There is no doubt that permanent settlement of the current area we now call Piešťany started before the first record of the town (in Latin called Pescan) was written by a mediaeval writer in 1113. People lived and died here and the ancient society buried them. The archaeological research in Detvianska Street has discovered graves from the 11th century, but there still might exist older ones in the town. Burials used to take place in the Pažický and Teplický Cemeteries (both of them were closed) until the first half of the 20th century. Some commemorative fields have vanished without a trace. The three existing cemeteries are accessible from Bratislavská, Žilinská and Jánošíkova Streets and the fourth one is situated in an isolated town suburb, which used to be a separate village, called Kocurice. Thousands of dead rest on these commemorative fields; common people and famous artists, scientists, doctors, priests, teachers, master-builders, or merited officers... Some of their graves are modest, some of them have large visible gravestones.
Cemeteries, sometimes called necropoles, towns of the deceased or commemorative fields, etc., are not only the resting places of former inhabitants, but they also present plain-air galleries of sepulchral art, fine architecture and gardening. This creates their significant historical value.
THE CEMETERY ON BRATISLAVSKÁ ROAD
THE CEMETERY ON BRATISLAVSKÁ ROAD was established at the beginning of the 1930s. The project of the cemetery was designed by Architects F. Wimmer and A. Szőnyi. It was pragmatically called ‘the New’. The area of 54,199m2 was divided among three, at that time, the most dominant Confessions and for each religious community there were built independent ceremonial buildings. The buildings were designed to form a compact architectural unit. After some time the mutual isolation of evangelic and catholic churches diminished and the only separated place of the cemetery ‘bet olam’ remained for members of the Jewish church. The cemetery used to be strictly divided among Christian churches (there are still remains of the fence), but currently all burials take place all over the united land and the dead (believers or atheists) rest in peace together. In the second half of the 20th century, after closing of older cemeteries in the town, some gravestones and exhumed bodies were moved to this new burial site. Therefore, now there are gravestones in the new cemetery from the time before an idea for its establishment even existed. For example, the granite gravestone of the Janszky family from the year 1911 (sector B, number 316); J. Janszky (+1940), who was a former chief-gardener of Piešťany parks, is also buried under it. The urn field designed by Ing. A. Stašková was built in the cemetery in the 1980s. For easier orientation the cemetery was divided into 8 grave sectors (A-H) with the independent marking of the urn field.
MUDr. Emanuel Wohlstein
In the line of evangelic graves that are situated along the northern fence of the cemetery there is buried a doyen of Piešťany dermatologists, Head Doctor Emanuel Wohlstein (1896 – 1970); his grave is marked A-84 in the plan of the cemetery. He graduated at Medical Faculty of Carl’s University in Prague in 1921 and obtained his specialisation at clinics in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Leiden. Doctor Wohlstein worked in Piešťany since 1925 and he also performed several state functions, for example he was a chairman of the committee for dermatology, balneology and climatology of the dermatology-venereal department at ČSLS J. E. Purkyňa. He gave a lot of scientific lectures in Czech republic, Hungary, Romania and France, and since the second half of the 20’s he did frequent writing both for domestic and foreign publications; for example he published 20 scientific articles in the German newspapers ‘Dermatologische Wochenschrift‘ and ‘Dermatologische Zeitschrift‘. He also invented ‘patented equipment for examination and evaluation of local galvanic skin reaction‘ (110699/196412).
(Balkan Ice Cream Businessman)
About 100 years ago Abdulah Bečarovič (1862 – 1935), coming from a southern part of the multinational c.k. Monarchy, decided to stay in Piešťany: He brought not only his knowledge of Balkan ice-cream production, but also his religion. As he became successful in the ice-cream business he decided to stay in the town forever. When he died he was buried in the distant corner of the evangelic part of the cemetery (A-445). It is obvious that his curious gravestone, situated in such a surroundings, shows that there were buried bones of an orthodox Muslim under it. In the last few years the number of Muslim graves has increased in the cemetery, but it is his grave that brings a lot of attention thanks to its charm and notability.
