Spišská Nová Ves, Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery is located on the eastern outskirts of the town, near the railroad line. The oldest grave dates from 1880; the last burial took place in 1955. Towards the end of World War II, the German army rebuilt the cemetery chapel into a pillbox fortification, which still exists today. The cemetery was abandoned after the war, and many tombstones were stolen or broken. In recent years, however, thanks to an initiative by a history teacher from the Secondary Grammar School on Školská Street, Dr. Ružena Kormošová, the cemetery has been fenced and cleaned up, and the tombstones have been partially restored. Thus, this last monument to the town’s Jewish past will be preserved for posterity. We have included this cemetery in the Route because of its successful integration into the local educational framework, a move that will hopefully find followers in other Slovak towns.
The Jewish presence in Spiš County was long limited to only one location – the village of Huncovce. Only during the 1860s did Jews form a community in Spišská Nová Ves. After Hungarian Jewry underwent a formal schism in 1868-1869, the community opted for the Status Quo Ante stream. An elegant synagogue was built in 1899. In 1941 a vacationing German Hitler Youth group set it on fire. The synagogue was later torn down. A Torah scroll from Spišská Nová Ves survived and is today in use at the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue in London. No Jews live here today, and the memory of the destroyed Jewish community has been preserved by Dr. Ružena Kormošová. Her students have been actively involved in several educational programs researching the local Jewish past. A memorial plaque has been installed on the site of the destroyed synagogue. In 2022, Dr. Kormošová published an extensive monograph on the local Jewish community.
Spišská Nová Ves