Kaesztenbaum Iskola Book English Translation


To Israel Singer, teacher of religion

From the library of my dear Father

Satoraljaujhely, 8 January 1970

(Signature and seal unreadable)

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of the primary school of the

Satoraljaujhely Statusquo Jewish Congregation.

On behalf of the school committee

Memento of the millennium

written by

Alexander Knopfler

Published by the Congregation School Committee


Printed in Miksa Landesmann and Co.  printing house


Translated by Agi and Stephen Casey

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The History of the Satoraljaujhely Statusquo Jewish Congregation’s Primary School

The public opinion of our country is at present preoccupied with the celebration of the Millennium, the 1000th year of the Hungarian State.  Not only the central government, but all municipal authorities, corporations and individuals are in competition to celebrate these 1000 years with worthy remembrances of the past and to establish monuments of today’s culture, which will remain with us for a long time.

The School Committee of the status quo ante* Satoraljaujhely Jewish Congregation, wishes to participate in the celebration of the Millennium.  It decided that as one of the country’s oldest Jewish schools, it will publish the history of the institution.  As I was born in this town, went to school in this institution and I have been a teacher here for the last 25 years and lived through this period, I was therefore entrusted to write the history of the school.

As I start my assignment, I recall my happy childhood, my schoolmates, the days when we went to school with the anticipation of learning the necessary skills for our adult life.  I remember our teachers, whose every word gave us good advice, –in other words I remember the past of our school.

While I think about the past, my memories are always happy.  I remember all the teachers I know, they served our school with all their strength, I remember

* ”Status quo ante Jewish Congregation” was (and is even now) one of the non-orthodox type (not strictly religious) group of Congregations in Hungary

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them as they received their first training in this Institution, many of them still among us.

As I think of the glorious past of our school, I sincerely hope, that God’s blessing will remain with us and bless our religious and patriotic education.

*____________________________________________________________________________ *            *

The 58 year history of our Statusquo Jewish Congregation School has five periods:

  1. The Kaesztenbaum School (1838-1852).
  2. The combined Kaesztenbaum Junior High School and Girls School (1852-1856).
  3. The combined Jewish High School (1856-1860).
  4. The Royal Jewish Model High School (1860-1872).
  5. The Jewish Congregation Primary School, established after the dissolution of the High School.

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Fifty-sixty years ago the Jewish general education was in a miserable state.  A practitioner of general public education would have been disgusted with our town “cheder” system.  A Jewish child did not learn anything except religious subjects in the cheder.  The poor Jewish children didn’t even know what the Hungarian language was or what Hungarian words meant, apart from the children of a few well educated families – who had private tutors or went to the high school (called gymnasium).  It would have been in vain to ask: what is the name of the country where they live.  They would not know, could not give an answer as for them Hungary was just as “terra incognita”, as unknown territory, as China.  They were taught only Hebrew, and nothing about their homeland where they actually lived and where they came from.

At last, Heaven sent them a gift.

The late Marton Kaesztenbaum, who wanted to leave his total wealth (Forint, in future: Ft. 262.000, in that time an immense sum), for charitable purposes, wanted to rescue the poor Jewish children from total ignorance.  His will, dated 26 August 1825 stipulated in paragraph 6 that in Satoraljaujhely there should be established a Jewish primary school with a donation of Ft. 100.000.

In our country, in some Jewish congregations, the friends of public education had already spent money for that purpose.  But nobody offered sums on the scale of the Kaesztenbaum will.  And what is more remarkable, that it was offered by a person who himself never received similar education!

Kaesztenbaum gave considerable sums for other charitable purposes, like, as an example, for his poor relatives Ft. 100.000, an endowment of Ft. 20.000 for the Zemplen County Public Hospital for the treatment in the Mental Hospital section.

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But we have to know some details of this noble and charitable man’s will which begins with the words:

In the name of our Almighty God.

  1. “Because by the direction of common sense and my own experience I feel and know, that my Jehovah does not make any differentiation on religious ground, has delight in my charitable deeds to Christians as much as to my own religion, therefore I wish that a part of the benefit of my wealth and properties should go to our noble County, which accepted me in their friendly community more than 40 years ago, to show my appreciation and to promote the common good, helping the innocents without any discrimination on religious ground, but with this deed
  2. According to my belief, strengthened by experience in my later years, and to further this cause in the future, I want my accumulated wealth used for noble purposes, so I appoint Justice Mr. Ferenc Richter, in whose character I have complete confidence, to be the executor and trustee of my wealth and distribute the income of this fortune for the purposes I determined in Section 10. of my will, furthermore
  3. Because nobody can do this duty for the common good for nothing, therefore my executor and trustee and anybody who will follow in this noble duty and act according the Section 10 of my will, should be paid for their effort and necessary expenses a sum of Ft. 32.000.  From this amount Ft. 30.000 should be the capital for this purpose, which should be kept perpetually and only the interest should be used and the Trustee will be paid Ft. 800 for this purpose.
  4. After these preliminaries the noble County, to promote the good of mankind and the establishment of a Mental Hospital (although I would not know, if it will prove good or it should be one for the Jews only) I direct Ft. 20.000 to be used as a capital amount, which should not be spent, but half of the interest

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should be added by the Trustee to the original capital, (so the capital will grow to considerable sum and the County’s effort will have more result), the other half should be paid every year to the Treasury of the Noble County for the upkeep of premises

.  .  .  .  .  .

  1. In regard that the thieves and robbers and other people who endanger the public security, whose number is growing, the reason is the lack of education and culture.  The education of the Jewish people in this Noble County is also very deficient, therefore, seeing the reasons very clearly, I decided that I will try to help to solve this problem and will educate my fellow Jewish religionists to be useful citizens of this society.  As much as it is in my power, I will provide a capital of Ft. 100.000 in a way that the capital should be preserved.  From the interest the Trustee in this Zemplen county town, Satoraljaujhely, in the premises of the Jewish temple or, if there is any objection, then in an other location, should establish a school and the Trustee with the Rabbi of Ujhely and his two honest Jewish nominees, should organize that the orphaned children of my religion should be taught free, nothing more to be added and
    1. The inspector of the school should be the Rabbi of Ujhely or a Jewish person nominated by the Rabbi, who will look after the orphans, his duty will be, with the Trustee, to decide about the number of students, to report to the Trustee the amount spent on students and that report to forward to the Noble County.
    2. The Inspector of the school, who must be a Jewish person, should be paid a yearly sum of Ft. 400 to look after the children and to educate them in the knowledge of their religion and receive instructions from their teachers.
    3. The number of other teachers and salaries will be decided by the School Committee along with the school’s Inspector.  Here the only thing I would proscribe is that the total salary of the school teachers and employees should not be more than half of the income of the capital, the Trustee, the Rabbi and School Inspector should provide as much as possible for the caring and education of orphans.

10.  As nothing of the previous 9 sections secures permanency, wishing that the common good will prevail, I ask the Noble County to look after the results of my will.  I beg you that make sure that my last wishes should be fulfilled as I wrote in previous

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chapters, so apart from the regular inventory of my wealth and the Trustee’s countersignature, the Noble County should appoint a Judge with his assistant, at my cost, who will send the documents to the archives of the Noble County and they will assure with the Full Bench of the Court the complete revision of the said figures.

In case of the Trustee’s disloyalty, he should be properly and lawfully investigated and asked to return the illegally appropriated funds and remove from his duties.  The Noble County should appoint a decent, good character person among the Judiciary and in the spirit of my last will, as the place of the Fiscal Inspector the Noble County (and not the Trustee) should appoint a new Fiscal Inspector.


The main chapters of Kaesztenbaum’s splendid testament will clearly show his understanding, noble intentions and his love for his religion and the common good.  But we will appreciate the true extent of his noble intention, if we learn how simple person was the founder of this bequest.

Marton Kaesztenbaum (Hebrew name: Rafael) was born in Galicia, in the Sandec district, son of poor parents.  At an early age he came to our country, to County Zemplen, where for a time worked as peasant servant.  With his loyal and diligent work and economical way of life he soon reached a stage to think about founding a family and married the young daughter of the Rabbi of Göncz, a girl who wasn’t very lovable.  Because the marriage remained childless, after a number of years they divorced and his second wife was the nice and kind daughter of the Rabbi of Homonna.  But this marriage was also childless.

His clothes, his household was extremely simple, he denied himself everything dispensable, so his immense fortune, which, in his opinion was “the simple little acquisition of hard work and savings”, could be used for noble purposes.  As simple as his life was, it ended in the same way.  He wanted to be buried

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at his Pelejte estate.  His noble soul was called to his Maker on the 28th November 1829.  Neither a Rabbi followed his coffin, nor the distinguished persons of the local Jewish congregation, only those bad, money-grabbing people, who surrounded him in his last hours, wishing to make a fortune to themselves.  So was buried the “poor rich man”, who lived such a modest and honest life and who left an example how to behave, for the world.

Very few of his co-religionists understood the noble intention of his will and only the County administration gave it appreciation.  As an eyewitness related later, when Deputy Head of County administration, baron Miklos Vay, made a speech to a meeting about the will, he nearly shed tears when he said: “We should be ashamed when we read the content of this magnificent will and we should reproach ourselves how we misunderstood this noble person!”

As I said before, the remains of this great benefactor lay in Pelejte.  The Kaesztenbaum foundation erected a tombstone only in 1856 at his grave, later they put an iron screen around this grave.  In the same year a marble commemorative tablet was erected on the front entry wall of the school, with the following words:

From the endowment of

Marton Kaesztenbaum

a Jewish school


10.  October 1838

At the same time, over that commemorative tablet, Sandor Roth, then Kaesztenbaum school’s inspector wrote the following Hebrew language epigram:

(This is the school built by Raphael

His blessing followed his endowment

This is his house of Israel, his memento

The boys: his sons, the girls: his daughters)

The Satoraljaujhely Jewish school owes its existence to this noble man.  But the establishment of the school had great difficulties, the wishes of elders of the congregation did not eventuate

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the idea did not take place.  The enemies of progress wanted, with all their strength, to use the Kaesztenbaum endowment to establish a school, – as the notes of the meeting of the County general assembly on the 24th February 1837 show word by word – “ . . .  nearly as completely as possible for the studying and teaching of the Talmud, to train the students to become Jewish teachers or, if possible, Rabbis.  The school should become an Academy of Talmudists and not a primary school . . .  ”

The fight these brave men pursued against people propagating fanatical views and ignorance is commendable.  On the behalf of the planned Kaesztenbaum school, on the 2nd of September 1838, under the chairmanship of Mozes Schön (died 1860) the “Jewish Judge” (president of congregation) and the delegates, namely: Abraham Engländer, Mor Thomann, Abraham Klein, Hersch Schön, Jozsef Lorbeer, Jakab Zinner, Bencze Weinberger, Hersch Reichard, Lipot Burger, Elias Holländer, Izrael Berger, Pinkasz Hertstein, Samuel M. Zinner, Izrael Schweiger, Jakab Schwarcz and Ignacz Weisz unanimously decided, that they will ask for the opening of the school.  In that school, according to the Section 6 of the will of the late Kaesztenbaum, the students, in addition to the study of the Talmud and other Hebrew subjects, will learn the language of the fatherland and other, up to date modern academic subjects.  Also they decided, that they will financially help and assist the school and any Kaesztenbaum descendants and any orphans who attend, to prosper and compare well with the High Schools of other towns (“dass die Schule in solchen Flor komme, dass wir mit den Realschulen andere grossen Städte wettelfern arden können”).* At the same meeting the Rabbi said that the control of the school, which according to the will, he is personally entrusted, should be exercised by the whole Congregation.

The County General Assembly dealt, on the 4th September, with the appeal of the tireless Mozes Schön, the president of the Congregation, for the speedy opening of the school and decided that in accordance with the Kaesztenbaum will, the school should open in a building owned by Prince Ferdinand Breczenheim, next to the synagogue.  The building was originally built for a school.  It was to open at the latest on the 1st November.

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* In German in the original.

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In the building, which was selected for the purpose of school, the work was in progress in a very earnest way.  The remodeling of the building for a school, the furniture and fittings cost Ft. 1668.32, the Kaesztenbaum foundation for this purpose paid Ft. 1853, so more than Ft. 185 was left over.  In that amount was also included the four Gold Sovereign, (Ft. 45), which they paid for the “School rules”, ordered from the Pest, Buda and Arad schools.

The work progressed so well that the blessed activity of the school could have started on the 16th of October.  At the opening festivity of the school, apart of the distinguished members of the Jewish Community, came a delegation of the County and friends from other religions.  On this occasion, the highly educated Gabor Matolay, the Chief Superintendent of the school, expounded in glowing terms the aims of the Kaesztenbaum school.

The Kaesztenbaum school obtained such teachers, whose activities brought extraordinary success.  The school had three teachers.

  1. M. Pollak (died 1862) teacher of Hebrew, who taught also the Talmud; he succeeded with his know-how and tireless zeal.
  2. Mor Reiner (died 1855) taught Hungarian subjects, About his expertise and patriotic activities, the County Superintendent of the Guardianship of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation was highly satisfied.  He was also a successful portrait painter.
  3. Hirsch Schönmann came to our country from Germany, where he was, at the age of 24, a Rabbi.  In our school he was an excellent teacher of German and Hebrew and, with Reiner, worked till 1852.  From here he went to Hanusfalva , later to Pucho, as last post he went to the Jewish Primary School of Kassa, where he died peacefully.  In Kassa he edited the “Leitstern” (Guiding Star) religious weekly; as well he was a contributor to the Mainz “Israelite”, wrote several articles about religion and pedagogical matters, thus proving his vast knowledge and high education standard.

The first Superintendent of the Kaesztenbaum school was Mor Thomann (born 1792, died 1876).  This excellent man displayed such high merits that people remember and consider him as a model who promoted the aims of the Congregation and the school.  As the promoter of the common cause and as a

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person scientifically trained, religious Jew, he commanded the respect of everybody.  The knowledge and the expertise of the Talmud and modern, enlightened worldly subjects was accompanied with honor and a noble spirit.  As the Superintendent of the school, he had excellent results.  He treated all pupils as his own, not only the Kaesztenbaum children, and mentioned often, while he went happily around the school that “they are my darling children”.  Even when he was 84 years old and it was a real effort to him to shuffle up on the steps of the school, he still visited his “darling children” and encouraged them to be diligent, steadfast and good mannered children.  His example will always stand for everybody, who wants to be, in the noblest sense, a person striving to the highest common good.

The first Superintendent of the Kaesztenbaum School looked after not only the Kaesztenbaum descendants, but looked after the school finances, its income and expenses.

In the first year the following seven Kaesztenbaum descendants were admitted: Nathan Klein (Kis-Azar), Mozes Eframovics (Pelejte), Herman Rosenfeld (Butka), Naftali Reich (Kis-Azar), Emanuel Szabolovics (Roda-Banyacska), Izsak (later Kaesztenbaum) Jakobovics (Töke-Terebes) and Jakab Herskovics (Olasz-Liszka).

The duties of the first school concierge, according to Mor Thomann “Letter of duties”, dated on the 1st October 1838, were to keep in good, clean order the school yard and the classrooms, in winter to cut firewood, heat the rooms, and “to be obedient of all School Professors, their wishes faithfully follow”.  For that, the school concierge received a yearly wages of Ft. 112 and 30 korona.

It is interesting to record the expenses of the first year:

  1. Provide clothing and school accessories for the 7
    Kaesztenbaum descendants                                           Ft.            367.14
  2. Provide feeding for the Kaesztenbaum descendants    Ft.
  3. The salary of 3 teachers, without lodging                      Ft.          1200.–
  4. The salary of the Superintendent of the school             Ft.            290.40
  5. The salary of school concierge                                       Ft.            112.30
  6. Ten öl (35 cubic meters) beech-wood (heating)             Ft.              65.58

Total          Ft.          3025.22

The income and expenses changed little for several years, the income and expenses list showed only

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greater variations, when they had unexpected expenses.  For example, when they had to replace the roof of the school on the summer of 1839 with shingle tiles, which cost Ft. 795.45.

From the 1st October 1840 all school children assembled every Saturday morning for religious services.  It is worth mentioning, that the students, on the initiative of the teacher Schönmann, with cantor Ignacz Fleishner, prayed in a choral fashion.  Most parents weren’t interested in this religious service, and in any case most thought that a choir-like praying is “an innovation corrupting the religion”.  The cantor received Ft. 15 yearly.

