Hungarian Jewish documents auctioned off in Israel are now public property

In an Israeli-Hungarian cooperation, the National Library of Israel and the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives have acquired and are publishing online Hungarian Jewish documents recently auctioned off in Israel, the National Library of Israel announced on Monday. 

Together, Israeli and Hungarian public collections bought documents published in the catalog of an auction house in Jerusalem this past August; private activists and organizations involved in the preservation of Jewish heritage had protested against the auction out of fear that the records would end up in private hands. 

The seven rare and invaluable historical documents contain thousands of birth, death, marriage and other records from six Jewish communities in Hungary during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

From these documents, the likes of which have been found nowhere else, professional family and historical researchers can now gain knowledge about, among other things, many prominent Hungarian Jewish personalities; the internal affairs of communities during the period before World War II; and the war, Holocaust and post-liberation periods.

The Israeli and Hungarian public collections have committed themselves to digitalizing all of the documents and making them available in high resolution on the internet for public viewing, as well as to ensuring the preservation and storage of the original documents at the highest level. 

The National Library of Israel and the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives issued a joint call for documents of similar significance that are currently in private collections or being offered for sale to be placed in suitable public collections.

The staff of the organizations thanked the researchers for their help in making this information public and in protecting these invaluable items of Jewish heritage. 

The birth, marriage and funeral registers of the Jewish communities of Sátoraljaújhely, Miskolc, Ónod, Putnok, Debrecen and Hajdúböszörmény, as well as other documents concerning Jews will soon be available to everyone through the newly purchased collection. 

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