Although there is little information about Jewish people in the Filakovo area before the 1800s, it is assumed there were Jewish traders in the area as far back as the Middle Ages from the fall of the Roman Empire until the height of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries.
In 1820 a Chevra Kadisha - which translates literally to “holy society” - was founded in Filakovo. This is an organization of Jewish men and women who ensure the bodies of deceased Jews are prepared for burial in accordance with Jewish tradition.In the same year, the Jewish community was permitted to build a cemetery on the Savol Road on the outskirts of the town.
The earliest records found forthe Jewish communityof Filakovo dateback to 1867. Prior to that Jewish residents were documented in the records of Lucenec, a town about 20kms away.
Records show that in 1861 there were 75 Jews living in Filakovo increasing to 165 in 1887 and 175 in 1900. Typical family names from that era included Lazar, Kohn, Buchler, Lemberger, Kaufmann, Fischer, Mintzand and Boger.
In 1873 construction began on a small synagogue in Filakovo located on Sladkovicova Street. Designed by Adolf Aron Buchler, it is no longer in existence, but you can find a monument erected on the site where it once stood.
Following the rise of Nazism, by 1938 Jews were no longer permitted to settle in Filakovo. By 1944 the Jewish population who had not already left the town were moved to the Jewish ghetto in Lucenec from where they were deported to concentration camps. Only a few survived.
The Filakovo Jewish cemetery is not used nowadays but was renovated a few years ago and is now regularly maintained with broken headstones slowly being resurrected.
The gravestones can be easily dated by observing the style and material used. The inscriptions are in Hebrew and the visual characteristics of the graves is typical of Jewish cemeteries of north-eastern Hungary.
The first visible gravestones were most likely constructed in the first half of the 19th century - they are simpler than later gravestones and feature a semicircular top. Another group consist of classically carved gravestones with a semicircular top, presumably from the end of the 19th century. The third largest group of graves are from the 20th century and are recognisable by their obelisk-shaped gravestones with traditional symbols and more detailed inscriptions about the deceased.
Both the restoration and upkeep of the cemetery and the erection of the synagogue monument have been made possible by the Lowy family in Sydney, Australia.