Kotaj Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
The Jewish section is located within the municipal cemetery, on Kert Street.
GPS coordinates
48.04323, 21.70264
Perimeter length
357. The perimeter is larger than on the cadastral map.
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
There is a concrete fence, about 2.5 metres high.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is located within the municipal cemetery and is also fenced. The cemetery is divided into 2 parts. The south part is well maintained, only in this part gravestones were found, the northern part is neglected with acacia trees and trash. The gps coordinates provided by zstm points to a place outside of the fence and is most likely mistaken. The gravestones have been restored and numbered.
Number of existing gravestones
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

The Jewish cemetery of Kótaj was established as early as 1853, which is the earliest date that can currently be identified on the cemetery’s tombstones. The cemetery remained in operation until at least 1948 – the latest identifiable date on a tombstone in the cemetery. The cemetery has been fenced and, presumably, catalogued.

The first Jews settled in the village in 1800. In the subsequent years, across the span of about a century, the population of the Jewish community was as follows: 114 Jews in 1836; 78 in 1848; 216 in 1880; 180 in 1900; 160 in 1910; 185 in 1920; 166 in 1930; and 139 in 1941. The Jewish community was formed in 1820. The synagogue was built in 1867 and was renovated and expanded multiple times. In 1869, the community declared itself as Orthodox and joined the Jewish community of Nyíregyháza in 1885. While the Jewish community of Kótaj had a Chevra Kadisha (burial society) and a cheder, there was little Jewish cultural life in the settlement. In 1942, young Jewish men were taken to forced labour service. From March 1944, the Jewish inhabitants of the village could not leave their houses and, in mid-April, were moved to the synagogue. They were later deported to Auschwitz from the Nyíregyháza Ghetto (where they were forcibly confined). The 21 Jews of Kótaj who survived the Holocaust returned to the town to find the cemetery, the synagogue, and their houses in ruins. They were moreover not welcome by the locals. In 1949, there were 11 Jews in the village and 2 in 1956. By 1962, only one Jew remained in Kótaj.