A Calling Heard by Generations
The History of the Munk-Munkácsi Family
“Our Jewish Museum is not the creation of luxury-seeking lust for artefacts, but it is a direct lineage of our historic worldview, one of the main life elements of Judaism; it is an echo of the calling heard by generations, and a reflection of the thought of being chosen” – wrote Ernő Munkácsi, then-director of the Hungarian Jewish Museum, in 1932. The command of remembering the past and reminding others about it is one of the cornerstones of Jewish tradition. The chain of passing on the tradition from generation to generation, from teachers to disciples, has been unbroken from the revelation on Mount Sinai in Moses’s time. It is a formative element of Jewish identity to look at the history of the people of Israel as one’s personal story: blessing and tribulations, persecution and miraculous liberations. The three centuries of the Munk-Munkácsi family is an illustrative Hungarian Jewish story, a textbook case. What makes it unique, however, is the dedication to collect and preserve the memories of the family – objects, documents, and photographs. Comprehending and implementing the command of remembering and reminding form an overarching link connecting dispersed family members and communities.