A Threepenny Program

Thou turnest back man to du…
And sayest: Return ye children of me…

A program proposal for a free half day between the grandiose Central and Eastern European travels planned for the near future. Or even just for three free hours. (A synopsis.)

To the scene of the next trip, you start from the heart of Budapest, Blaha Lujza Square. After about five streetcar stops you arrive at the final destination. Once you take off, you can choose between three directions.

The cobbled road to the right leads to the platforms of the now defunct Józsefváros Railway Station.

Straight ahead, the road is lost in the nothing. This is the end of our known world.

To the left, an even less known world behind the gate built by the greatest master of Hungarian Art Nouveau, Béla Lajta. No entry, no exit.


In the almost lifeless foreground, suddenly a dog appears, listening intently.


When one of the stone tablets falls to the ground with a mighty roar, the dog steps ahead, but still listens intently. Now at you.

First you look around in the closed courtyard in front of the building remains which lost its dome several decades ago, and was once used for performing ritual burial ceremonies.

When the janitor chains the dog and pushes off the plank at the corner of the building, similar to the entrance of a chicken-yard, you can enter (exit) to the graveyard.

Around you, the tombs and mausoleums of the key personalities of the post-Emancipation (1867–) period, the Jewish celebrities who died around the turn of the century. Just a few accidental tombstones you pass by, starting from the entrance:

• Vilmos Vásonyi, who took his oath of Minister of Justice to the Torah;
• Manfred Weisz, founder of the Iron Works of Csepel, and his family;
• The Bródy family, fine men of letters;
• Lipót Aschner, founder of the renowned Tungsram light-bulb factory;
• The painter Adolf Fényes;
• The Talmud scholar Vilmos Bächer;
• The mausoleum of the Hatvany-Deutsch family, that can be approached through a special wide road from the street;
• The double tombstone of the Zwack family, inventors and producers of the liqueur Unicum (1782);
• The Buday Goldberger family, textile industrialists from Óbuda;
• Mózes Bloch, first director of the Rabbinic Theology;
• City politician Mór Wahrmann;
• Rabbi Samuel Lőw Brill;
• Bernát Friedmann, defending counsel in the blood libel case of Tiszaeszlár;
• József Kiss, poet, author, religious song writer, publicist;
Dávid Kaufmann, Rabbi, Hebrew scholar, philosopher of religion;

From here you follow the hardly visible path in front of the gravestones and mausoleums along the wall, or eventually the two main roads of the cemetery forming a cross between the tomb lines overgrown with an impenetrable bush.

Dodging, tumbling, jumping on the bounding stones, you try to get back to the entrance along the crumbling and looted tombs.

You arrive at the end of our trip. Once you pass through the gate and gather your strength of mind, turn right. Soon you will arrive back to the life-smelling reality of the Teleki Square, Lujza and Dobozi Streets of the Józsefváros.

Our journey came to an end, we wish you much further fun.

(Participation fee: 2 tram tickets; over 65 years, free.)