Politics

Holocaust museum stirs controversy over the reflection of history

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‘House of fates’, the Holocaust museum turned into house of controversy over the projection of historical events. The museum which is spread over the site of a former railway station where Jews were deported to Nazi German death camps, was largely finished by 2015. Currently under renovation the museum with the budget of 24-million-euro ($27 million) has already overshot its planned inaugural date.

 

The museum complex is located in the poorly maintained area in the vicinity of the city centre. The front of the museum is decked with two 15-metre (49-foot) high towers of cattle wagons placed one on the top of another connected by a giant, well-lit metal bridge in the shape of the Jewish Star of David.

 

The museum was built to highlight the horrors of Holocaust wherein about 600,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and killed in 1944 with the assistance of the Hungarian authorities.

The controversy rose when in last September the Hungarian government suddenly handed over the creative direction and management of the museum to EMIH (the United Hungarian Jewish Congregation). The group worked with historian Maria Schmidt, who is close to Hungary’s nationalist-conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

 

Mazsihisz, the largest and longest-established Jewish organisation stated that they don’t have much faith in EMIH’s handling of the museum as according to them it lacks the necessary expertise and that Schmidt has a reputation of reducing the impact of the Holocaust.

 

“She is not considered by experts as credible, no one knows what the museum’s historical message will be,” Mazsihisz leader Andras Heisler told AFP.

 

Schmidt’s initial concept for the House of Fates covered just the years between 1938 and 1948, excluding the rising of anti-Semitism and the introduction of the first anti-Jewish law in post-World War I Europe under Hungary’s interwar leader Miklos Horthy.

 

Mazsihisz and international academics — including from the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem — resigned from an advisory board because of what they considered as an incomplete projection of events, leading to an impasse.

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