Jewish Heritage Europe

Heritage & Heritage Sites

GENERAL

“Hungarian Jewish Travel Guide”

A guide to major Jewish heritage sites in both Budapest and the rest of Hungary prepared by Mazsike, the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association, with lists and descriptions of active synagogues and Jewish cemeteries as well as some sites developed as cultural or tourist attractions. It is a downloadable PDF file.

Documentary Films on Hungarian Synagogues and Jewish Museums

A series of four films, made for TV, in which Rudolf Klein guides viewers to synagogues, Jewish Museums and a few other Jewish heritage sites in Hungary and Slovakia

In the Footsteps of the Wonder Rabbis

A heritage, online exhibit, and travel guide to Jewish heritage in northeastern Hungary — where several Hasidic masters once held court. Towns include Mád, Tokaj, Olaszliszka, Tarcal, Bodrogkeresztur, Sátoraljaújhely and places around them.

CEMETERIES

List of all Jewish cemeteries known to Mazsihisz, in Excel format, with addresses and contact numbers: there are at least 1300 Jewish cemeteries in all parts of Hungary, most of them neglected.

Mazsit — Foundation for Jewish Cemeteries in Hungary

Lists, description, photographs and other information on more than 1,200 Jewish cemeteries in Hungary.

Lo Tishkach Report on Jewish Cemeteries in Hungary – February 2009

Download from here the PDF file of a detailed report on the condition, state, threats and legislation regarding the at least 1,300 Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, prepared by Lo Tishkach.

SYNAGOGUES

Documentary Films on Hungarian Synagogues

A series of four films, made for TV, in which Rudolf Klein guides viewers to synagogues, Jewish Museums and a few other Jewish heritage sites in Hungary and Slovakia

Synagogues.hu

Extensive resource on synagogue architecture and history in Hungary and neighboring countries.

Synagogues designed by Lipot Baumhorn 

Lipot Baumhorn (1860-1932) was modern Europe’s most prolific synagogue architect. He designed (or designed the restoration of) about two dozen. This article on centropa.org runs down 16 surviving Baumhorn synagogues. (See further information about Baumhorn here, on www.budapestarchitect.com)

Zsinagógák.hu

Photographs of Hungarian synagogues, without text or description.

OTHER

 “In the Land of Hagar”

Online exhibition on the Jews in Hungary on the Bet Hatfutsot web site.

Bela Lajta Virtual Archives

Web site and database relating to the work of the prominent Hungarian Jewish architect Bela Lajta, whose work included synagogue and ceremonial hall designs, sculptural tombs, a Jewish school in Budapest and other significant buildings.

Burgenland Bunch 

Genealogy-oriented web site with information and photos on a number of Jewish sites in western Hungary and eastern Austria

BUDAPEST

A wealth of Jewish heritage sites, including active synagogues used by central Europe’s largest Jewish community. A score of synagogue buildings; medieval Jewish sites in Buda; downtown Jewish quarter in Pest (6th and 7th districts); 17 Jewish cemeteries.

Medieval Sites in Buda

There are the remains of two Medieval Synagogues in the hilly Buda district of the city, near the Castle, on Tancsics Mihaly street — formerly known as “Jewish street.”.

One, at Tancsics Mihaly 26, is a small ground-floor chapel, from the end of the 14th century, that now can be visited in May through October  as part of the Castle Museum. It has inscriptions on its walls and there is a display of Medieval and Turksih-era Jewish gravestones.

The district’s monumental synagogue, built in 1461 and destroyed in 1686, stood on the opposite site of the street, in what is now the garden of Tancsics Mihaly 23. The ruins were discovered in 1964 by the archeologist for the Budapest History Museum, Laszlo Zolnay, but were filled in with earth and covered up again. Plans to excavate the synagogue as part of a development scheme for the Castle District are currently on hold.

The Schulhof Foundation for the Restoration of the Medieval Synagogue in Buda

Downtown Jewish District (6th and 7th Districts)

Quarter6Quarter7

Educational/touristic/cultural initiative organized via Marom, the Masorti youth organization, to highlight the inner city neighborhoods that were a main center of Jewish life from the early-mid 19th century.

Synagogues

Information (in Hungarian with brief English translation) on 17 Budapest synagogues; also pictures and links

Dohany street synagogue (largest synagogue in Europe)

Dohanykert

Web site about the courtyard of the Dohany st. synagogue and the Heroes synagogue, built next to it in 1930.The courtyard was used as a cemetery for Jews who died in the World War II Budapest Ghetto. The web site has lists of names, history, information and historic pictures.

