Great Synagogue of Budapest: An example of why I travel and take photos

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Mel Snyder
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Great Synagogue of Budapest: An example of why I travel and take photos
3 months ago

If I can take a special, creative photo as I travel, I'm pleased.

But often, the bulk of my images on a given day have very little interest to those with strictly photographic interests. I happen to be fascinated by houses of worship Some even represent my reason for visiting a particular country or city. I am attracted to the sites of great historic importance.

In 1989, Hungary took down its fence with East Germany, spelling the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Those of you who do not know the story of Hungary and the Holocaust - and care little about either subject - will find these images of little merit. But those old enough to remember the days in October 1956 when this brave nation rose up against the Soviet Union have good reason to visit this special nation. As a child, I listened to the revolution on BBC from my bedside radio, and the last desperate cries to the West as Russian tanks crushed their efforts for freedom.

The black balls on this wall mark the spots where bullets from snipers from the Warsaw Pact slaughtered the peacefully protesting citizens of this brave nation in October 1956.

The Great Synagogue of Budapest

The Great Synagogue of Budapest was the site of an earlier slaughter. The Nazis didn't destroy the synagogue for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it was to be one of Hitler's museums to a people he intended to exterminate. Or perhaps, it was saved to provide a sanctuary from allied bombers for Nazis responsible for exterminating Hungary's Jews.

In March of 1945, as Nazi Germany's fate was evident, the architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, fled his headquarters in the synagogue after having deported more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. As he fled, he left the synagogue in the hands of the Hungarian fascist group Arrow Cross, which proceeded to execute and bury 2,200 of the last of Budapest's Jewish community in the garden of the synagogue.

I came to Budapest in large part because I wanted to make my own photographic memories of this special synagogue. I spent several days visiting the sites of the 1956 revolution, photographs of which I will link in a subsequent post.

Here is a link to a selection of images I made over two visits to the Great Synagogue of Budapest.

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