Vincenzo Cicutto (1875 – 1947), an Italian with inherited builder‘s knowledge, who crossed the Alps to take his chance in the town, was buried in a family tomb (A-6). The tomb is situated very closely next to the remains of the concrete fence that used to divide catholic and evangelic parts of the cemetery. Vincenzo Cicutto established here a company, ‘V. Cicutto et al., building entrepreneurship’. His terrazzo building business was very successful and the terrazzo built under his name enjoyed the mark of high quality. You still can see his excellent work on many of the houses in Piešťany’s streets. Unfortunately, his company was nationalised by the communist regime after the Second World War.
Gravestones of various kinds, shapes, sizes and names reflecting thousands of years of development are visible elements on each cemetery. The one of grave makers, driven to work by their feeling of commemoration and support from investors, was also Václav Rympler (1883 – 1949), buried in grave B-11, in the same line as the members of V. Cicutto (3) family. Rympler’s graves can be seen in each of the Piešťany cemeteries; in the cemetery on Žilinská Road, you can start their seeing immediately behind the main gate, from the grave of priest A. Praznovszký, in the older Jewish cemetery you will definitely spot at least the granite gravestone of the Quittners’ married couple. Rympler’s monumental masonry produced their gravestones for a large area around the town, for example their work can be seen in the cemeteries in Doľany, Smolenice, or Vrbové (the Vrbové cemeteries are definitely worthy visiting).
There are many names of Piešťany’s people on gravestones situated in other cemeteries outside Piešťany, but probably there is only one in space. It is the name of astronomer Milan Antal (1935 – 1999), who discovered tens of asteroids and now he rests together with his parents in grave B-284. His name is carried across the universe by a small planet called after him. When he named his asteroids he was inspired by his birthplace, so now the names Piešťany and Antal float around the universe. He used to do his observations from the dome of the observatory in Skalnaté Pleso. It is a pity that he did not succeed with his idea of building an observatory in his native Piešťany. The dignified gravestone of the family comes from the end of the 1940s and it was completed by the stone mason Krúpa from Trenčín.
Ing. Ivan Haluzický
As a consequence of the airport in the town, there were tens of military pilots, who tragically died either in Piešťany, or in its close surroundings, buried in the Piešťany cemeteries. However, this was not the case of aircraft sub-lieutenant Ing. Ivan Haluzický, buried in grave C-7 (1913 – 1965). In August 1944, as a sub-corporal, he delivered Piešťany belligerents to the airport in Sliač, the centre of the national uprising. Then they fought on the fronts in Nová Baňa, Martin, Vrútky, and Malý Šturec. After the Slovak national uprising was suppressed he flew to the USSR where he was appointed to a high command position in the 1st Czechoslovak mixed aircraft division. However, when he returned to his mother land he did not escape reprisals of the communist regime and his rehabilitation came very late. The monument in the town park, designed by Academic sculptor L. Ľ. Pollák, was built as a commemoration of the uprising army unit.
Ing. Ivan Ondrejkovič
Ing. Ivan Ondrejkovič (1935 – 1998) rests in a modestly decorated family tomb situated in the depth of section C, on the left side and among similarly modest graves (C-610). It is not easy to find it there. Ivan Ondrejkovič was an agricultural engineer who devoted his life to photography; first it was his hobby, but later he became an excellent professional photographer. A large number of his postcards, impossible to count, and a lot of photographs that appeared in various publications promoting the Slovak spas (for example, in books Trenčianske Teplice, 1989, or ‘Piešťany v premenách vekov‘ /Piešťany in changing of the ages/, 1992) are currently, after a considerable lapse of time, nice documentation of an historical appearance of the spa towns.