Scant information was left about the inner working of the Kaesztenbaum school.  The school, which had three classes, was attended by 40-60 boys (there wasn’t a girl’s school), they were taught, according to the teaching regulations, by three teachers with fine results. Hungarian was the general language of teaching, but they did not neglect the German language either.  The knowledge of pupils improved in writing, reading, mathematics and languages.  There was a change in the teaching personnel.  After Pollak left, who gained employment in Kassa, they chose Mozes Knopfler (died 1894), an excellent Talmudist for the teaching of Talmud and the Bible.  The only goal of the school’s maintaining body, the Kaesztenbaum foundation and also of the School Board, was to maintain the moral and intellectual education of the pupils and to raise the reputation of the school.  Despite that, most parents disliked the “the school with modern norms“, so from the congregation’s 300 school-age children only one sixth of them went to the school, the rest of them went to cheder.

The County always strived for compulsory school attendance, but it was impossible to attain, as the school was too small and it was necessary to enlarge it.  The congregation dealt with this question for ten years.  On the agenda was either to enlarge the Kaesztenbaum school or to establish a separate school, but because of the poverty of the congregation or because the sincere champions of education did not succeed in their effort, they could not make any meaningful decision.  In any case there is no doubt, that the ten year struggle and the goodwill of the leadership of the congregation made way for the enlargement of the Kaesztenbaum school in 1852 and to the amalgamation with a Junior Real High School and a Girls School. It is necessary to mention these facts

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to show my reverence to these brave men, who in grave circumstances were true to their convictions and never lost the sight of accomplishing a beautiful idea.

The edict of the Government about compulsory schooling arrived at the congregation on the 25th March 1841.  So Gabor Matolay, the Chief Superintendent of the Kaesztenbaum school directed the Congregation, that they had to establish a separate primary school. The Congregation entrusted the president of the congregation, Jozsef Weinberger (died 1876), that with a committee consisting of Abraham Engländer, Mozes Schön and Mor Thomann, he should propose a motion in this respect.  The commission fulfilling their duty, proposed that, as the Jews of the District of Galszecs and Bodrogköz were supposed to maintain the school with the Satoraljaujhely congregation, the Jews of the two Districts also had to share the cost of Ft. 1150. From that sum they had to pay for one teacher and a teacher’s aid, together 600, for a Talmud teacher 400, to the school concierge 50, for the last two also for firewood Ft. 100.  They also proposed, that because the building of a school would cost a large amount of money and it would be advantageous to amalgamate with the Kaesztenbaum school, they had to enter into communication with the School Directorate.

The Congregation accepted the proposals, presented to the School Directorate, which accepted it, and Vincze Vitez, Roman Catholic Parson, a member of the Directorate, sent a contract on the 4th January, 1842 to the Congregation.  The Congregation, did not want to sign it, till the Jews of two Districts will not commit themselves contractually to pay yearly their share of the cost.  It seems, that the Districts were unwilling to do that, so the Congregation on the 3rd of July 1844, (having some discussions about it), in spite of their dire poverty, decided to make sacrifices: that is to borrow from the Kaesztenbaum foundation Ft. 1000 for school purposes.  The Congregation hoped, making this sacrifice, to receive the interest for this purpose from the Sztaray-Szemere foundation.  (The Sztaray-Szemere “small foundation” was established from the levy collected from the Zemplen County Jewry, which was paid back to them in 1844.  The County Jews could not distribute it proportionally, so they decided to add it for the improvement for the Kaesztenbaum school.  This amount of money was deposited as a loan of Ft. 4000 to Count Albert Sztaray and Ft. 442.30 to Istvan Szemere for making it profitable).

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But they could not receive the interests of the foundation and as the County urged the Congregation, that either they make a contribution to the enlargement of the Kaesztenbaum school or establish a separate school, the Congregation decided on the 15th of June 1845, that it would build a school with their own funds, a Ft. 1000 donation.

Because of the events in the congregation and the rise in prices, this plan met with difficulties.  Most of the members assembled at the then Rabbi’s residence at that time for religious services in the Sephardic manner, very few went to the synagogue, so the financial situation of the congregation became worse.  Therefore the Congregation abandoned the plans for a separate school and on a meeting on the 7th July passed a resolution, that they are prepared to increase the “meat levy” by 1 (one) krajcar and with that, to contribute to the yearly upkeep of the Kaesztenbaum school, if the School Directorate revoke the plans about the enlargement of the school, then would use the homes of the teachers as classrooms and will provide homes elsewhere for the teachers.

The School Directorate did not agree to that, so Izrael Bermann (died 1864), the president of the Congregation called a meeting for the 16th September, at that occasion, after a long debate, they chose a 11 member committee to decide what to do.  The members were Izrael Bermann, Abraham Hartstein, Izsak Reichard, Bernat Weinberger (Szöllösi), Bencze Weinberger, Jakab Klein, Sandor Roth, Jakab Zinner, Jakab Schwarcz, Izidor Schön and Izrael Schweiger.

This 11-member committee, at their meeting on the 18th September, decided, that they would propose the following resolution to the Congregation: The Congregation should request that the County, because of the high prices, abandon plans for an urgent establishment of a separate school.  If this is not possible, the Congregation should use for the purpose of the school the yearly rent of Ft. 511 of the religious bath, the Kaesztenbaum Foundation’s contribution of Ft. 100 to the dues to the Rabbi, and the Ft. 150 rent income from the house, which is owned by the Congregation.  This money, collected for the school, should be controlled by a committee of Jonas Burger, Izsak Reichard Izidor Schön and Bencze Weinberger.

That proposition came up, according to a minute, drawn up already in the Hungarian language, in the next year, on the 7th March.  In the meantime came urgent directives to establish the school

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when Mozes Kremer, the president of the congregation, after reading the propositions of the Committee, the meeting decided, “that we are ready, according to the Decree of the Emperor and King of Hungary, to educate our Children in the language of our Homeland by a Hungarian Teacher” . The proposal of the committee for a “national school” was accepted with the alteration, that instead of the rent of the congregation’s house, every taxpayer should contribute Ft. 1 as the tuition of children, which will amount altogether to Ft. 150.  Also it was decided, that they would use for school purposes the “house of ecclesia” and not the rooms in the Kaesztenbaum institute.

Next year, on the 9th March 1847, they pronounced, that the school would be placed temporarily in the Kaesztenbaum institute.  They increased the maintenance fund of the school by voting for putting a levy of 1/2 krajcar (a small part of the Forint) on every pound of meat.  Preserving order and nominating the teachers was the right and duty of the persons the Congregation and public chose.

In the same year, on the 27th September, they chose an eight-member committee, which would control the soon to be established school.  The members were: Izrael Bermann as president, also dr. Vilmos Schön, dr. Armin Weisz, Mor Thomann, Sandor Roth, Vilmos Schwarz, Leo Polatsek and Bernat Szöllösi. At this meeting they decided, that the head teacher would be employed, on the recommendation of the Chief Rabbi of Pápa Lipot Löw, on a salary of Ft. 600, with free accommodation, extra Ft. 200 for household expenses and payment for relocation.  To the salary of the assistant teacher, who would be employed by the Head teacher, they would contribute an extra Ft. 40.  The tuition fee would be yearly Ft. 2, which should be paid immediately at registration.  Poor people would not pay any tuition fee.  Therefore on that meeting they employed a head and an assistant teacher, but, despite all my efforts, I could not find out in any way the names of persons chosen.

The school committee had their first meeting on the 3rd October 1847, on that meeting the president, Izrael Bermann, talked about the importance of the primary school.  He said, that the local Jewish youth very badly needed it and asked for the utmost help of the members.  They decided to keep separate minutes of the meetings and entrusted that to Vilmos Schwartz, who was the most educated member of the congregation.

Next year, on the 30th of January, 1848, the board of the congregation and the school committee had a joint meeting, when Izrael Bermann, the president of congregation and of the school committee told them,

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that the present levy is not sufficient for maintaining a good school and proposed, that the community, for three years, should make a further weekly contribution of Ft. 10 to the school fund.  A meeting of the Congregation next day decided, that they stick to their resolution of 9th March 1847, the amount of dues decided at that time, but after the school opened and they see that is “beneficial and smart”, the congregation will not refuse a more generous help.

The discussions were in such an advanced stage, that maybe the opening of the school would have been imminent, but the break out of the War of Independence put an end to it.  The County did not urge for the opening, the Congregation did not discuss the problems of the school in such dangerous times and dealt only with the sacred affairs of the Fatherland.  Slowly-slowly the Kaesztenbaum school went into the same great decline as the unofficial schools.  The Talmud teacher resigned, it became two classes only and it was at the beginning of fifties nearly without any student.

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The combined Kaesztenbaum

Junior Real High School and Girls School.


Whole nations appear and completely disappear from the stage of the world theatre, but the ideas which they created, – if they are for the benefit of mankind – never disappear.  These ideas will enrich the generations to come and some day, they will conquer the whole world.

The idea of the enlargement of the Kaesztenbaum School after 10 years, in 1852, came close to the final stage.  On the summer of that year, the friends of Congregation School became very active in their effort.  The Kaesztenbaum school burnt down, but these friends of the public education decided that the 1840’s idea of extended school could be achieved.  They went one step further.  The time has come, they decided not only to reorganize the declining Kaesztenbaum school, but to establish a Junior Real High School, combined with a Girls School. After their hard effort, they succeeded.

These noble persons working for culture and faith were supporter of public education: dr. Vilmos Schön, Gyula and Mor Weinberger, Albert Friedlieber, Sandor Roth and Vilmos Schwarcz.

Dr. Vilmos Schön, a medical practitioner, spent all his free time for the benefit of public education.  He had the firm belief, that the preservation of the Jewish religion is connected to the cultural standard and knowledge of the younger generation, that the youth of the congregation

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should receive a modern education.  They found him the most suitable person to be the Deputy Principal of the reorganized school.  His destiny singled him out for that role.  Through the hardest times he managed the school affairs, provided the pupils with patriotic education, the ways of Hungarian thinking and loyalty to the nation, for all those qualities he had in him.  That fervor put the school on such a high standard that their achievement equaled all similar schools.

Gyula (Julius) Weinberger (died in 1870), as the secretary of the school committee, was the soul, the living spirit of the management.  This highly cultured man used the might of the word in speech and writing tirelessly.  He urged the development of the mind for the provincial Jewry.  For more than 10 years he pushed for modern Jewish education.  His main interest was the school and its development was his aspiration.  From that keen person we have hundreds and hundreds of minutes, memorandums and proposals in Hungarian and German for the sake of the school cause.  Whatever he did was for the good of the school and we should be proud of them all.  His brother, Mor Weinberger, in the 50’s, as one of the influential members of the congregation, supported the cause with all his influence.

Albert Friedlieber and Sandor Roth (died in 1871), eager school committee members, had a big role in awakening interest in the school among those people who had been ambivalent.  Those two brave men, who had a good knowledge of Hebrew and the Talmud, bravely fought for the progress and advance, and preached with apostolic zeal the necessity of Jewish education.  Friedlieber worked tirelessly for the school in the 70s and 80s.

Vilmos Schwarcz was also among the fine, cultured and far-seeing men, who made the strongest impression on the school development and progress of the school.  He was a most devout person for the cause of general education.

The reorganization of the school started with the departmental decree by Istvan Kapy, the Head of County, appointed by the Emperor (of Austria) and King (of Hungary)* on the 7th April, 1852.  He appointed his secretary, Antal Lakner to the post of Headmaster of the school.

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* In the original text always appears as abbreviation: cs. kir., meaning appointed by the Emperor (Csaszar) and King (Kiraly).  In German it is K. u. K.  (Kaiser und König).

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He insisted that for the sake of reestablishing the school he should form a committee from the more responsible members of the congregation.  Lakner accepted this position and beside Mor Thomann -the supervisor of the Kaesztenbaum school- he invited dr. Vilmos Schön, Zsigmond Schön, Henrik Tallert, Bernát Szöllösi, Mor Weinberger, Vilmos Schwarcz, Abraham Hartstein, Albert Friedlieber, dr. Armin Weisz, Gyula Weinberger and Izrael Schweiger.

The school board’s first sitting, under the presidency of Mr. Lakner was held on the 10th of June.  The president stressed the urgency of remodeling of the school, albeit he made it clear, with regret, that considering all his other time-consuming commitments, he could not be present at all board meetings and could not fulfill his function as a supervisor in full.  Therefore he proposed to select a Deputy Principal.  For that position by common consent they chose dr. Vilmos Schön.  Then the board put Zsigmond Schön, Albert Friedlieber and Sandor Roth as members of the committee to register all school age children.  Bernat Szöllösi, Henrik Tallert and Gyula Weinberger were put in charge of inspecting the state of the burnt-out school and make recommendations for the reorganization of the school.

These three gentlemen, fulfilling their duty, visited with the superintendent of the Kaesztenbaum school, on the 14th of June.  The deputation was faced with a sorry state of affairs.  “It looks like that the barbarians ravaged between these walls,” (als wenn Barbaren darin gehaust hütten*) said their report.  The best part of the furnishing and fittings were burnt.  As in the last years the number of pupils dwindled, they took some benches and other school equipments to the attic, where it was burnt to ashes.

The first delegation at the meeting of 23rd June stated that the total number of school age children in the congregation was 500.  The second delegation put in their recommendation for the reorganization of the school.  The committee stressed the importance of the religious teaching, “which is the core of the Jewish education”.  About the secular subjects they decided the teaching in the primary school should be in line with the “Systema scholarum, elementarium”.  In the Junior Real High School it should be in line with the decree of the Education Ministry, which is called “The design rules of the organization of High Schools”.  (Entwurf der Organisierung der Realschulen*).

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*German sayings included in original

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As far as the staff is concerned, their recommendation was to employ one headmaster, five teachers and a female teacher for handicrafts.  Their strong advice was to turn to the wisest four scholars, namely Löw Schwab from Pest, Noa Manheimler from Vienna, Abraham Geiger from Breslau and Lajos Philippsohn, Rabbi of Magdeburg, with the request that they should assist the school with their enlightened advice.  The board, accepting all recommendations, advertised for the teacher positions, as we will see later.  The teachers were to receive a good salary relative to that time.  The advertisements appeared in the journals of “Magyar Hirlap”, “Pester Zeitung”, “Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums”.  The advertisement ran as follows:

Tendering. The combined Kaesztenbaum Foundation School and the Jewish Congregation’s Junior and Girl School announcing that they are looking for a Head Teacher for a Ft. 600 salary, with advancement possibilities to Ft. 700-800, and five teachers and one governess position, each with a Ft. 300 yearly salary, with the possibility of Ft. 400.  Accommodation, or in lieu of accommodation, 10% of the salary.  The applications with appropriate documents should be lodged till the 31st of August.

Satoraljaujhely, 1st July 1852.

On behalf of Gyula Weinberger

Now they started rebuilding the school.  The necessary money was supposed have to come from the interest of the Sztaray-Szemere fund, but the payment was promised for a later date and the Congregation realized that the construction could not be delayed any longer.  The elders of the Congregation’s and the school committee’s meeting at the 20th July decided to borrow Ft. 1500.  Next day they signed a contract with Engelbert Rieder, builder.  According to that contract, the builder should renovate the building and in the front he will increase the building size with an additional floor.  They agreed on Ft. 800 for the bricklayers work.

The school obtained first class teachers and appointed as Headmaster Michael Heilprin, for the teachers positions Izsak Rosenmeyer, Daniel Eördögh, Emmanuel Goldberger, Jozsef Stern and David Müller. For the teacher of handicraft Mrs. Scholz (the widow of an architect).  For the teachers position they had more than

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enough applicants.  Some of them were: dr. A. Adler, who was a director of a private school in Worms, Janos Zimka, who was a local teacher in a Catholic Piarist order, Jozsef Kohn from Breslau, a young scholar in fine arts.  The last two were chosen but in Zimka’s case the Superior of his order did not give his consent for his changing employment.  Jozsef Kohn took up the position, but the elders soon recognized his inexperience in pedagogical matters.  With a Ft. 300 severance pay, they dismissed him.

Now we are turning to those teachers, who in this glorious period gained distinction.

