Jewish Mementos in Vas Comitatus

Vasvár

A Jew and a Jewish cemetery are already mentioned in Vasvár in the 13th century, the city was the seat of the comitatus’ mayor. The Jews did not settle continuously but came in waves at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Burials were prohibited, the dead had to be put to rest in the neighboring village of Nemeskolta. In 1815 the community received a cemetery from count Festetich. After 1822 41 families, 185 people altogether, were counted. In 1862 a synagogue was built. Important Jewish communities also developed in the neighboring villages of Szentmihályfalva and Zsidófölde. In 1886 they were merged. After the national assembly the community joined the congressional orientation. The 1944 census holds that the Jewish community of Vasvár had 265 members. On May 10 and 11 the Jewish inhabitants of the Vasvár district were deported to the ghetto in the district capital. The ghetto was located on the site of Vasvár Magyar Király inn, the cafe and the cinema. On June 20 the inhabitants from this ghetto were brought to the Szombathely ghetto and deported from there. Only 20 people returned after the war.

The Jewish community which in 1949 still had 84 members put up a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, 331 names are eternalized there. After the community dispersed in 1959 the national representatives of the Hungarian Israelites sold the synagogue to the town council. They had it torn down. The plaques of the memorial which had stood in front of the synagogue are now displayed at other locations, 4 of them at the Jewish cemetery of Szombathely, 3 at the town’s historical museum. Only the cemetery now commemorates the Jewish community which once had thrived here, in 1989 the town council had a memorial put up there.

by Johannes Scholem Graf & Alexandra Vogt

2012.07.06