Six hundred thousand Hungarian Jews fell victim to the Holocaust, yet only about 900-1000 photographs are available from the era of their persecution, starting in 1938. In the hope that more photos would be soon made public, a volunteer initiative has opened an internet site, holokausztfoto.hu.
Former leader of the historical photo department of the National Museum, Katalin Jalsovszky, claimed that there are only 98 known photos about those who were forced to wear yellow stars -only 52 of the nearly 200 ghettos, and 49 photos of the deportations that affected 5,000 settlements. In addition, only 12 photos remained of yellow-starred houses, and none of the ghetto before its liberation, where over the course of 2 months, sixty thousand people were squeezed in. Likewise, photos of German and Soviet parties or Hungarian police forces, army soldiers, etc are either missing or were never taken. All that in an era when photography was already a widespread middle-class hobby.
The portal now aims to gather the well-known as well as the unpublished photos. Their mission is “to find and collect as many Hungarian Holocaust-related photos as possible, then identify and display original sources and improve legal accessibility” hoping that the “homepage will promote the appearance of Holocaust photography with correct information in the press and in historical works, in real historical context and in good quality.”
After registration, anyone can upload materials. They also seek cooperation with institutional collections and private parties. Any photo material is welcome that “represents anti-Jewish discrimination and was taken within the historical borders of Hungary (or if taken abroad of Hungarian Jews) between 1938 and 1948,” the site says.