Silent Heroes – Budapest

The project called Silent Heroes is a Grundtvig Learning Partnership financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. The context of hiding during the Second World War as a challenge for cultural memory organisations.
Thanks to this opportunity I was part of an international group meetings in Amsterdam, Hohenems, Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest. Through this journey I learned and experienced a lot as a scholar and also as a filmmaker. This opportunity inspired me to create a short video for each of the locations where I was. Every piece reflects on an exact place, square, river, monument or memorial where the time and history stamped in, but a lot of people do not even know about it. Most of these places had once a nice, culturally vivid past, that changed under the Holocaust. The aims of the videos are to create attention on the present and the future of this places.

The memorial to the victims of the German occupation is intended to restore the memory of those people who died in Hungary in 1944. The government decided to establish the monument on 31 December 2013. The Hungarian Jewish Communities Association (MAZSIHISZ) protested against it, saying that the concept suggests that Hungary was an innocent victim. This states also that Hungarian authorities have not provided effective assistance after the occupation of the country for nearly half a million Jews in death camps deportation. On 22 January, the Fifth District representative body gave consent to create the monument, so from 9 February MAZSIHISZ boycotted the Holocaust memorial year. The protesters named “Living Memory” (Eleven Emlékmű) created an exhibition with objects, photographs, copies of letters and placed stones. On the night of July 20, the police cleared out and closed the Freedom Square, then placed under police protection, and raised the statue. “Instead of lies, honest confrontation!” The team of Living Memory requests this for more than a year.

Silent Heroes Budapest from Andrea Ausztrics on Vimeo.

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