Jamie Lee Curtis helps Hungary synagogue revamp
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Jamie Lee Curtis helps Hungary synagogue revamp

Actress hopes to turn the site in Mateszalka into an arts and community centre.

A synagogue in eastern Hungary is to be refurbished thanks to Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis after she helped to raise funds for the place where her grandparents worshipped.

Most Jewish residents in the town of Mateszalka were killed during the Holocaust, and most who survived have long since left the area, so the synagogue is now empty, said Curtis, who hopes to turn it into an arts and community centre.

Her actor father, Tony Curtis – who died in 2010 – was born Bernard Schwarz. He made several trips to Mateszalka, the birthplace of his parents.

On Sunday, the film star flew into Hungary to attend the launch of a memorial museum and cafe in the town that is dedicated to her father and filled with memorabilia from his career, ahead of its opening to the public on 26 June.

She wrote on Instagram that the museum was “just down the street from the synagogue that my family worshipped in so long ago”, adding that the building, constructed in 1857, “stands as a living tribute to those who lived, and continue to live, there”.

About 1,500 Jews from the town were taken to Auschwitz in 1944, after the Nazis occupied Hungary that March. 

In 1946, about 150 Jews returned, but many left after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Curtis said she was committed to helping raise funds to restore and transform the building into a community centre “for celebrations and art and music”.

Jamie Lee Curtis has been fundraising

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