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HUNCOVCE: Kežmarok district PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Hanušovce nad Topľou [Slov], Hanušovce [Cz, until 1927], Tapolyhanusfalva [Hun, since 1907], Hanusfalu [Hun, before 1907], Hansdorf an der Töpl [Ger], Hanusfalva, 49°02' N, 21°30' E, 163 mi ENE of Bratislava,  E Slovakia, 12 miles ENE of Prešov (Eperjes). Jewish population: 338 (in 1869), 299 (in 1940).

As of June 2009, 600 tombstones have been photographed, but not all of the tombstones are complete or even have readable information.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .[July 2009]

BOOK: Die juedischen Friedhoefe in der Slowakei ; [Jewish Cemeteries in Slovakia] as of 1966, by the late Eugen Barkany. Cemetery on River Poprad was partly inundated. A few stones may be seen in the river today. There are two cemeteries in      Huncovce, according to the book Zvidovske Nabozenske Obce Na Slovenska by the late Eugen Barkany. One is in decent condition with several hundred stones. According to Barkany, that one is E of the village in the foothills. With a partial stone wall, the western side has no wall. A 2 meter-wide walk runs down the middle. A forest has grown up alongside the stones, making access difficult. Source: Paul Klein; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

CEMETERY:

(New) Nová Jewish cemetery is located in the SE part of the village on the left side of the road heading to Poprad and is known as the younger one. Unfortunately, the older burial site vanished and its location remains unknown. The new cemetery was established in the first half of the 19th century. The oldest known gravestone dates from 1833. This 140x50 m cemetery with approximately 350 standing and 200 toppled gravestones is located on the slightly sloped plot oriented to the north. Inscriptions are mostly in Hebrew but sporadically, German texts appear. The older gravestones are usually sandstone and limestone, while the younger are mostly granite and marble. Traditional symbols appear, for instance, weeping willow, Levite ewer, Cohanim blessing hands, Star of David, candlestick and crown. Among the less frequent or rare symbols are broken candle, laurel wreath, basket with flowers and a hand holding the pen feather (dated 1833). In the two ohelim amid the cemetery several outstanding personalities of the local community. Among them are Rabbi Noah Yicchak Eising, Yehuda Horovitz, and Shmuel Rav. The cemetery is well maintained; and post 2007, a Holocaust memorial plaque was installed by the entrance gate. Key from the cemetery is available upon request in the local municipality office. Source and photos. [Sep 2014]

US Commission No. SLCE000061

Alternate names: German-Hunsdorf (also spelled Unsdorf); Hungarian-Hunfalva; Slovakian-Huncovce.

Huncovce is located N of Poprad. The flat isolated suburban location is open to all without gate or walls. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a broken masonry wall and a non-locking gate. 100-500 marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone 19th-20th century tombstones are in original locations. The flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, or flat stones with carved relief decoration have Hebrew and German inscriptions. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. Occasionally, private visitors stop. There is a pre-burial house and a house above the tombstones in the cemetery. Vegetation and vandalism are moderate threats. Security, weather, pollution are minor threats.

Report from Harry Zinn [1999]: Huncovce is located 10 km from Poprad and 4 km from Kezmarok. The present town population is approximately 2000 with no Jews. The cemetery is located E of village and S of main highway. Mayor J. Majercak was mentioned in an article in a 1998 unspecified Slovakian language publication, which described the unveiling of a plaque at the site of the former Huncovce yeshiva. The article stated that the Jewish cemetery "is destroyed and vandalized, completely overgrown by weeds and brush. The village representative stated that due to today's financial and practical situation, nothing can be done and it is more important to save monuments in larger communities."

