The Jews of Satoraljaujhely, Hungary (SAH)

This page contains additional information about the Jews of SAH by the translators of the Kaesztenbaum Iskola Book.

Jews of SAH (PDF)

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Facts and memories
about the history in the 20th century
of the Jewish community in Sátoraljaujhely
Prepared by:
Mrs. István Dankó (nee Márta Majnik)
retired high school teacher
17 Kazinczy u. Sátoraljaujhely
Hungary
Printed:
Városvédö és Szépitö Egyesület
Sátoraljaujhely 1994
The Society of the City Protection and Improvement.
Translated by:
Agi and Stephen Casey
Sydney, Australia
“Whoever is a Jew attracts shares of persecution, and the portions form
the whole totality”
Simon Wiesenthal
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Translators’ Explanation
The following text is the translation from Hungarian of a booklet
prepared by a retired school teacher, Mrs. István Dankó, who wanted to
chronicle the death of the Jewish community in her home town of
Sátoraljaujhely.
Sátoraljaujhely is a provincial capital in the west of Hungary, on the
border with Slovakia. Agi’s family is originally from the town (one of her
ancestors was the first Jewish mayor of the town, at the turn of the 20th
Century). The long name of the town translates into English roughly as
“The New Town under the Tent”. The Tent refers to the large tentshaped
hill at the edge of town.
We found this little booklet and had the honour of meeting Mrs. Dankó
while on a visit to Sátoraljaujhely in June 2004 with our immediate
family and with other relatives from the USA. An important reason for
our trip to the area was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the
deportation of Stephen’s parents from another part of Hungary to
Auschwitz and their subsequent murder.
We were so moved by the efforts of this wonderful woman to ensure that
the life and death of her friends was documented that we felt it deserved
broader distribution and so have decided to translate it into English and
make it available on the internet.
Note that throughout the text in square brackets with an asterisk [*] we
have put some additional comments which clarify facts and events for
readers who are not familiar with Hungary and her history.
Agi and Stephen Casey
Sydney, Australia
November 2004
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INTRODUCTION
I was born in 1921 in Sátoraljaujhely. The place and the time of my birth
determined that I lived alongside the Jewish community. Although I am a
Catholic I was brought up in a circle of Jewish friends.
The era was the 1920s and 1930s. At first there was a flourishing
economic situation, then widespread economic crisis, and in the later
years a nascent recovery. Intellectually, open mindedness was dominant.
After the fall of the Peoples’ Republic [*in 1919*] there were some anti-
Semitic movements, but that was soon followed by religious and racial
indifference, tolerance.
In the development of this atmosphere, the church schools played a
positive role. In the parochial school of the “Pious Fathers” not one of the
teachers discriminated against or put any Jewish boy at disadvantage.
Neither did the teachers give any aristocratic boy [*Christian*] an
advantageous position. From that period every student has a story of how
one or other teacher (Abelsberg, Kontraszti, Korcsiák) made an example
of the clever Jewish boy to the badly prepared young baron. In the
“Sisters of Mercy” convent school, the teachers behaved similarly. The
equality of treatment there explains the large number of Jewish students
in both establishments.
That situation lasted till the outbreak of the Second World War, when
even individuals started to turn Fascist, and more and more fell victim to
Arrow Cross [*Hungarian Nazi Party*] policy thinking.
The second determinant of the history is the location. A quick glance at
the map of Europe and it is clear that the way to the west from Galicia,
Poland and Russia is through the Hungarian Highland. So that is how
Munkács region and the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains come to be
inhabited with great number of Jews. Since the XIV century – in many
waves – a lot of Jewish family came to Zemplén county [*Sátoraljaujhely is
the capital of the county*].
Sátoraljaujhely, at the crossroads of highways and railways, was a focus of
commerce, particularly in wine, and there were strong judicial and health
institutions at the beginning of the 20th century. This created favourable
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conditions for Jewish commerce and intellectual life and a fitting
atmosphere for their settlement. This produced the liberal environment in
which I was raised along with my contemporaries, and which was so
drastically ended by the 1940s fascist trend.
