A woman and her goals – charity and helping the needy
The first woman who had a statue in Budapest – it was erected in 1889 in the building of the Society for the Poor Children of Budapest. This organisation later moved to 32 Akácfa Street, bringing the statue with them. Today the bust is gone and only the postament left, covered in graffiti – the statue is now located in the Jewish Museum. The news of her death in 1898 spread in the city like wildfire – contemporary reports have it that there were so many at her funeral as at that of Lajos Kossuth.
“A simple Jewish woman who helped more than a hundred thousand people indiscriminately to religion.”
– obituary in Függetlenség
Mm Dávid Bischitz née Johanna Fischer was an affluent woman. Her family and religious background as well as her personal commitment all helped her set and achieve goals to help those in need. She would nurse injured soldiers at an early age and in 1866, alongside head rabbi Meiser she was among the founders of the Israelite Women’s Association of Pest, which later became the most significant charity institution of the city. Also, this was the first women’s association in Hungary and served as a model for later similar, Catholic or Calvinist initiatives. One of the resony why it was created was the ever worsening social situation of the fast-growing city of Budapest, with plenty of poor people and orphans. Johanna Bischitz gave progressive and sustainable support to women, cooperated with other similar organisations – she worked in over 30 different associations.
A charismatic, intelligent and compassionate woman, excellent organiser and networker, she found significant supporters for the institutions and supportees of the Association. They opened a Home for Orphaned Girls and in 1869 a kosher charity kitchen, which, however, catered for the needy regardless their religion. Initially they cooked for 30 people, but in 1896 over they fed 140 thousand hungry mouths. (in: Bóka B. László: Erzsébetváros). Emperor Franz Joseph I gave peerage to the family in recognition of Johanna’s tireless charity work and she received decorations from the king of Serbia and the Belgian royal dynasty. Today the social services centre of District 7 bears her name.
Questions: Why do you think the statue was removed from this location?
Why does its former place look as it does?
Recreation spots: cafés in the nearby streets and the parks in Kéthly Anna Square and Klauzál Square