kehilalinks logo

Kezmarok Coat of Arms

   Kežmarok, Slovakia



Also spelled or known as:

  • Kezmarok (without the special character)

  • Kesmark/Käsmark (German)

  • Késmárk (Hungarian)

  • Kesmarkium (Latin)

  • (Hebrew)

  • (Yiddish)

On this page:

Location and Maps

Slovakia lies in the heart of Europe. Using Mapquest, you can see that Kezmarok is located toward the northeastern border of Slovakia, northeast of Poprad and south of the Polish border, at Latitude 498´, Longitude 2025´. The current population of Kezmarok is about 17,000, and is located on the Poprad River.

Background Information

One can find information on the general history of the town of Kezmarok from various sources including the internet. Very few mention anything about the Jews who once lived there. The following section describes the history of Kezmarok as it pertains to the Jews who came to live there in the middle of the 19th century and onward.

Other Sources of Information

Dedication of Holocaust Memorial, 18 November 2013

Thanks to the suggestion by Shaul GASSNER that some kind of memorial should be created to the Jews who once lived in Kezmarok, a plan 13 years in the making came to actualization on the 18 November 2013. A special memorial service took place in Kezmarok very close to where the town's synagogue, Adas Yeshurun, once stood. This was to dedicate a memorial to the Jews who once lived in Kezmarok, 90% of whom were killed in the Holocaust.

15 people, descendents of Rabbis Meir Grünberg and Yisrael Meir Glück, and of families Vogelmann, Gassner, Goldman, and Goldstein traveled and converged from Los Angeles, New York (in the USA), and from Rechovot, Israel to attend.

This was part of an all-day event, coinciding with Kesmarok's periodic, "Days of Jewish Culture," in which local historian, Dr. Nora Barathova, and book-publisher/tour guide Mikulas Liptak, give talks with slide presentations to enlighten the local gentry and visitors about the once thriving community of Jews who made Kezmarok their home and contributed to the daily life of the town.

In a great demonstration of ecumenism, the effort to collect funding for the design, fabrication, and final actualization was undertaken by Kezmarok's local Lutheran Church, under the leadership of Mgr. Roman Poruban. In reciprocation and appreciation, funds were donated and collected by descendents and relatives of those martyred Jews and given back to the church. Two special people who took the 5-hour train ride from Bratislava, were Chabad Rabbi, Boruch Myers who officiated as the rabbinical presence and the German chargé d'affaires, the Honorable Reinhard Wiemar. Others came from Kosice and various other parts of Slovakia for the day.

Rabbi Myers also brought a Torah for the morning services, since miraculously, this was the first time in 65 years that a minyan (a quorom of 10 men) had gathered for prayers in Kezmarok! Rabbi Myers also brought with him banquet-worthy food prepared by his wife, Chanie, to ensure our festive luncheon was kosher!

Officials from the town council also spoke and a respectful crowd of Kezmarok's residents attended as well.

Memorial

As part of the days events, the visitors from abroad sought the locations of homes where their ancestors lived; visited the cemetery where loved ones were buried pre-World War II; and viewed the displays in the Jewish section of the museum that is now in housed in the former Thokoly Castle. The group photo below was taken in the museum as the parting commemorative photo.

Below are just a few photos and hopefully a more detailed collection in PDF form will be added.  Parts of the day were captured in the news and on video by visiting TV and newspaper journalists but these are in Slovak. One such program appeared on January 12, 2014, but may be hard to view,  It would be toward the latter part of this 25 minute news broadcast. (You might find it difficult or slow to view on a flash player.)


Presenters
The Presenters
Top L to R: Mgr. Roman Poruban, Rabbi Baruch Myers,
Bottom L to R:  Dr. Nora Brathova, Ingr. Mikulas Liptak
Luncheon
Guests at the Kosher Luncheon held at Hotel Hviezdoslav, L to R:
Robert Burger, assistant to the architect, Architect Miloslav Neumann,  Ing. Ladislav Faix, Mayor Igor Sajtlava, Rabbi Baruch Myers, Mgr. Roman Poruban, German Chargé d'Affaires Reinhard Wiemar.

