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Located at 48°08' 22°12', 151.0 miles ENE of Budapest. Map photo overview in 1998. photo of restored and fenced area in 2001. disappeared gravestone. Memorial Gemzse resident killed in the World Wars. The 1770 census notes Jews in the small community of Gemzse were farmers on small plots of land. They belonged to the Orthodox congregation of Mandok. In 1941 the men were taken for forced labor. Three years later, the elderly, women, and children were transported to the ghetto in wagons and then to their deaths. A plaque in the village square in front of the wooden bell tower refers to our "heroic war dead" and includes some Jews, but omits other Jewish men from Gemzse who died in work battalions (munkaszolgalat) for the Hungarian army, doing manual labor with very little food or clothing.[February 2009]

 

Cemetery: Located on the main road, about 1 km south of the town center in Szabolcs County, Hungary, 10 km from Kisvarda. Present total town population is under 1,000 with no Jews.

The village has a mayor, who at the time of the visit was the proprietor of the espresso bar. The village government takes responsibility for keeping the unlandmarked cemetery clean, aided by donations from foreign Jews. The village itself dates at least from the 1300s. The earliest known Jewish community dates from the 1770 census. Jews settled here in the 1700s as small farmers, due to land grants from the government. In the 1800s, about 20% of the village population was Jewish. A large proportion of the population was killed in the Holocaust; and most of the survivors moved to larger cities. The last Jewish inhabitant died around 1970. Jewish population was 79 in 1930. The last known Jewish burial in this Orthodox cemetery 2 km from the community that used it was 1941.

The one-acre rural cemetery on flat land is located on the main road going south from Gemzse towards Nyirmada, about 1 km south of the center of the town. It is across the street from a much larger Christian cemetery and part open to all. A continuous masonry wall and fence with a gate that locks surrounds the site. A new fence was installed about 2001. The cemetery was cleaned up. 1 to 20 stones are visible in original location. 50% - 75% are toppled or broken. Vegetation and water drainage are not a problem. The oldest known gravestone in the cemetery dates from the 1870s. The granite and limestone tombstones and memorial markers are finely smoothed and inscribed stones with traces of painting on their surfaces. Inscriptions on tombstones are in Hebrew.

The national Jewish community owns the cemetery property is now used for Jewish cemetery use only. Adjacent properties are agricultural. Compared to 1939, the cemetery boundaries enclose the same area. The cemetery is visited rarely by private visitors (Jewish or non-Jewish.)

The cemetery was vandalized frequently between 1981 and 1991. Jewish individuals abroad re-erected stones and fixed the wall about 2001. Current care is occasional clearing or cleaning by authorities. Within the limits of the cemetery is a well. Weather erosion and security are serious threats. Pollution, vegetation, and vandalism are moderate threats.

Peter Spiro, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it completed this survey on 9 September 2002. He visited in July 2001. Photographs of this cemetery can be found at http://ca.geocities.com/spirope/kisphotos.htm [September 2002]

Last Updated on Monday, 09 March 2009 21:12
 
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