Discover the hidden heritage treasures of Jewish Budapest, Hungary

Share with your friend

    Friend’s name: *

    Friend’s email: *

    Your name: *

    Your email: *

    Subject: *


    CAPTCHA: captcha

    Budapest, Hungary, truly captivated me as “the Paris of the East” during my visit on a Jewish heritage press tour. Exceptional amenities were provided during our stay at the Corinthia Budapest Hotel, a beautifully restored five-star gem located in the center of the city. Our stay at the Corinthia Budapest Hotel, a meticulously restored five-star gem in the city center, offered exceptional amenities like spacious rooms, superb dining options, and the opulent Royal Spa for ultimate relaxation.

    Situated in the heart of Europe, Budapest boasts immense beauty and is home to the continent’s third-largest Jewish community, numbering approximately 100,000 strong. The city’s Jewish history dates to ancient Roman times, and its community has played pivotal roles in shaping Budapest’s economic, political, and cultural landscape. Budapest, a radiant gem along the Danube’s necklace, invites visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and rich Jewish heritage to explore. The city is equally celebrated for its unique art nouveau architecture, seamlessly incorporating colorful Hungarian folk motifs.

    Royal Spa-Corinthia Hotel Budapest: New York Jewish Travel Guide

    Discovering Budapest’s Synagogues: A Cultural Expedition

    Embarking on a journey through Budapest’s Old Jewish District, nestled in the historic heart of the city, immerses you in a bustling triangular area that tells the story of Hungarian Jewry and Budapest itself. As you wander through the maze-like streets of this quarter, you’ll uncover not only the narratives of the past but also witness the vibrant life pulsating within it today.

    “The Rich Tapestry of History: Exploring the Dohány Street Synagogue Complex”

    One of Budapest’s notable landmarks is the Dohany Street Synagogue, a remarkable architectural marvel and the largest synagogue in Europe. Also known as the Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, it stands as an architectural marvel. Adjacent to it stands the poignant Holocaust Memorial, serving as a solemn tribute to the more than 600,000 Jewish lives lost during the Nazi regime. Its magnificence is evident in its seating capacity of 3,000 people and its significant role as a center of Neolog Judaism. Additionally, the Jewish Museum, housing an impressive collection of artifacts and documents related to Hungary’s Jewish heritage, offers visitors a comprehensive insight into this rich history.

    The complex surrounding the Dohány Street Synagogue is a treasure trove of Jewish history and culture. It includes not only the Great Synagogue but also the Heroes’ Temple, a serene graveyard, a poignant memorial, and the Jewish Museum. Notably, the Jewish Museum stands on the very site where Theodor Herzl, a pivotal figure in the Zionist movement, was born, adding another layer of historical significance to this sacred space.

    Dohány Street Synagogue: New York Jewish Travel Guide

    “Exploring History and Heritage: Inside Budapest’s Jewish Museum”

    The Jewish Museum proudly occupies the former site of Theodor Herzl’s two-story classicist-style residence, adjacent to the Dohány Synagogue. This architectural gem was built in 1930 to complement the synagogue’s distinctive style and seamlessly integrated with the main building in 1931. Inside, visitors can explore the remarkable Jewish Religious and Historical Collection, which includes relics from the Pest Hevrah Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society), ritual artifacts for Shabbat and the High Holidays, and a poignant Holocaust room. In the turbulent year of 1944, the Dohány Street Synagogue emerged as a vital sanctuary within the Jewish Ghetto, offering refuge to countless Jews. Sadly, the harsh winter of 1944–1945 exacted a heavy toll, and over two thousand individuals who perished from hunger and cold within the ghetto now find eternal rest within the synagogue’s courtyard.

    photo 3 (3)

    “Gravestones of those reburied”—New York Jewish Travel Guide

    The Heroes’ Temple, with seating for 250 individuals, became part of the Dohány Street Synagogue complex in 1931. This beautifully crafted structure, designed by Lazlo Vágó and Ferenc Faragó, stands as a touching tribute to the Hungarian Jewish community members who bravely sacrificed during World War I. It remains actively used for religious gatherings on weekdays and throughout the winter season.

    photo 1 (11)

    Monuments to Rescuers:  New York Jewish Travel Guide

    “Heroes of Humanity: Courageous Individuals During the Holocaust”

    Our exploration of these monuments in Budapest left a profound impact, touching the hearts of many. These tributes honor the righteous Gentiles who bravely aided Jews during the Nazi occupation, often at great risk, by providing false documents that ultimately saved lives.