Sátoraljaujhely, 20 May 1994
Mrs. István Dankó, nee Márta Majnik
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SHORT HISTORICAL REVIEW
Already from King Zsigmond’s time [*1385-1437*] we come across records
about Jewish immigration and settlement. Later the Turks were expelled
[*after 150 years of occupancy in 1686*] and Hungary lost a considerable
part of its population. The Jews, along with others, played a significant
role in populating the empty regions.
On the end of the 18th Century the statistical number of the Jews was
1.7% in the country, but in Zemplen county it was 3%. The reason was the
county’s geographic and economic position.
The owners of the land granted permission to settle, subject to different
conditions, or in return for different services. There was usually
patronage by a gentile and for a city dwelling there was a high price.
The Jews habitually lived in the same neighbourhood, partly for a feeling
of security in the community, but mostly because they needed a certain
number for their religious ceremonies, and they kept their traditions.
Those Jewish families were generally poor.
In Sátoraljaujhely the Jewish community grew with the town. In 1754 the
county hall was built, and the first synagogue was ready in 1791. Today it
is a museum, behind the old county hall.
In the time of József II [*1780-1790*] it was possible for the Jews to freely
change residence, it became possible to buy property. Elsewhere in the
country the Jews were mostly in commerce, but in Zemplén county they
started to buy vineyards, produce wine and sell it domestically and
abroad. In this area there were more Jews whose occupations were
agriculture, animal husbandry and transport, than anywhere else in the
country.
A few facts about the Jewish establishment
In 1781, the number of Jewish inhabitants in Zemplén county was 6,370,
they lived in 1,925 houses. In 1812 their number in the county was
15,000. The data of the 1881 census survives in Sátoraljaujhely, which
indicates that the total town population was 11,264 and among them
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3,892 Jews.
The oldest Jewish grave in Sátoraljaujhely is from 1760, but the engraving
is illegible.
In time of Jozsef II, Jews were required to take family names. It is
worthwhile reflecting on their choice of those names. Greater part, out of
reverence to the “Hatted King” [*Jozsef II liked to wear hats instead of
crown*] took up German-sounding family names. Often rhetorical, or
according to their physical build, there were names like Rosenberg,
Lõvenkopf, Blumenthal, Schwarz, Klein, Grosz, Frequently the Jewish
surnames end with “ics” or “vics” Kivovics, Davidovics, Markovics,
Iskovics, Moskovics, etc. Later Hungarian names appeared as well; Füredi,
Verö, Székely, Korányi, Mezei etc. These were the surnames they chose in
those times, before a later period in which they adopted new Hungarian
sounding names [*in the early 20th Century, many Hungarian Jews with
foreign-sounding surnames voluntarily chose new Hungarian surnames in
order to better assimilate*]
It has to be mentioned that a Jew from Zemplénagard took the name of
Hitler at the beginning of the 20th Century.
In the War of Independence [*1848*] 100 Jewish boys from
Sátoraljaujhely enlisted in the national home guard. That proves that
along with the Hercegkut and Károlyfalva [*neighbouring townships*]
Swabians [*people of Germanic descent*], the Jews also adopted the
Hungarian reform movement and actively defended it.
In Sátoraljaujhely, 40 years after the defeat in War of Independence two
veteran Jewish lieutenants, a corporal, and three infantrymen were still
alive. One of the infantry men in his old age was a destitute beggar.
After the War of Independence was defeated, the Austrian government
levied a war ransom on the Jewish population, which is further evidence
of their Hungarian nationalistic feelings.
RABBI TEITELBAUM.
One can not discuss the history of the Jewish community in Ujhely, [*the
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name Sátoraljaujhely is usually shortened to Ujhely*] and not recall the
character of Rabbi Teitelbaum.
The Hassidic movement – whose purpose was to strengthen Jewish identity
and control the rabbinical court – gained more and more ground. The
followers of the Hassidic movement complied strictly to the religious
rules, studied the Torah, at the same time the festivities were celebrated,
with songs, dancing and alcoholic beverages were not scorned.
