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The Budapest Jewish Congregation (BSZH) and the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) are marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Budapest ghetto in unconventional ways this year because of the epidemic.

BSZH said on the website of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) that commemorations will take place in the Dohány Street synagogue, while complying with measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Speeches will be delivered by BSZH chairman Tamas Mester, the synagogue’s chief rabbi Robert Frolich and Israel’s ambassador to Hungary Yacov Hadas-Handelsman. The commemorations will conclude with the laying of wreaths at a memorial plaque in Wesselényi Street. State secretary Balázs Orbán will participate with a video message and Russian ambassador to Hungary Vladimir Sergeev will lay a wreath.

The video of the event can be seen on the websites of BSZH and MAZSIHISZ as well as on their YouTube channels.

EMIH told MTI it is organising a more than three-day series of online programmes, starting Sunday evening, that will include conversations with Holocaust survivors.

Hadas-Handelsman and Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony have sent video messages for the programme, and Cardinal Péter Erdő, Lutheran bishop Tamás Fabiny and EMIH chief rabbi Slomó Köves will also speak.

More than 70,000 people were confined to the ghetto, in an area in the old Jewish quarter, when it was closed off on December 10, 1944. The ghetto was liberated on January 18, 1945.

Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI