Jewish Heritage Europe

Western Slovakia; Synagogues of Hungary; Jewish Bucharest


Three new and very different publications highlight Jewish heritage in east-central Europe.

Zidovske pamiatky zapadneho Slovenska, By Maros Borsky

Bratislava: Menorah, 2011

A slim paperback guidebook to wellknown and off-the-beaten-track Jewish heritage sites in the Bratislava and Trnava self-governing regions of Slovakia. It provides basic information and location, including GPS coordinates, for Jewish sites in Bratislava Trnava and more than two dozen other towns. All sites are illustrated with full-color pictures.

Borsky is the leading authority on Jewish heritage in Slovakia, founder of the Jewish Heritage Slovakia web site and database and organizer of the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route, which includes 25 key sites around the country.

The guidebook to western Slovakia is the first in a planned series of detailed regional guidebooks to Jewish heritage in Slovakia.


Stories and Images of Jewish Bucharest By Felicia Waldman and Anca Ciuciu

Bucharest: Noi, 2011

The first real guidebook — for on-site visitors as well as armchair travelers — about Jewish Bucharest. Also serving as a reference,  it combines historical information with its literary image, old photos with contemporary ones.

Despite some recent publications and web sites, the authors write, “very little is known today about the old Jewish quarters of Bucharest, with their specificity.”


Synagogues of Hungary, 1782-1918, By Rudolf Klein

Budapest: Terc, 2011

In this huge (more than 680 pages) and lavishly illustrated book, Klein traces the development of synagogue architecture in the historic Hungarian and Hapsburg lands of central Europe. He describes several hundred synagogues —  destroyed buildings as well as buildings that still exist, classifying and commenting on their “genealogy, typography and architectural significance.”

Klein breaks down the architectural typology into range of types

— Simple “peasant cottage-type synagogues”
— Burgher house-type synagogues
— Protestant church-type synagogues
— “Solomon’s Temple-type synagogues” with battlements, lunette, or pediment
— Factory Hall-type synagogues
— Catholic church-type synagogues
— Byzantine church-type synagogues
— Palace-type synagogues

In addition to detailed descriptions of exemplary buildings, he includes a comparative catalogue of thumbnail pictures illustrating all the synagogues of each type.

The book is in Hungarian, with English summaries and captions.