The cemetery

The Budapest Jewish Cemetery at Kozma Street was established in 1891 as a majestic, green architectural and historical landmark that served as the final resting place of many national figures who helped to make Hungary what it is today.

With its beautifully-manicured lawns, dotted with marble and inlaid mosaics, designed by Jewish architects responsible for the most important art nouveau buildings in Budapest, this vast 7.7 million square-foot area served not only as a spiritual ground for the 300,000+ buried there and their families, but as a magnificent public park for the community.

It proudly bore witness to a vibrant, yet troubled past- whispering through its paths the diverse stories of people who were proud Hungarian patriots and Jews: war heroes, professional race car drivers, rabbis, writers, musicians, economists- as well as those transferred from mass graves, and desecrated Torah scrolls finally laid to rest after the Holocaust.

These distinguished and hallowed grounds were developed as an inviting garden in which to stroll, learn and appreciate the rich past, present- and future of Hungarian Jewry, earning them a coveted spot in the pages of the world’s major travel guides. Today, much of this treasure lies deep beneath a thick layer of shrubbery, like a lost city with a secret garden, waiting to be rediscovered…

Leadership

Dr. Michael Perl

Charter Member

Mr. Michael Perl is Chairman of Friends of Budapest Jewish Cemetery, responsible for global fundraising.

Mr. Perl is a veteran investor in financial markets with a specialty in emerging markets. In 2011, he founded Harbor Bridge Capital Management, a New York- based investment firm, where he now serves as Managing Partner. Prior to that, he was Managing Director at Duquesne Capital Management, where he led emerging markets investments, following a term as Principal and Manager of the Emerging Markets fund at Morgan Stanley.

The son of a Hungarian child survivor who settled in Australia just prior to the Hungarian revolution, Mr. Perl maintains his family’s historic connection to Budapest, where family members made significant contributions in the field of medicine, retail and banking- and where three generations are buried. Other relatives, including his grandfather, are inscribed on the Holocaust memorial as it is unknown where their remains lie.

Mr. Perl earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) in finance, accounting and taxation at the University of New South Wales. He resides in New York City with his wife Gisela and their three children.

Dr. Marc Pinter

Charter Member

Dr. Pinter is Executive Director of Friends of the Budapest Jewish Cemetery and responsible for fundraising in German-speaking markets.

Born in Switzerland, Dr. Pinter is the son of a Hungarian Jewish refugee who fled the country during the revolution of 1956. Dr Pinter spent many years in the insurance and pension management industries, and was responsible for founding, developing and chairing respected ventures such as Colonia Insurance, Winterthur Pension Management Ltd, and Medea Services in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary.

Dr. Pinter holds a Masters in Business Administration in insurance and risk management from the University of St. Gallen HSG, and a PhD that he completed summa cum laude from Corvinus University of Economics in Budapest. He resides in Budapest with his wife and three daughters, and now commits his time primarily to ensuring the legacy and memory of the historic Budapest Jewish Cemetery at Kozma Street, where his grandparents are buried.

Ms. Natalia

Board Member

Mrs. Olson-Urtecho is responsible for fundraising for Friends of the Budapest Jewish Cemetery in English, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Ms. Olson-Urtecho is a recognized expert in international collaboration, commercialization of clean technologies, environmental planning, transportation, public engagement and infrastructure development. Prior to her current position as founder and CEO of Paper Route, she served as U.S. Small Business Administration’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator under the Obama administration, where she served a population of nearly 30 million and was responsible for small business programs, financial assistance, and business development initiatives throughout the mid-Atlantic region. She has held senior management positions in both the public and private sector, including founding a consultancy whose mission was to support entrepreneurial ventures in launching and scaling their businesses. She has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including recognition as a “Latina Powerhouse” by the Maryland Hispanic Business Conference, Most Influential Latino in Delaware Valley in 2014, Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2010 Minority Business Leader Award, and Woman of Distinction. Ms. Olson-Urtecho grew to love and respect Hungary and the role of its historical Jewish community during her four years living and serving as a diplomat in Budapest. She remains active in many causes in her second home, and is committed to preserving the legacy and global impact of Jewish life in Central Europe.

Ms. Olson-Urtecho lecturers widely on her areas of expertise and holds a bachelor’s in political science from Northeastern University, as well as a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Currently residing in Washington DC, she has lived in seven countries and speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Copyright 2017 Friends of the Budapest Jewish Cemetery