June 6, 2018

WWII Jewish Hideout Basement is Now an Adventist Youth Center

A basement used during World War II to hide dozens of Jews from occupying forces in Hungary recently became a center where Adventist young people and their friends can meet, study, and play. Duna Youth Center opened its doors on Székely Bertalan Street, in the capital city of Budapest, on May 15, 2018.

The approximately 30 young people who attended the opening enjoyed the opportunity of witnessing the fulfillment of a long-lived dream. The Duna Conference church region had, for many years, dreamed of opening a place in the capital where young people could unwind over a hot drink, have a talk, read, or plunge into the world of table games.

HUC Basementinthecity1

“It is a great joy for all of us that the youth center has finally opened,” local leaders said. People attending the opening ceremony enjoyed a devotional by Duna Conference treasurer István Stramszki. Also, accompanied by ice cream and a lot of cheerfulness, the venue was officially inaugurated with a welcoming speech by Duna Conference president Ernő Ősz-Farkas.

Ősz-Farkas explained what makes this basement different from any other basement.

“We usually put things in basements that we want to throw away or forget,” he said, “but the purpose of this place is just the opposite.”

Ősz-Farkas explained that if you look at the plaque above the entrance, you can read about a great number of Jews who were saved by this basement and by the people who served here.

“We would like to carry on the tradition by making this basement a sanctuary for every young person who needs some quietness, rest, spiritual regeneration, and good company,” he said. “We intend to start our ministry here with this message, keeping the same purpose at the forefront of our minds.”

From a historical perspective, leaders said they can feel the weight of this ministry on their shoulders. Still, they added, they believe God “will give strength and bless every initiative that aims to search and keep His own.”

“We are certain that this place is a great opportunity to fill this purpose,” said Ősz-Farkas. “We will not place forgotten things here, but rather, things we want to keep.”

The youth center is open every evening of the week between 4-10 pm (until midnight on Saturdays). All visitors are welcome, said leaders, especially those who would like to learn and rest. They also informed potential visitors that they are already working on organizing special events for the youth, including art-related activities and table games evenings.

“We ask you to support our ministry through your prayers,” leaders asked church members. “We invite you to be part of this great initiative!” 

This article was originally published by the Trans-European Division.

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