Mateszalka Old Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
2, Fellegvár Street.
GPS coordinates
47.95237, 22.33626
Perimeter length
482 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
There is a concrete fence, around 2 meters high.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is taken care of. Some of the tombstones have new plaques.
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
There is an ohel dedicated to Haim Meshulam Heish, son of Meir (1936). There is also a wooden building “Built on November 15, 1932, by Schreiber Bertalanne in the memory of Rosner Gisella”.
Drone surveys

Historical overview

There are two Jewish cemeteries in Mátészalka. The older cemetery was established as early as 1799, since the oldest tombstones found in the cemetery date back to that year. The cemetery remained in operation until at least 1944. The cemetery is fenced and has an ohel and a Holocaust memorial. Many of the tombstones have been restored or re-erected.

The earliest record of Jews in Mátészalka is from 1784-1785, when 60 Jews were recorded as living in the town. In 1840, 238 Jews lived in Mátészalka. Later, around 1880, the population increased to 738, and by 1930, the community had a population of 1,621 people. The Jewish community was Orthodox. The community had a Jewish elementary school (which employed four teachers in 1928), a Talmud Torah, and (sometimes) a yeshiva. There was a shtiebel (small prayer room) for Hassidim near the synagogue. The synagogue was built in 1857. Actor Tony Curtis—whose family came from Mátészalka—made a significant donation for the renovation of the exterior of the synagogue while visiting the town. A marble plaque on the outer wall of the building is dedicated to the memory of Adolf Zukor, who lived in Mátészalka between 1881-85. In 1941 the Jewish men in the town were taken for forced labour. About 17,000 Jews were confined in the Mátészalka Ghetto (including Jews from towns in the Máramaros district) and later deported to Auschwitz. 150 Jews were living in Mátészalka in 1946.