  1. Mihaly Heilprin, born 1823 in Piotrecow, a district of Warsava in Poland.  There are very few people among the teaching profession, whose name is renowned and even the future generations think of him with fondness.  It is not uncommon, that pupils forget their teachers, but Heilprin’s name even today is mentioned with respect, when public education is a subject.  He is not forgotten.  By the proposition of dr. Vilmos Schön, Heilprin was nominated as Headmaster, it was definitely a tremendous gain for the institution.  “Those schools where Heilprin taught have a history”, a famous devotee of his stated.  He was one of the kind.  He was self-taught by his own zeal, he learnt Latin, Greek, Hungarian, English and French and several other languages.  His father was a scholar and in his home they spoke Hebrew, German, Polish and Russian.  In his early youth he developed a desire for more and more knowledge.  That was the foundation for his high cultural standard, which he made use of in general public education.  He arrived in Hungary at the age of 21, in 1844, and learnt the language well in 3 months.  Bertalan Szemere, the Minister of Interior, when debating the equal right for Jews in the Lower House, and a Member of the Parliament launched an attack that “the Jews are not learning Hungarian”, brought up Heilprin as a shining example and stated, that Heilprin speaks better Hungarian then the Honorable Member.  In the 1848 War of Independence, he served the case of freedom first as a soldier, then as the secretary of Szemere.  He published in 1849 his revolutionary poems under the title “Songs of the Revolution”, which caused a sensation.  After the tragic end of the War of Independence, he fled the country, went to Paris

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and in dire privation.  From here he kept in constant touch through letters with the other emigrants.  He did not speak French but he wanted to master it in the shortest possible time.  He studied day and night and as a result he nearly lost his eyesight.  Only an ophthalmologist, Sichel, saved him from blindness.  After his father’s constant urging he came back to our country and they opened a book shop in Miskolc together.  By publishing the complete works of the Sarospatak intellectual circle, he advanced the literature enormously.  The book shop flourished but he could not resist the urge of the Congregation and accepted the position of Headmaster.  Only then it dawned on him, that his true vocation was teaching.  First he wanted training in teaching and acquiring a diploma in teaching.  He devoted himself to study the works of famous pedagogues and soon, with flying colors, obtained a diploma from the Teacher’s Training College.  Now he turned all his talents and diligence to his calling.  In a very short time his school, in furnishing as well in teaching material became a modern school.  His influence, which he radiated to his pupils, in a short time made him a master in education.  The children clung to him with sincere devotion and his colleagues looked upon him as a benevolent father.  His endeavoring nature was endless and his greatest pleasure was helping out his colleagues.  Every week in his home he discussed with them the weekly topics and went systematically through the procedures.  Heilprin’s activities went further than the school.  On Saturday afternoons his house was the gathering place of cultured individuals and he made lectures for them in different scientific matters.  The audience was particularly fascinated about his observations about the relation between the Hungarian and Hebrew language.  The late Rabbi Jeremias Löw liked helping him very much, liked his companionship and a good debate with him.

  1. Izsak Rosenmayer (born in Wolfhagen, Germany, in 1828, died in Mainz in 1889) attended Technical High School in Hessen-Kassel in 1844-1847, later in Marburg

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went to Teachers College and obtained his diploma there.  He started as an assistant teacher in the Fulda Secondary School of modern languages.  On the recommendation of Rabbi dr. Philippson of Magdeburg, our Congregation invited him and he came to Hungary.  He had a sound knowledge in mathematics and physics.  I, as his former pupil and later as his colleague, could vouch that Rosenmayer deserved the reputation of a real teacher.  He was correct, conscientious, outstandingly diligent, very well suited for his vocation.  Later, when the teaching language turned to Hungarian, he could not cope well.  He was successful and an activist in educational literature, editing more than one textbook, and he made himself well known.

  1. Daniel Eördögh (religion: Lutheran, born in 1815 in Nyaregyhaza).  After finishing High School, he went to university, studying art and law.  Because of his financial problems, he finished his studies with great difficulties.  Instinctively he chose the path of pedagogy and only when he obtained a position at our school, his situation turned favorably.  His favorite subjects were natural history and physics.  Even then he taught geography in connection with natural history, to explain the fundamental concept of geography.  For plant demonstration he always took his pupils on excursions.  He was a good lecturer in history, he awakened in his pupils enthusiasm for the ideas of great men.  His pupils liked him as their father figure.  In literature his activities were eminent.  His publication of “Nepiskolai Reform” (Reforming the public school system) was the work of a skilled person.  In the 70’s he was a first rate correspondent at the Zemplen Hirado (Zemplen News).  His name was well known as a poet, his collection of poems was published in 1857, under the title “Öszi viragok” (Autumn flowers).  Now this excellent man is 80 years old, still working with the zest of much younger men and publishing his poems for children under the title “Tündér regék” (Fairy tales).
  2. Emanuel Goldberger ( born 1818 in Tolcsva, died 1892) was one of the humble teachers who did not seek the limelight, whose only delight was teaching and studying.  He always fulfilled his duties with precision and never lost sight

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that the teacher has to set an example outside the school as well.  He was one of the best among the Hebrew and Talmudic scholars.

  1. Jozsef Stern (born 1824 in Mád, died 1875 in the USA), he excelled himself in Hebrew and Hungarian literature.  He was teaching in our school until 1856 to the satisfaction of the Congregation and School Board.
  2. David Müller (born 1825 in Tardos, County Szabolcs, died 1854).  He finished his Secondary school of languages in Galicia and started to work in Neubeuern ( Upper Bayern).  This outstanding man, with a delicate health, taught good penmanship one year only, when he came to an untimely end.  He is buried in the local cemetery where he sleeps an eternal peace.

Before the opening on the 5th of August, 1852, the Kaesztenbaum school and the Congregation had a day of joy.  On that day Jeremias Löw, from Verbo, arrived.  He became the Chief Rabbi and his inauguration was marked with festivities.  The Kaesztenbaum school, which since the big fire was situated in the Congregation building – with its trifling number of students, together with the pupils of the Talmud school lined up to welcome, with “boruch habo”, to welcome the Chief Rabbi.

On the 15th of August, at the session of the School Board meeting, the Chief Rabbi resigned from his official duty of Superintendent and this function went to Sandor Roth.

After the appointment of all teachers and with the completion of the building going fast, Gyula Weinberger called on the local and County Jewry to announce the opening of the school.  The registration of pupils started on the 24th September and altogether from the County, 230 children enrolled in the institution.  How many of those were boys or girls, I could not find out.

The planned opening of the Institution was the 1st October, but it took place only on the 1st of November.  The cream of the Congregation and the city all were there.

The school started with 5 grades.

  1. The junior primary for girls and boys,
  2. The primary for boys,
  3. The primary for girls,
  4. Real High School for humanities and languages for boys, and at long last,
  5. Real High School for humanities and languages for girls.

Every was a separate entity.  Of the junior primary for boys and girls, where there were a large number of 10-11 years olds

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only those went on to primary, who could write and read in Hungarian, German and Hebrew as well as being competent in the four rules of arithmetics.  The primary school and the Real High School grades had 2 years each of teaching, so it took most of them 6 years to finish the school.  For the eminent and older pupils was possible to finish the primary in one year, but the Real High School grades, without exception, took 2 years.

In the secondary grades every subject had their own teachers, but the combined junior primary grades had one teacher only, who taught most of the subjects.  The teaching time in each was 33 hours weekly, only the primary for girls had 35 hours.

It would not be uninteresting, if I report the specifications about the subjects, the teachers, the periods spent on each subject and the school books they used.  Heilprin planned this, according to German school methods, at the opening of the school.

A) The joint Junior Primary Boys and Girls School.

  1. Hungarian, German and Hebrew reading.  Weekly 12 hours, teacher: Goldberger, in German.  Textbooks: a/Ofner ungarisch-deutsches Normal-ABC und Lesebuch (Hungarian-German normal ABC and reading book). b/Wilmens Deutscher Kinderfreund, 1. Abteilung (German children’s friend, I.  part) c/Hebrew Prayerbook and ABC.
  2. Hungarian, German and Hebrew writing.  Weekly 9 hours, teachers: Müller, Hebrew writing, Goldberger, in German.
  3. Arithmetics.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Goldberger, in German.
  4. Speech and understanding of language.  Weekly 6 hours, teacher: Eördögh, in Hungarian.
  5. Translating Hebrew prayers to German.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Goldberger.

B) The Primary Boys Grades.

  1. Hebrew language and scripture.  Weekly 6 hours.  Extracts of the 5 books of Moses, translated by Mendelsohn.  Prayers, translation to German, teacher: Stern.
  2. Hungarian language.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Stern.  Textbook: Hungarian Grammar Book of Sarospatak and Illes Edvi Reading book.
  3. German language.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Stern.  After Wiener Sprachlehre, (Viennese Textbook) . Reading Material Wilmens Deutsche Kinderfreund, Abteilung II.  (German children’s friend II.  part)
  4. Arithmatics.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Goldberger, in German.
  5. Hungarian, German and Hebrew writing.  Weekly 6 hours, teacher: Müller.  After Wiener Vorschriften und Jüdische Hilfblätter (Viennese Instructions and Jewish Reference Book)

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  1. General geography and history.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German, after Fischer, Daniel and Pütz.
  2. Austria-Hungary geography and history.  Weekly 4 hours, teacher: Eördögh, in Hungarian.
  3. Natural sciences.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer in German.  Leunis “Hilfsbuch” (Handbook) and Wilmens “Kinderfreund” II.  part.
  4. Geometry.  Weekly 1 hour, teacher: Eördögh, in Hungarian.

10.  The history of Jews.  Weekly 1 hour, teacher Heilprin, in German.

C) The Primary Girls Grades.

  1. Prayers, translating and scriptures.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Stern, in German.  Prayer book in German.
  2. Hungarian language.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Eördögh.
  3. German language.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Stern.  Textbook as in boys grades.
  4. Mathematics.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Stern, in German.
  5. Hungarian, German and Hebrew writing.  Weekly 6 hours, teacher: Müller.  Textbook as in boys grades.
  6. General geography and history.  Weekly 4 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German.  Textbook as in boys grades.
  7. Austria-Hungary geography and history.  Weekly 4 hours, teacher: Eördögh in Hungarian.
  8. Natural sciences.  Teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German.  Textbook as in boys grades.
  9. Needlework.  Weekly 11 hours.  Teacher: Mrs. Scholz.

D) The Boys Real High School, first grade.

  1. Hebrew grammar, scripture, biblical studies and Jewish history.  Weekly 9 hours, teacher: Heilprin (Pantateucht by Stern).  Reading material from the Bible and Psalms, translation of prayers.
  2. Hungarian language.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Heilprin.  Textbook: Sarospatak Hungarian grammar book.
  3. German language.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Stern.  Textbook as in primary boys grades.  Reading material of Mozart.
  4. Mathematics.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German
  5. Writing studies.  As in primary boys grades.
  6. General geography and history.  Weekly 3 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German.  Textbook as in primary boys grades.
  7. Austria-Hungary geography and history.  Weekly 4 hours, teacher: Eördögh, in Hungarian.  Textbook as in primary boys grades.
  8. Natural history and technology.  Weekly 4 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer, in German, after Leunis and Knapp.

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  1. Arithmetics.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Eördögh, in Hungarian

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E) The Girls Real High School, first grade.

  1. Prayers, translating and scriptures.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Goldberger, as in Primary Girls grade.
  2. German language.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher: Rosenmeyer.  After Becker, Fischer’s Handbuch des Realkentnisse (Handbook of the real knowledge).
  3. Biblical studies.  Weekly 1 hour, teacher: Heilprin, in German.
  4. Natural history.  Weekly 2 hours, teacher Rosenmeyer, after Leunis.
  5. Needlework.  Weekly 12 hours, teacher: Mrs. Scholz.

All the other subjects same as in the boys grades, except arithmetics.

The school was successful, even in the first year, so much so that when Pal Tomaschek, the State School Inspector of the Kassa District visited the school in March 1853, he was greatly impressed.

On that strength, the Board, on the 2nd of April, sent a far reaching memorandum to the Kassa District authorities.  With reference to the fact that the school performs a mission in the country and even the Imperial Highness of Emperor Ferenc I. recommended the Kaesztenbaum school, through the Governor, for a special attention, when they asked the County Superintendent to give an order to the Government to pay to the Congregation the interest of the Ft. 40.000, which was the contribution of the Jewry of the Zemplen County to the Central Jewish Foundation.  The amount of interest would be used by the Congregation to increase the Real High School to a three years course and if the Government would be willing to establish here in the town a Senior Real High School, the Congregation would be too happy to provide them with classrooms.

It is a significant event in the life of the school, that on the submission of 15th November 1853 by Gyula Weinberger, the school board on the 4th December sitting declared, that to lighten the work of supervision and administration of the school, the Board from its own members will establish three committees: educational, economic and financial. Furthermore, to increase the number of board members from the most active and influential members of the Congregation.  So they elected to the School Committee Izsak Reichard, Baruch Friedmann and Isidor Schön.

  1. To the educational subcommittee they elected dr. Armin Weisz, as President, Vilmos Schwarcz,

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Albert Friedlieber and Isidor Schön.

  1. To the economic subcommittee Bernat Szöllösi (president), Izrael Schweiger, Albert Friedlieber and Sandor Roth.

III. To the financial subcommittee Bernat Szöllösi (president), Mor Weinberger, Izsak Reichard, Abraham Hartstern and Sandor Roth. —- Gyula Weinberger as the secretary of the School Board was automatically a member of every subcommittee.  The subcommittee gave account about their activities to dr. Schön at the Board meeting.

The educational subcommittee

  1. to follow with attention the daily life of the school and observe the followings: a/if the teachers are doing their exact duties? b/they are teaching according to the Board specification? c/they adopt the disciplinary procedures strictly or being careless? d/are the teachers as well as the pupils present at the school’s religious services?
  2. on the teacher’s holiday, sick day or any other reasons which prevents him or her to attend, they had to provide substitutes;
  3. they must deal with any complaint arising between teacher and parent;
  4. to convey the Government and School Board orders and regulations to all interested parties and
  5. arrange any public investigation and report their findings.

The economic subcommittee 1. have to look after the firewood for heating, to obtain furniture and equipment; 2. to keep the school building in good order; 3. to provide the Kaesztenbaum pupils with provisions, equip them with books and writing material and 4. make inventory of the school’s properties.

The financial subcommittee 1. to look after the finances: a/the tuition fees and the Kaesztenbaum bequest and other fund’s interests, b/pay the salaries of the teachers and c/collect the income and discharge the debts and liabilities; 2. to increase or reduce the salaries and other contributions to teachers and the school concierge; 3. to put a motion about to increase or reduce the tuition fees.

The flourishing school had to fight all the way with obstacles.  The larger parts of the congregation still lacked the willingness or enlightenment

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to go with the time and they still sent their children to cheder instead to the Kaesztenbaum school.  Lakner, the school principal, wanted to aid the situation and on the 18th of November 1853 summoned all the teachers from the fourteen cheders, not recognized as official schools, to the head of the County and made it obligatory to enroll all school age children to their school and that they should learn all subjects, which are, by law, compulsory.  That had the desired result as the number of pupils increased to nearly 300.

This year the school had a major bereavement.  David Müller, after a long illness, deceased.  To his place E. Tauber was elected to the position of penmanship.

Everybody was present from the congregation, when the pupils celebrated May-day festivities for the first time in the spring of 1854, which shows how much interest there was toward the school.  It was really a happy day in the 50’s for the teachers and the pupils.  On that day the members of the congregation did their best to give a pleasant day for the teachers, thanking them for their kind efforts in developing their children’s minds.

In the first winter semester of 1854-55 school year important changes took place.  The memorandum to Kassa district authorities did not bring any result, the devout members of the congregation decided they stick to their aspiration about the Real High School.  This fervor managed, with the congregation’s generosity, to establish two more Real High School grades, modifying the existing grade arrangement.  They amalgamated the primary girls and boys school and they established a third Real High School girls grade.  Now the school had the following grades: 1. The joint junior primary girls and boys grade 2. The primary boys and girls grade, which had two grades.  3. The third grade for girls only.  4. Real High School for boys, three grades.

The old established grades kept the old subjects, while the subjects of two new Real High School grades complied to the Real High School regulations.  Apart from the established subjects they taught scriptures, biblical studies, Hebrew grammar and Jewish history.  In the third grade of the Real High School Heilprin, after the method of Seidenstücker, Latin as well.

There was change in the teaching staff as well.  Daniel Eördögh, after two successful years, departed from the school and he was

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replaced with Benjamin Dul, a well trained Roman Catholic teacher.  The larger school made it necessary to engage more teachers.  Herman Klein, local private teacher was chosen as an assistant teacher.

German was the language of teaching, only Dul taught the Hungarian grammar and history in Hungarian.  By the end of the school year 230 students remained in the primary, in the first grade of Real High School 20, in the second 14, in the third 9.

The students had different marks, for good character and behavior there were five marks: commendable, diligent, satisfactory, blameless (untadehaft), reprimandedIntelligence and diligence was also five marks: commendable, diligent, satisfactory, weak, poorProficiency they had no less than eight marks: excellent, outstanding, top mark, diligent, satisfactory, nearly satisfactory, poor, weak.

