The orthodox synagogue in Makó, southeastern Hungary, has been reinaugurated after a six-month renovation process, along with a new visitor center set up in an adjacent building.
The August 27 ceremony was attended by both civil and religious figures, including Makó Mayor Erzsébet Éva Farkas; Zsolt Urbancsok, historian and president of a local association that promotes the city’s Jewish history and heritage; and Péter Kunos, executive director of MAZSIHISZ, the umbrella organization of the Hungarian Neolog Jewish communities.
“The synagogue reminds us of the shattered whole, since the once populous local community no longer exists today,” Farkas said according to the local news site delmagyar.hu.
The renovation work included the insulation of the walls and the repainting of both the exterior and interior, as well as the restoration of the decoration. Its memorial courtyard honoring Holocaust victims also underwent renovation, and a visitor center was set up in the building next to the synagogue, where visitors can learn about Makó’s Jewish history.
As we reported in July, the renovation of the synagogue was carried out in the context of the EU-funded project “The Hungarian Jewish Heritage Route in Eastern Hungary,” which promotes orthodox Jewish heritage in Eastern Hungary. The project was announced in December 2018 with a total amount of 1.4 billion forints (about €4 million). It is aimed at upgrading the infrastructure and facilitating visits by religious pilgrims and others to Jewish heritage sites in Makó and four other Hungarian towns and villages.
Makó also has two Jewish cemeteries, and in the context of the EU tourism project, a 1.3 km road was built last year leading to the Jewish cemetery where Rabbi Mózes (Moshe) Vorhand (1862–1944) is buried. (He was killed by local Hungarian fascists before the deportation of the Jewish community to Auschwitz.) Every year hundreds of pilgrims gather in Makó from all over world to pay their respects to him on the anniversary of his death.
Built in the 1870s for the Orthodox community, the synagogue has a flat orange and cream façade with a tall central section flanked by lower side elements. An earlier extensive restoration was carried out between 1999 and 2002, by architects Péter Wirth and Ágnes Benkő.
The orthodox synagogue in Makó is the only synagogue left in the city; the grand synagogue inaugurated in 1914 was demolished after the Second World War.