Teleki ter Shtiebel

Once known as the Chortkover Kloyz, a small prayer house originally founded by Hasidim from Chortkov, Galicia (today: Chortkiv, Ukraine), who came to Hungary after World War I, located in Budapest’s 8th district, once a populous Jewish neighborhood with many such little shuls. The current congregation is attempting to restore the Teleki ter Shtiebel through the Jakab Glaser Foundation, established in 2010.

See news about the documentary “Tales of Teleki ter” made about the synagogue, its history and its revitalization

Jewish Cemeteries

List of Jewish Cemeteries in Budapest with contact info

 

Article by Rudolf Klein

“A Walk in Budapest Jewish Cemeteries”

 Kerepesi/Salgótarjáni utca cemetery

Founded in 1874, this is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Pest side of Budapest. It is the Jewish section of the city’s Kerepesi monumental cemetery, where national heroes are buried — and is the final resting place of the crème de la crème of Hungarian Jewry of the time. Massive family tombs of Jewish noble families and industrialists line the perimeter; but there are also the graves of ordinary people. There is also a section where Holocaust victims are buried. Quite a few of the tombs are the work of leading architects of the day — such as Ignác Alpár, Sándor Fellner, Albert Körössy, Emil Vidor and Béla Lajta. Lajta, whose work prefigured art deco, also designed the entry way from the street and the massive Ceremonial Hall (now roofless), built around 1908. Today the cemetery is densely overgrown and very neglected. The huge tombs are crumbling; collapsing and being swallowed by vines and other vegetation. Some of them have been broken open: you can even see the coffins in the crypts.

See our photo gallery of this cemetery

Holocaust Monuments

Holocaust Memorials — and Euphemisms — on the Danube Embankment

A thoughtful article by Rabbi Alfréd Schőner about how a series of Holocaust memorials erected on the Danube embankment only obliquely refers to the victims commemorated as Jews.

Other Jewish Buildings

OVAS!

An association aimed at preserving buildings in the downtown Jewish quarters of Budapest

Who Lived Here, Who Built Here

Interactive web site about buildings in Budapest designed by Jewish architects or construted by Jewish builders. A project of OVAS!

NORTHEASTERN HUNGARY

The wine-growing region of northeastern Hungary has some of the oldest Jewish heritage sites in the country and was the home of several key Hasidic masters.

The general exhibit and travel site  In the Footsteps of the Wonder Rabbis  serves as a heritage, online exhibit, and travel guide to Jewish heritage in and around towns including Mád, Tokaj, Olaszliszka, Tarcal, Bodrogkeresztur, Sátoraljaújhely.

 

ELSEWHERE IN HUNGARY

There are well over 1,200 Jewish cemeteries and scores of synagogue buildings around Hungary. You can find information on these in the lists and databases linked to above. Following are key sites and sites with their own web pages.

APOSTAG

Baroque synagogue built in 1768. The original interior and part of the decoration were restored in 1980s, in a project that won the Europa Nostra award. The synagogu is used the town library and culture center. There is a disused Jewish cemetery near the synagogue, across a field.

Iskola u. 5.
Tel: +36 78 427 227

 

BAJA

Synagogue/Library

Munkacsy Mihaly u. 9
Tel: +36 79 322 741

Neoclassical synagogue from 1845 whose interior has been well preserved. Since 1985 the synagogue has served as the town library, with a large Holocaust memorial outside. There is a large Jewish cemetery, at Szegedi ut 107.

BALASSAGYARMAT

Jewish Cemetery

The orthodox Jewish cemetery, located behind a stone wall on Temeto utca near the town’s Christian cemeteries, comprises about 3,400 tombstones dating back to the 18th century and was recognized as a national historic monument in 1994 (on the 50th aniversary of the deporation of local Jews to Auschwitz). It is one of the best-maintained Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, cared for by the local Kertesz Istvan Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving Jewish heritage. The Foundation has mapped, photographed and documented all the grave markers in the cemetery.

Pictures of the Jewish Cemetery

Ipoly Region Jewish Collection and Exhibition

24 Hunyadi u.
2660 Balassagyarmat

This small museum, which includes exhibits on local Jewish history and traditions, was created in 2000  and installed in the former Chevra Kadisha, a small peak-roofed building with a red and white facade.

 

Contacts

Béla Majdán, Secretary of the advisory board of the István Kertész Foundation

Email: majdanb@balassagyarmat.hu
Tel: +36 30 583 2186 (Hungarian only: for English, contact the translator, Tel: +36 30 430 6779, Email: chewbakka21@freemail.hu.)

