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Jewish Families of Nitra (Slovakia)

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Nitra is a city in western Slovakia, situated at the foot of Zobor Mountain in the valley of the river Nitra. With a population of about 83,572 today, it is the fifth largest city in Slovakia. Nitra is also one of the oldest cities in Slovakia and the country's earliest political and cultural center. Today, it is a seat of a kraj (Nitra Region) and an okres (Nitra District).

Nitra is one of the oldest, biggest, and most important communities of Slovakia. There are testimonies about Jewish settlement in Nitra even in medieval times. In the eleventh century some Jews were among the workers in the mint, and the clerks of the royal treasury in the city. Mons Judeorum (the mountain of the Jews) is mentioned in documents from the years 1111-1113, perhaps nicknamed for the Jewish Quarter, or Jewish cemetery. At this time the Jews of Nitra were under the protection of the bishop, and lived outside of the walls of the city, in an estate that belonged to the Zobor monastery. They made their living through commerce or the interest from loans.

In 1940 there were 4,360 Jews in Nitra. The expulsion of the Jews of Nitra and the surrounding area began in March 23, 1942. After a large hunt about 250 young men wee transported to the transit camp in Novaky, and there they were added to a transport, which left on March 31, 1942 to the Maidanek Concentration Camp. On March 28, 1942, there was a hunt for young women; about 300 young women from Nitra and nearby towns were sent to the Patronka transit camp and on April 1, 1942, were added to a transport to the Auschwitz death camp. At the beginning of the Slovakian revolt of August 29, 1944 there were about 1,500 Jews in Nitra. On September 2, 1944 an S.S. unit occupied the city. On September 8, 1944 S. S. members, assisted by Hlinka Guards, conducted a large hunt for Jews. Four Jews who were caught were murdered in the town. The rest were sent in three transports to Auschwitz and other death camps through the Sared camp. About 300 Jews were expelled from Nitra on October 7 and 12, 1944

After the liberation more than Jewish 600 survivors returned to Nitra. In 1990 only about 60-70 Jews lived in Nitra, but the little community continued its existence.

The Jewish Cemetery still exists in Nitra with approximately 5000 gravestones. Although in generally good condition it has approximately 25% of its stones toppled and, according to a Yad Vashem survey, was desecrated in 1997 with numerous stones knocked over or broken.

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