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The Jews of Šaštín

THE TOWN of Šaštín in Záhorie, in western Slovakia, emerged thanks to the castle which stood there in the Middle Ages. The marshy location where the fortification used to stand gave the small town its name: “sás” means reed growth or rushes in Hungarian. Today, no trace of the castle remains.

THE TOWN of Šaštín in Záhorie, in western Slovakia, emerged thanks to the castle which stood there in the Middle Ages. The marshy location where the fortification used to stand gave the small town its name: “sás” means reed growth or rushes in Hungarian. Today, no trace of the castle remains.

However, Šaštín is famous as a pilgrimage destination and has a beautiful basilica. A lesser known monument in this Záhorie town is its synagogue. Local Jews built it in 1852 and until the 1960s it was preserved in good condition. However, the building is now very dilapidated and its future is uncertain. The Jewish community in Šaštín was first mentioned in 1400 AD. Jews in Šaštín made their living as in other small towns – by trading. In Záhorie they traded mainly in grain and geese.

Among the worst moments for the local Jews was the year 1739, when a pogrom took place. The pretence was fabricated and absurd: a Jewish tobacco merchant was falsely accused of stealing the monstrance from a Catholic church.

In this postcard from the beginning of the 1920s we can see the synagogue on the right side of the street.


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