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 Hungarian).  Click for:

Video 1     Video 2    Video 3   Video 4

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.

“Jewish Cemeteries” web site – izraelitatemetok.hu

Web site with documentation and photographs of more than 1,000 Jewish cemeteries around Hungary. (In Hungarian)

Database of Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Hungary

Lo Tishkach Report on Jewish Cemeteries in Hungary – February 2009

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

Jewish grave markers (family tombs and gravestones) designed by early 20th century architect Béla Lajta

SYNAGOGUES

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 Hungarian).  Click for:

Video 1     Video 2    Video 3   Video 4

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.

Zsinagógák.hu

Photographs of Hungarian synagogues, without text or description.

OTHER

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); 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 Turkish-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 (7th Districts)

This inner city disrict was a main center of Jewish life from the early-mid 19th century onwards. It is anchored by three great synagogues (Dohany st.; Kazinczy st. and Rumbach st.) and includes other synagogues as well as kosher restaurants and other facilities. The district was also the site of the World War II ghetto.

Synagogues

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

Main synagogues in the 7th District

Dohany street synagogue (largest synagogue in Europe)

Dohány u. 2

Designed by the Viennese architect Ludwig von Förster and built in 1854-59, the grand, Moorish style synagogue is the largest in Europe and a city landmark.

Article on Bet Hatfutsot web site about the synagogue

Article by Haim F. Ghiuzeli about the history and architecture of the synagogue.

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.

Kazinczy st. Synagogue

Kazinczy st. 27

Used by the small, traditional orthodox community, the synagogue was designed by the architects Sandor and Lajos Loeffler and built in 1913 in a style that foreshadows art deco. It has an almost fortress-looking facade, decorated by decorative terracotta tiles, and a richly ornate interior. The synagogue anchors a self-contained Jewish courtyard, with a kosher restaurant and other facilities, including an outdoor frame for a chupah (wedding canopy).

Rumbach st. synagogue

Built in 1872, an early design by the Viennese architect Otto Wagner. The building has an octagonal sanctuary. Left semi-derelict for years because of ownership questions and stalled restoration due to lack of funding, the synagogue began undergoing fullscale restoration in 2017 and is due to reopen probably as a Jewish museum.

 

Elsewhere in the city

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

Kozma utca (Rakoskeresztur) Jewish Cemetery

Kozma utca 6

Budapest’s main (Neolog) Jewish cemetery, founded in 1891 and including some 300,000 graves. Many prominent people are buried here, and there is an extensive Holocaust memorial section. There is also a large, ornate, Moorish-style ceremonial hall. Much of the cemetery is well maintained, but large sections are still overgrown and untended. The perimeter is lined by elaborate family mausolea, some of them designed by leading architects in art nouveau and other styles.

“A Walk in Budapest Jewish Cemeteries”

Includes a clickable alphabetical list of personalities buried in the main Kozma utca Jewish Cemetery, with photos of their tombs

Friends of the Budapest Jewish Cemetery

American organization founded in 2016 to help fund cemetery clean-up

 Salgótarjáni utca cemetery

Salgótarjáni utca 6.
Tel: +36 1 896-3889, +36 1 896-3891, +36 1 896-3902, +36 70 400-8632

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. The cemetery has long been densely overgrown and very neglected, with the huge tombs  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. Restoration work, however, was begun in 2017.

Cemetery web site

See our photo gallery of this cemetery

Holocaust Monuments

There are several Holocaust memorials in Budapest, here are the main ones:

Memorial Weeping Willow next to Dohany utca synagogue

Holocaust Memorial and Memorial section in Kozma utca Jewish Cemetery

The main memorial lists the names of thousands of victims; people have penciled in names that were left out

“Shoes” memorial on the bank of the Danube

Memorial to Raoul Wallenberg

Memorial to the Swedish diplomat who save thousands of Jews by granting false papers

Memorial to Carl Lutz

Dob utca

Memorial to Swiss diplomat who saves Jews by granting false papers

Budapest Ghetto Memorial Wall

Ghetto Memorial Wall memorial

Dohany utca 32-34

Erected to mark the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, and designed by by the architects Peter Sugár and László Kara. It includes a map of the Budapest Ghetto and inscriptions.

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

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!

Yellow Star Houses

A project recognizing buildings where Jews were forced to live before being moved into the Budapest Ghetto in WW2

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.

In the Footsteps of the Wonder Rabbis 

A general exhibit and travel site that serves as a heritage, online exhibit, and travel guide to Jewish heritage in and around towns including Mád, Tokaj, Olaszliszka, Tarcal, Bodrogkeresztur, Erdobenye, Sátoraljaújhely.

On-site it is located in the complex of the restored synagogue in Mád (built in 1795) and the rabbi’s house/yeshiva next door, which includes a permanent exhibition as well as accommodation.

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

Synagogue

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

Baroque synagogue believed built in 1822. The original interior, with a central four-pillar bimah, and part of the decoration were restored in 1980s, in a project that won the Europa Nostra award. The synagogue is used the town library and culture center. There is a disused Jewish cemetery near the synagogue, across a field.

 

BAJA

Synagogue

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

Neoclassical synagogue from 1845, designed by Lajos Frey, whose interior has been well preserved. Since 1985 the synagogue has served as the town library, with a large Holocaust memorial outside. The Hungarian postal service issued as stamp portraying the synagogue in 2012.

There is a large Jewish cemetery, at Szegedi ut 107.

Library web site (Hungarian and English)

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 anniversary of the deportation 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 Hungary; from web site on Jewish history and Holocaust in the town

DEBRECEN

Active Jewish community (the largest and most active in Hungary outside of Budapest); two synagogues; Jewish cemetery.

The Jewish community has organized a web site facilitating pilgrimage and tourism to Jewish sites in Debrecen and in Nagykallo, with history, maps, and other information.

Jewish Community web site

Pilgrimage/Tourism web site (in English)

Downloadable Pilgrimage Brochure (English and Hungarian)

Thanks to a more than €1.41 million grant from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Kápolnási street synagogue in Debrecen and and the Zion synagogue across the border in Oradea (Nagyvarad in Hungarian), Romania — were restored as part of religious tourism itineraries and cultural and educational programs. The project comes within the framework of the Hungary-Romania Cross-Border Cooperation Program. (See our post about the project)

Jewish heritage sites in Debrecen

List in English on the Jewish community “Pilgrimage” web site, describing the two synagogues, the Beit Midrash, the Jewish cemetery and other sites.

Kápolnás street synagogue

Built in 1909-1910 for the Status Quo Ante community, designed by the Budapest-based Laszlo brothers in an eclectic style with a distinctive arched entryway. Located in a shady garden, it is used now mainly for community events, rather than regular weekly services.

See slideshow of the inauguration of the restored synagogue in September 2014

Pásti street Orthodox Synagogue

Built in 1913, it has a simple interior and a bold brick and stucco façade marked by arched doorways and false arcades along the peak of the roof. It was re-opened in April 2015 after full restoration, to serve both for religious purposes and also a cultural space for exhibitions, conferences, concerts. There is a permanent exhibition of Judaica and family memories. 

Jewish Cemetery

Monostorpályi út, 44
Tel:+36-52-471-744, +36 20 483 27 61
GPS: 47°30′44.51″ É (N) – 21°38′19.21″ K (E)

GIS mapping of Debrecen Jewish cemetery

Slide show of Jewish heritage in Debrecen

 

 

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.