Győr’s very spectacular, representative building, visible from many directions, was designed by the Pest architect Károly Benkó in the spirit of late historicism and Art Nouveau. For a long time it served as a model for synagogues in other cities. For more than 70 years it was the most important centre of Jewish worship and schooling in Győr, but unfortunately, after the Jewish genocide, this role was abruptly lost.
In 1968, ownership was taken over by the state and later by the city. Completely renovated about 20 years ago, it is today jointly run by the Széchenyi István University and the Municipal Art Museum. In addition to the educational activities of the University’s Faculty of Arts, it hosts outstanding public cultural events and the Vasilescu Fine Arts Collection.
Even so, a part of the synagogue building is still used as a prayer room, where the Jewish community of Győr practices its faith. Most recently, the Jewish community and the city celebrated the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of the former Neolog synagogue in a dignified style.
Jewish cemetery in Győr-Sziget
Thousands of Jewish citizens of Győr deceased over the past two hundred years rest here in their graves. On each stone, a long row of family names commemorates those who died in concentration camps or in forced labour service as victims of persecutions. Tomb-stones, which had fallen down or been damaged over the decades, were recently restored to their original condition in the well-maintained cemetery, which also includes a funeral parlour with rich murals beautifully renovated in 2020-21.
A sad jewel of the cemetery is the small, proportioned pyramid, a reminder of biblical times of slavery in Egypt, which stands as a memorial to the victims of 1944-45 who lived once in Győr and the Győr region.
By May 1947, the Martyrs’ Monument was completed in the cemetery, designed by Manó Adler of Győr. The pyramid-shaped structure, with a floor area of 100 square metres and a height of 6 metres, was erected by the Jewish Community with its own resources. It was inaugurated on 15 June 1947 in the presence of the President of the Republic, Zoltán Tildy.
Inside are listed the names of the Jewish victims of Győr who were deported and mostly murdered, as well as a list of Nazi concentration camps and a memorial plaque to the martyr rabbi Emil Roth of Győr.
A shocking biblical quote on the wall: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s innocent blood is crying out to me from the ground.” (Genesis IV.10)
Home for orphans and elderly
Built in the early 20th century as a home for Jewish orphans and the elderly. The renovated building now houses, among other things, a permanent exhibition of local Jewish history.
In the synagogue building, there is a relief commemorating nearly a hundred Jewish soldiers who died heroically in the First World War. Their memory is also honoured by war graves in the cemetery.
A memorial plaque to Rabbi Emil Roth can be found on the wall of the synagogue.
In 2007, a black granite memorial column was unveiled to commemorate the nearly 400 Győr children murdered in the Auschwitz death camp.
Two plaques commemorating the Jews deported and murdered have been placed in public spaces in the city: in the former ghetto in Győr-Sziget and at the entrance to the main building of the railway station.
Péter Krausz, Zsuzsa Sándor, Judit Somló, Marianna Spiegel, Olga Spitzer, Miklós Szedő