In the family tomb near the cross centre line of the cemetery (E-2) there is buried Academic painter Aurel Kajlich (1901 – 1973). He was a native from Turá Lúka and a student of Professor Max Švabinský, at Academy of fine arts in Prague (1923 – 1927). Aurel Kalich belonged to the group of significant Slovak painters and his work has the permanent place at galleries, and his name in encyclopaedias. As a painter, a graphic artist and an illustrator he made a lot of brilliant drawings and large paintings. He also designed banknotes and post stamps. Mostly his pieces of graphic art bring a lot of attention at memorial exhibitions. M. Váross (1971), a scholar of fine art, is one of the experts who specialised in assessment of Aurel Kajlich’s work. As there is not a gallery in the town that would collect and present his work, a lot of his masterpieces spread throughout a large area of the country and partly to private collections abroad.
Ladislav Ľ. Pollák
Academic sculptor Ladislav Ľ. Pollák (1912 – 2002) found his last resting place in grave E-106. He came from Koplotovce, graduated at Kafka‘s Special College of monumental sculpture at Prague Academy of fine arts (1939) and finally resided in Piešťany. Together with his generation friends A. Kajlich and V. Vavro, they belonged to the main members of the fine art community in the town. His most important work is the Memorial of Ludwig van Beethoven (1939, a listed cultural sight), the Memorial of Adam Trajan from Benešov (1948) - a poet who commemorated the town in his poem Saluberrimae Pistinienses Thermae and the fountain situated in front of the culture house Fontána (1956). These three masterpieces are situated relatively close to each other in the town park, but there are a lot of other sculptor‘s creations placed as ornaments at public places in the town, or spread throughout Slovakia. Ladislav Ľ. Pollák was also an important restorer, for example he was in charge of ‘Parížovský manor - house’ transfer to the open-air museum in Pribylina.
Ing. Ján Šípoš
(Publicist, promoter of Piešťany history)
Ing. Ján Šípoš (1924 – 1992), buried in grave F-51, was one of the most enthusiastic promoters of Piešťany history. Although he was not a native from Piešťany and did not graduate as a historian, he became a full member of the editorial committee of ‘Kúpeľný časopis Piešťany‘ /Magazine of the Spa Piešťany/ at the beginning of the 1960s. He intensively studied archival material and did frequent publishing. His last book: ‘Piešťany v premenách vekov ‘/Piešťany in changing of the ages/ was published in the year of his death. Although his priority was Piešťany /he lived and worked here as a graduated economist in several important positions in the Spa/, in his balneohistorical activities he also focused on other Slovak spas. For example, he published comprehensive memoirs called Trenčianske Teplice (1989) about his birthplace.
MUDr. František Ernest Scherer
When the Teplický cemetery was closed (1976) the exhumed body, epitaph and some parts of the original gravestone of Doctor František Ernest Scherer (1805 – 1879) were moved to the New cemetery (F-91). Doctor Scherer, the founder of the Military Spa Institute, was an authority in spa treatment procedures. In German, he wrote memoirs Die heissen Quellen und Bäder Pöstény (Piestjan) in Ungarn (1837). This educated doctor and philanthropist was a native from southern Czech. He did a lot of promotion of progressive spa treatment procedures and devoted full 50 years of his life to Piešťany, where he also died. Even in his life he was recognised as ‘a founder and pioneer of modern balneotherapy‘ and obtained important awards in this field. His work crossed the boarders of the town and a lot of his treatment procedures are currently still in their use. The last edition of the above mentioned book was issued, both in German and Slovak, in 2000. Although it was published 163 years after its first edition it still has found its readers.
