12 Apr TALES OF TELEKI SQUARE
I have been to a pretty interesting screening recently. Among other enthusiastic volunteers, a friend of mine, Nóra Margitta contributed in the making of it and as far as I live in walking distance from the place where the documentary was actually shot: Teleki square and especially the small Jewish praying house in the heart of the eighth district, called the Teleki square shtiebel, there was no question of going. My grandfather frequently went to the famous Teleki square market for decades to buy groceries, second-hand clothes, kitchenware or live-goose before and after the second world war, he had his favourite, well-tried sellers and stalls. All regulars did. He had his own stories about this neighbourhood. Just like all the interviewed people in the film. I really enjoyed watching them. Their tales were truly sincere, extremely informative, heart-wrenching and sometimes funny at the same time. Touching. I learnt a lot about their lives, the history of the neighbourhood and the shtiebel, its past, miraculous survival and its revival through the vivid testimonies of different generations, having entirely different but always-to-remember memories. I am still astonished that before the war, this today less-known but once thriving Jewish district of Pest hosted about as many small shtiebels (usually working in one of the apartments in several residential buildings of the area) as you find in Brooklyn today. Amazing!
The filmmakers, most of them members of the congregation, were shooting a huge, a more or less 200 hour-long material over the years. It must have been an extremely tough task for them to cut it into a 90 minute frame. I have actually seen a part of a planned trilogy. Although this part has not been completely finished there are pre-release screenings of it every now and then till its hopefully soon-coming premiere.
Further information about the film and its screenings can be found here… For beautiful images of the shtiebel, most of them taken by András Mayer and the director of the film, Barbara Spitzer, click here…
Jakab Gláser, the so-called Uncle Juci, a religious Teleki square Jew, who was born and lived in the eighth district and devoted all his life to make this shtiebel survive the Nazi and the Communist era as well, would be really proud now: what he believed in and did everything he could to keep it up, seems to be on the right track. The revival through the new generations is perceptible. Once you are there in the neighbourhood, visiting the the tiny Teleki square synagogue is a must. A really open, enthusiastic community welcomes you.