Herald News – Photo exhibition “Stones’ in use for something else” – Alpern Bernadette

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Museum of Ethnographic – District V. – 12. Kossuth Lajos Square – Budapest

The photo exhibition will be open until March, 8. 2015.

The opening ceremony on January, 30., was led by Ilan Mor – Israel’s ambassador to Hungary and journalist Ronen Dorfen who presented the project of the “Stones’ in use for something else” by photographer Alpern Bernadette.

Bernadette Alpern – photographer’s got fully addicted to take snaps of buildings of once busy Jewish cultural and religious life’s venue, which are still standing in the historical centers of the European Jewry. So she began her project with a genealogical research. Her grandfather forced her parents to move from Sárbogárd to Budapest at the age of 18 due to family issues. The grandfather at the age of 65 asked her father to go back and see his childhood home. This didn’t happen because in the meantime he has gone ahead. Years later Alpern, as studying at Kaposvár, past often Sárbogárd were her grandfather lived and planned one day she will stop over the place. When the final day happened went to the town-hall but she left without success, cause after 71 years nothing remained from the old-time only the street’s name. The old synagogue stood on the same street but was in use as a second-hand furniture and cloth store.

Sárbogárd’s history of Jewish community goes back to the 18th century.The synagogue was built-in 1879. an beside stood  the rabbi’s house and an elementary school. Way back the community had 500 members, but during the Holocaust in 1944 was completely demolished. To-day,  235 jews known names are listed on the Holocaust memorial and only a few tens survived and came back to their town. In 1960, the synagogue was sold. At the loft still lays is mud, dust and bird droppings religious books. Seems like no religious community took or have knowledge about them. To-day the building is used as a private store, operated by a Romanian man. Little can be discovered on the inside walls of the original use. Only the walled windows are reminiscent of the “Gate of Mercy of Jerusalem”. At this stage she took her first photos and later it became the series which led her as a result with an article in the Israel Hayom newspaper with the contribution of journalist Romen Dorfan.

In 2013 Bernadette Alpern granted funding by the European Association for Jewish Culture to set out on a journey across Europe to explore and documentary synagogue buildings … the stones that are in use for another purpose.

This introduction will hopefully give a hint in advance to the visitors of what to see on exhibition at the Museum of  Ethnography  in Budapest.

Updated and snaps by Aggie Reiter

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