Chair’s Statement Regarding IHRA Visit to Budapest on the “House of Fates” Project
Last week IHRA Chair Sir Andrew Burns and the IHRA Executive Secretary joined a briefing with Rabbi Andrew Baker (American Jewish Committee), Dr Andras Heisler (President of Maszihisz), Professor György Haraszti (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Research and Documentation Centre), and a number of international and Hungarian historians and experts to discuss the House of Fates project with its director Dr Maria Schmidt.
Dr Schmidt outlined the project which is intended to serve a primarily educational purpose. Agreement was reached on five points:
- The House of Fates will complement, not compete with, the Holocaust Centre at Pava Street, which will mainly, but not exclusively, focus on Holocaust research and documentation.
- An internationally composed academic working group will be established to review the historical content of the exhibition.
- A similar academic working group will review the educational content.
- Regular contacts and exchanges of views will be established between the House of Fates project and Mazsihisz.
- The outlines of the exhibition will be presented to the full membership of the International Advisory Board and subsequently opened up to the public at large in the autumn.
IHRA will be involved in establishing the two academic working groups of international experts.
Contrary to media reports, IHRA will not be in a position to endorse the House of Fates concept until the consultations with the national and international experts as well as with the Hungarian Jewish Community have been taken into account. Dr Heisler has published a letter to Dr Schmidt about the points of concern to the Jewish community which are shared by IHRA. Close cooperation with Maszihisz is not only desirable but essential in ensuring the integrity of the project.