Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest

28 June 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

© Thaler/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Thaler/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Dohány Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, is a historical building in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest, Hungary. It is the largest synagogue in Europe, seating 3,000 people and is a centre of Neolog Judaism. The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish Revival style, with the decoration based chiefly on Islamic models from North Africa and medieval Spain (the Alhambra). The synagogue’s Viennese architect, Ludwig Förster, believed that no distinctively Jewish architecture could be identified, and thus chose “architectural forms that have been used by oriental ethnic groups that are related to the Israelite people, and in particular the Arabs”. The interior design is partly by Frigyes Feszl.   read more…

Jewish life in the historic center of Berlin, around the Oranienburger Straße, Rosenthaler Straße and the Scheunenviertel

12 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, General, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Oranienburger Straße and New Synagogue © Rohieb/cc-by-sa-3.0

Oranienburger Straße and New Synagogue © Rohieb/cc-by-sa-3.0

Oranienburger Straße is a street in central Berlin. It is located in the borough of Mitte, north of the River Spree, and runs south-east from Friedrichstraße to Hackescher Markt.   read more…

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

27 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, General, Museums, Exhibitions

© Orator/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Orator/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae“, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 metres (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 metres (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 metres (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground “Place of Information” (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Mitte neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately 25 million.   read more…

The Israeli Independence Day

13 May 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Independence Hall in Tel Aviv © Deror avi

Independence Hall in Tel Aviv © Deror avi

The Israeli Declaration of Independence took place on May 14, 1948 or on 5 Iyar 5708, according to the Hebrew calendar, in the Independence Hall in the Israeli capital city Tel Aviv, mostly as a direct result of the Holocaust and the Évian Conference. On the same day, the British Mandatory Palestine ended. The Independence Day (Hebrew “Jom haAtzma’ut” for “Day of Independence”) was introduced in the following year 1949 as a reminder of the proclamation of the state by David Ben-Gurion.   read more…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27 January 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau (today Oświęcim in Poland), the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.   read more…

Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

6 January 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Oncenawhile

© Oncenawhile

(Latest update: 15 September 2019) The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots (European colonial period, Ottoman Empire, widespread Antisemitism in Europe, Jews in the Russian Empire, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild (Jewish land purchase in Palestine), Theodor Herzl, Jewish National Fund, timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, World War I, Sykes–Picot Agreement (San Remo conference, Mandate for Palestine, UN Charter, Chapter XII – International Trusteeship System, Article 80 (commonly known as the “Palestine Article” used by both conflict parties, Israel and Palestine, to create the wildest interpretations, speculations and conspiracy theories to assert the respective alleged right to the total land area), McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), Balfour Declaration, World War II, The Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), Évian Conference, Mandatory Palestine, Forced displacement, and United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine) of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict (or the history of collective failure) are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab–Israeli War in May 1948 following the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Nakba). Large-scale hostilities mostly ended with the cease-fire agreements after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. Peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, resulting in Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and abolishment of the military governance system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in favor of Israeli Civil Administration and consequent unilateral, internationally not recognized, annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Even when the text is about 97 pages long, it is just a summary. The multitude of links point out that there is a lot more to learn in detail. At first, it is a timeline of the major developments in the region and it leads to today’s challenges. The starting point is the view of the international community, especially the European Union and North America, on the conflict, enriched with excursions into the ideas, convictions, believes, and thoughts of the direct and indirect involved parties to the conflict.   read more…

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Theme Week West Jerusalem – Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority

19 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Union for the Mediterranean

Aerial view of Yad Vashem © Godot13/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aerial view of Yad Vashem © Godot13/cc-by-sa-3.0

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Established in 1953, Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, 804 meters (2,638 ft) above sea level and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. The memorial consists of a 180-dunam (18.0 ha; 44.5-acre) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center named The International School/Institute for Holocaust Studies.   read more…

Bełżec in Poland

18 August 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Orthodox church of St. Vasily from 1756 © Yarek shalom/cc-by-sa-3.0

Orthodox church of St. Vasily from 1756 © Yarek shalom/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bełżec is a village in Tomaszów Lubelski County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland with 2,600 inhabitants. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Bełżec. It lies approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) south of Tomaszów Lubelski and 114 km (71 mi) south-east of the regional capital Lublin.   read more…

Thessaloniki, Greece’s co-capital

8 August 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage

White Tower © MaurusNR

White Tower © MaurusNR

Thessaloniki, historically also known as Thessalonica or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the periphery of Central Macedonia as well as the de facto administrative capital of the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace. Its honorific title is Συμπρωτεύουσα (Symprotévousa), literally “co-capital”, a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα (Symvasilévousa) or “co-reigning” city of the Byzantine Empire, alongside Constantinople. According to the 2001 census, the municipality of Thessaloniki had a population of 364,000, while its Urban Area had a population of 773,000. The Larger Urban Zone of Thessaloniki has an estimated 996,000 residents, while its area is 1,455.62 km² (562.02 sq mi). With a history of over 2,300 years, it is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Thessaloniki is Greece’s second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe; its commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland. The city is renowned for its events and festivals, the most famous of which include the annual International Trade Fair, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora.   read more…

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