I have not mentioned so far the regulations of the Kassa district educational authorities.  They were numerous and curiously they aimed to drive out the free spirit of the school.  I have to mention also separately the regulation which arrived on the 7th December 1853.  In that regulation the District educational authority obliged the school board director to ensure that in the school only approved school books should be used.  It came to their attention, that the school is using the Transylvanian school guide book and Neumann’s History of Hungary (“Magyarok története”).  Strict orders were given to prohibit that textbook and that the Hungarian history should not be taught at all, only as a History of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (“Gesammtmonarchie”), naturally in German.  The school board gave an affirmative answer, that the two school books were immediately withdrawn but the history of the country, till the battle of Mohacs (against the Turks, in 1526) would be taught separately.  In that regulation the Superintendent directed the board to close the cheders and establish a separate Talmud class and in the selection of the teachers, they should not exclude Christian teachers.  The board’s answer to the first command was, that they were not an executive authority so it was not in their power to close those cheder schools.  As to the question of separate Talmud classes, the Board did not see this requirement, as teaching the Talmud is a parental discretion.  For the last demand, to employ Christian teachers even at that moment, they would uphold the right, as it is stated in the school by-laws, to free selection.

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The teaching continued in the normal fashion to the end of the 1855/56 winter semester.  Then Heilprin, the pillar of the school, relinquished his position to the greatest regret of the Board.  That free thinking soul could not assert his activities as he would have liked it, could not agree with the Bach absolutist government* order.  Longing for a free sphere where free speech still prevailed, he decided to emigrate to America with his family.  The congregation rewarded this excellent man with a banquet in his honor.  This celebration became the triumph of his ideas and his talent.  dr. Vilmos Schön, the deputy director, gave him a silver goblet engraved with all the names of school board members and congregation elders.  To thank them all, Heilprin wrote an acrostychon with the title “The spirit of the goblet”, in which the initial letter of every line of the poem gives the names engraved in the goblet.

Heilprin settled in New York, later in Philadelphia, where occupied himself with literature.  He was main contributor to the New American English Encyclopaedia and to more than one scientific and political periodicals.  His main work was “The historical Poetry of the ancient Hebrews” (New York 1879). He was active in the settlement of the Russian Jews, who were hounded out from their country.  That rare individual whose name is identified with the glorious part of our school, deceased in 1888 in Summit (New Jersey).

* Alexander Bach was the Interior Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Government.  After the fall of the War of Independence, he introduced drastic dictatorial measures to suppress any Hungarian nationalist sentiment.  The so-called Bach absolutist regime lasted from 1849 to 1859.

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The Jewish Congregation High School united with the Kaesztenbaum school.


The departure of Heilprin brought important changes in our school.  Only now was the great loss felt by his departure, only now it was understood how much has he done in those 4 short years for the development of the school.  The school board, considering how small the classes in the Real High School were, and how the sum of the maintenance expenses were increasing, decided to abolish this school and instead the Girl School grades would be increased to four.  The school then adopted the name which is the title of this chapter.

There were changes in the teaching staff as well.  Stern followed Heilprin to America.  Rosenmayer went to Kecskemet and soon after to Homonna, Dul accepted another posting, Tauber was discharged, as he was unable to maintain control in the upper grades.  Only two teacher stayed, Goldberg and Klein. The school board advertised for the vacant position of a headmaster, and teachers of German, Hebrew, penmanship and drawing.

It goes without saying, that this school, with its excellent reputation, drew applications country wide from the best for the teachers and specially for the headmaster position.  For example, Henrik Deutsch, who was at that time headmaster in Kecskemet, later the headmaster of the Budapest Jewish teacher training college.  In that miserable Bach period, when even the primary schools started to graft the foreign culture on the children, the school board made all efforts to obtain somebody in Heilprin’s place who was completely perfect in Hungarian, and therefore they had to pass over Henrik Deutsch .  The choice was Sándor Deutsch.  For the German language their choice was the German Eduard Frankel, who, despite his youth, showed remarkable skill.  For the teaching the Hebrew language, Abraham Schreier

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gained the position, who had been working before in Lakompak, in Sopron County.  He was well aquatinted in the Hebrew literature and the periodical “Kochbe Jiczchak” some of his lovely poems appeared.  He was a witty and amusing conversationalist, and all people, who enjoyed his company, remember fondly time spent together.  For the teaching of penmanship and drawing Adolf Preisner was engaged.

We should remember in depth about the two who spent a long time teaching here.

  1. Samuel Deutsch – he was in every aspect a ”teacher’s teacher”.  Full with idealism was he dedicated to his vocation, nothing was more sacred, more important, than the cause of education.  He made every effort, used the best of his ability to ensure that the children in his care should be devoted believers of our faith, and useful citizens to the country.  Therefore he made sure that he sharpened their mind and put their heart in the right place.  As the school board wanted a good Hungarian as a headmaster, they made a good choice.  Though he was from a Slovak district (I think from the town of Lipto-Szent-Miklos) his Hungarian was faultless, any institute would have been proud to have him.  As headmaster he felt obliged to be first in the morning, suffered under all sort of financial difficulties, his motto was “the school first of all”. After two years he departed, went to the town of Eperjes, and soon to the town of Eger, as headmaster, where one day, after a lecture, he went home and suddenly died.
  2. Adolf Preisner, born 1819 in Varpalota.  His parents wanted him to be a business man, but he had a desire for knowledge and every minute of his free time was spent on self-education.  In a short time he became a well educated man, so much so, that after the War of Independence (1848), he followed his heart desire and became a teacher.  After tossing around for awhile, he arrived to the town of Sebeskellemes, later to an Eperjes school, he was there, when he got an invitation from our school.  The congregation of Gálszécs started a school that year and Preisner was selected as a teacher there, which he immediately accepted.  He had a good reputation as an outstanding penmanship and drawing teacher, so both congregations claimed him as his own.  They engaged in a lawsuit, which ended favorably for us.  Today’s teachers have no idea, what workload a teacher those days had.  He lived for his work, practically he was a slave, he had no time of his own.  (Regrettably in a big part

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that still stand for the Jewish teachers).  Lots of people would think that the teacher of penmanship and drawing had the best part.  I could see, even today with my eyes (as I, as one of his pupils helped him), how far into the night assiduously corrected the works every one of his pupils from all of the six grades, he was particularly busy during the night before the examinations of every semester.  Preisner, if he had a little time, occupied himself with literature.  I dare to mention only his last literary outputs; the genre-illustrations from Jewish life in the periodicals “Jüdische Gemeinde” (Jewish Community) and “Schulzeitung” (School Journal), edited by Nathan Halász.  After four years, he moved to Ungvár, where he put up with lots of sufferings and died there in 1876.

The Kaesztenbaum school, united with the Congregation’s High School, had now six teachers and a mistress for handicraft, four boy and four girl grades, but the first A and B boys and girl grades and also the second boys and girl grades were combined.  The teaching, following professional instructions, was in German.  The Hungarian language, literature and history, despite the “Organization- Entwurf” (Method of organization) was conducted in Hungarian.  The number of pupils in the six grades was around 350.

As a significant moment for the Kassa school district and for our school, I have to mention a memorandum.  Dr. Gyula Fränkel, the district doctor, an official medical practitioner of the Szepsi district petitioned about the urgent reorganization of the Jewish schools.  In it, on the 2nd June 1856, he asked the District School Inspectorate to carry a motion, that the Jewish children – as they were predestined to be merchants, tradesmen or working in agriculture – should learn in the school only as much as it is necessary for those occupations.  In other words, the proposal wanted to distinguish in the quantities and the qualities of subjects between Christian and Jewish schools.

The proposal was given to the district’s Jewish schools for their opinion.  The authorities were particularly interested in our school’s view as the highest quality Jewish school’s in the district.  On behalf of the school board, Headmaster Deutsch submitted his well justified expert opinion, in which he expressed that:

From the scholarly point of view it is impossible and unforgivable to make divisions between the Jewish and all similar, other denomination schools, because the Jewish child, as future citizen, should have not more, not less or not different study as a Christian child,

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moreover, it is an imperative necessity, that in all public schools, countrywide, the method of teaching, the number of subjects and the length of the scholastic years to be equal.  So, when a Jewish child would like to continue his education in a higher institution, he should have the necessary knowledge, same as his Christian counterpart.

They accepted Deutch’s opinion and the view of Dr. Fränkel was rejected.

In our school there was not any remarkable event till August 1857.  On the 21st of that month headmaster Deutsch put a motion to the board, that they should change the specialist system and introduce the class form.  The school board commissioned two school board members, Albert Friedlieber and Vilmos Schwarz to carry on negotiation in depth with the headmaster and report the results in detail.  They accomplished their duty, but the school board did not accept the proposal.  The teachers were mostly trained in one field only, so the students would be disadvantaged in the remaining subjects.

The school year consisted of two semesters, each one finished with an standard examination and a principal examination.  The principal examination differed from the standard.  In the principal examination not only the teachers put questions to the pupils, but also the members of the board and, in certain occasions, the parents as well.  The principal examination was conducted in the presence of the auditors of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, the officials of the County and Town, also the teaching staff of the local Piarist Gymnasium was invited, their presence has given an extra decorum to the principal examination.  The examination of the winter semester was held usually before Pessach, the summer semester’s before Rosh-hasono.  So the school holidays took place always on the days of religious festivities.  Registration took place separately before every semester.

How much time they spent on the examination of each subject is shown in the program from 12-16 September 1857, a half yearly examination, which was translated from German.

I.  Standard half year examination.

1.   September   12             10 – 12 AM             Pentateuch (III. boys grade)

“          12             2 – 5 PM                 Prophets and Pentateuch (III. and IV. boys grade)

2.           “          13             9 – 12 AM              German, Hungarian and Hebrew reading
(joint I. B boys and girls grade)

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September   13             2 – 5 PM                 German, Hungarian and Hebrew reading (joint I. A
boys and girls grade)

3.           “          14             9 – 10.30 AM         Hebrew grammar (III. and IV. boys grade)

“          14             10.30 – 12 AM       Pentateuch (II. boys grade)

“          14             2 – 3.30 PM            German reading and grammar (joint II. boys and
girls grade)

“          14             3.30 – 4.30 PM       Hungarian reading and grammar

“          14             4.30 – 5 PM            Mathematics (same place)

4.           “          15             9 – 10 AM              Hebrew reading and prayer translation (II. primary boys and girls grade)

“          15             10 – 11 AM            Megilach and prayer translation (III. boys grade)

“          15             11 – 12 AM            Mathematics (III. boys and III. and IV. girls grade)

“          15             2 – 3.30 PM            German reading and grammar ( III. girls grade)

“          15             3.30 – 5 PM            German grammar and natural history (IV. boys and IV. girls grade)

5.           “          16             9 – 10.30 AM         Hungarian grammar (III. boys and girls grade)

“          16             10.30 – 11 AM       Natural history (IV. boys grade)

“          16             11 – 12 AM            Spelling (III. boys and III. – IV. girls grade)

II.  Half yearly principal examination.

“          16             1.30 – 2.30 PM       Scripture (all grades)

“          16             2.30 – 3 PM            Mathematics (IV. boys grade)

“          16             3 – 3.30 PM            German language (III. boys grade)

“          16             3.30 – 4.30 PM       Hungarian language (IV. boys and girls grade)

“          16             4.30 – 5 PM            Geography (same place)

We could clearly see from that program that wasn’t much time spent on each subject, and for the “real” subjects even less.  Though national and world history was taught, it was omitted from the examinations.  The motive behind this must be the fact that the Hungarian history – as I already mentioned – was taught independently and in Hungarian, despite the Entwurf (Method), so they thought the better course was to omit both from the examination.

The 1858-59 school year was full with events.  They did not start a fourth year grade as only six students registered.  Sándor Roth supervisor from the Kaesztenbaum school, who fulfilled his duties with untiring fervor, resigned.  Mórt Perlstein was chosen to fill his position.  The students from this year onwards had to attend religious services every day, after the afternoon school session.  At the beginning of the summer semester Headmaster Deutsch moved to Eperjes, where he was

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employed as the headmaster a in the local Jewish school.  Now the school board did not fill the position of the headmaster, they chose one teacher, Mórt Silberstein, to teach Hungarian language and history.  The board did not fill the position of headmaster, because it started a campaign about a year ago, that a combined Teacher’s Training College Model High School should be established in Satoraljaujhely from the National Jewish Foundation.  At that time it was a safe prospect, so our school could not ask for more.  The cheder has its golden age, in contrast to our school, where the attendance decreased, so much so, that in the 1859-60 winter semester the number of students did not reach even one hundred.

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The Royal Jewish Model High School

(1860-72. )

In the history of the school, the year 1860 was a momentous event, in that year our school was elevated to the distinction of Royal Jewish Model Primary School.

In the 1848-49 War of Independence the Jews took their share in the struggle for the good of the common Fatherland, then after the defeat, in the bitter oppression.  The victorious reactionary forces wanted a special punishment for the Hungarian Jewry, they imposed on them a special war levy of two million forint.  They already paid in one million, when our glorious reigning monarch gracefully rescinded the second million, even gave instruction on the 20th September 1850 to refund the already paid amount for the purpose of the promotion of the cultural causes of the Hungarian Jewry.  With a supreme decree he instructed, that the one million should be used, as a royal endowment, under the control of the Hungarian Government, as a “National Jewish School Foundation” and from the interest earned should establish four Jewish elementary model high schools, combined with teacher training colleges and a rabbi seminary and the remaining part of the income should be used for the poorer Jewish schools.  After the proposals of the congregations of Budapest, Pecs and Temesvar, these model high schools were already established, so the congregation of Satoraljaujhely also made steps to gain a similar institution, having a powerful competitor in the congregation of Kassa, who wanted the same.

Our congregation took the first steps, when, in the month of May 1857 our Gracious Majesty stayed in the County of Zemplen: on the 29th of this month, in the name of the Zemplen Jewry, Gyula Weinberger presented, as the head of a delegation a 14 page petition to His Majesty in Tarczal, pointing out the reasons why our congregation, among the other congregations in the Kassa Administration District, deserves the Model High School.

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The reasons were the followings:

  1. The town of Satoraljaujhely should be considered as the center of the Jewry in the Kassa administrative district.  It is true, that Kassa is closer to the Counties of Gömör and Szepes and to some parts of the County of Saros and Abauj-Tornya, than our town.  Considering that these counties have a very small Jewish population and that our town is closer to the large Jewish population centers of Marmaros, Bereg, Ugocsa and Ung Counties and also to some parts of Saros and Abauj-Tornya Counties, then our town should be considered as the center of Jewry of the surroundings.
  2. The Jews in the County Zemplen is numbered some twenty five thousand, which is the third of the total Jewish population of the surrounding area.  As the Jews of the County contributed to the school foundation with a similar percentage, Satoraljaujhely should have primary right before the other towns of the area.
  3. It is mentioned in this point, that there is a Jewish High School in our town, established in 1838 by the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, which was recommended by King I. Ferencz to the special attention of the formerly existed Royal Governor’s Council.  The existence of a well organized school, for which the funds are secure forever and whose reputation is well established, gives also priority to our congregation.
  4. Our town’s Jewry has a well known religious reputation among the Jewish population of the country.
  5. It is most probable, that the students of the future Teachers College will find accommodation and board with our town’s numerous Jewish citizens, more than in any other congregation of the Kassa district, and
  6. Many European countries felt, for political and moral reasons, that it is necessary to move Teachers Colleges from larger towns to smaller places, therefore it would be advisable right now to place the school where our students would not be exposed to the temptation of moral ruin.

After that the School board contacted also the Government.  For the purpose of the Teachers College, connected to the Model High School, offered the yearly grant of Ft. 600 from the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, the Sztaray-Szemere small foundation, the present and the currently extending school building, Ft. 100 for teaching material, paying of the cost of heating, lighting and other expenses.

There was success for the convincing application to the King: on the 7th October 1858 came

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the pleasing decree of the Emperor and King’s Governing Council, in which the establishment of a Model High School in our Congregation was approved.  The approval of a Teachers College was postponed, it was promised, that they will decide about it only after the establishment of all Model High Schools.  The decree made German as the language of teaching with due regard to the mother tongue.  The Governing Council’s proposal was to create seven male and three female teaching positions, namely two general teachers with salaries of Ft. 630-630, two with Ft. 525-525, one teacher of religion and one Hebrew specialist teacher with the same salary, an assistant teacher Ft. 315, also two female general teachers with Ft. 475-475 and an assistant female teacher with Ft. 275 salary.  The teachers later were also paid the rent of their homes above these salaries.

