Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hungary: Jewish cemetery of Tinnye

The English-language Budapest Times posted an article and photographs about the Jewish cemetery in Tinnye, some 35 km northwest of Budapest.

The village of Tinnye, located around 35 km northwest of Budapest, has just 1,350 residents. Earlier Tinnye was a popular trading spot: roads from Buda, Esztergom and Székesfehérvár intersected here, and there were wealthy noble families as well as a bustling marketplace. The livelier a place has been, the more present death is. Tinnye has eight cemeteries.

The story, by Astrid Stangl, focuses on Eszter Toth, a German school teacher in Piliscsaba, who has been researching the area's history, including Tinnye's cemeteries. Her work is now on display at Budapest's Museum of Ethnography.

It mentions burial sites for the town's nobility, upper middle class and the Roman Catholic majority population, although Toth says that, in the old reformed Dióstemető (Walnut) cemetery, it was the custom to place gravestones at the foot of the grave instead of the head, as is common today. The Roman Catholics placed simple wooden crosses, and metal ones produced in the adjacent village of Piliscsaba are also seen.

In 1820, a synagogue was built, but is today used for storage. The Jewish cemetery has some 100 graves, some with Hebrew inscriptions. A cholera epidemic hit the town between 1837-47:

People were forbidden from entering the cemetery of the cholera victims to stop the disease from spreading. The cemetery was surrounded by dense lilac bushes and acacia trees.

Melancholy poems and inscriptions can be read on the 35 gravestones that remain. Next to the inscriptions broken off twigs can be seen as symbols of lives that ended far too young.

Tóth’s photographs of Tinnye’s cemeteries are on display through February 22, 2009 at the Musueum of Ethnography. The site is in Hungarian. I found some photos of some of the cemeteries, but none of the Jewish one.

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