One of their most famous rabbis was Moses Teitelbaum, who is regarded
today as a “miracle rabbi” (1759-1841). “Prophet Jeremiah’s soul lives in
him”- said his contemporaries. Far beyond the boundaries of the town
was he known and gave many sermons. His strict morals, sense of order,
prophetical capacity and undoubtedly highly cultured mind distinguished
him, far the best among the average rabbis.
In the town there is a legend that he cured the 9 year old Lajos Kossuth,
and predicted that this little boy would become a man of great
importance. [*Kossuth,1802-1894, became governor general in 1948, but
after the defeat in the War of Independence he had to go into exile and
died in Rodosto, Turkey*]
Rabbi Teitelbaum’s grave is even today an international site of pilgrimage.
Between the two world wars – from the second half of the twenties – on the
rabbi’s feast day, the Czechoslovakian border was opened, so that the
crossing for the Jewish pilgrims was more comfortable.
Today, every year in cars and buses, pilgrims come from Russia, Ukraine
and the USA to his striking memorial.
SCHOOLS.
It is worthwhile to mention the Jewish schools separately, as
Sátoraljaujhely lead the country in that respect.
When Ferenc Kazinczy [*1759-1831, the leading figure of Hungarian
language reform*] was school commissioner, there was a significant
expansion in the schools of the Highland and with them, the Jewish
schools also expanded. His motto was: “the whole nation has the right to
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the treasures of knowledge.”
In Ujhely, and even beyond the boundaries of the county, the
Kaestenbaum school was well known. Marton Kaestenbaum, was a selfmade
man. He was married twice, but he had no children. So he left his
fortune – 262,000 gold forints – for the establishment of a school [*for
Jewish children to learn Hungarian, and have the equal opportunity, to go
to higher education --- for a history of this school in English, see http://
www.geocities.com/dagreerga/Kaesztenbaum.html *] When the sheriff of
the county read out his will – according to witnesses – he was so touched
that his eyes were full of tears. He considered this prominent figure and
generous contributor to be a great example. So the Kaestenbaum school
came into existence, raised its standards slowly, grew in numbers, and for
106 years educated the Jewish children. Before the establishment of the
Kaestenbaum school, only the “cheder’ [*religious school*] was possible
for the Jewish children, where they learnt only Hebraic subjects [*in
Yiddish*].
Here I have to insert my personal remark. Even in my student years, it
was customary to say, about a pupil who crammed meaninglessly that “he
can only drone on in Hebrew”. We didn’t even know exactly what it
meant, but it expressed the essence of the fact that even the majority of
the Jewish children did not know the meaning of the Hebrew text, which
they had to memorise.
Previous to the Kaestenbaum school, the more rigorous or affluent
families who didn’t want to send their children to the religious cheder
school engaged private tutors for their children. It was a big step to open
the Kaestenbaum school. The school opened in 1838 with three teachers
and three classes. Only boys could attend. The lessons, from the
beginning, were conducted in Hungarian [*this was an important step in
the integration of Jews in Hungary who had previously been taught in
Yiddish*].
In 1847 they had big plans to develop the school but the state of war
thwarted the plans. [*The Hungarian War of Independence, 1848*]
In 1852 they enlarged the school, and it was operating from 1860-72 as
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“Royal Israelite Model school”. After 1872 it was under the direction of
the Jewish denomination.
I was able to make a study of the 1902-03 school reports. By then the
school had six classes, with 124 boys and 132 girls.
SUBJECTS of INSTRUCTIONS:
Hebrew reading, praying and biblical history in all classes
Hungarian reading, writing, grammar in all classes
German reading, writing from the III class
Mathematics in all classes
Geography in III class
History from IV class
Handicrafts
Gymnastics
Drawing
Singing
Analysing the subjects it can be ascertained that it used a demanding and
high level education method, which the teachers who where better than
average put into practice. One of them was Ignác Füredi, who translated
from French to Hungarian Rousseau’s Emile, and prepared a Hebrew-
Hungarian dictionary. Mozes Felmar could not have been a run-of-the-mill
teacher, as his students who later in the Second World War suffered the
pains of hell, even from the other side of the globe continue to remember
the teaching of this prominent man. Dr Vilmos Schön doctor, who was a
highly respected personality in the town, dedicated all his free time to the
school affairs, in addition to his medical practice. As the deputy principal,
he worked for a high level of training in the Hungarian language, not only
for the language itself but he also insisted in the “development of national
feelings”. This mentality raised the standards of the school so high, that
they were as strong as any institution in the country.
