The visitor to this site can browse through the results of twelve years of research. Eszter Gombocz started collecting materials about the interwar history of the Óbuda Jewish Elementary School [Óbudai Izraelita Elemi Iskola] in 2002, an investigation she later extended to the schools of the Buda Jewish Community [Budai Izraelita Hitközség]. She followed the footsteps of the teachers and pupils, gathering memoirs, photos, and archival sources for years. Most importantly, she collected the people who had once been classmates, but were separated during the years of persecution, living without information about each others’ fate, whether this led to survival, or death. These people then honoured her with their trust and became involved in the process of recollecting and processing memories. “It is my conviction that history is not more than the bark on the tree of remembrance. My quest is to find what is underneath this bark, the unique and unrepeatable personal stories.”

Many people have frequently pointed to the importance of grasping this last moment to recall the memories of the survivors of the Holocaust: this research also proves that defining new goals is a possibility and a necessity. The cherished elementary school of their youth provided a starting point that drew out reminiscences from many people who had previously refused to recall their memories. Some of these people revived their mother tongue after fifty-sixty years, to put on paper their recollections about the school in the Hungarian language, which they used as pupils.

The historical documents and personal testimonies that have been uncovered by this investigation can be used in research on local and family history. It also forms the basis of an expandable educational package, presently including the CD-ROM Overdue School Reunion, the video film Viszontlátás-Reunion, and the travelling exhibition Jewish pupils in Buda and Óbuda 1920-1949 [Zsidó iskolások Budán és Óbudán, 1920-1949].

The material published here is more comprehensive than the selection made available in 2010, because the individual texts (list of terms, five recollections) are now also available in English as well as Hungarian and German.

It is our shared hope that the readers of these texts also become active users of the site: that they feel inspired to use the materials for educational or research projects, or follow the present example and begin collecting material on the history of further Jewish schools, to maintain the memories of these institutions.

Center of Jewish Studies, Center for Social Sciences, Institute for Minority Studies