• Memorial Plaque at the Košice Synagogue
Affixed to the building of the Orthodox synagogue in Košice is a memorial plaque to the city's Jewish residents who were deported and murdered during World War II.
Image: Košice, about 1900, The main street as depicted on a postcard, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, about 1900, The main street as depicted on a postcard, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Košice, 2004, View of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, 2004, View of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice (Hungarian: Kassa), after Bratislava second-largest city of today's Slovakia, was until 1918 part of the Kingdom of Hungary within the Austro-Hungarian Empire; after World War I it was part of Czechoslovakia. The predominant languages in Košice were Hungarian, Slovak and German. Jews had only been permitted to settle in the city since 1840, from then on the Jewish population had grown rapidly however. Prior to 1914, there were about 6,700 Jews in Košice, making up 15 per cent of the population. There were many Jewish institutions in the city, a large Orthodox community and a Neolog community. The Jewish community of Košice continued to grow rapidly after World War I. Many Jews migrated to Košice not only from other parts of Slovakia but also from Poland and the Soviet Union. In 1938, Jews made up a fifth of the population with about 11,420 people. Although the Jewish population of Košice was very diverse in terms of cultural and social background, Jewish identity grew in confidence in the inter-war period. Several Zionist associations were also established.
In November 1938, Slovakia had to cede territories to Hungary, including Košice. Hungarian anti-Jewish laws immediately came into effect for the Jews of Košice. For instance, Jewish men were deployed in army work details. After Hungary was occupied by the German Wehrmacht in 1944, Hungarian authorities began forcing Jews into ghettos and deporting them – all in close coordination with the German authorities. Already in April 1944, a ghetto was established in Košice and all Jews from the surrounding areas had to move there. The living conditions were atrocious. On May 15, 1944, the Hungarian authorities began deporting the Jews from the Košice ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The ghetto was emptied within two weeks. Due to its geographic location, practically all deportation trains from Hungary passed through Košice.
Image: Košice, about 1900, The main street as depicted on a postcard, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, about 1900, The main street as depicted on a postcard, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Košice, 2004, View of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, 2004, View of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
At least 12,000 Jews were deported from Košice and the surrounding areas; the SS murdered about 8,000 of them by poison gas upon their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. About 450 of the deportees survived. Approximately 2,500 Košice Jews who managed to escape deportation survived the war.
Image: Košice region, April 17, 1944, Jews from villages around Košice are forcibly transferred into the Košice ghetto, Yad Vashem
Košice region, April 17, 1944, Jews from villages around Košice are forcibly transferred into the Košice ghetto, Yad Vashem

Image: Košice, 2004, Memorial plaque at the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, 2004, Memorial plaque at the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
The Košice Jewish community did not recover after the war. Most of the survivors had emigrated by 1948 when the communists seized power in Czechoslovakia; many chose Israel as their destination. Today, only a few hundred Jews remain in Košice. In 1992, a memorial plaque in honour of those deported from Košice was affixed to the Orthodox synagogue which had been built in 1927. For decades, the building has been derelict; a Jewish museum is to be established here about 2013.
Image: Košice, 2004, Barred main entrance of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, 2004, Barred main entrance of the synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Košice, 2004, Inscription on the memorial plaque, Stiftung Denkmal
Košice, 2004, Inscription on the memorial plaque, Stiftung Denkmal
Name
Synagoga Košice
Address
Puškinova ulica
04001 Košice
Phone
+421-55-6259 059
Fax
+421-55-6221 272
Web
http://www.kehilakosice.sk/
E-Mail
backerova@kehilakosice.sk
Open
The synagogue building is closed to the public. The memorial plaque is accessible at all times.