Friday, August 17, 2007
The Budapest ghetto was a ghetto where Jews were forced to live in Budapest, Hungary during the Second World War. The area consisted of several blocks of the old Jewish quarter of the city surrounding the main synagogue, and was surrounded by a high fence and stone wall that was guarded so that contraband could not be sneaked in, and people could not get out. The Nazi occupation of Budapest took place in March 1944. The ghetto was established in November, 1944, and lasted for less than three months, until the liberation of Pest on January 17, 1945 by the Soviet Army.
As with other ghettos that had been set up in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe the area was completely cut off from the outside world: no food was allowed in, rubbish and waste were not collected, the dead lay on the streets and piled up in the bombed-out store fronts and the buildings were overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases such as typhoid.
More than half of those that were forced into the ghetto in 1944 were sent to concentration camps, starting almost immediately from the establishment of the ghetto. From occupation to liberation the Jewish population of Budapest was reduced from 200,000 to 70,000 in the ghetto, and about 20,000 housed in specially marked houses outside the ghetto having been granted diplomatic protection by neutral politicians, including Raoul Wallenberg, who issued Protective Passports on behalf of the Swedish Legation, and Carl Lutz, who did the same via the Swiss Government. Of those that were deported (most of them to a concentration camp on the Austrian border), the vast majority were liberated by the advancing Red Army.
The last remaining section of the ghetto wall was demolished in 2006 during construction works. It was situated in the backyard of a building (No. 15 Király Street) and was originally an old stone wall made use by the Nazis in 1944 adding a line of barbed wire. The walls of the ghetto were typically older structures found on the area.
Posted by allenwoow at 9:48 AM