CIGAND

Jewish Cemetery

General photos and photos of some individual gravestones in this village in northeastern Hungay; from web site on Jewish history and Holocaust in the town

DEBRECEN

Active Jewish community; two synagogues; Jewish cemetery.

GIS mapping of Debrecen Jewish cemetery

PÉCS 

Synagogue

Located on downtown Kossuth square, the synagogue was designed by the architects Karoly Gerster and Lajos Frey and built between 1866 and 1869; the synagogue was dedicated on July 22, 1869.  Its tripartite, peach colored façade features tall arched windows and a high, arched central section, framing a big clock and topped by the tablets of Moses. Around the top of the clock runs a Hebrew quotation from the book of Isaiah: “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” Inside, the two tiers of the women’s galleries, supported by cast iron columns, have beautifully decorated ceilings, and there is a choir loft and organ.

In September 2014 a permanent exhibit on Jewish life and history in Pécs and surrounding Baranya country from the 18th century to the present was inaugurated in the women’s gallery and stairwell of the synagogue.

360 degree panoramic view of the synagogue interior, and other pictures

World Monuments Fund pages on the synagogue, with architectural and historical information

SOPRON

Jews lived in Sopron from early medieval times until their expulsion in 1526. They returned in the 19th century, forming a community of  nearly 2,000 Jews on the eve of World War II; almost all were killed. The town retains evidence of both the medieval and modern Jewish presence.

The two oldest synagogues in Hungary face each other on the onetime Jewish street, now called Uj utca (New street). Both date from the 14th century; both were transformed and used as private dwellings for centuries, and both were re-discovered and restored between the 1950s and 1970s. The gothic Old Synagogue at No. 22 Uj utca (Tel: +36 99 311 327), with a high peaked roof,  richly carved Ark and foundations of the bimah, was restored in 1967 and serves as a Jewish Museum. The complex also includes a mikvah.  The “New” Synagogue, built around 1370 as the private prayer house of a Jewish banker, is found across the street at No. 11 (but does not form part of the museum).

A disused dome-topped red-brick synagogue built in 1890-91 and designed by Janos Schiller stands at Papret Square, outside the town center. The park in front of it has a sculptural Holocaust memorial, and there are commemorative plaques on the synagogue’s wall.

The large Jewish cemetery on Tomalom utca near St. Mihaly’s church dates from the 19th century. It has a large Holocaust memorial.

SZEGED

Two synagogues buildings; Jewish community and active community complex with prayer room; large Jewish cemetery with ceremonial hall.

Szeged’s magnificent domed Great (New) Synagogue was designed by Budapest-based Lipot Baumhorn (1860-1932), Europe’s the most prolific synagogue architect, and completed in 1903. It was built for the Neolog community and is considered Baumhorn’s masterpiece. The architect worked closely with the Szeged Rabbi, Immanuel Löw, on the richly ornamental and symbolic decorative elements, which include stained glass by Miksa Roth and a monumental organ. The synagogue is set in a parklike square, whose plantings, a Biblical garden, also were part of the design. Today, a marble plaque in the vestibule lists Holocaust victims from the town.

Take a virtual 3-D walk through the Synagogue

Next to the Great Synagogue is the former Orthodox (Old) Synagogue, a neoclassical building designed by Henrik and Josef Lipowsky and completed in 1843.  Listed as a cultural monument, it is owned by the local government and currently used for cultural purposes.

The Great Synagogue is part of a  nearby Jewish communal complex also designed by Baumhorn that includes a prayer room that is also richly ornamented, and a gala hall. Baumhorn also designed the domed Ceremonial Hall in the large Jewish Cemetery. The cemetery includes the temple-like tomb of Rabbi Lipot Löw, one of the pioneers of Neolog Judaism in Hungary.

Contacts

Great Synagogue

Gutenberg u. 20
6722 Szeged
Tel: +36 62 423 849

Old Synagogue

Hajnóczy u. 12
6722 Szeged

Jewish cemetery

Fonogyari ut 9.
6728 Szeged
Tel: +36 70 542 0961
 
Jewish Community Office
 
Jósika u. 10
6722 Szeged

SZOMBATHELY

Former grand synagogue (now a concert hall); small synagogue; Jewish cemetery; urban buildings.

Jewish heritage and history in Szombathely

Web site with documentation, history, photographs of religious sites as well as urban architecture.