The Winter family
(Members of the Winter family)
In the neighbourhood of F. E. Scherer’s grave (11) is a newly reconstructed grave of the Winter family (F-92). The family was originally buried in the former Teplický cemetery. The female statue with a face of Ľ. Winter’s wife Leona was made by the sculptor Alojz Rigel (1897 – 1940). Imrich Winter (1878 – 1943) was an educated intellectual with a great merit in the establishment of the Piešťany museum. His older brother Ľudovít (1870 – 1968) devoted his life to the innovation and promotion of the Piešťany spa, which the Winter family rented until nationalisation (1940). Apart from his work on the development of spa buildings and their facilities, for example the complex Thermia Palace – Irma (1910 –1912), he also initiated and participated as an investor in development of the modern Ružový mlyn /Pink Mill/ (1917 – 1918), which was the first large, great capacity, industrial building in the town. The memorial tablets placed on the face of ‘Kúpeľná dvorana‘ /the Spa courtyard/ in the park and on the house called ‘Zelený strom‘, situated on the street called after the brothers ‘Winter‘, are commemoration of their work.
Memorial to WW I victims
(World War I victims)
The closure of cemeteries is always followed by losses of witnesses or historical documentation. They disappear without a trace, although there usually is a great effort to preserve them. When the large number of First World War victims (1914 – 1918), buried in the individual graves in the Teplický cemetery, was moved to the new cemetery, their original gravestones were damaged, losing their carved names. Now they are gathered together around the new and noble granite monument in the privileged sector F where they rest in complete anonymity.
(Aristocrat, hotelier and art collector)
Some visitors of the new cemetery might be attracted by the Orthodox cross carved into the modest gravestone on grave G-211, situated in the depth of the burial site. Marek Lubošinský (1891 – 1980), whose name was chiselled into the gravestone next to the cross, was an educated and cosmopolitan aristocrat, by birth and behaviour, with an emigrant destiny. He found his home in Piešťany and at the end of his life he donated his ancient oriental collection to the Balneological Museum. The collection includes biography of the donator and it is placed in the independent section of the museum.
Prof. MUDr. Štefan Siťaj, DrSc.
(Doctor - rheumatologist, publicist)
The urn of Prof. Dr. Štefan Siťaj, DrSc. (1911 – 1990) is situated in the urn field‘s columbarium, behind the marble with his name. He founded the National Research Institute of Rheumatologic Diseases in Piešťany (1952) and worked as a director of the Institute for many years. Prof. Dr. Štefan Siťaj, DrSc. was a corresponding member of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, head of the rheumatologic sub-department at the Educational Institute for Doctors and Pharmacists, an expert at the World Health Organization - the department of Movement Organs Diseases, an honorary member of 15 foreign rheumatologic institutes and a person who received many tributes during his life and had a great merit in successful promotion of the Institute abroad. As he published a lot of serious scientific works and spoke several foreign languages including Latin, he enjoyed a good reputation and was frequently invited to chair significant international scientific congresses or give his presentations abroad.
In the Jewish section of the cemetery is a grave of Ferdinand Goldstein. It was listed as a Slovak cultural sight on 17 September 1963, under registration number 973/0. F. Goldstein (1918 – 1944) studied German, English and Gymnastics at the Philosophic Faculty of Carl’s university in Prague (1936 – 1939). However, the separation of Czechoslovakia and the forced establishment of the Protectorate in the Czech counties prevented him from graduation. Then he participated in the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) as a member of the partisan group called ‘Nováky – Jegorov‘ and died on 18 November 1944 together with his 13 partisan colleagues in the Gaderská valley. After the war his remains were exhumed from the common grave and respectfully buried in the current place. Carl’s University awarded him the doctorate in memoriam.
(17 gravestones from the closed cemetery in the village Banka)
Near the southern and partly eastern fencing, in the shade of large vegetation, there are 17 gravestones (10 undamaged) with detailed inscriptions. They were made a long time before the cemetery was established and come from the closed cemetery in the neighbourhood village Banka. Their age is a proof that the large Jewish community had lived in the village in the 19th, or even before the 19th century. (The only tombstone left in the former cemetery still stands in its original place and it is enlaced with a large lime tree trunk that actually saved it from the removal.)
