Monday, January 24, 2011

Thinking out loud

Does anyone else think the Chasam Sofer mausoleum is creepy?


  1. It's creepier from outside...

  2. Wow, that's weird. Where did you get the picture -- have you been there?

  3. they had to build it because of the road that was on top.

  4. Yes, it's creepy, but as a kohen, I'm glad to be able to get a view at all. And I'm pleased that the powers that be saw fit to preserve it.

  5. Just to throw this out there: in Bratislava tourist sites I saw it pointed out that care was made that this mausoleum be "halachic." And I was thinking, first of all I have a hunch that the Chasam Sofer would *not* support his grave and the handful of those buried around him for conservation, while all others are destroyed. Secondly, the Chasam Sofer was all about much more than "halachic" if it wasn't also traditional.

    That said, when you wind up under the ground that's really the end of your control over your remains.

    Mar G, pictures of the mausoleum are all over the web. I have never been to Bratislava.

  6. Having visited the Chasam Sofer's kever I can attest to the fact that whoever set up the "mausoleum" made every effort to set it up so that kohanim can approach it underground. The cement pathway leading to it is a tefach off the ground and there is an underground "viewing area" with benches that is separated from the graves by a glass window. Just before the door from that area to the graves there is a small open skylight to separate the area so it is not connected as an ohel.

    I found the actual application of hilkhot tumah to be fascinating - and that sense is what has remained with me (not the spookiness).

    The area of the cemetery is right next to a river which regularly overflowed its banks. So the other graves were moved not only to accommodate a new highway (OK, really a wide street) but also to preserve them. Someone must have paid the right people to allow the Chasam Sofer to stay where he was.

  7. The old Jewish cemetery of Pressburg was destroyed in 1942 by the Slovak Nazi government to make way for a new tunnel in the Castle Hill. The graves were relocated to the new cemetery not far from there. The rabbinical graves were preserved in a concrete underground chamber (partially due to superstition).

    In the 1970's a tram road was build right over it. The graves were heavily damaged by both the underground water as well as the traffic over it.

    In 1990's the Jewish community of Bratislava together with foreign activists started the project of reconstruction (with the help of the Slovak government). In 2002 the new mausoleum was opened for public. The tram line was relocated to the nearby street and the tram stop was named "Chatam Sofer".

  8. You should have seen the oldgravesite. I have pictures somewhere of my visit from when I was a little kid...



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