Obj. ID: 8052
Jewish Architecture Memorial Plaque at the site of the Former Synagogue in Kanjiža, Serbia, 1994
No official name
What is Comemmorated?
The synagogue that used to stand here
A granite plaque is mounted on the wall of a residential house built at the site of the destroyed synagogue. It features the Magen David engraved on top, below are inscriptions in Hebrew, Serbo-Croatian (Cyrillic and Latin script), and Hungarian that state that the synagogue once stood there.
במקום הזה היה בית הכנסת
Translation: In this place was the synagogue
Ту је стајала синагога
Tu je stajala sinagoga
Translation: Here stood the synagogue
Itt állt a zsinagóga
Translation: Here stood the synagogue
The Municipality of Kanjiža
Jews began settling in Kanjiža in the second half of the 18th century. The cemetery was founded in 1802. The synagogue was built in 1861, on the corner of 1 Bolmanska Street and Dože Đerđa Streets. The Jewish school was built in 1867 and was located across the street from the synagogue. The same year, the Jewish kindergarten was established. It was located on the corner of Bolmanska and Drapšinova Streets. At the beginning of the 20th century, 375 Jews lived in this town. The number of Holocaust survivors is 63. The synagogue was demolished in 1948. The building of the kindergarten exists today with no marks about its former purpose.
By a decision from the meeting at the Ministry of the Interior held on April 19, 1944, the ghettoization of Délvidék (Bačka) Jews began a week later - on April 26. The Jews were rounded up and transferred to the ghettos established in Baja, Subotica, and Szeged.
Almost everywhere, local synagogues were designated as temporary ghettos, or more precisely, assembly points. Most of them existed for a few days - enough for the gendarmerie and the police to interrogate the Jews and confiscate their valuables. This was the case in Kanjiža as well.
Jews of Kanjiža were soon transported to the Ghetto Szeged, to which were also brought Jews from other communities around the Tisza River: the Jews of Ada, Mol, Srbobran, Bačko Petrovo Selo, and Senta. According to the report of the Szeged police on May 10, 1944, the number of Jews transported from the Bačka settlements to Szeged was 2,266. They consisted of 736 families, of which there were 601 men, 1081 women, and 584 children.
The synagogue in Kanjiža was built in 1861 in the classicist style. It replaced the “old synagogue” built-in 1780. The new synagogue was more than 8 meters high and 25 m long. The interior walls were painted in light blue with golden stars on the ceiling. In front of the synagogue were buildings that housed a cantor's apartment and a Jewish school. The building was sold in 1948 and soon after demolished even though its condition was good.
This was not an isolated case. Eighty-two synagogues existed in the region of Vojvodina before the Holocaust. Sixty-five were demolished; fifteen during and fifty-one after World War II, most in the period between 1948 and 1951. The answer to this lies partially in the fact that some of the buildings were damaged during the war and Jewish communities lacked the financial means to renovate them. Most communities vanished, and those who managed to reestablish themselves after the Holocaust were not only impoverished but also saw welfare activities as a priority. Therefore, Jewish communities and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia sold dozens of synagogue buildings nationwide and used the funds to support their members. While some of the synagogue buildings were repurposed, in Vojvodina the vast majority were destroyed.
The plaque on the site of the demolished synagogue in Kanjiža was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the deportations of the town’s Jews on April 26, 1994. Commemorations have sporadically been held on the anniversary of the deportations of Jews of Kanjiža, organized by the Municipality of Kanjiža and the Jewish Community Subotica.
The plaque is maintained by the Municipality of Kanjiža.
Pejin, Attila. “Tisza menti zsidó temetõk – Magyarkanizsa,“ Hid 1 (2015):, pp. 111-121.
Subotić, Jelena. Yellow Star, Red Star. Holocaust Remembrance after Communism. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2019.
Šosberger, Pavle. Sinagoge u Vojvodini: Spomenica minulog vremena. Novi Sad: Prometej, 1998
Ungar, Olga, "Remembering the Victims: Vojvodina Holocaust Memorials," in Jewish Literatures and Cultures in Southeastern Europe: Experiences, Positions, Memories (=Schriften des Centrums für jüdische Studien, vol. 37) eds Renate Hansen-Kokoruš and Olaf Terpitz, pp. 217-236.