As part of our newly launched EU project, the ESJF met on Wednesday with the President of the Páva street Synagogue and the legal representative of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ-Magyarországi Zsidó Hitközségek Szövetsége), Dr. Gádor György, to gather information on the legal ownership of the Hungarian Jewish cemeteries.
The meeting took place at Síp street centre of MAZSIHISZ in the heart of the Jewish quarter in Budapest. Dr. Gádor György talked about the federation being an umbrella organisation for the ownership of all Jewish cemeteries in Hungary by being in close contact with the local Jewish communities. He highlighted the autonomy of the local Jewish communities in the countryside however in order to strengthen their efforts, the federation funds the restoration as well as maintenance of their cemeteries.
Legal obstacles faced by those protecting Jewish cemeteries in Hungary were also discussed. In particular, the Federation had recently faced issues when collaborating with local authorities and witnessed antisemitic violence against the religious sites. Moreover, Dr. Gádor also noted that trees within the cemeteries can cause legal consequences if their leaves fall onto the land of neighbouring properties.
Despite the challenges they faced, Dr. Gádor proudly spoke of the Federations team who deal with Jewish cemeteries that are abandoned in the countryside. Through this work they are not only conducting invaluable research but also raising awareness for these important Jewish Hungarian heritage sites. Now “it will never be possible to construct a swimming pool in the middle of the Jewish cemeteries” said Dr. Gádor György.