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Yellow-Star Houses of Budapest, 1944-2014

Contributor: Open Society Archives, Budapest
Date: Yellow-Star Houses
Language: English
Short Title:
URL: http://www.yellowstarhouses.org/ and http://www.csillagoshazak.hu/
Rights: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International)
Abstract:

The ‘yellow-star houses’ were a network of just under 2,000 houses in Budapest where all those who qualified as Jews under the race laws in force at the time (around 220,000 people) were obliged to live from 21 June 1944 until the creation of the two large ghettoes by the Arrow Cross government in late November. Both the houses—which were scattered throughout the city—and their residents were obliged to display the yellow star. The houses were intended as interim holding centres prior to deportation; each family was allotted one room each. Archival, textual and visual documentation of these houses is scant.In January 2014, the Open Society Archives (OSA) at the Central European University in Budapest launched a Hungarian-language website and bilingual Facebook page dedicated to the history of Budapest’s yellow-star houses, and the public reception of this history in 2014, the seventieth anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust. An English-language website followed in April 2014. Using archival data together with mapping technology, an interactive map of Budapest was created that shows the site of each former yellow-star house, including those demolished since 1945. Both websites contain a list of houses, testimonies crowd-sourced by the project using social media (over 240 stories concerning 210 houses), photographs, videos, a chronology and details of the 21 June 2014 commemorations, the 70th anniversary of this forced mass relocation, in which over 8,000 people took part from 8 am until midnight. The English-language website also contains two Google Open Gallery virtual exhibitions, and international press coverage.This major public history project was intended as an attempt to confront the city with its past, to put the yellow-star houses ‘on the map’, and to encourage residents to remember with dignity and honesty. Privately funded, the project was completely unconnected to the Fidesz government’s controversial Holocaust Memorial Year. 

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