Commemoration is an indelible part of our work at BJPC. Our restoration and education projects are completed in honor of those lives that were lost during the Holocaust and we carry the torch on behalf of the absent Jewish community at all times.
More directly, we generate commemorative opportunities with the Bardejov Holocaust Memorial at the center. Our organization worked tirelessly to create this magnificent outdoor space, which was unveiled in 2014. It features tablets with the names of Holocaust victims, righteous persons who helped save lives, and thought-provoking artistic elements that invite reflection. Each year this space becomes the epicenter of an annual service that honors the lives of those individuals whose names adorn the memorial walls.
Our Memorial Book is another commemoration project we completed in 2014. The book details the history of Jewish Bardejov and lists all of the victims of the Holocaust from Bardejov and surrounding villages. This is coupled with an ongoing project to document the entire impact of the Holocaust on what we term the Bardejov Diaspora. Our goal is to create a comprehensive view of the disastrous effects that intolerance can have on a community, while simultaneously illustrating the strength and resiliency of the surviving Jewish community.
You can read more about these projects by exploring below.
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 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 triangle points 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 will be restored in the near future and will become a cultural and educational center.
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
The Memorial Book of Jewish Bardejov is a special publication by the Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee to preserve and record Bardejov’s rich Jewish history for the future generations of our children and grandchildren.
The Memorial Book of Jewish Bardejov is a comprehensive volume featuring new scholarly and archival research as well as personal stories and family histories since the 1700s, when the Jews first arrived in Bardejov, to the present. Through stories, maps, and archival images of Jewish life, the Memorial Book of Jewish Bardejov brings Bardejov’s Jewish history back to life.
The book includes four chapters that discuss the history of Jewish Bardejov; timeline of Jewish Bardejov; list of survivors; list of Bardejovers’ oral testimonies from UC Shoah Foundation; and list of gravestones in the Bardejov Jewish Cemetery. The most important part of the book, though, is the Names Project, which includes a detailed list of families who resided in Bardejov and the surrounding villages in 1942. Each family group includes the names of the individual members, their fates, a short narrative, and photos -when available.
The Memorial Book of Jewish Bardejov was presented for the first time during the Award Dinner following the dedication ceremony on June 2014. See below for book purchase options and to view sample pages from the book.
Learn about the many ways you can sponsor and support our efforts to remember and honor the Jewish community of Bardejov for time immemorial.
The Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee team is currently working on a new publication: a book titled Bardejov Jewish Life through the Lens: A Photographic Journey through the History of Judaism in Bardejov. The book focuses on pictures and documents that tell the stories of Jewish Bardejov before, during, and after the Holocaust.
The book will include historical pictures as well as those of Bardejovers after the war as they started to build their new lives in Israel, the USA, Canada, or other places around the world. We are also including documents such as immigration records, Bardejov ID cards, letters, diplomas or any other certificate, paper, or photo that can tell a story about the lives that were lost or those that were saved.
Progress on the new book is accelerating and we encourage everyone to share pictures and/or documents as soon as possible. If you have any information you would like to share for possible inclusion in the book, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org