Budapest Vacation Service...The Glass House Budapest Memorial Room
Budapest is a city, which is full of historical buildings - some ancient and some more recent. Located in Budapest's 5th. district, close to the Hungarian Parliament is The Glass House (Hungarian name;
Üvegház), one of the lesser-known buildings, which nevertheless played a vital role during the years 1944-1945.
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The Glass House ( Üvegház )
The Glass House (Üvegház), located in Budapest's 5th. District at Vadasz utca 29 played a vital role in accommodating and eventually saving the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the period from mid-1944 until January 1945.
The building itself was originally designed by architect Lajos Kozma in the 1930s for the Weiss family, who produced glass products for the building industry. Following Hungarian legislation, which barred the Jewish owners from carrying out their business, the building was closed and fell into disrepair.
In mid-July of 1944, the Swiss Embassy re-opened the building to house the Emigration Department for Representing Foreign Interest. This gave the building ex territorial status and diplomatic immunity.
Carl Lutz, the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest used this opportunity to set up a safe-house in this building.
Following the takeover of power by the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party in mid-October 1944, the Glass House became a centre for accommodating up to 3,000 Jews and at the same time functioned as the headquarters for the Zionist Youth Movement, who used the building to coordinate relief and rescue activities, while also producing and distributing fake documents to enable illegal people-smuggling operations over the Hungarian borders.
In many cases youngsters of 13 years of age were assigned as couriers, delivering life-saving documents to the members of the Forced Labor platoons and others hiding in and outside of Budapest.
Life in the Glass House was extremely difficult, with over-crowding and people having to live for several weeks or months under cold and miserable conditions, sleeping in cellars or in corners. There was a constant lack of food and basic supplies.
The neutral status of the Glass House was not always respected. On New Year’s Eve 1944, armed Arrow Cross militia decided to raid the building, resulting in numerous casualties.
The Glass House, along with 2,000 occupants, was finally liberated in mid-January 1945
.The Glass House today
On the exterior wall there are three memorial plaques. The plaque commemorating Arthur Weiss, which was placed there in January 1946 was vandalized several times was replaced in 2002 by a bronze plaque on the initiative of the American School of Budapest.
A second plaque commemorates Carl Lutz and a third plaque is in remembrance of the victims killed during the Arrow Cross raid.The Glass House (Movie 2012)
. Due for release during 2012 and starring Jonas Armstrong who, disguised as a Nazi SS officer, takes extraordinary risks to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. Inspired by a true story.
The Glass House today
Arrow Cross Raid on Glass House
Click image to enlarge
Memorial Plaque to the Victims of the Arrow Cross Raid
Swiss Legation Wall Sign
Memorial Plaque to Arthur Weiss
Click image to enlarge
Memorial Plaque to Carl Lutz
Click image to enlarge
Original Memorial Plaque to Arthur Weiss. Click image to enlarge
In 2005 the Carl Lutz Foundation established a Memorial Room in the garage section on the ground floor of the building. It is possible to visit this room and view the documents and other exhibits.
The Glass House Memorial Room opening times are: Daily including Saturday and Sunday, from 13:00 to 16:00.
Admission is free-of-charge.
Address: Vadasz utca 29. Tel: +36 1 242 2964
Closest metro stations: Arany Janos utca or Kossuth Lajos ter.
See location map (opens in new window)
Virtual tour of the Glass House
Seeking refuge in the Glass house. Click image to enlarge
Jewish women arrested by Arrow Cross militia. Click image to enlarge
Want to see Budapest's main sights on foot? How about taking one of the Budapest Free Walking Tours?
There are 3 different tours to choose from: The Original Free Budapest Tour, Free Communist Walking Tour and Free Jewish Quarter Walking Tour.
See full details
Official trailer of the movie, 'The Glass House', due for release during 2012.
Latest News (November 2012): The movie title has now been changed to 'Walking With The Enemy' and general release date will be during 2013.
In April 2012, a new plaque (photo on left) was unveiled at the Glass House.
Roughly translated, this plaque gives the following information:
The Glass House
Gyula Weiss Junior and his sons ran a plate glass wholesale business from this place. Built in 1934 above the cellar, which was used as a storehouse, and which was built in 1817 by Mihaly Pollack, following the original plans created by Lajos Kozma. The façade, staircases and the interior of the building incorporated different types of decorative glass, which related to the buildings' function and name.
In 1944 this building functioned as as shelter for persecuted Jewish people. From here, the production of protective letters and support for their safe-houses was undertaken by the Swiss Embassy.