The next year was spent with negotiations with the Ministry for Religious and Public Education Affairs, in which they discussed the questions of equipment and fittings of the school building and other commitments of the congregation.  The finalization of these discussions brought the 9th August 1859 decree of the Ministry, which summarized the obligations of the congregation.  The congregation issued a statement, in which they accepted their obligations.  The Ministry also said in that order, that the equipment of the school should be similar to the Kassa Real School.  Therefore the elders of the congregation, at their meeting on the 11th of August, decided to send the president of the congregation, Leo Pollatsek and Bernat Szöllösi, to Kassa, where to consult with Counselor Pfefferkorn and to inspect the Real School’s fittings and furniture.

After that they had to take care of the cost of the furniture and fittings in the old school and also in the Girl’s School, which would be located in a separate building.  At the meeting on the 30th August, presided over by Leo Pollatsek, in which Mor Thomann, Albert Friedlieber, Izsak Reichard, Bernat Szöllösi, Mor Reichard senior and Jakab Klein were present, they raised the meat levy to cover these costs.

Now we have to meet those male and female teachers, whom the Ministry appointed for the Model High School from the large number of applicants.  Headmaster would be Salamon Pollák, originally from Ebenschütz (Moravia), from the Kecskemet school; class teacher Izsak Rosenmeyer, our school’s fine former teacher; also Jakab Becher, a teacher from Siklos; and Samuel Deutsch, our former excellent head teacher, who taught now in Eperjes.  The teacher of religion

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would be Izrael Singer, from the Szeged school; to the Hebrew language Jakab Henrik Löw, from Homonna; and assistant teacher Salamon Adler from Zsambek.  The female class teachers position went to Sarolta Moravetz, from Szeged and Maria Sabbath, from Jungbunzlau, (Bohemia); assistant female teacher Mrs. Ottilia RosenmeyerSamuel Deutsch did not accept his position, so Mor Stern from Ungvar was appointed later.

Differing from the method used to describe the details of the history of our school, I would like to mention together all the changes in the teaching staff which occurred during the existence of the Model High School.

Within one year, Headmaster Pollák and assistant teacher Adler left the institution and Gyula Weinberger was appointed as temporary headmaster.  Jozsef Schwarcz from Gyöngyös became class teacher, Ignacz Führer (later Füredi) was employed as assistant teacher.  At the end of August 1863 Becker was transferred to Pécs, in his place Nathan Fischer (later Halász) was appointed.  In 1864 Sarolta Moravetz , after her successful work, a good fortune took her away from the teaching profession and in her place Mrs. Fanny Schwarz-Weinberger became the assistant teacher.  Mrs. Rosenmeyer was promoted to class teacher position.  The biggest change came in the school year of 1867-68.  Jozsef Schwarz and his wife left the school, Nathan Halász was transferred on his own request to the Model High School, connected to the teacher’s college in Budapest.  The vacant positions were filled as following: Ignacz Füredi was promoted to class teacher, Albert Stern from Tokaj became the other class teacher, David Rottenberg from Zenta and Henriette Sabbath became assistant teachers.  In 1870 David Rottenberg received employment in Kassa, where, after a short period, left the profession of teaching and since then he became the distinguished director of a first-class banking institution.  In his place Sandor Knopfler was appointed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education.  The same time Henriette Sabbath left and Katalin Klein was appointed as assistant teacher.

I do not have to introduce separately the teachers who were teaching for longer periods at the Model High School.  The before mentioned female teachers had all high distinctions; the male teachers of Becker, Rottenberg, Schwarz, Albert Stern were all very educated with good reputations.  J.  H.  Löw (died in 1882) became famous with his poems published in various journals and periodicals in Hebrew and

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in German.  His Hebrew epic poem about the history of Jews and the translation to Hebrew of Byron’s Kain remained in the original manuscript.  I already mentioned Rosenmeyer in the second part of this story.  Mor Stern, Izrael Singer, Nathan Halász and Ignacz Füredi are well known all over the country as famous teaching professionals, who gave their excellent service to our country’s Jewish education, and particularly to the literature of pedagogy.  These unflagging contributors to Jewish general education and pedagogical literature can look back with pride and self-respect to their 30-40 years of activities.  Also I have to mention Samuel Singer, who had a versatile expertise in the Jewish literature, either by mentioning his articles in religious journals or his independent research that proved, that the modern pedagogy and the dialectics is taught in the Bible, Talmud and Midrash.  This research was highly regarded by local Hungarian and foreign Jewish and Christian theologians.  Halász and Füredi published articles in Hebrew journals in the sixties and seventies.  They edited the “Zempléni Hiradó” (Zemplen News), “Jüdischer Schulbote” (Jewish School Messenger) and “Izr. Néptanitó” (Jewish School-teacher), drawing attention to their work.  Mor Stern, in his eight years as headmaster of the school proved his honesty, strong character and decent ambitions with his behavior during the most critical period.  His self-interest was subordinated to the common good, he wanted self-respect as his reward.  Not only in the field of education, but he was familiar also with every sort of science and he could cleverly speak on any sort of subject.  He gained wide recognition during the four years he was the secretary of the Zemplen County School Council.  Halász is now the Headmaster of the Budapest Jewish Congregation Girls School, Stern and Füredi work in the Budapest Royal Jewish Teachers College.

But we should go back to history.  The male and female teachers, , appointed to the Model High School, arrived on the 18th February 1860 and after six days took the oath to Baron Wrazda, the deputy of Markovitsch, the President of the cs. k.  (i.e.  His Imperial and Royal Majesty) Government Council.  During the work of restoring, fitting and equipping of the school, the students registered for the year, which took a very long time, because the enrollees were examined one by one, to determine which grade they were able to attend.  The teaching started at the beginning of March and already in April, had an official visit.  School Counselor Schmidt came from Kassa, to see the condition of the school.  The Counselor

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urged the teachers to zealously work for the good name and reputation of the institute.

At the festive opening on the 13th March, in addition to the Chief Rabbi Jeremias Löw and the board of the congregation, the intelligentsia of our town, without regard to their different religion, was present.  Among the official guests was Markovitsch, Counselor of the Governor, Böhr, the President of the Law Court, Egger, Head of the District, Vitéz, Roman Catholic Parson, Headmaster Koretz leading the entire teaching staff of the local gymnasium and the personnel of the Taxation Office.  Markovitsch expressed in his opening address, that we should thank the grace of His Majesty that the institution came into being.  Headmaster Pollák, the teachers Singer and Becker, Gyula Weinberger also spoke and conveyed in Hungarian the gratitude of the congregation.

The Model High School consisted of a separate preparatory boys grade and 4 more boys grades.  For girls the first year was a combined preparatory and first grade and there were 2 more grades.  The number of grades changed only in the school year of 1870-71, when a 5th boys and a 4th girls grade was established.  The first existed only in this school year, he second lasted only till the first half of the next school year.

The girls school was kept separately from the boys school for a year and a half, for six months in the Malártsik house in Bercsényi Street, for a year in the Bárczy building, which was owned by the congregation.  Only on the 3rd September 1861 was the girls school transferred to the Kaesztenbaum building, which was enlarged by that time.

At the beginning he “class system” (one teacher taught all subjects in the same grade) was used in the school, in 1862 they introduced in the boys school the “alternate system”, which meant, that different teachers taught pupils in the same subject for all the four year periods.  In the girls school the class system was maintained for all the periods.  The teachers taught weekly only for 18-22 hours.  Apart of the Saturday, there was two weekly half day rest period, on the afternoons of Tuesday and Friday. The language of instruction in the first year, under the Headmaster ship of Pollák was German, when in the second year Gyula Weinberger was temporary Headmaster, his ardent efforts resulted in the acceptance of the Hungarian language instruction system.  Also under Mor Stern, who was appointed as Headmaster on the 24th February 1864, the language of instruction remained Hungarian.  The spirit and direction of the Model High School was always nationalistic and patriotic.  The textbooks were the texts issued and made compulsory by the State, private textbooks were banned even in the Real schools.

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The following timetable, which I compiled from the program of the school, shows that in the institution how many hours were spent weekly on each subject.

Subject Boys Grades Girls Grades
Prep I II III IV Prep & I II III
Religion 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Hebrew reading 4 2 3 2 2
Prayer translating 1 1 1 3 2 2
Bible and Hebrew 2 4 4 5
Hungarian read write 6 6 6
German read write 4 3 2
Demonstrative teaching 2 2 2
Hungarian language and real subjects 6 7 7 6 6
Mathematics 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4
German language 3 4 4 3 4
Penmanship 3 4 4 4 4 2
Drawing 2 2
Needlework 4 4 6
Singing 1 1 1
Total weekly hours 22 24 24 29 30 22 25 27

The school was directly lead by the Headmaster, who called all teachers for monthly gatherings, kept minutes of the meeting and sent them to superiors for their assent.  The Model High School was supervised by: 1. the County Bishop of Kassa, later the newly established Kassa Directorate of Education; 2. the Roman Catholic Abbot Vicar of Sarospatak, later Satoraljaujhely; 3. the supervision of religious teaching was the Chief Rabbi’s jurisdiction.  The institution was considered a royal foundation, therefore the teachers were securely entitled, after 30 years of employment, to a pension on full salary.

The Government did not interfere with the sphere of authority of the congregation.  As an example, when appointing new teachers, all applications were sent

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to the congregation for receiving an opinion.  The collection of the tuition fees, Ft. 1.50 half yearly per student, was the duty of the Headmaster, who, by his own request, had two teachers to supervise it.  The collected fees were handed over by the Headmaster to the school cashier, who was elected by the congregation.  He was the one who rendered the account to the local taxation office.  Until May 1863 the teller was Jozsef Rosenblüth, and then the congregation elected unanimously Adolf Löwy to this office.  Three years later, when Löwy relinquished his position, the congregation decided, that they themselves will collect the fees and delegated Mor Kernstein for these duties.  Later again the Headmaster collected and administered the fees.

For the school it was a drawback that not enough time was left for the Hebrew education.  Consequently the number of the girls – as it is indicated in my report at the end of this chapter – always well surpassed the number of boys, apart from two semesters.  Even though the examinations in the first semester already demonstrated outstanding results, the number of pupils in the second semester hardly reached fifty percent.  Considering that our co-religionists in the countryside even today have different views concerning the religious upbringing of their sons, it is not surprising that in this respect they set up different claims against the school.  The parents, who were not at ease with the regular public school, sent their children back to the unofficial religious schools, at the expense of their education.  It goes without saying, that the unofficial schools were bigger competitors for the Model High School, than for the previous schools.  The authorities could not force compulsory schooling as the 20th October 1860 edict from the highest office, guaranteeing the autonomy of the Jewish congregation, contradicted it.

The teaching staff and the congregation has done everything in their power to remedy this situation, but their noble effort did not bring the desired result.  Finally their plan was to follow the example of the Pest (Budapest, but at that time it was two cities, Buda and Pest) and Pécs Model High School and bring in extended Hebrew education.  Headmaster Stern was successful in 1864, to win over the Government, who for that purpose gave back the tuition fees.  Moreover, on the 20th of August of the same year, the congregation voted seven hundred forint for that purpose.  The extended Hebrew lessons for the boys was conducted after school.  They were divided in three classes and had one hour teaching each day.  Three different teachers relieved each other on consecutive years.  The

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congregation assigned a committee to control the extended Hebrew instructions.  The honorary members were: Albert Friedlieber president, Vilmos Schwarz, Gyula Weinberger, Mor Reichard jun., Mozes Grosz and Emanuel Fisher.

The anticipation that they could put the institution on firm ground and gain over the parents, who were favoring the unofficial schools, was a vain hope.  Hardly one and a half year passed, when Albert Friedlieber, president of the congregation, on a session held by the council and representative members, on the 4th of March 1866, suggested that the congregation should withdraw the seven hundred forint grant, as the effort of extended Hebrew teaching had no success.  The assembly adopted the motion.  Despite this motion, the teaching staff continued with the enlarged syllabus, supplementing it from the tuition fees.

On the 25th February of the same year, the council and the teaching staff on their joint sitting, discussed the directorial regulations of the Kassa district administration, in which an arrangement for the school holidays of the Jewish primary schools – already lodged to higher authorities – was given to the school to form their opinion about accepting or not accepting it.  So far in our Model High School, as far as holidays were concerned, the earlier Government direction of 19th January 1860 was valid, accordingly the first semester of the school year finishes at end of March, the second semester in middle of August, which is followed with a six weeks school holiday.  After the first semester it was two weeks holiday.  The proposal wanted to alter it in such manner that after the first semester the two weeks holiday would be in the second half of Nissan (April), at the holidays of Pesach and the six weeks autumn holiday should be in the months of Tisri, and so cut the holidays shorter by two weeks.  Friedlieber, the president of the congregation at the negotiation of this proposal expressed his much enlightened and humanistic, free from prejudice, opinion.  The minutes of the meeting mention him with an above average respect and words of appreciation.  Among other things he said:

“As the president of the congregation and my many years of experience taught me that the parents would gladly accept the shorter holidays.  From the other side, from the teacher and students point of view, this well earned rest period is here to refresh the exhausted physical and moral strength, to able to give them new refreshing resilience.  To curtail that, either from pedagogic or humanistic reasons, it is impossible.  For the devout and conscientious teachers, after all year’s activity and trouble taking, we have to give them time for their own purposes, whatever it is, for using it for more training or recreation . . . ”

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After the principal and teachers brought it up, the meeting decided to support the Government directives which are still operational up to the present.  The meeting also felt that, if the holidays at any rate had to be changed, should rather be in the hottest summer days for two weeks.

The education otherwise progressed in the school with full success.  Jozsef Arvay Royal School Inspector visited our school at the first time, and experienced its splendid results.  He wrote a lengthy article in the “Zempleni Hirado” (Zemplen Courier) about this visit.  I feel obliged to make known that article, as it is written by a renowned pedagogue.  First of all he expressed his delight at getting acquainted with this institution.  He was pleased to experience the enormous task of education, arranged in a well ordered, pure pedagogical principle, and he found devout and eager professional administrators around the altar of pedagogy.  As far as the languages are concerned – he wrote further – German is not neglected, which is so important and essential, especially for those, who prepare themselves for practical careers.  It can be said, that it is nearly their mother tongue, they express their thoughts easily, conversation flowing well and they recite poems well.  Yet they should also put as much emphasis on the purity of the native language, as in our other national educational establishments.  Unusually great importance is placed on the educational methods, so the student should absorb everything with a clear intellect.  In that extent even the beginners are initiated with great care and expertise.  There are unmistakable traces of ambition and noble competition in every grade.  Finally he expressed his regret, that from the 800 families in the congregation only 230 students are attending this school.

The school progressed with success, when at dawn on the 15th of January, 1868, fire broke out and most of the building was destroyed.  The Ministry of Religion and Education commissioned the Department of Architecture of the County to design the plan to the rebuild the school.  The Department made plans for the existing ground floor to be rebuilt and the right wing to be a two-story building.  The Ministry approved, and instructed the congregation for tendering, and control was placed in the hand of the County.  The congregation on the 5th of July selected a building committee for the Model High School, the members were: Leo Pollatsek, Albert Friedlieber, Mor

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Reichard senior, Mor Weinberger, Mozes Grosz, Ignacz Reichard, Gyula Weinberger, Jakab Klein, Zsigmond Teuch, Izsak Reichard and Samuel M. Zinner. As a result of public tendering, on the 9th of August the congregation commissioned Gyula Weinberger and Abraham Friedman contractors for the construction and stipulated Ft. 12,200 for their work.  The contractors did not start the building straight away, but despite this the lessons were continued as the congregation provided roof over the building, paying A.  Friedman Ft. 994 to cover his expenses.

Dr. Norbert Juhasz Royal Councillor and head of the directorate of Kassa district education, on the 9th June 1870, as a delegate from the Ministry of Religion and Education, honored our school with his visit and called a meeting, at which from the congregation Mozes Grosz president, some council delegates, Mor Stern Headmaster, and from the County Karoly Balogh, the head of the district were present.  The headmaster on that meeting read the departmental order he received from the Ministry, which directed them, that the school has to be put in the same condition that is stated in the Act of 1868/38.  The headmaster pointed out, that the school building does not comply with the order, and by all means it is necessary to develop it, that all 600 school age children of the congregation should have their schooling there.  Furthermore he feels necessary to elect a school board from the congregation members, that should assume an obligation to oversee, that all school regulations – above the total autonomy of every denomination – should take preference.  If the regulation is clear and strict for the lay subjects, it will be just as safe and sound with an absolute freedom of action to the denomination for the religious studies and in no circumstances will intervene in this right.

