The Slovak Jewish community has honored activists for the preservation and promotion of Jewish heritage in Slovakia.
This year’s Eugene Bárkány Prize and three Eugen Bárkány Plaques were awarded at the fourth annual Jewish Heritage in Slovakia conference, held November 5 in the main hall of the recently restored synagogue in Lučenec and attended by more than 80 activists, professionals, Jewish community leaders, and others from around the country who are involved in the preservation, conservation and restoration of Jewish built heritage. (The Bárkány prize was presented in 2016 to the city of Lučenec for the restoration of the grand, domed synagogue, which reopened earlier that year as a culture center whose premises also include a Holocaust memorial.)
Eugen Bárkány (1885-1967) was the founder in 1928 of Slovakia’s first Jewish museum, in Prešov, and a pioneer of Jewish heritage preservation. With the awards, the Slovak Jewish community notes, it “seeks, at least symbolically, to appreciate work to save our cultural heritage.”
The Eugene Bárkány Award for 2018 was awarded to:
Nora Baráthová and Mikuláš Lipták for their research and other activities on Jewish themes in Kežmarok and nearby towns dating back two decades: As early as 2002 and 2003, the pair, who are not Jewish, collected material and prepared two exhibitions on the Jews of Kezmarok. Both have published widely on local Jewish history, and they have been active the documentation and preservation of local Jewish cemeteries.
Eugen Bárkány Plaques were awarded to:
Vladimír Andráš, for the long-term systematic documentation of the Jewish past in the village of Batizovce, research on the work of the rescuer,Lutheran pastor Ondrej Šimek, and other activities
Jozef Feiler, for his documentation of Jewish cemeteries in the Žilina region and many varied activities for the benefit of the Jewish community in Žilina.
The Slovak National Gallery for its repeated presentation of Jewish cultural heritage in exhibits. Specifically noted was the 2018 exhibition about the Jewish Slovak architect Friedrich Weinwurm, called Architect Friedrich Weinwurm: The New Path. Weinwurm, born in 1885, was the key avant-garde modernist architect in Slovakia in the interwar years. He died during the Holocaust in 1942. Also noted were the gallery’s exhibition projects Leopold Horovitz: Lost – Found in the East Slovak Museum in Košice (2017-2018); Dream × Reality: Art & Propaganda 1939-1945 (2017) and Shadow of the Past (2013). The plaque was accepted by Slovak National Gallery Director General Alexandra Kusá.