History: The Jewish community began at least by 1600. The Jewish population as of 1942 was approximately 95 and according to the above referenced Slovak news report, at one point in time was 75% to 80% Jewish. Huncovce was the site of a 19th century prominent yeshiva (so noted in the Encyclopedia Judaica). Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg (1825-1918) lived here. The Jewish cemetery was established approximately mid-19th century with last known Orthodox Jewish burial in March 1942. Gross Lomnitz, Klein Schlagendorf, Tatra Lomnitz, and Matlaren also used this unland-marked cemetery 1-2 km away from the congregation. There is a commemorative plaque (installed in 1998) at the nearby former yeshiva building. The plaque reads (in both Slovak and English): "Huncovce was once one of the most famous towns in Europe where foremost rabbis from all over the world studied and worked. This building was the seat of a Rabbinical School (Yeshiva) in which Samuel Rosenberg, an authority of international repute on Jewish theological pedagogy, worked between 1879 and 1918." The isolated rural (agricultural) hillside cemetery has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road about 100 yards across a field, access is open to all via broken masonry wall and no gate. Most of the about 200 gravestones are not in original location. Vegetation overgrowth is a constant problem damaging stones. The cemetery is divided into special sections: men, women, rabbis, and suicides. The marble and granite 18th century tombstones finely smoothed and inscribed stones or common gravestones have Hebrew and German inscriptions. The present property owner is unknown. Adjacent properties are agricultural. Compared to 1939, cemetery boundaries enclose the same area. Rarely, Jewish or non-Jewish private visitors stop. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II and between 1945 and ten years ago. No maintenance was done since 1947. Within the limits of the cemetery, Rabbi Rosenberg's grave (along with those of his son and son-in-law) are in small, enclosed building at the center of the cemetery. Security, vandalism, and vegetation are very serious threats. Weather erosion also is a serious threat. Harry Zinn, 942 14th St., No. 5, Santa Monica, CA 90403 and Eugene Zinn, 6960 Bobbbyboyar Avenue, W Hills, CA 91307 completed this survey on 17 June 1999.

Harry Zinn was born in the town. He restored some headstones when he returned from Auschwitz (as sole family survivor) in 1945. He left in 1948 for Palestine but returned to visit in June 1992. This report is based primarily on personal observation from that visit. Zinn provided the following narrative also: The village of Huncovce had two Jewish cemeteries, the old one by the Poprad River and the newer one (described above) dating from 1850 or 1900on the E side of the village on a hillside. It was completely enclosed with a masonry wall (now broken in many places). A beautifully designed, heavy wooden gate graces the entrance on the E side of the cemetery that leads into a good-sized room with Hebrew prayers in large gold letters inscribed on three walls. To the left was the prayer before entering a cemetery. Past the entry room was a two-meter wide walkway. To the left were men's graves and to the right were women's. At the far end of the cemetery against the wall was a section reserved for suicides and those who severely violated Jewish law. There was also a place for candles boxes that were buried with a special prayer for the very ill or for pregnant women who had maternity-related problems. (The candles symbolically "took the place" of the ill so they would recover.) The cemetery was the resting-place of the renowned rabbi (tzadik) Samuel Rosenberg (1825-1918), head of the nearby Hunsdorfer Yeshiva and the Hunsdorf (Huncovce) Kehilah. On his yahrzeit, his students from around the world visited his grave. The village (predominantly Jewish) was in a festive mood for days before and after the yahrzeit. Rabbi Rosenberg's grave is flanked on the right by the grave of his son who died very young and on the left by the grave of his son-in-law Horowitz, father of a well-known rabbi in Frankfurt au Main and of the last rabbi of Huncovce. (Horowitz's grandson, Rabbi Moishe Horowitz of Brooklyn, New York, still visits the cemetery annually for his grandfather's Yahrzeit. Rabbi Horowitz is also the great-grandson of Rabbi Rosenberg.) Sometime after 1948, a small building was erected to enclose the three graves described above. These three graves are still in good condition but the same cannot be said of the rest of the cemetery. While visiting in 1992, I could not locate the graves of any of my family members (despite recalling their exact former locations). Gravestones were vandalized and broken. Heavy vegetation overgrowth. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

January 2009:

Map of Village

Photos of Village

Village Huncovce

Erb Huncovce Address: Phone:
00 421 52 468 04 32
Obecný úrad Fax: 00 421 52 468 04 35
Hlavná 29 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
059 92 Huncovce
SLOVAKIA
Web: www.huncovce.sk
Region: Prešovský
District: Kežmarok
Micro region: Združenie Spišských miest a obcí
Inhabitants: 2469
Area: 1326 ha
First paper reference: in year 1257
Mayor: Ing. Jozef Majerčák
Last Updated on Saturday, 06 September 2014 21:09
 
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