The headmaster’s statement met with warm reception by all members, immediately they elected a school and a building committee.  Members of the school committee were: Jeremias Löw, chief rabbi, Mozes Grosz president of the congregation, Mor Thomann, Leo Pollatsek, Albert Friedlieber, Baruch Friedman, Mor Weinberger, Mor Reichard senior, Izsak Reichard, Mor Ungar, Mor Stern headmaster, Albert Weinstein, Zsigmond Brody, Mor Kornstein, and Jozsef Reiner. Members of the building committee will be: Leo Pollatsek, Izsak Reichard and Mor Weinberger. Regarding religious and Hebrew education, they declared that from the 1870-71 school year it will not be compulsory, they wanted to achieve, that the children from the unofficial religious schools

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at least for the lay subjects should attend our school.

As far as the building was concerned, they entered in a contract with the architect Ödön Denk who on July 13 accepted it for the same Ft. 12,200.  The congregation received this sum from the Kaesztenbaum foundation.  They started the building this summer, so the school year finished earlier than it used to, and the new year school year started later.

Just as the Head of Kassa directorate’s statement brought pleasure, so it was depressing to receive the higher authority’s order on the 11th October, which gave very little sphere of activity for the school committee.  It made the religious study compulsory again, only regarding the Hebrew language course was a certain freedom for the parents allowed.

When the building was ready with its spacious rooms, the school committee was hard at work to make the school thrive and prosper.  For example on one session, Royal school inspector Jozsef Arvay chairing as president, they decided on a compulsory school attendance, then came the ordinance from the Ministry of Religion and Education, to disband the school. The restoration of the Hungarian Constitution in 1867, the emancipation of the Jews and the recognition of their autonomy meant, that the Hungarian Jewish National Congress in 1868-69, (called together by Baron Jozsef Eötvös, the Minister for Religion and Education), decided to dissolve all the Model High Schools, because they were established by the absolutist government.  Of all the former National Jewish Foundation schools only the Budapest Jewish Teacher College and the concurrent Training College would remain.  The government ordered the winding up by the end of 1870-71 school year, but it happened only one year later, at the end of 1871-72.  Some of the teachers of the disbanded Model High School received severance pay, some accepted employment in the National Jewish Teacher College.

Mor Stern, headmaster of the school, got in touch with the people of Zemplen County before his departure, that in the now empty institution they should establish a commercial college together with a non sectarian higher elementary school. The county delegated Elek Matolay deputy head of the County, Ede Lisey district attorney, Jozsef Arvay royal school inspector, Tivadar Barthos attorney and some more committee members, to discuss the carrying out this plan.  On the conference Headmaster Stern submitted that

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as the Model High School was dissolved, the County or rather, the local Jewish congregation was free to the disposal of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation.  If they raise then the profit making 5% interest of the Foundation to the level of 8-10%, as charged by the local and provincial financial institutions, the doubling of income would cover the cost of the proposed higher elementary school.  The missing costs would be covered by the tuition fee and the state aid requested from the Government.  He said, that there is no doubt, that the Satoraljaujhely Jewish Congregation, which always maintained and showed their liberal mentality when in the existing Real School twice employed Christian teachers, will voluntarily offer their teaching material and school building for the establishment of a inter-denominational school.  But the meeting, referring to the will of Kaesztenbaum, which stipulates only a 5% interest rate and that in the case of raising this rate the will of the legator would be nullified, the proposal, with a majority vote, was rejected.


The Royal Jewish Model High School

Number of students during its

12 1/2 years existence.

School year Semester Boys Girls Total School year Semester Boys Girls Total
1859/60 II. 199 245 444 1866/67 I. 82 79 161
1860/61 I. 78 124 202 II. 103 118 221
II. 98 165 263 1867/68 I. 105 136 241
1861/62 I. 116 159 275 II. 125 163 288
II. 129 135 264 1868/69 I. 95 141 236
1862/63 I. 129 166 295 II. 142 174 316
II. 112 181 293 1869/70 I. 125 146 271
1863/64 I. 110 153 263 II. 143 194 337
II. 103 167 270 1870/71 I. 100 105 205
1864/65 I. 108 126 234 II. 139 118 257
II. 119 163 282 1871/72 I. 98 127 225
1865/66 I. 101 121 222 II. 103 171 274
II. 125 155 280


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Congregational Primary School


After the Model School was dissolved, public education became again the duty of the congregation.  The congregation turned for help to the Ministry of Religion and Public Education.  In view of the large expenditure they had spent on the building of the Model School, it was felt one or two teacher’s salary should be paid by the state from the Jewish Educational Fund in the to be established congregational primary school.

Since several months passed without result to the request, at the meeting of the board on the 15th September 1872, Jeremias Löw Chief Rabbi, as inspector general of the school, in accordance with the Kaesztenbaum will, requested that the congregation above all should choose two teachers, so two Kaesztenbaum teachers were chosen Israel Singer and Sándor Knopfler. Similarly at that meeting they chose Izsak Rosenmayer, Emanuel Goldberger as class teachers, who had been teaching during the existence of the Model school in Abauj-Szánto, and for class mistresses Ottilia Rosenmayer and Maria Laufer-Sabbath were chosen.  Later Mor Schön local private teacher was engaged, as teacher for the I. grade, further Katalin Klein was chosen with the understanding, that the government will allocate her salary from the Jewish School Fund revenue, in that case the congregation will increase her salary with Ft. 100.

Simultaneously they established a school board, and the members were: Leo Pollatsek , as president, Bernat Szöllösi, Mor Reichard, Albert Friedlieber, Mor Thomann, Izsak Reichard, Mor Weinberger, Emanuel Fischer, Jozsef Reiner, Zsigmond Brody, as school treasurer, and Herman Deutsch as superintendent of the Kaesztenbaum school.

As soon as the school board took up its duty, they occupied themselves with the question, how would it be possible to win over the resisting parents to the public school.  On the meetings of 23rd and 29th of September they passed the resolution to put to the Congregation, suggesting that it would be practical that the students from the unofficial

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schools, where they also teaching Talmud, acquire a secular knowledge in a different room for one or two hours by participating in special tutoring.  The council discussing the matter came up with a negative answer.

As far as the salaries were concerned they decided that three teachers will receive Ft. 800-800, one 600, one 500, the women teachers 400-400 each.  The tuition fees were set as following: Grade I. 6, Grade II. 9, Grade III. 12, Grade IV. Ft. 15, half yearly.  Apart from the tuition fees the maintenance is met by the subvention of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, which at that time was Ft. 294 yearly, and from the congregation’s finances.

The enrolment started, but it was so scanty, that by starting time they had no more than one hundred pupils.  The poor enrolment demonstrated how many difficulties and misfortunes there were, that this school had to overcome under the direction of the congregation.  They tried to explain in vain to the parents of the children of the cheder school, that attendance at the public school by no means will take away their children’s frame of mind from the study of the Talmud, but they steadfastly stayed with their belief that the public school, sooner or later, will ruin not only the unofficial schools, but the Talmud schools also.

The teaching staff and the school board did not loose heart.  On the contrary, it started a fervent work to educate.  They wanted to carry out the task, that the school should function with outstanding success, in secular as well as in Hebrew subjects.  To reach their goal they fixed the school hours from 8 AM to 11.30 and from 2 to 5 PM, except in winter time, when teaching finished at 4 PM.  In the boy classes the lectures in secular subjects took place in the mornings, in the afternoon were the Hebrew subjects, so they made it possible for the student from the unofficial schools to study the secular subjects in our school and go for the Hebrew teaching to the unofficial ones.

The school had a combined A) and B) I., beside II., III. and IV boys grades, the girls school had the same number of grades as well.  In each class they had 36 hours teaching time, with Friday afternoon and Saturday all day resting time.  In the first school year they made attempt for individual studies (same teacher in one class), in the following year they brought in already the alternate methods in the classes (different teacher for different subjects), except in the boy’s Grade I., where they had the same teacher teaching all subjects.  In comparison of the extended hours, they felt

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they have to increase the requirements, particularly in the subjects of realities, arithmetics and Hebrew.  I will elaborate in Appendix II. about the religious education.

The teachers, in the school took an active interest in education, so much so that when Jozsef Arvay royal school inspector visited the school on the 17th of November, he praised the teaching staff especially for their devotion to their work.  After the school inspector visited the school, at the invitation of the congregation he chaired the meeting, which called together the council, the representatives and the school board members, to discuss the subject of compulsory schooling.  The school inspector expressed his deepest regret, that in this congregation’s school, which has such large classrooms, hardly could be found in the country’s any other congregational public school, the school benches are still empty even though the furnishings and the equipment are first class, and the teachers are outstanding experts.  The conference passed the resolution to strictly enforce compulsory schooling, to compile a list of the teachers, who are teaching in the unofficial schools, and force them to send their students to the school, at least in the mornings.

Describing the circumstances of these days, I find it interesting to mention, that the congregation felt, that beside the teaching board, they should form a committee from popular and strictly religious persons, whose task would be to strive with good words to persuade the parents for the schooling of their children.

The nice words or if not that, the strict measures brought results, as in eight days so many enrolment took place, that the student number now increased to 213.

The education was interrupted in our school by the devastation of cholera, which took several victims among the students.  A tragic period fell on the congregation and equally on the teaching staff.  The school finances, which at that time were separately handled from the congregation finances, were out of funds.  The congregation made sacrifices to keep the eight teachers.  Only next year, about the end of January, could they start with the lessons.

On 4th of April 1873 the school and the congregation plunged into mourning.  Jeremias Löw, the well loved and respected Chief Rabbi and superintendent of the school, who was at this time one of the famed Talmud scholar, on the first day of Pesach after a short suffering passed away in his 63rd year.  Because of the feast, very few members of the congregation were informed about the great loss, but thousands had flocked to our city, the devotees of the learned Chief Rabbi, among them more than twenty rabbis.  Although the instruction of the deceased was not to give a funeral address,

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the rabbis could not help but to express their greatest respect and their genuine sadness, so the funeral service took place from 10 AM to 4 PM .  They carried forty of his manuscripts after his body.

In the second half of this school year, on the 17th April, Leo Pollatsek, who gave outstanding service, first as congregational later as school board president, relinquished his position, and Albert Friedlieber was unanimously elected for president of the school board.

In that occasion the board of representatives – according to the wording of the minutes – expressed their opinion “that under the guidance of such remarkable and experienced person the course of teaching will undoubtedly prosper”.  The same time Katalin Klein was dismissed, as the expectation that her teacher’s salary will be paid from the national fund, was not fulfilled.  The II. and III. girls grades were then combined.

Friedlieber, with all his heart started to lead the school.  He started in the belief “ Im én kemách, én torn” (When no bread no teaching), so foremost he started putting in order the financial situation of the teachers.  He encountered lots of difficulties, but at last on the 11th of October the congregational assembly, with his inspiring speech, reached an agreement that the congregation will pay out the outstanding debts to the teachers and in the future, the salaries will be paid in time.  The meat allowance increased by 1 krajcar and the assembly directed the cashier of the congregation, that from now on every week Ft. 38 should be given to the teller of the school.  The increased meat allowance was in force till the end of December 1874, at that time school tax was imposed in four steps: Ft. 4, 6, 10 and 15 per year.  They declared, that all income from the so called Bárczy house and from the shops in the school building could only be used for school purposes.  To the school board they elected five new members: Majer Blumenfeld, Mor Bettelheim Mihaly Lenkei, Salamon Guttmann and Gyula Reichard jun.

In the second semester of the school year 1873-74 we could see big changes.  Rosenmayer left the institute and together with his wife went to Homonna to become school principal there.  Maria SabbathLaufer took a position in Lugos.  At this time Ernestine Goldberger (later Mrs. Reichard) as teacher, and Herman Klein (a private teacher) as an assistant teacher in temporary capacity, were engaged.  Then the IV. girls grade was discontinued.  When Klein left in a year time, the two junior boy grades were also combined.

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Bernat Szöllösi, as he became the president of congregation on the 1st of October 1874, proposed that in the school board several intelligent individuals should be elected.  To the newly formed school board were elected Friedlieber, the new Chief Rabbi Lázár Löw as congregational president, as well dr Ignacz Bekessy, dr Vilmos Pápai and Isidor Schon .  By this time the school fees were modified in such manner, that in Grade I. Ft. 6, Grade II. Ft. 8, Grade III. Ft. 10, Grade IV. Ft. 12 had to be paid half yearly.

At the end of year 1874 the duchess Karolina Breczenhelm (died 1875) donated her Ft. 500 levy claim to the school.  The congregation decided, that while this kind-hearted benefactor is alive, they will pray on her birthday for her happy life at a religious service, after her death, on the anniversary of that day, they will pray for her salvation.  The congregation will use the interest of that collected amount to provide clothing for the poor schoolchildren.

One of the greatest difficulties for public education in the congregation was the irregular school attendance of the poor school-age children.  Those who had the opportunity to go to the local Jewish school and look in the record book of absentees, met with excuses which were – unfortunately – the antipathy against schooling; but met in the book of recording with excuses like: ”poor, no clothing to put on” or “poor, hasn’t got any boots”, or (in the best circumstances) “poor, hasn’t got books”.  To help on this misfortune the only way was to establish a charitable society, whose aim would be the assistance to poor school children with the necessary books and -mainly in winter time – the supply of clothing.  For this noble purpose in 1875 two teachers Izrael Singer and Sándor Knopfler took the initiative and organized the “Satoraljaujhely poor Jewish schoolchildren benefit society” (“Tomché bész hászefer”), which made it possible that the poor children too could go to school diligently.  Mihály Lenkei became the first president, dr. Ferencz Deri the secretary and Jakab Wolf the cashier, who themselves took major part in setting up society.  Adolf Lövy vice president and Lajos Reichard cashier worked also fervently to make the society prosperous.  Undying merit goes to dr. Ármin Nagy, who since 1880, was the president of the society and dr. Salamon Reichard, past society

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secretary.  The present secretary is dr. Mano Erényi and cashier is Fülöp Haas.  For the society’s purposes the following bequests were given: duchess Karolina Breczenhelm 500, Jakab Klein and his wife 400, dr Ármin Weisz 100, Jozsef Schön jun. 50 Bernat Szöllösi 150, Ignácz Kornstein 100, Zsigmond Schön 300, Henrik Jakab Löw 5 and Jozsef Perlstern in the name of his deceased daughter Ft. 100. Dr. Ármin Nagy, dr. Salamon Reichard, Bernát Schwarz and wife, also Jozsef Ligeti joined to the endowment found with Ft. 100-100, additionally dr. Vilmos Schön with 20, the local banks with a yearly Ft. 20-25 contributed to the society’s expenditure.  During its twenty one year existence the society spent Ft. 8500 on schoolbooks and winter garments.  They had 166 members.

Agoston Trefort, minister for Public Education and Religion, in 1878 issued a departmental order regulating the teaching hours and yearly vacation of the Jewish public schools, that our school immediately adopted.  They decided, that the teaching time will begin the morning from 8-11 and in the afternoon from 2-4.  According to this the teaching material was reduced, the half yearly examinations were abolished, that the end of year examinations were held at the end of June.  After examinations will be a two months vacation.

Public education lost an important pillar in 1879 when Jozsef Arvay, the county’s school inspector died in Sárospatak.  At the funeral of this noble friend of the Jewish teachers our school was also represented.  Lajos Nemes, a distinguished teacher of the Sárospatak teachers training college became his deserving successor, who made it his business to bring to an end the unofficial Jewish schools, which were the plague of the national and social spirit, so much so that their existence will not leave a trace, as he thought they are the evil spirit of society.  To resolve his decision he set his noble aim with exceptional severity.  He insisted that the executive of the administration not only should fine the congregation who maintains such school, but the teachers too by Ft. 100-100 respectively, which should be paid to the fund of public administration.  The persistent fervor bore its fruit, as in a few years time, nobody heard any more about the unofficial schools.

In school year of 1880-81, when Mor Reichard sen. was the head of the congregation, the finances of the school and the congregation were combined.

At many occasion the congregation gave evidence about their patriotic mind, but more so when in 1882 they brought in the translation of the Bible to the Hungarian language.

On the 3 March of 1885 our school had a feast.  Namely to celebrate by our congregation the twenty-fifth anniversary of Izrael Singer’s,

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blessed activities, in his honor they organized a magnificent banquet.

On October 1884 Jozsef Kelner was elected as president of the congregation, and after an enthusiastic time of service, he resigned on the 22nd of August 1886.  Immediately of his resigning started a dissension in the congregation, which ended in a secession in the same year.

Namely in November 1886 one section of the congregation with Rabbi Lázár Löw parted and established an “orthodox” congregation, since then the original mother congregation fundamentally stayed on the basis of status quo ante. In the middle of these troubles, the county authorities entrusted Bernat Schwarcz to be president of the congregation, who later was elected by the congregation representatives in the normal and lawful manner, and who, in these difficult periods for four years acted commendably in his commission.

