Bricks of Budapest: the Instagram account tracing the living history of the city through wall inscriptions

Bricks of Budapest: the Instagram account tracing the living history of the city through wall inscriptions

3 March 2021

Instagram account @bricks_of_budapest reveals a hidden history of the Hungarian capital by collecting photographs of messages and doodles carved into bricks by generations of vandals and artists.

The historical brick scribblings range from drawings and caricatures to names, and date from the end of the 19th century until today. Account curator Vincent Till Baumgartner started @bricks_of_budapest in 2018 to tell the stories of those people who literally left their mark on the city.

Baumgartner finds many of his inscriptions at Budapest’s Anker Palace in Terézváros, where many Jewish people used to rent flats before the Second World War. One of his favourite brick writings is the signature of a young girl, Renee Adler, who lived in the area in the 1920s. She survived the Holocaust, and emigrated abroad, unlike some of her siblings who died in Nazi concentration camps. Baumgartner found out her story by looking into historical archives.

On another brick found in a square in Pest, a young couple (or perhaps two friends) carved their names, Kató and Lali, in 1942. Ten years later, they added “again in 1952” to their initial inscription.

“Compared to spray paint graffiti, where people can use a whole wall, here, the space available is limited by the size of the brick, and it is somehow like a physical tweet,” the account curator said, explaining his interest in the history of bricks to The Calvert Journal.

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