    In a poignant memorial, sculptor Imre Varga crafted a weeping willow tree in the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park. This solemn sculpture bears the names and tattoo numbers of those who tragically vanished during the Holocaust. Adjacent to it, in the rear courtyard, lies the Raoul Wallenberg Emlékpark, or Memory Park, home to the Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs. This enduring testament commemorates the harsh reality that over 600,000 Hungarian Jews fell victim to the merciless brutality of the Nazis.

    Among the nations, several individuals demonstrated exceptional courage during the Holocaust:

    • Swiss Vice-Consul Carl Lutz
    • Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian who ingeniously posed as the Spanish consul, provided protection documents and current passports to Jews in Budapest, ultimately saving five thousand lives.
    • Monsignor Angelo Rotta, an Italian Prelate Bishop and Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican City State in Budapest, issued protective documents, false baptism certificates to shield Jews from forced labor, and Vatican passports to Jews without discrimination, ultimately saving 15,000 lives. His secretary, Monsignor Gennaro Verolino, further aided in rescuing tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.
    photo 2 (5)

    “Willow memorial tree”: New York Jewish Travel Guide

    “The Holocaust Memorial Center: Honoring the Past, Educating the Future” 

    Located on the outskirts of Budapest, the Kozma Utca Jewish Cemetery shares its borders with a sizable general and special Catholic cemetery. Since its establishment in 1891, it has served as the final resting place for over 300,000 individuals of Jewish heritage. Despite its age, this cemetery remains active, bearing witness to the passage of time. Alongside impressive crypts from the early 20th century, it boasts several notable monuments, including one dedicated to Holocaust victims. Among those buried here are prominent Hungarians of Jewish descent, such as the acclaimed architect Béla Lajta (1873–1920) and Hungary’s first Olympic gold medalist, Alfréd Hájos (1875–1955).

    The Holocaust Memorial Center serves as a poignant homage to the victims of the Hungarian Holocaust. Established in 2004, this extensive complex includes a synagogue, a museum, and an inner courtyard adorned with a glass memorial wall inscribed with the names of over 500,000 victims. These names are reverently etched onto the wall, ensuring their memory endures for generations. Within the museum, a permanent exhibition presents a gripping narrative of the Holocaust, weaving together the personal stories of individuals in an interactive and captivating manner. Original documents and personal artifacts on display offer a tangible link to this sorrowful period in history, fostering a deeper understanding of the human impact of the tragedy.

    Kozma Jewish Cemetery: New York Jewish Travel Guide

    “Unlocking the Flavors of Tradition: Join Rachel Raj at Her Bakery for a Flodni Masterclass”

    The Jewish Summer Festival, held from August to September, is a lively cultural extravaganza initiated by the Jewish Community of Budapest. It is managed by the Jewish Tourism and Cultural Center, and this festival centers around the iconic Dohány Street Synagogue, Europe’s largest and most magnificent. Year by year, the festival has earned global recognition, attracting esteemed artists from across Europe and beyond.

    Step into Rachel Raj’s bakery and immerse yourself in the world of Flodni, a cherished Eastern European Jewish delicacy. Join Rachel as she shares her expertise in crafting the perfect flodni, revealing the secrets of this traditional Hungarian Jewish cake.

    During this enriching session, participants will uncover the secrets behind Rachel’s family heritage and learn the art of mastering her time-honored Flodni recipe. This delectable treat is renowned for its rich combination of poppy seeds, apples, walnuts, and homemade plum jam—a harmonious blend of flavors that epitomizes Jewish culinary tradition.

    Prepare for a culinary journey as Rachel guides you through the process of creating the perfect Flodni, ensuring that each bite captures the authentic tastes and textures of this beloved dessert.

    photo 4 (1)

    The Jewish Summer Festival: New York Jewish Travel Guide


    For trip planning in Hungary, reach out to the Visit Hungarian National Tourist Office or visit

    To book a hotel, email or visit

    Special thanks to Meyer Harroch from the New York Jewish Guide and the New York Jewish Travel Guide for contributing this article and its accompanying photography. The author participated in a press trip sponsored by the Hungarian Tourism Board.


    You must be logged in to post a comment Login