Interwar Hungary Revealed in Boxes of 16 mm films

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Relatives give little Bobby Schneider a bath in the Hungarian countryside c. 1940. (courtesy of Lynn Schneider)

Relatives give little Bobby Schneider a bath in the Hungarian countryside c. 1940. (courtesy of Lynn Schneider)

BERKELEY – When Lynn Schneider was growing up in Los Angeles, her New York-born grandmother Kitty would make for her Hungarian cookies and stuffed peppers. Her American grandfather Julius would collect winter coats and ship them to Hungary. But they never once spoke of the decade they lived in Budapest in the years between World War I and World War II.

Schneider’s father Bob was born in Budapest and grew up there until he was seven, and he, too, never spoke about his family’s time in Hungary. But after he died in 1982, Schneider discovered a box whose contents unlocked an unknown part of her family’s history. Inside the box was a collection of old 16 mm black-and-white home movies shot in Hungary that had not been seen by anyone since their filming.

Determined to learn and tell her grandparent’s story through these moving images, Schneider spent much of the last twenty years figuring out how to turn them in to a documentary. After following historical and genealogical leads, making research trips to Hungary, and taking filmmaking classes, Schneider was finally ready to cinematically tell her ancestor’s unique tale of reverse Jewish immigration and recently released “Budapest: An American Quest — A Family’s Journey to 1920s Hungary,” a 27-minute documentary short.

Click here to read more and watch the trailer.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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