed to him: ’If your pictures are not good enough, you were not close enough.’


photographer, photojournalist, 1913-1954

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Váci Street 


Robert Capa took photos in 1948 of Hungary, his pictures show the devastation of war and communist.  One of the pictures shows a fashion show at the Rotschild salon of Váci Street, and another shows the crowd on Váci Street. The street is now Budapest's most famous shopping area, which consists of two parts. The Northern part of the street (since 1986) was the first pedestrian street in Budapest, and the Southern section which was designated as one in 1996. At the edges of the street, stones can be found from the former city gates.


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Mihály Kertész - who was then already Michael Curtiz - asked his American girlfriend to marry him, but had to ask her, was him being Jewish a problem. ’I know’- replied the woman. ’Is it not a problem?’ - asked the surprised director who had already experienced so much anti-semitism.

This page is sponsored by Jewish Heritage Tours.

If we would stop fifty people in Budapest with the same question, asking if they remember our Oscar-awarded director, probably more people would say ’no’ than ’yes’. Presumably, the majority would start the list of ’honour’ with Robert Capa (Endre Friedman), Frigyes Karinthy, Jenő Wigner (Nobel-awarded), János Neumann, Sándor Korda (Sir Alexander Korda ), Miklós Radnóti, etc. We could select from plenty of names while editing our website, so we decided to cut the list a little short and tried to link our famous Hungarians with some of the more famous tourist attractions of Budapest. Such as Miksa Falk (former language teacher of Queen Elizabeth) can be associated with the famous Danube Palace, while our first olympic champion, the eminent architect Alfréd Hajós can be linked to the National Swimming Pool on Margaret Island.

We highly recommend visiting these buildings, as a little help for your visit we've put together a few walking tours with traffic maps.

All-day long tour in Budapest

Our walks evokes the tumultuous Budapest in the first half of the 20th century. By the end of World War II there had already evolved a large, well-educated and assimilated intellectual part of the population, which felt at home in the country, and for them being Hungarian and Jewish could be compatible. 

The most important literary magazine of the century (called A Hét) had been edited by the poet, József Kiss (1843-1921). 

The editor of Pesther Lloyd, Miksa Falk (1828-1908) became an academician. 

Lipót Baumhorn (1860-1932), disciple of Ödön Lechner planned altogether twenty-four magnificent Art Nouveau-style synagogues in Hungary, including the famous synagogue of Szeged (1903). 

In 1896, Alfréd Hajós (1878-1955) became not only the first Hungarian Olympic champion in swimming, but he went on to win several more prizes.

Nearly one million Jewish people were living in the historical territory of Hungary, and about two-third of them were killed because of their being Jewish. Almost two thirds of the Jewish population of Hungary at the time, 600.000 people and 400.000 people out of the 600.000 living in the areas currently belonging to Hungary were killed during the holocaust.

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Danube Palace
Address: 1051 Budapest, Zrínyi Street 5.
Phone: +36 1 317 1377, +36 1 317 2754

Approximation: On foot from the Deák Square, Vörösmarty Square, Chain Bridge

We start our walk in the nebaroque-style Danube Palace, formerly it functioned as the Casino of Lipótváros from 1883. It was founded by Miksa Falk, who was also its first president. The construction of the casino was completed in 1895, based on the plans of Vilmos Freund. Géza Márkus was the architect of the neobaroque building. The external facade was made by Mészáros and Gerstenberger. Since its opening the Casino has excelled at patronising the arts: exhibitions and concerts have been held here, it has financed opera performances and it has also organised competitions. Many famous people have already given performances in the building, such as Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Mark Twain and Antonin Dvorak. 

Some scenes from the movie, Evita (main character: Madonna) were shot there.

Nowadays the former casino, Danube Palace has been the spot of many cultural programs: in organization of the Hungaria Concert Ltd., there are popular concerts and performances, for example the Danube Symphony Orchestra with Cimbalom, the famous Hungaria Orchestra and Folk Ensemble the Danube Folk Ensemble as well.


House of Terror
Address: 1062 Budapest, Andrássy Road 60.
Phone: + 36 1 374 2600

Approximation: Take Metro line 1 from Vörösmarty Square to Vörösmarty Street. Walk 2 minutes from there. From the Danube Palace the journey’s time is 15 minutes.

George Faludy (famous Hungarian poet) as a refugee escaped from the Nazis (his sister was shot), and later he was deported by the Communists. Along with many fellows he was interrogated and tortured in the notoriously cruel institute under Andrássy Road 60. 

