Site hosted by Build your free website today!









Nove Zamky is a comparatively young town. Inspite of the fact that on its present location there are signs of human settlements going back to pre-historical times, and, at the location of the fortreess built in 1581, there were four medieval settlements (Nyarhid, Gyorok, Lek and Gug) The present city's origins look back only at the beginnings of the anti-Turkish wars. Its fortress, which was well known and significant in Europe, resisted a long time the attacks of the Turks and only in 1663 succeeded to be occupied by the Ottoman armies.

The fortress was retaken by the Christian forcess only in 1685. During the freedom fights of Rakoczi it played again a key importance. In 1691 cardinal Gyorgy Szechenyi, primate of Hungary, issued a charter of city privileqes for Move Zamky. It is very typical of the times that one of the segment of the charter restricts the the settlement in the city only for Roman Catholics. Since the fortress lost its strategic importance in the later years 1 Emperor Charles the III. ordered it to be torn down in 1724. There are no signs that Jews ever lived in the fortress even temporarily.

In the 18th century Nove zamky became a significant economic center with a developed industry, agriculture and commerce. The settlement of the Jews in this "Lowland" city can be assumed to occur at the first quarter of the 19th century. Up to that time Jews could enter the city on certain days of the week and they had to leave before sunset. The first Jewish families settling in the city were the Stux, Schwitzers, Fuchs', Sterns and Donaths who organized the religious community. They estabilished the Chevra Kadisha and they opened a four-grade elementary school.

The population of Nove Zamky accepted the Jews with understanding because their presence estabilished a more modern commerce broader in its scope which promoted the blossoming of the city. The religious life of the Jews following their settlement in the city was directed by the chief rabbi of Nagysurany (Surany) during the first decades. From 1849 to 1895 Plaut ~eivl was the chief rabbi (born in Kolin, 1818, died in Surany in 1895). He was a pupil of Chatam Szofer, a significant scholar of the Talmud and a Hebrew writer. The actual rabbinical duties of Nove Zamky were performed by Ignac Kramer a conservative spirit. By the time ot the 1860s the congraqation of the city became so strong that they were able to build their own synagogue following the Oriental style of the synaqogue in Dohany Street, Budapest. This building was entirely destroy in March 1945 during the bombings of World War 11.The progressive minded majority of the congragation preferred the inter to arrangements of the Budapest synaqogue they placed the almenor in front of the holy ark (Aron kodesh). This modernization of the religious life, which didn't corresponded with the directions of the Sulchan Aruch, resulted in strong objections by the minority of the congragation who strictly adhered to the traditions, and this rift led ultimately to the separation into two partsin 1870. The Orthodox minority estabilished a separate congragation under the leadership of rabbi Josef Richter, and with the definite support of chief rabbi Feivl Plaut of Nagysurany. The main organizers of the new congragation were Emanuel Leuchter, Jacob Stern, Leopold Spitzer, Simon Neuman merchants and many others.

In 1870, the year of the estabilishment of the Orthodox congragation they also opened a five year elementary school as their own. After the break-away of the Orthodox minority the remaining majority also severed its connection with thedistrict of Nagysurany, and they estabilished an independent congragation, based on the so called neolog-congressional ideas under the leadership of rabbi Ignac Kramer.

The religious work by Ignac Kramer was followed by chief rabbi Josef Richter. After the death of Josef Richter in 1913 the highly learned Samuel Klein (Born in 1887, Szilasbalhas, Hungary -Jerusalem) became the head of the Orthodox congragation. Inspite the fact that he became the chairman of the department of History and geography at the university of Jerusalem in 1924, he still kept his post of chief rabbi of Nove zamky where he actually returned temporarily in 1926. It was due to his work that within the framework of the congragation the conservative spirit was dominating. After him Josef Tigerman chief rabbi led the religious work in Nove zamky for 58 years which ended in 1944 when he became the victim of the Holocaust at age 94.

The neolog congraqation estabilished a monumental middle school (for children of aqe 10-14, emphasizing commercial and industrial subjects) in 1927 and this school was also destroyed entirely during the bombing raids of 1945.

Benjamin Zeev Wolf (Vismos GroszInan) was the first elected rabbi of the independent Orthodox congragation. He was followed after his death in 1882 by his son in law, Henrik Sonnenklar in the position of chief rabbi. His son, peter Ujvari was the publisher and editor of SZOMBAT, a literary and social Jewish weekly from 1923 in Nove Zamky. This publication originally started in Budapest in 1910. He was also the editor of the Jewish Encyclopedia published in Budapest in 1929. In addition, he was the president of the Hungarian Journalists' Association of Slovakia.

The Orthodox congraqation built a separate synagogue in 1880 and this building is still existing today. This synagogue is a rectangular, two-level building with a qa]lery. There is a Hebrew scripture above the entrance "V' chejle loheini mikdos ~ar l.p.k.~, having the meaning: this should serve you as the small sanctuary. The numerical sum of the letters provides the date of the of the first renovation of the synagogue, the year 5660, which is 1920 according to the civilian calendar.

The synagogue was enlarged by six meters which resulted in the increase of 80 seatings. At the same time the the almenor was also removed by 3 meters in order to correspond to the central location required by the Suichan Areuch. The original position of the synagogue's base was discovered during the recent renovations, and fact made it visible as a proof of the times when the synagogue didn't provide enough space for the increasing members of the congragation.

The recent renovation of the synagogue occured between 1991-1995 with the exclusive expense and work of the remaining congragation. This significant building represents an historical and architectural value being rescued for the future of the city.

Originally the windows were made of color glass with symbolic motives of a star of David and the Ten Commandment. The replacement of these windows is above the power and financial resources of the small number of the remaining congragation. In the vestibule -pulis there is a marble plaque which was originally in the synagogue built in 1859, and1 after it decorated the entrance of the neolog synagogue which was destroyed during the bombing raids of 1945. It contained 'I the words "Enter the gate of Justice -
On the outer wall of the synagogue there is a memorial plaque erected in 1992 which was the contribution of the ministry of culture of the Slovak Republic dedicated to the memory of the 4843 victims of the holocaust from Nove zamky and its surroundings. The are similar plaques in 12 cities in Slovakia and a 13th in Jerusalem in Yad Vashem. There is a prayer ar~d cu~~urdl room in the renovated Bet HaMidrash building which is used in these days during the winter months. On the out of the building there is a memorial plaque erected by the Association of Christ ians and Jews of Slovakia dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat, who in Budapest greatly contributed to saving the lives of many Jews, among them several from Nove Zamky. This plaque was revealed on July 7, 1997, the presumed date of Wallenberg's death fifty years before.

The building of the synagogue was declared as a protected monument in 1991 by the Republic of Slovakia.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Copyright 1998-1999 ZNO Nove Zamky & STUDIO 68 All Rights Reserved
This material may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of authors