EDITOR's NOTES: Focus: Jews in Hungary
This month our focus is on Jews in Hungary.
Although Hungary is a relatively small country, it has a large Jewish population, the largest in Eastern Europe outside of the former Soviet Union.
Jews have lived in Hungary since the time of the Roman Empire. A large number of Jews arrived from Asia together with the Hungarian tribes in the 9th century.
While the Jewish community grew by the early 20th century, by the late 1930’s the first of a series of anti-Semitic law were enacted, restricting the socio-economic activity of the Jewish population.
Over 600,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
After WWII, the Jewish community had to face anti-Jewish Communist pogroms. Many of the Holocaust survivors then decided to leave to the US or to Israel. The migration continued during the 1956 revolution in Budapest. Later on, the situation stabilized and the ultimate collapse of Communism hastened the revitalization of Jewish communal life.
Today out of a total population of around 10 millions, the number of Jews is around 120,000.
In an interview with European Jewish Press, led by journalist Eszter Rubin, the head of the Hungarian Jewish Federation, Andras Heisler, describes the many challenges facing the community today.