Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nagy Zsinagoga/Great Synagogue, Budapest

The largest synagogue in Europe is found in Budapest. In fact, the only larger synagogue is in New York City. Built between 1844 and 1859, the Great Synagogue of Budapest seats 3000 and is made in a Byzantine-Moorish style that gives it a distinctive look in the middle of more mundane buildings.

The Great Synagogue, Budapest

The whole building, seen from our tour bus

Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saens are some of the famous musicians who have played on the great organ at the synagogue. A museum is also attached to the Synagogue, which we didn't get to see.

We came back to the area at night after the kids were asleep. In the courtyard behind the synagogue is a metal weeping willow tree erected in memory of all the Jews who died during the Holocaust.

The front is just as spectacular in the evening.

The Great Synagogue at night

On a nearby street is a memorial statue to Carl Lutz, who helped Jews during the Holocaust. He was a Swiss vice-consul in Budapest from 1942 to 1945. He used his diplomatic resources to provide Jews with documentation and had several houses in Budapest granted diplomatic immunity. He saved tens of thousands of lives. The plaque at the memorial reads: "Whoever saves a life is considered as if he has saved an entire world (Talmud). In memory of those who in 1944 under the leadership of the Swiss Consul Carl Lutz (1895-1975) rescued thousands from National Socialist persecution."

Lutz Memorial, Budapest

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