MinchaService
Last chance to pray with a quorum, as the the men gather for Mincha (Afternoon) service.
RabbiMayor&Minister
Speakers at the Dedication and Unveiling:
L to R Rabbi Boruch Myers, Mayor Igor Sajtlav, Pastor Mgr. Roman Poruban


ChristianFriendsIsrael

A group called "Christian Friends of Israel" showed thier support.  Many believe they might have some Jewish ancestry also!

GroupPhoto
Group Photo taken inside the Thokoly Castle's Room with Jewish artifacts, L to R:
Jack FRIEDMAN, Peter NURNBERG (in back), Gity CHARNAS, her husband Kalman CHARNAS, bending in front of her, Jeff FRIEDMAN (Jack's son), Dovy FREIDMAN (kneeling below, Mayer's son), Thomas VOGELMANN, Mikulas Liptak (in back), Madeleine ISENBERG, Michael FRIEDMAN (Jack's brother), Michael's sons Stevena and Alan next to him, Hagit TSAFRIRI and her sister, Ilana EYAL, Yitzchak GASSNER, and his wife Yael.  Inset of Yehudit and David BAREKET, who missed being in this photo.

Contributors of Content

At the time this website was first created (10 December 2010), many people had contributed information, photographs, and letters, over the past 20 years that they had either from the time they themselves lived there (pre-World War II) or from their ancestors who once lived in or near Kezmarok. Many contributors were related to some degree to Madeleine Isenberg who created this Kehilalinks page, in part as a memorial to our family who once lived in Kezmarok, and to so many who were killed during the Shoah.


The following is a list of the family names from Kezmarok that are common to these contributors. More family names may be added as more information comes to light. Family names from other contributors will be added as more information becomes available.

Kezmarok Family Names

BIRNBAUM
BRODY
ENGLMAN
GASSNER
GLÜCK
GLÜCKSMAN
GOLDMAN
GOLDSTEIN
GROSSMAN
GRÜNBERG
KOVAC

LANGER
M
ATZNER
ROSENZWEIG
SCHLOSS
SPIEGEL
STEINER
STOTTER
VOGELMANN
WEISS
WURM
ZOLLMAN

The major contributor, not related in any way to the above, but who currently lives in Kezmarok and has been an invaluable source of information and support since 2004, is Mikulas Liptak.

Additional Contributors, Their Material, and Family Names

Since it came on-line, a few people with connections to Kezmarok have contacted Ms. Isenberg. They are listed below as well as their contributions. In some cases, they are asking the assistance of anyone who can help identify people in photographs.
Contributor Contribution and Link Family Names
Henrietta KESTENBAUM (Canada) Family photos, 1924, 1931 GLUCK, ROSENZWEIG
Amos Israel ZEZMER (France) Kezmarok Technical School Photo, 1934 SPIEGEL
Other names on the photo:
SAMUEL, STOREL, SCHALAMON, FRINDT/FRIUDT, FÄRBER, FEUERMANN
Esther LEVINSON (Israel) An Amateur Photograph and its Photographer, 1909 HOCHFELDER
Zeev RAPHAEL (Israel) Photograph of Brody-Grossman House, 1991 BRODY, GROSSMAN
Jana TESSER
Family Photographs KOVACS, SCHLOSS

Contributions in the form of assistance from Mr. Marshall KATZ in preparing these webpages, has been greatly appreciated.


There have been visits to this page since 10 December 2010

 Compiled by Madeleine Isenberg
Updated 19 October 2014
Copyright © 2010-2104
Madeleine R. Isenberg
All rights reserved.

Back to KehilaLinks KehilaLinks Top of page JewishGen Back to JewishGen

Top of Page

This site is hosted at no cost by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in your research by this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly appreciated.