Budapest: Jewish Cemetery Kozma str.

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The Kozma street Jewish cemetery of Budapest is one of the largest in Europe.  It was opened in 1891 by the Neolog Jewish community and during its history it has been the burial place of more than 300,000 people. It still serves the Hungarian Jewish community and that was probably the most striking thing about it! Over the past years I have visited various Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe and they almost all served as very sad and agonizing monuments of vanished communities. In Budapest the community seems very much alive, although also here a large part of the cemetery is taken up by monuments that commemorate the brutal killing of Jews in greater Hungary mainly in the years 44-45. There is also a large white Auschwitz monument that lists all the names.

As Jewish cemeteries only house eternal graves (graves are not emptied) the structure of the cemeteries remains proving us with a lot of information. Some plots are clearly overgrown as there were , due to the holocaust, no bereaved to take care of them. But sometimes you find on one of these older overgrown graves a sign of a recent visit. On more recent plots more flowers and candles can be found. Along the pathways there are quite some recent graves covered by flowers. The cemetery is also well known for its monuments and mausoleums unusual for a Jewish cemetery, including sculpted human figures and elaborate mausoleums in a variety of styles (most notably several mausoleums in the art nouveau or Judendstil style). The entrance is domenated by a huge domed cemetery chapel, designed by architect Bela Lajta.


 

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