It is no wonder that this school has given the foundation to a number of
pupils, so they were able to obtain higher culture and higher education.
Here I have to mention another school, which belonged to the town, but
by all means had a prominent place in the local and neighbouring Jewish
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community, that is the Sátoraljaujhely Municipal School of Commerce. It
was founded in 1911, though there were already plans for it towards the
beginning of the century. The rule for the establishment of the school was
the following: “to provide general cultural education with practical
studies, to give a moral basis and knowledge to be able, after graduation,
to be a merchant or to enter in any clerical position in banking, in
industrial or agricultural enterprises.” This program was suited very well
to the developing Jewish society, in the town and throughout the county,
and so they enrolled their 15-16 year old sons in growing numbers. From
the first yearbook it can be ascertained that among the enrolled 50
students, two thirds was from Jewish origin.
Beside the boys’ School of Commerce, a course of commerce was
functioning for the girls (one year, later two years). There they trained
the first secretaries, shorthand writers, typists, and among them were a
great number of Jewish girls.
The Jewish community by the turn of the century was differentiated into
classes, socially as well as religion-wise. This showed even in their
appearance.
In Ujhely one could find the elegant, fashionable dressed, well-to-do,
educated Jews, as well as families who wear ritual hair locks, ritual clothes
and often were in want of culture.
In the town and in the county we find three separate groups of Jewish
communities:
The Hassidic congregation, whose members wore ancient attire,
was very strict in religious laws. They didn’t communicate with
anyone outside their community.
The Orthodox, who already made the first step to assimilation.
They keep the religious laws, keep the Saturday as holiday, dress
themselves in a modern way, and speak Hungarian well, but at
home in the family they use Yiddish.
The status-quo (who wanted to keep the present situation)
congregation is the largest. Most and the very best of the
solicitors, doctors, financiers, and businessman in the town are
from that community. Their cultural demand is well developed,
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so they are in the theatrical societies, musical assemblies, cultural
organisations, and they buy the greatest number of newspapers
and books in town.
The split between the Orthodox and status-quo communities was about
1870. The Orthodox demanded autonomous congregations, while some of
the congregation wanted to continue the liberalistion that was the present
situation, (hence the name of “status-quo”) and live accordingly. The
father of that intellectual freedom was Jeremy Löw the Rabbi of Ujhely.
The orthodox and status-quo split was not only in religious matters, but
they also broke from each other socially and economically. In the town
both had separate synagogues, schools, bathhouses. The people from the
surrounding villages as a rule, followed the Orthodox tendencies.
THE TOWN’S SOCIETY AND THE ROLE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY FROM
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY.
In the age of the developing capitalist society, our town was the county
seat with an advanced state of industry and widespread commercial
activity. The civil service and the courts attracted the newly impoverished
former landed gentry [*Christians*], who in large numbers had lost their
lands, while the civilised Jewish merchants, doctors, and lawyers
determined the social conditions.
Around the turn of the century different organisations like trade guilds,
scientific societies, relief funds, youth and ladies clubs established
themselves in significant numbers.
One part of the Jewish organisations definitely detached themselves and
perpetuated a separate Jewish identity, but the other part blended in the
town and county’s organisations.
In the first group is the “Status-Quo Jewish Association” whose purpose is
to establish and protect the usage of the ritual bath, the kosher butcher
and other religious institutions. Similarly the “Jewish Women Club”, with
only Jewish members, established in 1888, whose aim is to help the needy
Jewish women.
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The following two Jewish social association aims were very noble. First
“The Relief Fund for Poor Jewish School Children” helped the needy and
worthy with school equipment, and with clothing. Their only purpose was
to promote interest in education. Second, “The Chevra Khadisha Nursing
and Funeral Organisation”, whose aims were to attend those who need
nursing, give assistance to the people who require help, visit those who
suffer, bury the dead and uphold religious ceremonies.