The Neo-Renaissance building, designed by Adolf Feszty was built for being a residential block of flats, and it was owned by the Perlmutter Family until 1936. 

Since 1937, the Hungarian National Socialist Movement leased premises in the house for Szálasi. In 1940, the Arrow Cross Party set up its headquarters there, taking possession of the entire building. 

Ferenc Szálasi gave the name "House of Loyalty." After the autumn of 1944 the building was used as a prison and a ’collector’ place. In February, 1945 - the predecessor of ÁVO – the State Police occupied the house. The building has proved its being narrow, so the whole block had been taken possession. With breaking through the walls some underground cellars were connected, they built a labyrinth in the prison’s cellar. The State Protection Authority owned the house until 1956. 

The Central- and East European History and Society Foundation for Research bought the building in December 2000, with the aim of representing the two bloody periods of Hungarian history throughout a museum. The one-year lasting renovation work effected a pretty new building inside and out under Andrássy Road 60. The internal design, exhibition design of the museum and the exterior facade are the works of architect Attila F. Kovács.


National Pantheon
Address: 1086 Budapest, Fiumei Road 16.
Phone: +36/1 323-5100

Approximation: Take Bus nr. 7 from Blaha Lujza Square to Keleti Railway Station, and after walk. From the New York Café it is about 15 minutes.

Among the significant members of the nation there can be found the tomb of Miklós Radnóti, the prominent representative of modern poetry. Because of his Jewish origin he usually had to work as a labour serviceman from 1940, for example in 1944 he wrote his works under the supervision of the Germans while staying in Lager Heidenau, near to Serbia. His last journey was on September 17, 1944. Some of his poems were founded in the pocket of his coat, in a notebook which turned up after his resurrection. T

he Fiumei (or Kerepesi) Graveyard has been the oldest but functioning Christian cemetery in Budapest. The cemetery started to operate more than a sesqui-century before, and it has been mainly a graveyard for the political upper-class since 1885 (the year of its declaration as a honorary cemetery). 

There can be found graves of many famous Hungarians like Lajos Batthyány, Ferenc Deák, Lajos Kossuth, but it is important to mention József Antall, the Prime Minister of the first democratically elected government after the Communism. After the Second World War it used to be the cemetery of the country's economic, social, scientific and artistic elite. List of people buried here consists of scientists, artists, and famous sculptors preserves their memory throughout many tombs.


Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Pool
Address: 1138 Budapest, Margaret Island
Phone: +36/1 450-4240, +36/1 450-4230

Approximation: Take Tram nr. 4 or 6 from Blaha Lujza Square. From the Fiumei Graveyard it is about 30 minutes.

Alfréd Hajós, the "Hungarian Dolphin" won some prizes while the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, held in Athens, namely both on 100 meters (1:22.2) – (starting from water) – and on 1,200 m (18:22) – (by swimming from a ship to the side) – in the crawl. The Olympic Games in 1924 meant him a silver medal in planning a stadion together with Dezső Lauber.

 The country's largest water sports center was built in 1930, called the National Swimming Pool of the Margaret Island, designed by Alfred Hajos. (The outdoor swimming pool and diving facility was made in 1937, by ​Pál ​Csonka’s plans.) 

The building was expanded with an external training pool in 1958, while in 2006 – related to the EB - with an outdoor swimming pool (50 meter-long), with diving walls and 25x25-meter swimming pool as well. 

The Margaret Island is 2.5 km long, 500 m wide and the nicest island of the Danube. It is not only one of the capital's most beautiful parks, from historical and literary point of view, but also significant. The island got its current name after IV. King Béla's daughter, Margaret, whom the king had built a monastery here. Landscaping can be connected to Palatine Joseph invented, the largest tree was planted after the Great Flood in 1838.

 The park used to be a favorite resting place for poets and writers of the 19th and 20th century. János Arany, Gyula Krúdy, Sándor Bródy and Ferenc Molnár spent some years there. Popular tourist attractions can be found there, including the reconstructed Premonstratensian church, the Artist's Promenade, Rose Garden, Musical Fountain and the Bath Palatinus as well.


Many ways lead the memory
Jewish Cultural Heritage in Budapest


 


Building by building


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KAPCSOLÓDÓ CIKKEK:
  Mór Fischer Farkasházi (1799-1880),
  Lipót Baumhorn (1860-1932),
  Miksa Falk (1828 – 1908),
  Alfréd Hajós (1878-1955),
  Miklós Radnóti (1909-1944),


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