The “orthodox” congregation established separately a boys school, but the numbers of pupils in our school did not really decrease, especially in the girls school, as not only the sephardim but the “orthodox” congregation as well sent there their children.

The congregation filled the position of the rabbi in 1887 with Lipot Bermann, who gained distinction in the congregation as well as in the school.  In 1890, after a long suffering, he died in San-Remo.  In the same year, in September, they selected Kálmán Weisz, the learned rabbi from Gyulafehérvar, to be the Chief Rabbi.

In 1890 Menyhért Némethy, who held position as notary faithfully for twenty eight years, died.  His position was filled with Bertalan Némethy, his eminently skilled son.

In 1887 Jakab Wolf was chosen to be the Kaesztenbaum school’s supervisor in place of Hermann Deutsch, after working efficiently he died in 1891; he was followed in that position by Mor Weinberger.

In 1891-92 school year physical education was introduced in the school, Henrik Zinner, the honored president of the congregation at that time willingly assisted in establishing it.

Albert Friedlieber, president of the school board who earned merits while growing old, resigned in reference to his advanced age.  This highly respected man, so much credit to the congregation, held his post for 21 years with great tact, and devoted passion.  All his concerns were to develop the school.  He was always very active in public affairs, the advancement of the congregation’s welfare and development was due to him.  Ever caring for good and fine things, which was about religion, humanism

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and knowledge, which not only required deeds, but the love of a fellow human being.  Beside these eminent merits, his modest character, infinite good will and gallant enthusiasm, provided him with such enchanting dominant power, that only an uncommonly good man could posses.  The open personality, the straight character is talking to us from his eyes, decent sincerity on his face, his glance penetrates in our heart, and demands absolute confidence.  It is no surprise that all those who were in personal touch with him had the utmost respect and fondness for him.

After Friedlieber dr. Armin Nagy held this position successfully for a year and since 1894 in the next year, dr. Salamon Reichard acted as school president, to make the school prosper.

To maintain a tribute of respect for the founder of the school, Márton Kaesztenbaum, the school board decided, that for the eternal remembrance of the legator, every year on the anniversary of his death a commemoration service will be held.  The first service was held that year on the November 18 in the congregation’s synagogue.  The synagogue was filled with a large number of cultured audience without religious differences; the county’s prominent people lead by Etele Matolay deputy head of the county and Gyula Dokus chief notary of the county.  And more, like Lajos Nemes royal school commissioner, Frigyes Kun trustee of the Kaesztenbaum estate, and dr. Vilmos Schön. The service opened with cantor Izsák Erbnschütz singing mourning liturgy followed by the young rabbi dr. Mor Weisz with a momentous Hungarian memorial speech, describing the founder’s great merits.

In the same year dr Vilmos Schön, commemorating his fiftieth jubilee of his career, donated 400 korona for the school library.

On the1st of March 1895, again a noble minded association started its blessed activity.  In the school the poor children were supplied with clothing and books, but it was not a rare occasion, that they were hungry.  That moved the feeling hearts, and dr. Vilmos Schön as leader, established a “Soupkitchen Society” (Népkonyha Egyesület), at the moment only in winter providing the hungry children with a nourishing lunch.  The society has 168 members, dr. Vilmos Schön as president, Mrs. Henrik Zinner associate president, Bernat Schwarz vice-president, Adolph Haas cashier, dr Armin Stern secretary.  The foundation members

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who contributed were: Philip Haas and wife with Ft. 100-100, Márton Bettelheim, dr. Mano Erenyi, Mor Friedrich, Jenö Fuchs, Mrs. Adolph Haas, Mrs. Jozsef Halász, Mrs Frigyes Kun, dr. Salamon Reichard, dr. Bernat Rosenberg, Mor Reichard sen., dr. Vilmos Schön and wife, Bernat Schwarz, Mrs. dr Adolph Waldmann, Mrs. Henrik Zinner with Ft. 50-50.

Here I mention about the changes which had taken place in the teaching staff and in the classes since 1880.  Emanuel Goldberger left the school, and his place was taken by Ignácz Kondor. The school board took the action in 1883-84 to enlarge the girls school with a IV. grade, so at that time combined the I. grade with the II. grade and the III. grade with the IV. grade.  Maria Scherr was selected for the combined class as teacher.  In the next school year, after four years of commendable services, the Budapest congregation employed Kondor; Jakab Schneider succeeded him from Sárospatak.  In the1893-94 school year Israel Singer took his well earned retirement and Jozsef Wiener was chosen as teacher.  At the end of 1894-95 school year Ernestine Goldberger, (Mrs. Reichard), retired.  Her outstanding ardor, with which this admirable teacher fulfilled her solemn duty should serve as model to every teacher.  After her departure Gizella Klein public school teacher was engaged.

In that year to the urging of dr. Salamon Reichard, the school board president, implemented the conception, which importance was urged for a while and raised in last year’s report anew the question by Jake Schneider teacher, that the girl’s school was enlarged with V. and VI. grade.  These two classes were trusted to the leading hand of Malvin Käs junior high school teacher.

The school board president, dr. Salamon Reichard, whose activity extended in every direction, was the initiator with the school board and the co-operation of Kálmán Weisz Chief Rabbi, the very significant activity in the reorganization of the religious studies for the Jewish students attending local High School.  And in order that the students not only know about religion, but participating in it as well, a religious service will be held every Saturday from the beginning of this school year.  The reform of teaching religious studies is not finished yet, but one of the results shows, that first time this year in the presence of the school board members a religious examination with excellent results took place, and it reflects the esteem of the High School religious instructor, Izrael Singer.

Before I am going to the present situation of the school, I report the following statement:

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The number of students of the Congregational

Public Primary School, existing since the year 1872.

Year Term No. of


Year Term No. of


1872/73 I. 213 1875/76 I. 267
II. 247 II. 289
1873/74 I. 186 1876/77 I. 259
II. 192 II. 262
1874/75 I. 196 1877/78 I. 229
II. 240 II. 268

After the half-yearly registration ceased:

Year Students Year Students Year Students Year Students
1878/79 262 1882/83 334 1886/87 343 1890/91 272
1879/80 235 1883/84 351 1887/88 271 1891/92 317
1880/81 249 1884/85 284 1888/89 297 1892/93 275
1881/82 259 1885/86 347 1889/90 282 1893/94 337
1894/95 259

The present situation.

The property of our school is, in all respect, a comfortable and purposefully built two-story building, where all rooms are 6-10 meter long, 6 meter wide and 3.6 meter high.  Bright and healthy class rooms.  All rooms have sufficient number of clothes racks, cupboards, teacher’s desk and table, benches with ink-pots.  This year two class rooms were furnished with new student benches and gradually all rooms will be provided with new benches.  The class rooms, with the exception of two, are upstairs.  On the ground floor, apart of these two class rooms, are rented shops.  On the left side of the wide courtyard is the apartment of the school concierge.

The school is well equipped for furthering the task of teaching and learning.  The approximate 400-volume teacher’s library has all the works needed by teachers to increase their knowledge in all fields of the education and science.  To mention the most noted works:

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The Mendelsohn Bible with German translation and Hebrew commentary.  The five books of Moses by Henrik Deutsch, with Hungarian translation and commenting notes.  Ben Zew: Ben Szira, with Hebrew commentary.  Rabbinowitz: Hebrew grammar.  H. Naftali Weszely: Hebrew grammar in Hebrew.  Kimchl: Hebrew grammar in Hebrew.  Maimonides: Milosz hahigojon with the commentary of Mendelsohn in Hebrew.  Janos Buxtorf: Liber cosri.  Sachs: Religious poems of the Jews in Spain.  Lipot Löw: The Jewish congress.  Felmeri: The handbook of the pedagogy.  Aron Kiss: The history of the Hungarian public education.  Pal Veredy: Encyclopaedia of the pedagogy.  Mocsi: Civil and moral education.  Aladar Molnar: Pedagogical studies in Switzerland and Bavaria.  Brassai: Logic.  Riecke: Educational studies.  Niemayer: Basic rules of education (3 volumes).  Barthel: School pedagogy.  Cortmann: Handbook of education.  Cortmann: Handbook of teaching.  Pestalozzi: Various writings (15 volumes).  Dr. Kieneke: The mother as educator.  The system of the Hungarian language (Publication of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).  Fogarassi-Czuczor: Dictionary of the Hungarian language (2 volumes, to A-H).  Toldy: Handbook of the Hungarian poetry (1 volume).  Dictionary of the Hungarian dialects (Publication of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).  Hetenyi: Hungarian Pantheon.  Dr. Szakacs: Biographies from Plutarch.  J.  G.  Galetti- Miksa Falk: University world geography.  Dr. Jozsef Szabo: Articles on mathematics and natural sciences.  Blair: Studies of rhetoric and aesthetics.  K.  Kiss: The last military campaign of Hunyady.  Hohenauer: The sons of Arpad.  Rolfus: Real encyclopaedia.  Humboldt: Cosmos.  (4 volumes).  Buchner: Handicraft and material.  Dr. Muller: Physics and meteorology.  Frigyes Korner: Illustrated pictures of Austria (3 volumes).  Brehm: The world of animals (3 volumes).  Kollar-Heckel: Pictorial natural sciences from three empires (2 volumes).  Potz: Handbook of comparative geography.  Bumuller: World history (2 volumes).  Fessler: History of Hungary (23 volumes).  From the gift of Kr. 400, given by dr. Vilmos Schon, the library bought the following books: Zsolt Beothy: The pictorial history of the Hungarian literature.  Sandor Erdody: The treasure house of the Hungarian poetry.  Bela Toth: From mouth to mouth.  Acsady: Encyclopaedia.  Szalay-Baroti: History of Hungary (100 brochures).  Ribary: World history.  Marczali: The history of modern age.  Lajos Kossuth: Memoirs.  Vambery: The origin of Hungarians.  Graetz: The history of Jews.  S.  Kohn:

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The history of Jews in Hungary.  S.  Kohn: Seventh Day Adventists.  Maimonides-dr. Klein: Instructions for aberrants.  Kayserling: Jewish women.  Makai: Jewish poets.  Lipot Löw: Speeches for synagogues.  dr. Perl: Contemporary sermons.  “The Hungarian Jewish Review” 1885-86-87, 1891-92-93 editions.  Library Hazsazs: (Pamphlets 1-20).  As the Girl School Grade V.  and VI.  was established this year, there was a small number of books in the library of the students, it will also be enlarged later.

The yearly salary of the four teachers (Sandor Knopfler, Jakab Schneider, Jozsef Wiener and Mor Schön) was, -over the amount of Ft. 50 for house rent, approved the previous year-, Ft. 700, 650, 550, and 500, the two female teachers (Maria Schorr and Gisella Klein) Ft. 450 and 350 with yearly Ft. 50 for house rent.  That year’s budget for the upkeep of the school was Ft. 5029, for this amount the tuition fees collected was Ft. 2600, the Kaesztenbaum Foundation paid Ft. 845, the rest was made up by the congregational and school taxes.

The school consists of four boys and the combined I-II., III-IV. boys grades and the combined V-VI. girls grades.  In the boys grades, apart from the year I., the alternate, in the girls grades the permanent class system is established.  The total number of students are 364, among them there are four non Jews.  Total or part tuition fee are paid by 260, exempted from any payment 101.  The Grade I. pays a quarterly tuition fee of Ft. 3, the II. 4, the III. 5, and the IV-V-VI. Ft. 6.  All poor school children are given clothing and books by the “Association of Tomche beth hasefer”, the “Association for soup kitchens” gives at winter time a cooked lunch.

Religious subjects are taught weekly in the boys school, in Grade I. 10 hours, in II. III. and IV. 9 hours, in the girls school in Grades I. -II. 6 hours, in III. – IV. 5 hours, in V. – VI. 4 hours.  General, non religious subjects are taught in boys Grade I. 18 hours, in Grade II., III., and IV. 19 hours, in the girls Grade I. – II.  22 hours, in III. – IV. 23 hours and V. – VI. 29 hours.  In the boys school the students learn general, non religious subjects in the morning, Hebrew subjects in the afternoon.  Boys have twice weekly gymnastic exercises in summer months in the school yard, the senior boys and girls grades have weekly one hour singing practices, the girls also study drawing.  The weekly holiday break is, apart from Saturday, is Sunday afternoon.

The general, non religious subjects are taught according to the teaching program issued by the Ministry of Religion and Public Education.  German reading and writing

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was taught in Grade II., the German language from Grade III.; in Grade V. and VI. of the girls school the French language was also a regular subject.  Religious instruction wasn’t a separate subject, neither in the boys, nor in the girls grades.  The subjects of the religious instruction are detailed in Appendix III.

In the school every Saturday and on religious holidays there was a youth religious service, at which every year a different teacher was appointed as guardian.  Members of the Congregation were invited to this religious service and when they were called up to the Torah, their offering was given for books presented as prizes at the final examinations, for ordering educational and other journals and for other school purposes.

The school board supervised the activities of the school, the board sent every week two different members to visit the school.  The school hasn’t got a permanent school principal, this position was filled by the teacher of Grade IV., who also represented all the teachers at the meetings of the school board.  The members of the school board are: Kalman Weisz, Chief Rabbi, congregational school supervisor, dr. Salamon Reichard, president, Albert Friedhaber, Jozsef Halasz, Fulop Haas, Frigyes Kun, the trustee of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, dr. Samuel Kellner, Adolf Lovy, dr. Jozsef Ligeti, dr. Bernat Rosenberg, school doctor, Mor Reichard jun., dr. Vilmos Schon, Mor Weinberger, supervisor of the Kaesztenbaum school and Bertalan Nemethy, secretary of the school board.


This history of our school bears witness to the excellent work of this institution in the field of education and the spreading of culture.  It carried its difficult task faithfully and spent six decades with blessed activities.  We believe that its sacred mission will continue and succeed in the future!

In our school during its 58 years existence ten thousand received the first basis of their education.  From these numbers the overwhelming majority work in the industry, commerce and agriculture, and a significant number held distinguished positions. – For example, simonyi Armin Schwarz, head of a large enterprise, who is well known in the professional world studied at our school.  In the field of literature, as journalists, are several who work with great success.  To mention: Erno Mezei, a brilliant publicist, the excellent main contributor of the “Egyetertes” (Harmony), Ignacz Preisner, the permanent contributor of the “Neues Pester Journal” (The New Pest Journal), dr. Mor Furedi, well known metropolitan

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lawyer and Alfred Kormos, editor of a journal.  There are large numbers of former students of our school, who are : medical practitioners (app.  fifty), lawyers (nearly thirty), and a smaller numbers of engineers; approximately forty work as state, county and private office clerks : dr. Gyula Havas, state school inspector of County Besztercze-Naszod, dr. Ernö Engels, district court judge, Retsag, dr. Miksa Zsolnay, secretary of Ministry of Justice, dr. Ignacz Bekessy, army regimental physician (ret. ), district medical officer, Nagy-Kallo, dr. Sandor Bollenstein, district medical officer, honorary county chief medical officer, (Petrozseny), dr. Hugo Schön, district medical officer, honorary county chief medical officer (S. -A. -Ujhely), dr. Zsigmond Frieder, district medical officer (Kiraly-Helmecz), Adolf Heller, county guardianship supervisor, Miksa Schön, deputy county archivist, dr. Lajos Reiner, head of life policies, “Fonciere” Insurance, Samuel Goldiener, head of transportation (Budapest), Lajos Szücs, state railway engineer (Budapest) etc.  Rabbis: dr. Ignacz Friedhaber, presently teacher of religion, Budapest, dr. Bernat Singer, Zala-Tapolcza.  Serving in the army: Gyula Bot, captain of the 20th battalion, Samuel Gálóczy, second lieutenant of the gendarmerie (Deés) and dr. Mano Friedlieber, army battalion medical officer (Budapest).

I have to mention also the following former pupils of the boys school, whose names I later found in the school registry, as I can not provide, even with of best intention, a full list.  *

Medical practitioners: dr. Jozsef Pál (Debreczen), dr. Vincze Klar (Debreczen), dr. Samuel Karman (Bpest), dr. Samuel Kertesz (Sasvár), dr. Jozsef Ligeti, dr. Alber Ligeti (Felegyhaza), Dr. Lajos Laszlo (Bpest), dr. Bela Litkei (Bpest), dr. Jeno Molnar (Kassa), dr. Ede Reiner (Bpest), dr. Bernat Roschberg, dr. Lajos Rosenberg (Miskolcz), dr. Lajos Rosenmayer (Frankfurt am Main), Dr. Mor Ronai (Bpest), dr. Arnold Szepessi town medical officer, dr. Ignacz Schwarcz district medical officer (Galszecs), dr. Ignacz Sipos (Miskolcz), dr. Armin Stern, dr. Mor Szollossi (Nvarad), dr. Bertalan Szücs (Györe, County Szabolcs), dr. Sandor Vilagi (T-lucz), dr. Armin Steiner, head of the Löw Sanatorium, Vienna, dr. Jeno Zinner (Nyiregyhaza).

