The Jewish community of Bardejov was completely destroyed during the Holocaust. No Jews live in Bardejov today. Bardejov’s Holocaust victims were denied the dignity of a burial. The Bardejov Holocaust Memorial serves as a memorial to Bardejov’s lost Jewish community and to the victims.
The Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee has launched this project on land allocated by the city of Bardejov. Construction of the memorial began on March 25, 2013 and concluded with a dedication ceremony on June 24, 2014.
The memorial was designed by Giora Solar, an internationally renowned preservation architect and the construction architect was Miloslav Olejar, whose offices are in Canada and Bardejov.
The exterior wall, facing Dlhý rad Street, evokes the old houses where Jews lived before deportation and that were destroyed during the Communist regime. In the interior, on fourteen large granite tablets in the shape of tombstones, the names of 3392 victims of the holocaust were carved by sandblasting. On top of each tablet is the name of one of the twelve Hebrew tribes, representing the Jewish nation. In the center of the remaining two tablets is a light, symbolizing the “eternal light” (Ner Tamid) in synagogues and the “soul light” (Ner Neshama) lit during the annual commemoration of the day of one’s death.
Five square tablets tell the history of the Jewish community and describe the long legacy of Jews in Bardejov and the tragic and criminal dissolution of that community. One of the tablets recognizes the righteous local Christians who risked their lives during the war to help and rescue their Jewish neighbors. A separate tablet is dedicated to the main donors of the memorial. The sentence “Each person has a name”, from the Israeli poet Zelda Schneersohn-Mishkovsky, is written above the tablets in three languages to remind us that these names represent individual, not numbers or statistics.
A most important element is the Star of David monument, located in front of the only remaining original wall. The shape was chosen since it is the most recognized sign of Judaism. The three-dimensional star is composed of a lower triangle made of local stone and an upper triangle made of steel. The top of the upper trianglepoints to the sky, pulling the eye upward to express continuity. The words “never again” are cut into the steel. The star is placed on train tracks, representing the transports that took Jews from Bardejov’s train station to the places from which most of them did not return.
The Holocaust Memorial is designed to educate and offer visitors an opportunity for serious reflection about the fate of Bardejov’s Jewish community. The site is accessed from the two main facing streets, with a potential connection to the adjacent Jewish Suburbia, which hopefully will be restored in the near future and will become a cultural and educational center.
- Click here to view images of the Holocaust Memorial – photo gallery by Marián Šoth.
- Click here to view construction images of the Holocaust Memorial
In conjunction with the building of the Bardejov Holocaust Memorial, we published the Memorial Book of Jewish Bardejov. which was presented at the award ceremony after the dedication on June 24, 2014.
The Memorial is now operated by the City of Bardejov and is open to the public between May 1st and October 31st during the following hours: MONDAY – SATURDAY: 10:00 – 11:00 & 15:00 – 16:00.
If you plan to visit the Memorial between November 1st and April 30th you may contact the tourist information center to arrange a visit:.
TURISTICKO – INFORMAČNÁ KANCELÁRIA