Yad Vashem rejects Hungarian memorial initiative

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yad Vashem has decided not to participate in a project to build a Nazi occupation museum in Hungary.

The House of Fates project invited representatives of the Jerusalem-based Holocaust museum and memorial to attend an international meeting of experts to discuss the memorial center to be built in Budapest.

Yossi Gevir, senior assistant to the chairman at the Yad Vashem Directorate, turned down the invitation in a letter last week to Maria Schmidt, head of the House of Fates project.

“Yad Vashem will not be taking part in gatherings or activities organized by the House of Fates Museum project, because the project’s administration has consistently and unilaterally pursued the development of the Museum without any genuine, substantial involvement of the representatives of the Hungarian Jewish community or of relevant international parties, including Yad Vashem,” Gevir wrote.

The letter also said the project cannot use the Yad Vashem name in any way or context that would indicate its support or involvement in the project.

Earlier this month, Andras Heisler, president of the Mazsihisz Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, withdrew the federation’s participation in the advisory body for the House of Fates project.

Mazsihisz voted last month to boycott state-sponsored Holocaust memorial programs after accusing the government of glossing over Hungarian Holocaust-era culpability.

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