We also find Jewish citizens in all the other non religious gatherings in
town. For example, the Fire Brigade, the Winegrowers Association, and in
all sort of industrial associations etc. In particular they played a big role
in The Industrial and Commercial Youth Society and Sick Relief Fund
whose members, and board of directors were mostly Jewish youth. Their
functions were beneficial, contributed to cultured entertainment, and if
needed, for charitable proposes.
It is very interesting to note and indicative of the character of this town
that even the president of the hunting club was a Jew. And so was the
chief medical officer, Dr. Lörinc Löcherer.
It is also worth mentioning the great number of mixed marriages. I am not
thinking about that well-known cliché of the novels, the marriage of
convenience between the children of impoverished gentry and the rich
Jew. Instead it was simply the reality that young people who lived close by
listened to their heart and chose their partner for life without concern for
each others’ religion. From the 1930s it became more usual that the
Jewish partner converted to Christianity, but even at that time the basis of
their union was the affection which drew them toward each other. Several
of their descendants – who considering the Nazi-era laws are only 50%
Aryan – still live in Ujhely.
Jewish society in the town also contributed its share in the First World
War: 150 Jewish boys went to war, among them 36 died a hero’s death.
Naturally, the Jewish merchant took advantage of favourable wartime
commercial conditions, as the state of war had an adverse effect on the
Polish wine trade.
We came across the first anti-Semitic movement in July 1918: police
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raided the synagogue, supposedly looking for deserters, but they could
not find any, so they beat up the people who were praying there. On 30
July the next police raid on the trains, where everybody with a beard was
arrested. On 3rd of August a deputation consisting of Jews and non-Jews
went to the high sheriff of the county and to Wekerle, the prime minister
to complain about the atrocities, and indicated that this sort of behaviour
would have an adverse effect on commerce, especially the wine trade.
Wekerle was outraged and promised urgent measures, even more so as
the London Times published an article about the anti-Semitic occurrences.
These events were the harbingers of the dark shadows of the future,
though supposedly the reason was that they were looking for some people
who were illegally crossing the border from Galicia.
The local Jewish citizens also took part in the eventful period of the
Frostflower Revolution and the Hungarian-Soviet Republic [*in 1918, at
the end of First World War, a peaceful revolution installed a democratic
republic; in 1919 this was overthrown by a communist republic which
instituted a “red terror*]. The local leader of the communist dictatorship,
Károly Csuta was a Christian, and the greatest number among the people
who where later executed as a consequence of their participation in those
events were Christians. But the leading personality of the events was Ernö
Bettelheim Bólyai [*a Jew*], and Harry Kroó [*a Jew*] also played a
leading role as he was a commissar. Both left Ujhely, Bettelheim went to
Budapest in the spring of 1919, and Kroó left for Czechoslovakia and
subsequently to Israel just before the collapse of the Republic. The foreign
occupation [*Czechoslovakia occupied that part of Hungary*] put an end
to the communist republic. The subsequent White Terror [*instituted by
new right-wing Hungarian regime*] did not have any great significance for
the Jewish population and it was not worse here than elsewhere. Only
those Jews who had an active role in the communist republic were subject
to harassment.
Between the two world wars, the changes in commercial life firmly
impacted on the life of the local Jewish community. After the Trianon
Agreement [*the peace treaty that ended World War I and created new
borders, including one between Hungary and Czechoslovakia which went
through Ujhely and split off one of the town’s neighborhoods*] there were
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commercial difficulties and foreign trade problems, but the Jews were able
and willing to help. The vine merchants established a Wine Exchange in
the Central Cafe.
In 1920s came the first “numerus clasus” [*laws which restricted the
number of Jews in the universities*]. From Zemplen county, only 6% of
Jewish students were allowed to enter universities [*as that was the
situation in the country as 6% of the population of Hungary was Jewish*].
Then, for the first time the Jewish boys started to go to foreign
universities. Also the Zionist movement started in those years, which was
popular mostly among the young.
