Hungary’s Orban hopes a rabbi can save his country’s controversial new Holocaust museum

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tags: museums, Hungary, Holocaust Museum, public history

The carcass of a dead pigeon lay rotting inside a sculptural Star of David tunnel at Hungary’s new Holocaust museum. Spiders had colonized the stairwells of the empty complex.

Construction of the $23 million museum, known as the House of Fates, was completed three years ago. But controversy has stalled its opening.

Initially, a Hungarian official spoke of a museum that would highlight the “story of love between Hungarian Jews and non-Jews. A love that has survived everything. As a result of which, there is still a large Hungarian Jewish community living in this country.”

The premise was decried as Holocaust revisionism by historians and museum professionals worldwide.

And so, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on Slomo Koves, a rabbi affiliated with the Hasidic Chabad movement, to direct and reimagine the project.

The House of Fates is an especially stark example of how nationalist governments in central Europe — Hungary, Poland, Lithuania — have sought in various ways to recast their histories of Nazi collaboration and thus their international reputations. These attempts have never had their intended effect.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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