Rákoskeresztúr Jewish Cemetery

Kozma u. 6
Pest, X, Tram 28 from Blaha [map]

Traveled via the 28 tram today to the largest Jewish cemetery in Budapest, the Rákoskeresztúr Jewish Cemetery. Located on Kozma Utca in district XVII, this is a huge gravesite with over 300,000 deceased individuals occupying the grounds. I can't verify that population figure but if I trust my naked eye 300k is not far off the mark because this place is really huge.

Schmidl mausoleumWalked among the rows and plots, sensory overload. Bauhaus lettering chiseled into black marble, sometimes with only the word "APU" (father). One was particularly eloquent and powerful - a large black panel with the name of the deceased over the place of his death: Auschwitz 1944.

The Schmidl mausoleum is by far the most famous of all the monuments in Rákoskeresztúr. A secessionist masterpiece designed by Béla Lajta, it was restored in the early 2000s. A flash photo of the interior shows the beauty and artistic imagination that went into this beautiful place of memorial.

There was one stone that jumped out at me, and I had to get a shot of it. It was the grave of Viktor Wittmann, who was unknown to me - but there was something about his monument that said "photograph me".

My 6th sense about these things is usually right. Turns out Wittmann was a Hungarian aviation legend who died in WWI. What was interesting to me is his connection with my man Frigyes Karinthy, a brilliantly funny Hungarian Journalist from the first half of the 20th century that I love. Seems that Karinthy wrote an exceptional memoir about Wittmann and his heroic exploits; so the headstone led me to another interesting literary work to follow up on.

The weather was beautiful and dramatically autumn, and the late afternoon light made the leaves pop against a gloomy sky. It was the perfect backdrop to experience the place, viewing the stones and crypts that are so uniformly elegant, dignified and moving.

This article originally appeared on sfinbudapest.com. Read more from SF here.


  1. theparttimewoodworker said...

    Could anyone please tell me if there is a contact for the Rákoskeresztúr Jewish Cemetery. I'm located in Canada and do not speak Hungarian, so I am having an extremely difficult time trying to find information on someone buried there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  


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