The Jewish Heritage – Jewish Parishes in the Hungarian Countryside debuted on Monday evening at the event of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.The book of the young cultural historian Viktor Cseh may open a new chapter in the general Hungarian history of science.
“This day is very important for the Hungarian culture” – stated Szilveszter E. Vizi (84), the former president of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA). The Széchenyi Prize-winner professor, who is also the President of the Christian-Jewish Society, believes that it was high time to write such a grand book about the less-known history of Jews living on the countryside.
Before the conversation, Péter Kirschner, Chairman of the book’s publishing company Mazsike [Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association] welcomed the guests. He expressed his gratitude towards the leadership of the Hungarian Academy of Science, which during its 33 years of operation always supported their work.
The members of the conversation were Viktor Cseh, the author of the book, Zsuzsa Toronyi, the Chairman of the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archive and Nóra Winkler journalist.
The author originally planned to write a 100-pages-long travel book, but the ever-growing scientific research and the resulting huge material lead to the publishing of this grandiose book, which was believed to be the cultural historic sensation of the year.
The huge, A4 book weighs almost two kilograms, and was first presented a few weeks ago in Tapolca; nevertheless, the event at the Hungarian Academy of Science was the official premiere. Following launching ceremonies are planned at several locations in the countryside.
According to Zsuzsa Toronyi, the mission of Viktor Cseh produced a research material that proved to be a useful resource for their organisation, since the book covers locations that were not part of the Jewish remembrance. She believes that the research of Hungarian Jews has been selective due to the consideration of the decision-makers. Therefore, the book of Viktor Cseh is not only a great story but also a milestone in the scientific research of Jewish cultural history, and a great step towards the inclusion of the ethnography of Hungarian Jews in the canon of the universal culture of Hungary.
The Jewish Heritage – Jewish Parishes in the Hungarian Countryside introduces the communities of 134 Hungarian villages, and the author has already started to cover a following 140 locations. Altogether, there are believed to be about 600 countryside parishes, so there is much more work to be done.
Photo credit: Neokohn