POTD: Kerepesi Cemetery #6

POTD: Kerepesi Cemetery #6Kerepesi Cemetery #6 Budapest, Hungary 2011

This is a burial monument to the communists of Hungary, not the most popular part of the cemetery for the many who suffered under communist rule and were glad to see them finally leave in 1989. There is an interesting description of Kerepesi Cemetery here. I’ve excerpted what they have to say about the monument in this image and the interesting issue of the timing of burials of the communists lackeys in the Hungarian AVO (secret police) vs those who opposed them during the 1956 uprising.

Situated in a corner, away from the statesmen and nobility is the workers’ pantheon, designed by József Körner in 1958, and fast becoming a museum piece. It is one of the few places in Budapest where you can see the word “Communism” written out in bold letters.

The slogan “A KOMMUNIZMUSÉRT A NÉPÉRT ÉLTEK” (They lived for Communism and for the people”) dominates the spacious white stone piazza. Giant statues of two young men and a woman holding hands in Socialist Realist style gaze out boldly into the future. Six massive white blocks of stone bear reliefs of workers in the field or at war, and remembrance plaques testify to the bravery of socialist workers.

The cavernous two-level crypt underneath can be visited if the unpredictable attendants are on duty. Here, the ashes of politicians and artists find eternal peace. Leo Frankel, Gyula Derkovits and Ferenc Rózsa are just some of many names, recognizable from Budapest street names.

Black ceramic urns stand on shelves carved from Austrian red limestone. One of the urns contains the ashes of a certain Éva Braun. Sinka says, “It was often pointed out to visiting officials to test if they were paying attention. She really lived and, ironically, was a young Jewish member of the partisans. The name and dates, 1917-1945 are identical to Hitler’s mistress.”

Behind the Worker’s Pantheon is a plot for the heroes of the 1956 uprising. The plot for the “upholders of the system” in 1956 – the secret police or ÁVO – is also in Kerepesi, but Sinka explains, “The two groups were buried on opposite sides because if there was a memorial service for both groups on the same day, there would be fights.”

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