THE CEMETERY ON ŽILINSKÁ ROAD
THE CEMETERY ON ŽILINSKÁ ROAD, also called ‘Upper‘ or ‘Old‘, was built in the second half of the 19th century. Its main symbol is the peristyle stone monument with a cross and the corpse at the top and the statue of Madonna situated near the scape. The monument stands on the right side of the alley, in about a half way from the entrance to the cemetery chapel. The year 1864 chiselled on the monument is the year of the cemetery’s foundation, however, its fencing from the street was built later in 1893. The marble tables imbedded into the columns at the main entrance gate also confirm this date. The oldest gravestones, either stone or metal ones, reflect the taste of the old inhabitants, mainly farmers, who utilised the cemetery at that time and had only limited financial resources. Until the first half of the 20th century they mostly used sandstone and cast iron (for crosses) as their building material. Probably the most important and the most specific forms that you can see on several graves in the cemetery are the so called ‘matrimonial’ gravestones’ made in the horseshoe shape. They were mostly popular in the 19th century, but sometimes they were also made at the beginning of the 20th century by inhabitants who lived on a narrow strip of the area between Trnava and Piešťany, with the centre in Dobrá Voda and its close surroundings.
The chapel of St. Joseph used to serve as a funeral parlour, or a storehouse, until there was built a new funeral house. The current shape of the chapel is the result of its reconstruction in 2001. This cemetery has a look of the burial site for the local farmers, but there have also been buried members of several indigenous families and merited inhabitants. The area of 23,416m² contains about 2,500 listed graves and it is divided into 6 sections (A - F).
(Catholic dean-priest, mayor)
On the right side of the alley, a few steps from the cemetery‘s main entrance (B-77) is buried the former Piešťany catholic dean-priest and also the mayor of the town (from 1931 to 1938) Alexander Šindelár (1888 – 1947). He was murdered in his vicarage at the end of Hallowmas (on 2 November), so the local inhabitants might remember his name every year. The memorial tablet placed on the facade of the vicarage commemorates this tragic incident, too. In the neighbourhood of his grave, pointed by the large sandstone monument with a look of the stylised and richly decorated cross are several older and more modest priest graves that are also worthy visiting.
In the decently designed family tomb (D-65) is buried the significant Slovak sculptor, the native from Piešťany, Valér Vavro (1911 – 1992). He was a monumental sculptor, portraitist and restorer who made hundreds of statues, sculptural groups, busts, or relief plastics. He was awarded the Prize of the town Piešťany (1978), the prestigious prize of M. Benka (1981), the memorial plaque of the Slovak Conservation Institute (1991) and many other prizes. He spent most of his life in Piešťany where he made, for example, the sculpture called ‘Harvest’, it is situated in front of the Balneological Museum - the Spa Courtyard (1937), the monument ‘Memorial of the Great War Victims‘ situated opposite the church of St. Stephen (1937), the monument ‘Memorial of Liberation‘ in the SNP Square (1950), or the statue called ‘Greetings from the front‘ situated opposite the Colonnade in the Winter Street (1965). Apart from portraits of the world cultural celebrities (L. van Beethoven, Rembrandt van Rijn) he also made the portrait gallery of the Slovak celebrities (D. Jurkovič, J. Króner, Š. Moyses, J. Nemčík, Z. Nováček, J. Palkovič, A. Sirácky), or portraits of the celebrities who had close relations with Piešťany (for example, K. Duffek, K. Havlíková, A. Kajlich, F. E. Scherer, I. Stodola, G. Vámoš), and many portraits of common people. Most of his sculptures are property of the museums and galleries including the Slovak National Gallery, or they decorate buildings, squares, parks and cemeteries.
