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Town museum. Alternate names: Baja [Hun, Serb], Frankenstadt [Ger], Francovilla [Lat]. Jewish population: 2,542 (in 1880), 1,378 (in 1941). 46°11' N, 18°58' E, at 90 miles S of Budapest, near Serbian border. This southern Hungary city is the second largest city in Bács-Kiskun county after the county seat, Kecskemét.Baja, is the seat of the Baja municipality. The city is first mentioned in 1308. During the 16th and 17th centuries Turkish Conquest , it was the official center for the region with fortification.Croats (from group of Bunjevci) and Serbs arrived as did an Franciscan monks from Bosnia. When Hungary was a part of the Habsburg Empire, Germans and Hungarians alongside some Jews settled. Located on the Danube,this transportation and commercial hub for the region transported grain and wine upriver to Austria and Germany. Until 1765, the inhabitants belonged to three nations: Croats (under name of Dalmatians), the Germans, and the Serbs. The Magyars, who escaped from the Ottoman Empire, returned to the Great Plain after Hungary regained her lost territories. FAccording to a government decree the Natio Dalmatica was changed into the Natio Hungarica. In 1699, Baja was Bács-Bodrog county's most 'industrialized' city. In the 19th century Baja became a minor railway hub, but its importance declined as the railway to Fiume (Rijeka) was built in order to get Hungarian grain seaborne. In 1918, after World War I, the ceasefire line placed the city under administration of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. By the Treaty of Trianon from 1920, the city was assigned to Hungary and became the capital of the reduced county of Bács-Bodrog. (Treaty of Trianon.) Following World War II, the city became known for its textile mill and the bridge over the Danube. Its importance is still evident as people from the Bácska (Bačka) region of Hungary come for higher education, government and business services. Wikipedia / The magnificent neo-classical synagogue was built in 1845, prior to the emancipation of the Jews in Hungary in 1867. In WWII, most of the Jewish population were killed; since 1985 the buildng and carefully restored interior has housed the regional library. [February 2009]

The great conflagration on May 1, 1840, destroyed 2000 homes, the synagogue, the Jewish school, the communal archives, the hospital (that doubled as a shelter for homeless strangers), and the mikvah. The first entries in the old "Ḥebra" book dated March 6, 1791 are the names of persons deceased in 1789, shortly after the founding of the community. Within two years of the fire, the new synagogue was begun.Changes in the ritual like those the progressive synagogue of Budapest meant the Orthodox interior was abandoned and a modern order of services adopted. The new building, dedicated Sept. 26, 1845 and saw reform of the education system. A 1830s elementary school was reorganized in 1846 under the name of "Israelitische Deutsch-Ungarische Primär Schule." In its fifth decade, the community also established classes for girls In 1901 the community supported a kindergarten, a primary school for boys and girls (four classes), and a grammar school for boys and girls (four classes) with 12 teachers and 428 pupils. A Talmud-Torah school existed. A Chevra Ḳaddisha, a Jewish Women's Society, and a Young Women's Society, which supports a kitchen for poor school-children, existed.

Cemetery: Address: Szegedi Way 107. Hours: 7-20.00.  2 cemeteries, practically right beside one another, are called the old and new cemetery. The new cemetery is located along Route 55 on way to Szeged before the gas station.  [February 2009]



Baja is located in Bacs-Kiskun at 46º11' 18º58, 161 km from Budapest. Cemetery: E of center, along Szegedi ul. Present town population is between 25,000-100,000 with 10-100 Jews.

  • Town: Mayor Eber Andras. Town clerk is P. Tolgyessy.
  • Local: Polgarmestern Hivatal of Baja Beke ter 1. Ph: 79 312 577 and Izraeuta Hitkozseg of Baja Sarkantyu Utca 4.
  • Regional: BUDAPESTI ORTHODOX HITKOZSEG of Dob u.35, H-1075 Budapest Phone: 132-4333 and MAZSIHISZ of Sip U.12, H-1075, Budapest Phone: (011-361) 122-6475/78.
  • Interested: Turr Istvan Thuaeum of Baja Deak Ferenc utca 1 and Sugar Janos (teacher) of Kerteszeti Szakkozepiskola Baja ph: Szanuely 96. Kostya Odam of Baja Szegedi ut (official quarters of the cemetery) and Sugar Janos (teacher) of Kerteszeti Szakkozepiskola Baja ph: Szanuely 96. Interested: Lichter Ferenc, President of the Jewish Community of Baja Sakantyu utca 4. Ph: 79323384.

1925 Jewish population was 2400. Great fire of 1840 destroyed the buildings of the community. Living here were rabbis: Jesaja Kahana, Ash Meir, Kohn Schwerin Gotz, Nascher Rozes, Rabbis: Dr. Adler Lipol, Kohn Samuel, Nascher Simon, Perlesz Yozsef and Muller Maier Lob, Schulnof Lipot, Dr. Balassa Yozset, Dr. Donath Gyula and tzadik Kohn Schwerin Gotz. The Jewish cemetery was established in 1790. The last known Hasidic Orthodox Jewish burial was 1952. See "comments" (25km away) used this landmarked cemetery. [sic] A sign in Hungarian marks the isolated rural (agricultural) hillside. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission via a continuous fence and locking gate. The caretaker has the key. Vegetation overgrowth is a seasonal problem preventing access. Special sections exist for Cohanim and children.

500-5000 marble, granite, limestone and sandstone gravestones date from 1789-20th century. Inscriptions are in Hebrew, German and Hungarian. The cemetery contains special memorial mounuments.
Peter Wirth completed survey in 1991. Documentation: M.2S.L; Ruth Ellen Gruber; Jewish Heritage Travel; Orban Ferenc: "Magyaronzag Zsido Emlekei". Person(s) interviewed for this survey was Lichter Ferenc.


Thewell kept new cemetery is separated from the old one by a small street. It has been used since the second half of the 1910s until today.[March 2009]

BAJA: (II) US Commission No. 000004

Cemetery: E of center, along Szegedi Ul. The Neolog Jewish cemetery was established in 1922. The flat isolated rural/agricultural land has a sign in Hungarian and Hebrew. Reached by turning directly off a public road and open with permission, the cemetery has a locked gate. Pre- and post-WWII size of cemetery is 1.44 hectares.

500-5000 gravestones, less than 25% toppled or broken, date from 1922. No mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery is a pre-burial house with a tahara (table), a catafalque, wall inscriptions, a chimney, and antique horse drawn hearse. The cemetery is not divided into special sections. The marble, granite and limestone finely smoothed and inscribed stones or flat stones with carved relief decoration and sculpted monuments, some with metal fences around graves have Hebrew and Hungarian inscriptions. The national Jewish community owns the cemetery used only as cemetery. Adjacent properties are commercial/industrial, agricultural, old Jewish cemetery and waste dump. Boundaries are unchanged since 1939. The cemetery was not vandalized since local or municipal authorities carried out restoration in 1990-91: re-erection of stones, patching broken stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall and gate. Authorities clean or clear occasionally. Providing free house at cemetery pays the caretaker. There are no current threats to cemetery.

Peter Wirth completed survey on 10/18/93 using: M.Zs.L; Ruth Ellen Gruber: Jewish Heritage Travel;.Orban Ferenc: Magyarorszag Zsido Emlekei. Other documentation was inaccessible. He visited site on 11/11/91.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2009 23:38
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