Website Launched to Showcase Photographs of the Hungarian Holocaust
24 • 06 • 19György Cséka
Yet another excellent and unprecedented initiative kicked off on the 21stJune, on the 75th anniversary of the ordinance of yellow-star houses at the Nappali Kávéház. Partly associated with Fortepan, the project is bound to bring exciting results and important discoveries over time, and has every chance of becoming a significant historical resource.
The new project comprises a website, holokausztfoto.hu, which is intended to become a repository of photographs depicting the Hungarian Holocaust. At the exhibition Every Past Is My Past, the audience could already notice that mysteriously there are rather few photographs depicting the Hungarian Holocaust; researchers know about the existence of around 1000 photos at best. There is no way of knowing whether that is the sole number of photos taken for the obvious reason that dictatorships and genocidal authorities have an aversion to (visual) documents, or many more photos exist hidden in family legacies or other archives.
The mission of the site is to collect and publish this corpus of photographs – in other words, they eagerly welcome photographs hidden in family albums, archives and legacies. In view of the subject’s special importance, besides the private materials, they also encourage collaboration with public, official collections.
The site goes beyond the mere presentation of photographs, as with their team of experts and external researchers they intend to catalogue them in a scholarly manner, to quote the website: “We hope that our homepage will promote the appearance of Holocaust photography with correct information in the press and in historical works, in real historical context and in good quality.” The team includes a family tree researcher (Adrienne Szlávy), a historian (András Lénárt), a Ph.D. history student (Ágnes Kelemen), a journalist (János Dési), and of course the editor of Fortepan.hu (Miklós Tamási).
The website intentionally and cleverly welcomes a broad range of images: “Our criteria are simple: anything is a ‘Holocaust photo’ if it represents anti-Jewish discrimination and was taken within the historical borders of Hungary (or if taken abroad of Hungarian Jews) between 1938 and 1948.”
We hope that the number of submitted and processed photographs will, if not reach the numbers of Fortepan, at least approach it, representing the unrepresentable horror and its context ever so deeply and faithfully.
(Translation: Dániel Sipos)