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Alternate names: Bytča [Slov], Nagybittse [Hun], Großbitsch [Ger], Veľká Bytča, Bics, Nagy Bicse, Nagybiccse, Velka Bice: 49°13' N, 18°34' E, NW Slovakia, 99 miles NE of Bratislava, 8 miles W of Žilina. Jewish population: 541 (in 1880), 619 (in 1910). Lcated at the Váh river near the cities of Žilina and Považská Bystrica, it belongs to Upper Váh tourist region. Adolf Neubauer, Jewish scholar, lived there.

  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life (2001), p. 1382: "Velka Bytca".
  • Pinkas HaKehilot, Slovakia (2003), p. 183: "Velka Bytca (Nagybicscse)"
  • JewishGen Hungary SIG
  • Jews in Bytca (Praha, 2003)

A few Jews were present in the early eighteenth century when Count Esterhazy extended his protection of the Jews and gave the community land for a synagogue and cemetery for a yearly payment. Today, an impressive dilapidated synagogue building from 1886 still stands in Bytca. Despite damage, the remnants of the wooden paling, cassette ceiling, and stained glass windows are rare and worth attention. [October 2012]

Jewish history on tourism website: "The monumental building of the Synagogue near Bytča castle is closely related to the large number of Jewish people who lived in Bytča mainly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and participated actively in the economic and cultural development of the town. There was already a brick building synagogue in Bytča  in 1801, but its current appearance in the  neo-Romanesque style is the result of construction activities of the Jewish religious community in  the early 20th century. The block building with a T shaped floor plan has  differing  height level of various materials and a pentaprism (5-sides) polygonal closure. The front facade of the building is richly structured in materials, including detailed plastic designs and motifs, based on  Neo-Romanesque architecture. The interior of the synagogue  consists of  a hall space of three naves with a gallery (Emporia) on the sides and over the entrance, which also creates the vestibule of the building with cross vaults.The Popper family were responsible  for all aspects of development  in the Jewish community, and were not only  the  most influential family in Bytča but were also one of  the richest families throughout the Empire.     /     Today the synagogue belongs to a civic association the Biblical Centre, which campaigns for its reconstruction. The sensitive technical condition of the building does not allow a tour  of the synagogue interior. Another  monument in the Jewish part of  Bytča is a cemetery in Hliník nad Váhom (part of the town). The cemetery has  decayed in the last century. Its partial reconstruction began in 2006, when the first phase of repairs of the impressive tomb of the Popper family was carried out. Also, on the southern outskirts of the town was located a Jewish cemetery, destroyed during communism. In its place there is now a monument with an inscription in Slovak, English and Hebrew." [October 2012]

CEMETERY: Located on the right bank of the Váh river by the channel north to the main stream and outside the suburb, Hliník, NNE of Bytča,this once beautiful cemetery next to the water on the edge of the forest with the dominant neoclassical tomb of Jewish Baron Leopold Popper von Podhragy (1821-1886) is now ruined. Apart from Baron Popper's tomb, only ten gravestones are on original spots. Approximately 30 other  gravestones are stored next to it in a pile. Stones bear inscriptions in Hebrew and German and rarely a symbol of flower or broken candle. photo. [October 2012]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 13:21
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