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Opening Hours:

Sunday to Wednesday: 09:00-17:00
Thursday: 9:00-20:00 *
Fridays and Holiday eves: 09:00-14:00.

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

* The Holocaust History Museum, Museum of Holocaust Art, Exhibitions Pavilion and Synagogue are open until 20:00. All other sites close at 17:00.

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At the Last Moment: The Tragedy of Hungarian Jewry - January 2014

Shalom and welcome to the 31st issue of Teaching the Legacy.

This year marks 70 years since the destruction of Hungarian Jewry. As such, we have dedicated this newsletter to the tragedy of Hungarian Jewry, which literally occurred at the last moment in the Holocaust. In fact, what makes the Holocaust in Hungary unique is that over half a million Hungarian Jews were murdered in such a short time, beginning in the spring of 1944 and continuing throughout the winter. 
We have included articles that describe what was lost: two pieces in the newsletter describe Jewish life in Hungary before the war in two different cities – Budapest and Munkács. 
Looking back 70 years later, we have featured two interviews with experts who analyze the Holocaust in Hungary in retrospect: Professor Yehuda Bauer and Dr. Chava Baruch. We have also included an interview with a survivor of the Holocaust in Hungary, Mr. Peter Span. For teachers, there is an article about teaching the Holocaust in Hungary using one child's diary. The newsletter includes a book review as well as a movie review on the subject. It also contains an artifact, and a featured story of a Righteous Among the Nations.
As always, the newsletter features new publications and updates on recent and upcoming activities at the International School for Holocaust Studies and across Yad Vashem. We hope you find this issue interesting and resourceful and we look forward to your feedback.

Prewar Jewish Life in Munkács: A Brief History

Prewar Jewish Life in Munkács: A Brief History

This article presents a short summary of the history of the Jews of Munkács. It is presented here for the sake of comparison with the history of the Jews of Budapest, the largest of the Jewish communities in prewar Hungary, profiled in a separate article in this newsletter. Whereas Budapest's Jews were, for the most part, assimilated Jews, Munkács was a major center of Hasidic life and learning. While Budapest remained relatively safe until October, 1944, the Jews of Munkács were among the first of the Hungarian Jews to be deported to Auschwitz, in May, 1944. Many additional comparisons...
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Prewar Jewish Life in Budapest

Prewar Jewish Life in Budapest

IntroductionThis article presents a short summary of the history of the Jews of Budapest, the largest of the Jewish communities in prewar Hungary and the Hungarian capital. For the sake of comparison, we have also included in this newsletter a profile of another town in Hungary, the provincial town of Munkács located in the Carpathian Mountains. Whereas Budapest's Jews were, for the most part, assimilated Jews, Munkács was a major center of Hasidic life and learning. While Budapest remained relatively safe until October, 1944, the Jews of Munkács were among the first of the Hungarian Jews...
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Historical Background: The Jews of Hungary During the Holocaust

Historical Background: The Jews of Hungary During the Holocaust

After Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933, the Hungarian government became interested in making an alliance with Nazi Germany. The Hungarian Government felt that such an alliance would be good for them, in that the two governments maintained similar authoritarian ideologies, and the Nazis could assist Hungary in retrieving land it had lost in World War I. Over the next five years, Hungary moved closer to Germany....
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Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front during World War II

Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front during World War II

For the vast majority of Hungarian Jews, their family history includes the story of their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands who were drafted into the Labor Service to perform forced labor during the Holocaust. A large percentage of Jewish Labor Service draftees (some 45,000 out of about 100,000) were sent with the Hungarian Second Army to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, primarily from spring 1942 until the summer 1944. Subjected to grinding brutality on the front, the Jewish forced laborers’ suffering was often increased exponentially by the treatment they received at the...
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A Survivor Recovers the Boy He Was

A Survivor Recovers the Boy He Was

IntroductionItamar Yaos-Kest was born in 1934 in Sarvash, Hungary as Peter Kest and after the Germans invaded in March 1944, he began his childhood Holocaust trauma as a boy of ten years old. Fortunately, he was surrounded by his family right through the terrible camp conditions of Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany and against all probability, both parents and the two children survived more than six months in the camp. On scraps of paper his parents procured for him, he began writing his first poems as a ten-year-old in a German concentration camp. As of 2014, Itamar Yaos-Kest lives in...
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Shoes 1

The Shoes on the Danube Promenade – Commemoration of the Tragedy

On the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, not far from the Hungarian Parliament building, sit sixty pairs of old-fashioned shoes, the type people wore in the 1940s. There are women's shoes, there are men's shoes and there are children's shoes. They sit at the edge of the water, scattered and abandoned, as though their owners had just stepped out of them and left them there.If you look more closely, you see that the shoes are rusted, made of iron and set into the concrete of the embankment. They are a memorial and a monument to the Hungarian Jews who, in the winter of 1944-1945,...
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Interview with Peter Rosenfeld Span, Holocaust Survivor

Interview with Peter Rosenfeld Span, Holocaust Survivor

Peter Rosenfeld Span was born on May 19, 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Mr. Span currently lives in Los Angeles. He is a survivor of the Holocaust who spent most of World War II in Hungary and was then ghettoized and sent to transit and labor camps for the duration of the war, where he managed to survive. He has been giving lectures to junior high school students in Mexico and Los Angeles for the past nine years. This article is based on an oral interview conducted with Mr. Span in October, 2013, as well as on his unpublished manuscript, called "LOL* (*Laughing Out Loud) After...
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Interviews with Professor Yehuda Bauer and Dr. Chava Baruch

Interviews with Professor Yehuda Bauer and Dr. Chava Baruch

Professor Yehuda Bauer is Professor Emeritus of History and Holocaust Studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem. He is fluent in Czech, Slovak, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, and Polish. Professor Bauer was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1926. His family migrated to Israel in 1939. After completing high school in Haifa, he attended Cardiff University in Wales on a British scholarship.
Upon returning to Israel, Professor Bauer joined Kibbutz Shoval and began his graduated studies at Hebrew...
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Righteous Among the Nations: Raoul Wallenberg

Righteous Among the Nations: Raoul Wallenberg

This segment spotlights unique individuals who risked their lives in order to save Jews during the Holocaust. Here you can read the story of Raoul Wallenberg, a secretary in the Swedish Embassy in Budapest with full diplomatic privileges, who saved many Jews by issueing thousands of protective letters and providing Jews with safe houses....
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