Lawyers: dr. Mor Frieder (Szatmar), dr. Arnold Gal (Bpest), dr. Miksa Goldberger (Nagyvarad), dr. Jeno Landa (N-Becskerek), dr. Bernat Haas, dr. Frigyes Halasz (Bpest), dr. Pal Hartstein (Debreczen), dr. Samuel Keller, dr. Dezso Kemeny, dr. Galszecsi Mor Mezei, Member of Parliament (Budapest), who, at the age of 60 as the editor of the “Magyar Izraelita” (Hungarian Israelite), is the successful promoter of the Hungarian patriotism of our denomination

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* Where there is no mention of place of residence, the person is most likely to reside locally.

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and the organization of its internal affairs; dr. Sandor Mezei (Bpest), dr. Armin Berg, bank director, dr. Salamon Reichard, dr. Mano Reichard (Debreczen), dr. Armin Reichard, dr. Mor Kellner (Szeged), dr. Artur Szöllösi bank director, dr. Albert Szekely (Sümeg).

Merchants and in other occupations: Mor D. Abonyi restaurant keeper, Adolf Alter factory manager Leibomischl (Bohemia), Bernat Alter factory manager Vienna, Arthur Adler merchant Budapest, Adolf Burger contractor, Herman Burger merchant Bpest, Lajos Burger agent, Mor Bettelheim leaseholder, Marton Bettelheim wine merchant, Soma Bettelheim manager of insurance agency Sopron, Miksa Bettelheim customs officer, Ignacz Braun agent, Adolf and Lajos Blumenfeld produce merchants, Henrik Czinner produce merchant, Pal Dektenyi agent of a Bpest firm, Ignacz Deutsch coffee merchant, Bernat Felbermann merchant, Toni Frankel agent of a Vienna firm, Lajos Frankel merchant, Samuel Friedmann Homonna, Mor Friedrich merchant, Vilmos Friedrich coffee merchant, Mor Fuchs wine merchant Tolcsva, Miksa Fuchs lessee Kozma, Armin Fischer teacher Kisvarda, Jeno Fodor town clerk Sarosmalma, Herman Frisch restaurant keeper, Simon Grunbaum partner in “Mor Reichard and Son”, Salamon Guttmann merchant, Samuel Goldstein timber merchant Mikohaza, Mor Gal landowner Vily, Ignacz Grosz produce merchant, Isidor Grosz agent of a Vienna firm, Bernat Geiger B-Keresztur, Ignacz Gottlieb merchant, Ignacz Gottlieb wine merchant, Samuel Grunfeld county councillor, Lipot Goldberger merchant Bpest, Samu Grunzweig Bpest, Fulop Haas wine merchant, Armin Mocz merchant, Mano Halasz clerk Bpest, Arnold Hajos manager of Fonciere Insurance, Prague Bohemia, Adolf Haas wine merchant, Mor Haas wine merchant, Ede Kelner owner of “Jozsef Kelner and Son”, Ignacz Kelner Szatmar, Mor Kelner merchant and Fulop Kelner lessee Szatmar, Armin Kormos clerk, Lajos Klar merchant Nyiregyhaza, Zsigmond Klar lessee Nyiregyhaza, Jeno Kornstein merchant, Adolf Knopfler district notary N-Kovesd, Jonas Knopfler merchant Sarospatak, Mor Klein merchant, Pal Klein merchant, Soma Kantor agent of a Vienna firm, Gyula Klein merchant, Samuel Kellner police sergeant, Karoly Kabinszky railway store-keeper Arad, Ignacz Ligeti wine merchant, Mark Lowy book merchant Szatmar, Albert Laszlo book merchant Debreczen, Simon Low forester, Ferenc Lichtmann agent, Ignacz Lichtmann agent of a Bpest firm, Gyula Mezei owner of “Arvay and Partner” Bpest, Imre Marton merchant Bpest, M. Markovics lessee of large estate Gencsely, Mark Markovics Ungvar,

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Mor Molnar merchant Bpest, Mano Meisels secretary of insurance company Kassa, Gyula Mezei district notary Kizeto (County Temes), Bertalan Nemethy parish secretary, Ferencz Pollacsek lessee, Mor Pollacsek merchant Ruma, Armin Pollacsek merchant, Ignacz Polonyi merchant, Mor Reichard sen. owner of “Mor Reichard and Son”, Mark Reichard merchant, Ignacz Reichard independent means, Gyula Reichard sen. land owner, Gyula Reichard jun. merchant Vienna, Mark Reichard merchant Beregszasz, Mor Reichard chief accountant, Adolf Reichard merchant, Lajos Reichard partner of “Reichard and Son”, Samuel Rosenberg jeweler, Miksa Reiner book merchant Györ, Fulop Reichard merchant Csakvar, Denes Reichard bank officer, Armin Reichard merchant, Mano Reichard clerk Bpest, Armin Reichard merchant Bpest, Jenö Reichard merchant, Miksa Reichmann leaseholder, Bernat Rabinek merchant Paks, Jenö Rosenberg jeweler Vienna, Izidor Reismann lessee of large estate Palocz, Henrik Reismann lessee Galszecs, Vilmos Roth merchant, Salamon Roth merchant, Mor Roth merchant, Jozsef Roth lawyer candidate, Sandor Schon merchant, the president of Chamber of Commerce, Arnold Schon owner of mill, Mihaly Szel partner of “Halasi and Szel” Kisvarda, Ignacz Schweiger leaseholder, Mor Schweiger merchant, David Schweiger merchant Bpest, Aron Schweiger land registry clerk, David Spitz wine merchant, Mark Schwarz merchant, Jozsef Schwarz merchant Bpest, Armin and Mano Schwarz jewelers Bpest, Jeno Schwarz farm manager, Ignacz Schwarz coffee merchant, Gyula Schwarz railway clerk, Emil Schwarz jeweler Vienna, Mor Schon teacher, dr. Lajos Stern lawyer candidate, Lipot Singer merchant, Lajos Szekely merchant Bpest, Jakab Szekely merchant Veszprem, Laszlo Stern leaseholder K. -Hosszumezo, Etel Szollosi secretary of insurance company Miskolcz, Arnold Teich merchant, Vilmos Thomann merchant, Sandor Thomann medical doctor candidate, Lipot Waller person of independent means, Jozsef Waller merchant, Aladar Waller bank officer, Jakab Weinberger landholder, Lajos Weinberger merchant Szabadka, Majer Weinberger wine merchant, Armin Weinstein merchant Kassa, Lajos wine merchant Bpest, Ignacz wine merchant Bpest, Henrik Zinner bank director, Adolf Zinner merchant, Geza Zinner merchant K. -Helmecz.

The short history of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation.

It is necessary to describe a short history of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, because our school was established by this foundation and was maintained by it from the year 1838 till 1852 and since then the Kaesztenbaum Foundation contributed to the upkeep of the school,

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what more, from 1852 to 1872 by Ft. 600, from 1872 to 1887 Ft. 294, from 1887 to 1895 Ft. 740, since 1895 Ft. 845 was paid as subsidy by the Foundation.

As I mentioned before, Kaesztenbaum gave in his will Ft. 262,000, but, checking the amount available, was found that several bonds and securities were irrecoverable, so the secured amount of wealth was Ft. 159,048.51 only.  The County decided in 1832, that until the capital reaches the amount stipulated in the will, only half of the amount left for charitable purposes could be used.  The trustee nominated by Kaesztenbaum, Ferencz Richter county court judge, filled this position for 12 years (1833-44).  After his death was found an amount of 47,318.35 missing and to recover this amount his chattels and properties were seized.  The County therefore asked future chosen trustees to provide a security of Ft. 20,000, then they chose Antal Vass county court judge, who started his duties on the 1st January 1845.  At that time the Foundation had a wealth of 226,986.02, as an amount was added from the sale of the properties of the former trustee, so the deficit was Ft. 8,346.02 only.  In 1853 during the political repression Vass, the veteran of the constitutional struggle, was arrested and a Kassa court martial sentenced him to three years prison.  It was thought that Vass could be removed as trustee, but the auditing office decided, that due regard to his patriotic statement that a political offence does not preclude him for holding his office, as the will stipulated financial mismanagement as cause for dismissal.  Vass, who in his yearly financial reports showed the most conscientious management, was kept in his position.  Daniel Stenczel became the temporary substitute of Vass.  After Vass was released from jail, he resigned due his old age from his nearly 12 year, highly regarded position and he handed over to the new trustee, Mihaly Stepan, the amount of Ft. 269,331.17 as the wealth of the Foundation.  In 1858 the office of the Kassa Imperial Governor, with utter disregard to the national rights, attacked even this benevolent foundation and directed them to keep the financial records in German language and the Foundation should be controlled by the Imperial financial authorities.  The audit office bravely protested about the keeping of records in German, resulting in the decision, that everything remained as before, only the legal advisory role was given to the Kassa Imperial Legal Office, where all documents were sent.  Even this was abandoned in 1861.  In 1866, the váltóforint, (till now in this text: Ft. ) the present Hungarian currency

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was converted to Austrian forint (Ft. ) and thus the capital of the Foundation at that time was 122,090 new forint in Austrian currency.  In 1867 the newly established official Hungarian national government appointed Count Aladar Andrassy as Head of Administration of the County and he nominated Etele Matolay, his deputy, as the president of the audit office.  There aren’t any notable events in the next 10 years.  On the 22nd of December 1877 the auditors appointed temporarily, instead of Mihaly Stepan, Janos Hlavathy to the trustee position.  At that time the wealth of the Foundation was 122,652.17.  As the county wanted to appoint the trustee, the auditors appealed against this request in reference to the will, which stated that this appointment is in their jurisdiction.  The ministry accepted the auditor’s right, who, as Hlavathy relinquished his position, advertised the position of trustee, with a demand for a security of twenty thousand forint.  From the two applicants Frigyes Kun was chosen for this position on the 3rd of February 1880, who took over from his predecessor a wealth of Ft. 123,457.31.  Kun started to fulfill his duties with extreme zeal, so much so, that as the minutes of the 15th February 1882 audit office meeting says “ the financial situation of the Foundation improved due to the accuracy and diligence of the new trustee and has a very pleasing result, because in the last two years, despite having paid off some debts from previous years, the wealth of the foundation, according to examined financial records, increased by Ft. 2266. 51” . The wealth of the Foundation, according to the Year 1895 accounts, was Ft. 147,258.67.

The audit committee of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation has the following members this time: Etele Matolay Deputy head of County (president), Frigyes Kun trustee, Jenö Juhasz lawyer (legal representative of the Foundation), Jozsef Horvath honorary county notary (the notary of the auditors), Gyula Dakus county notary, Geza Gy. Dougo county auditor, Istvan Fejes member, county council, Tivadar Klein county purser, Istvan Mizsak county legal officer and Jozsef Bartos central district judge.

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I.  Appeal to the Jewish population of County Zemplén for the opening of the Junior Real High School.

“According to the principle, the education of a man should be in accordance with the circumstances of life, that he later will be able to participate in the growth of the society.  In this important new time, with its many ways of living, the higher Authorities, in aiming to reach a prestigious goal, ordered to set up a school for commercial and industrial occupations.

The Israelites belonged mostly to one class of the society, but since they achieved equal status with the other citizens, they eked out their existence in agriculture, commerce, trade and industry.  They tried at all times with the greatest enthusiasm to give the best education to their children.  This was manifested, when the community, either through a protector or a benefactor’s entitlement, decided to establish from their own means – in the 1852/3 school year – a complete Junior Real High School, combined with the already existing, Rafael Kaesztenbaum Jewish Primary School.

The Junior Real High School will be organized according to the instructions of the Kassa K. u. K (Imperial and Royal) District School Authorities, in the spirit of the publication of the highest K. u. K Ministry of Religion and Education “Outline of the organization of the Real Schools” (Entwurfes der Organisirung der Realschulen).  The Primary School however should be organized after the principle of “The system of elementary schools” (Systema scholarum elementarium) with consideration to the concurrent religious and local circumstances.

The enrolment will begin daily from the 24 September, between 2 to 3 in the afternoon, by a commission, delegated by the school authorities under the chairmanship of Director Anton von Lakner.  It will take place in the local school by the payment of the quarterly school tax.

The school will be open the first time this year on the 20th of October.

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The school management has to carry out obtaining competent personnel.  The result of their united effort should be to fulfill the requirements of the order of the highest authorities, in the spirit of the times, the fair desire of the interested for fostering the general well-being, national education and guarding of the true religiousness.

By the direction of the Jewish Junior Real High School combined with the Kaesztenbaum teaching institution in S.  a.  Ujhely, on the 15 September 1852.  Julius Weinberger.”

(Original text in German)

II.  The program of religious instructions for the 1872-73 school year.

  1. Boys grade.  a/Biblical tales for the awakening of morality and religiousness.  b/Hebrew reading, saying of blessings and the translation of shorter prayers.  c/From the Bible: Genesis, 1-17.  d/The Hebrew translation of objects in the school and in the family home, of the most used words in the life of children.
  2. Boys grade.  a/Biblical stories from the creation of the world till God’s revelation.  b/Translation of shorter prayers and Hebrew reading.  c/From the Bible: Genesis 17 to Exodus 10.  d/ The basis of Hebrew grammar, the most important rules of Nikud (study of reading), short review of the pronoun, noun and verb, shorter sentences in Hebrew and the necessary words for it.  e/Hebrew writing.

III. Boys grade.  a/Biblical stories from the revelations in the Sinai till the captivity in Babylon.  b/From the Bible: Exodus 10 till Leviticus 10.  c/Translation of longer prayers, the study of religion and morals.  d/Twenty chapters from Josuah and the judges.  e/Hebrew grammar: Continuation of Nikud, conjugation of verbs and pronouns, translation of grammatical exercises.

IV. Boys grade.  a/General review of the history of the Israelites till the latest time b/From the Bible: Moses, Books IV.  and V.  , revision of Books I-II-III.  50 chapters of Psalms.  c/Hebrew grammar: Systematic review of the Nikud with emphasis on the different verb types (slemim, chaszerim and nachim), translation of grammatical exercises, practice of penmanship and recital.

The girl grades studied the Hebrew reading, writing, biblical stories and translation of prayers, as in the boys grades.

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III.  The present program of religious instructions.

  1. Boys grade.  a/Hebrew reading.  b/Shorter prayers with Hungarian translation.  c/Different blessings (brochesz).
  2. Boys grade.  a/Biblical stories from the creation of the world till Joseph’s death.  b/Translation of the Bible: The first three szidra of Moses first book.  c/Fluent reading of Hebrew text: the main morning prayers, translation of prayers after meals and before bedtime, learning by heart the prayers of the daily religious services.

III. Boys grade.  a/Translation of the Bible: Moses second book, chapters 1-25.  b/Translation of main prayers on Saturday and New Moon.  The synagogical year.  Review of the days of feasts and fasts.  Rites of the synagogue.  c/Hebrew grammar: the main rules of Nikud (reading).

IV. Boys grade.  a/Translation of the Bible: Moses fourth book and 20 chapters from book V., explanation of their commandments.  b/Translation of rigolim and jomim norcim s’mone eszre.  c/Hebrew grammar: Conjugation of verbs (slemim) in present tense.  Conjugation of nouns in genitive case.  The proper use of vav and bachlam letters.  Vowels, the rules of dages.

The religious instruction in the girl school was the same as in the boys school, with the exception of the translation of the Bible and Hebrew language instructions.

*____________________________________________________________________________ *            *

As I already mentioned in the introduction to my task, I lived through most events of our school.  But I was able to create this work only with the greatest willingness and kindness of several people, who assisted in the hard and time consuming collection of facts. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for their kindness, as registering their names: Mor Stern, the former Headmaster of our Model High School, who gave an immense data to the history of the school, also dr. Vilmos Schön, Geza Dongo Gyarfas, the editor of “Zemplen”, Frigyes Kun, the trustee of the Kaesztenbaum Foundation, Ede Bodeczky, Chief County Archivist and Bertalan Nemethy, the Secretary of the Congregation.

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In handwriting:

Izrael Singer

retired teacher S.  A.  Ujhely

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