The Hungarian government slammed as a “barbaric deed” the weekend desecration of the Jewish cemetery in the town of Gyöngyös and pledged 1 billion forints ($3.5 million) to care for abandoned Jewish cemeteries around the country.
Vandals damaged about 20 graves in the Gyöngyös Jewish cemetery, topping stones, breaking into family tombs and even scattering remains, according to local Jewish leader Peter Weisz. The fence around the cemetery was also damaged. Police are investigating, and local civic and church leaders offered aid to the 80-member Jewish community.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office issued a statement saying it “strongly condemns the barbaric deed.”
Bearing the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe related to the so called Faro Convention on preserving European cultural heritage in mind, the Government will launch a programme to restore abandoned cemeteries with a support of HUF 1 billion this year.
There are more than 1,200 Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, most of them abandoned and in neglected condition. (See spread sheet list of Jewish cemeteries in Hungary.)
Over the past year, which was designated the state’s official Holocaust Memorial Year marking 70 years since the Holocaust in Hungary, the state made a number of grants funding Jewish cemetery clean-up and restoration, such as at the Jewish cemetery in Racalmas.