The Fodor Family
(Family of the spa doctor Koloman Fodor)
Near the entrance alley, almost opposite the main cross is a large, slowly crumbling, concrete neo-classic family tomb (D-131) of the spa Doctor Koloman Fodor (1849 – 1929) - ‘the ex-director of spa doctors‘, a member of the Hungarian Parliament and the King’s Counsel who was awarded several crosses and honours. The predicate ‘Mankeobüki‘ on the tomb’s front says about his adherence to the former Hungarian monarchy. Since 1884 he presented his expert knowledge in the publications: ‘Pöstyéni iszapfürdő‘ (The Piešťany mud spa) and ‘Pöstyéni iszapfürdő különös tekintettel a „Massage“ gyógymódra‘ (The Piešťany mad spa with a special focus on ‘Massage‘ treatment, 1888). Their German translations: ‘Schlammbad Pistyan (Pöstyén) in Ungarn mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der „Massage“-Heilmetode‘ were published in several editions in Vienna and Leipzig at the beginning of the 20th century. The memorial tablet placed on house number 23 on the Winter Street is a commemoration of his activities in Piešťany.
(Documentarist and promoter of Piešťany)
In the grave (A-293) is buried an original and enthusiastic discoverer, documentarist and promoter of Piešťany Eduard Klubica (1912 – 1978). His last resting place is as modest as the metal cross on it which carries a small plaque stating his hardly legible name. The grave cringes near the northern service-way on the very corner of the cemetery. Eduard Klubica was publicly known as Sekera and someone artlessly chiselled his nickname into the grave‘s plaque. He found his useful self-realisation in the redaction activities for the magazine ‘Saluberrimae Pistinienses Thermae‘ (1948). Apart from his standard editor‘s work he also contributed this magazine with his articles and photographs. The most popular series published in the magazine was called ‘From history of the Piešťany Spa‘.
The gravestones from the 19th century, which could have been made either by local artisans, or in a professional stonemasonry are a reflection of the period-style of that time. Some of them have had their epitaphs eroded by the rain, or other natural elements, some of them have partly cracked or have polychromic marks, used in the 19th century. They were made in various shapes, usually with cross points, or sometimes as simple stelae, double gravestones or various prism and pyramid formations with classicistic surfaces, or surfaces with historical textures. Except for the stone monuments, the frequent legacy of the 19th century was also ornamental cast-iron crosses.
The gravestones in cross shapes were typical designs of catholic graves in the 19th century. Although the period-style at that time includes a large scale of funeral images, for example, angels or weeping figures and also many small forms (made of stone or metal) such as pinnacle, column, obelisk, aedicule, etc., the metal artefacts in Piešťany were mostly ornamental cast-iron crosses with corpora and plaques with epitaphs mounted into the stone or concrete socles. The cast-iron crosses and plaques‘ frames were frequently decorated by rich and original plant ornaments.
THE JEWISH CEMETERY ON JÁNOŠÍKOVÁ STREET
THE JEWISH CEMETERY ON JÁNOŠÍKOVÁ STREET is the older one from the two Jewish burial sites in Piešťany. There are 637, mostly well-maintained sandstone, marble, granite and a few terrazzo tombstones of various sizes, shapes and ages, situated in the remained rectangular fenced site; the oldest identified gravestones come from the half of the 19th century. The ceremonial object (ciduk hadin) was removed from the original site at the end of the 20th century, and now after its restoration it is used for secular purposes. The undamaged funeral cart (merkavat-ha-metim), temporarily stored in the cemetery‘s shed, belonged to the inventory of the Funeral Brotherhood (Chevra kadiša). There are no available or reliable data about the beginnings of this burial site (bet olam), but supposedly it could have used in the 18th century as there lived 13 Jewish families in Piešťany in 1736 and their number quadrupled towards the end of the century. However, this assumption needs to be confirmed by the examination of the most weathered sandstone stelae. Although the cemetery has not been formally listed as a cultural sight it has all the required characteristics for it and it is the one of the most valued sights in Piešťany.
