Jewish mementos in Györ-Moson-Sopron Comitatus

Cemetery of Györsziget

For the Jews of Györsziget - which was an independent settlement and not part of Györ as it is nowadays - burying the deceased was very difficult until they managed to secure their right to settle in a legal contract. Due to this problem they acquired a cemetery in the nearby village of Pinnyéd, which also entailed certain complications. The bodies could only be transported from Györsziget to Pinnyéd by boat on the Rábca river. In times of flood this was extremely difficult. In 1834 a raft made of twenty pieces of struce was purchased for 50 Forint. But the floods did not spare the Pinnyéd cemetery either, at times the bodies had to be provisionally buried in the garden of the synagogue on Kígyó Street and once the waters receded the raft could again depart to Pinnyéd.
In this situation the first priority of the Jewish community of Sziget was the establishment of a cemetery in Györsziget. Thanks to the fervor of the head of the community, Emmanuel Mendel Adler, 1000 square fathoms of the Beke garden could be purchased for 1000 Forint in 1826. The purchasing price was repaid annual in installments of 200 Forint with an interest rate of 6%.
The back then rather small Jewish community showed a willingness to financial and physical sacrifice as this premises too was subject to the rise of the Rábca river. The cemetery had to be raised by 2-3 feet. It was encompassed with a brick wall, a guard house and a liturgy hall were built as well. The transfer of the remains once the cemetery in Pinnyéd was emptied proved a difficult task. A permit from the Pressburg head rabbi, Mózes Schreiber, had to be requested. The older bodies were buried together, the newer ones separately.
In 1868 the cemetery was expanded for the first time. In 1858 four undertakers had been employed, before that the community members themselves had buried the dead with heartfelt reverence and religious diligence according to József Kemény’s book published in 1930: “Sketches from the history of the Györ Jews”. The Jewish cemetery in Györsziget is one of the few Jewish cemeteries in the comitatus which has retained its function to the present day, a visitor will find very recent graves there.
One can also see one of the most beautiful martyr monuments of the country there. It was inaugurated by the president at the time, Zoltán Tildy, and the then prime minister Lajos Dinnyés on June 15, 1946. The design of the monument is by architect and engineer Manó Adler. It rises in the shape of a pyramid next to the wall of the cemetery, covering an area of 100 square meters. Several stairs lead up to the pyramid, the entrance is situated above four classical columns and guarded by a wrought-iron gate. Inside the tomb a symbolic coffin commemorates the 5000 deported Jewish martyrs of Györ and surroundings.

Orthodox cemetery of Györ-Bácsa

There is only very little information about this Jewish cemetery. One can assume that it only was opened after 1870, as the grain merchant of Györsziget, Adolf König and his relative Áron Gross, merchant of kosher wine, registered the formal foundation of the orthodox Jewish community in that year. After the separation the two communities agreed that the Chevra Kadisha should serve both communities. The Chevra traditionally is responsible for the liturgical covering of the deceased, the support of the poor, caring and consoling the ill. The oldest tombstone of the cemetery features 1875 as year of death, this was presumably when the cemetery was first used. During World War Two however, the cemetery was bombed and many tombstones were destroyed, so there might have been older graves as well. The last grave was made in 1945. The cemetery was then surrounded entirely by housing complexes, even among the citizens of Györ there are few that know of the Jewish cemetery behind the brick walls.

According to the caretaker of the cemetery there are not only orthodox Jews but also neological Jews among the visitors. So we can assume that the cemetery was not used solely by the orthodox, in any case there is no evidence for that today.

by Johannes Scholem Graf & Alexandra Vogt

2012.05.26