In occasion of the European Maccabi Games — taking place this week in Budapest, the family monument in Budapest’s vast Kozma utca Jewish cemetery marking the grave of Alfréd Hajós, the first Hungarian and first Jewish Olympic Champion, has been restored and is being rededicated.
The tomb includes members from his and his wife’s (nee Blockner) families– including victims of the Shoah. The grave, surmounted by the Olympic rings, was declared protected by the National Memorial and Tribute Committee in 2005.
The Games kick off today (July 30) and run until August 6. The tomb was restored by the National Heritage Institute, and the rededication ceremony at the tomb takes place July 31.
He — like many other assimilated Hungarian Jews — “Hungarianized” his birth name. The European Maccabi Games web site writes:
Hajós was born in Budapest, Hungary as Arnold Guttmann. He was 13 years old when he felt compelled to become a good swimmer after his father drowned in the Danube River. He took the name Hajós (sailor in Hungarian) for his athletic career.
As an adult, Hajós became an architect who who specialized in (among other things) sport facilities — among them the swimming stadium built on Margaret Island in Budapest in 1930 and used for the 1958, 2006 and 2010 European Aquatics Championships and the 2006 FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup. He alsodesigned many other swimming pools: Selyemréti pools in Miskolc (1927), Liget Bath in Szeged (1930), swimming pool in Balassagyarmat (1935) and the swimming pool in Pünkösdfürdő (1935), as well as
He also, however, designed the large Holocaust Memorial in Kozma utca Cemetery, which was inaugurated in 1949. It is formed by nine large, connected wall-like pillars that bear the names of thousands and thousands of Hungarian victims of the Shoah.
As we have reported, it, too, has undergone recent renovation, which — unfortunately — removed “forgotten” names that relatives and friends of victims had filled in by hand.