The religious Jewish community believed gravestone was an offering, the substitution for disintegration of a human body, the messenger of purification and the deceased person’s resurrection. Its durability was the symbol of eternity. The stelae topped with an arch should remind us of the Ten Commandments. Each Hebrew letter is considered to be holy and the letters chiselled into the stone symbolised hope in their indestructibility. As the Old Testament forbid the display of images ’Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth’ (Ex 20,4), the nation showed their creativity in ornaments and decorative writings. Every ornamental motive became the symbol shortly describing the deceased person. The Gesture of blessing hands, which also has the patterns of the Hebrew letter ín (the symbol of ‘Almighty God‘) means that the deceased was ‘kohen‘ - a descendant of the grand holy man Aaron who had the right to speak out the blessing sentence: 'Yahweh bless you, and keep you. Yahweh make his face to shine on you, And be gracious to you...“ (Nu 6,23 – 26).
Although the freedom of creative expression was restricted by the strict rules in the past, the decoration of the gravestones is surprisingly full of interesting art ideas and has the power to speak about the history. If, for example, the open book expresses there were buried the bones of the sage (the Torah expert) in the grave, then the jug, bowl or other washing tools say the deceased person was ‘levita‘. The crown or the star symbolise a man, and the broken tree, the broken candle and the bent pen are the symbols of death. Some decorative paragraphs (often reckoned as the period-style of that time) are actually a reflection of the chosen nation’s mystical past. The columns chiselled at the stela sides are copies of the original bronze columns in the vestibule of the Jerusalem temple, called Jakin and Boaz (1 Kr 7,15 – 22).
If an orthodox Jew somehow decided to portray a live creature, for example deer or lion, which were frequent surnames of the Jews in the Diaspora, he must have found a justification for it in the holy books. So if the prophet Ezekiel spoke about the four creatures „...they four had the face of a lion“ (Ez 1,10), the guards of the Testament allowed to portray a lion providing the certain rules were kept. A lion then became the favourite symbol of the royal power and it was used on the Torah veils, curtains in sanctuaries or on other cult objects, sometimes for various purposes, on gravestones. The lions on the gravestone of the Torah experts are honorary guards protecting the open Book of books. Occasionally, deer, bears, birds, fish or other animals were used, too.
The epitaph on the tombstone above the grave of the Piešťany orthodox Rabin Koloman Weber (died in 1931) is a commemoration of the one of the most important personalities in the Jewish church and politics of Czechoslovakia, between the two World Wars. As the main Rabin and chairman of the Central autonomous orthodox Jewish community of Slovakia and Ruthenia he supported fundamentalism which, however, was not accepted by all believers. Some of the members of the Piešťany Jewish community demonstrated their discontent with his activities, and in 1926, they established the independent neological community with their own Rabin and synagogue (1928), and at the beginning of the 1930s, with their own burial site, reserved for the community building the new municipal cemetery on Bratislavská road. Nevertheless, K. Weber was listed in the Golden Book of Slovakia 1918 –1928 (2nd edition 1930) and his name is often mentioned in the publications dedicated to history of Jews in Slovakia.
THE KOCURICE CEMETERY
Kocurice was established in the pre-historical times (1113) as a separate village Koswran, as well as Piešťany. After hundreds years of its independence it merged with Piešťany into the one administrative town and became its suburb. Despite its long history the oldest surviving artefacts of the village, mostly gravestones, come only from the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays they are jewels among the prefabricates that have been built in the Kocurice cemetery since the half of the 20th century. The most valued gravestones are those displaying feelings portrayed in artwork from the older generation. As in each of the Piešťany burial sites you can also see in the Kocurice cemetery the mature stonemasonry works of Václav Rympler (see paragraph 4). The central ‘main’ stone cross, made in his masonry in 1927, belongs to the masterpieces of the cemetery. There is also a monument to local victims of the two World Wars situated among the other tombstones.
Text: Ing. arch. Ľubomír Mrňa
Photo: Jozef Radošinský