In those years the Jewish hospital in Sátoraljaujhely had wide-ranging
activities. It is not by chance, because their eminent doctors attracted
patients even from outside the county. To name just two: Dr. Lászlo
Székely surgeon, and Dr Sándor Zinner internal specialist. The hospital
was where the health centre is now, opposite the present day hospital.
During the war it was destroyed with a bomb, and the ruins were
demolished.
In those decades a prominent personality in town was Samuel Roth, a
rabbi whose tall Apponyi-bearded stature [*Apponyi was the Hungarian
Prime Minister*] had great prestige even in anti-Semitic circles.
In year 1929, the Depression was felt in our town too, with significant
industrial and commercial stagnation, and unemployment. A number of
Jewish businessmen became bankrupt and they tried to avoid total ruin
by transferring the shop on the name of their spouse. According to the
law at that time, spouse’s property could not be forfeited. On the
signboards everywhere one could spot the new “Mrs.” sign. A humorist
gave the town a new name Mrs. Sátoraljaujhely. [*in Hungarian it sounds
simpler as it becomes one word “Sátoraljaujhelyné”*]
Unemployment is a good breeding ground for anti-Semitism. All over the
country, politicians took positions more sympathetic to German policies,
and that trend came to our town as well.
When the Second World War came our town no longer had its old liberal
spirit. In 1941 they passed the first “Jewish Law”, [* Jews could occupy
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only 6% in any public employment, banking, theatre, music etc*] and the
first summons for forced labour service were issued. In Garany (north
from the town, today Slovakia) they established the first interment camp.
There was even a joke that “Silence is golden; to speak means Garany!”
[*in Hungarian gold, arany, rhymes with Garany*]
It is interesting to note that Jews and Christians adapted to the new anti-
Jewish law with little disagreement. The Christians, mainly the young
ones, had been fed up with the international economic crisis and
unemployment, and now they sat happily in one or other of the Jewish
shops, in the banks in the place of the Jewish clerks, or they took over the
Jewish vineyards and wine cellars. In the Jewish community in the
meantime, the general opinion was that if they observed the law, no
further harm would befall them.
In 1941 came the first call-up for forced labour for the younger men.
They took them to Ukraine. In the coming years increasingly older men
were called up. Numerous diaries and personal statements give us a full
account of life in forced labour, those dreadful experiences and bitter
fates, and about those tragic episodes I do not want to dwell on now.
These events all took place outside our town and unfortunately many
people from Ujhely were involved.
The German occupation in March 1944 brought its tragic consequences to
our town too. One remarkable occurrence was the famous jailbreak [*in
the chaos of the occupation the prisoners tried to escape and were shot*],
which impacted the Jewish population as well, but did not give
expressions to their consternation. In a paralysed state they were waiting
for the events to unfold. Characteristic to their profound belief in God
that most of them manifest their emotion by saying, “it is impossible that
God would not protect us.”
By that time the possessions of the Jews were seized, mainly the shops,
the vineyards, the cellars. In the town, they took hostages to prevent
disturbances, Dr Zinner, Dr Safir and Dr Scweiger were the hostages.
Prohibitory and restrictive bulletins appeared continuously: the Jews
could go out only at certain hours; could shop in certain places, and they
were obliged to hand in their valuables.
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By now it was compulsory to wear the yellow star [*from 4th of April 1944
every Jew had to wear a prominent yellow star, sewn on their outside
garment *]. That meant an incredible emotional blow, mostly to the
elderly, as all their life they considered themselves as equal and respected
citizens, but now they suffered public humiliation.
On 15th of April they started to establish the ghetto. It was delineated by
the streets currently known as Rákoczi-Szigeti-Virág-Wörösmarty-Posta
köz- Dózsa György- Aradi Vértanuk-Árpád-Kisfaludy-Kölcsey-Zápolya-
Munkácsi. They started the process of moving in the Jews, not only from
the town, but from the whole county as well. Under other circumstances,
the administrative authority of our town always waited for orders from
superiors, but now it displayed its independence, by not waiting for those
orders and ignoring exemptions to the requirement to move to the
ghettos, such as for those with a medal for courage in the First World War,
or because they occupied a prominent post in the Slovakian-Hungarian
affairs, etc. They took those people to the ghetto too. There were some
incidents as Ella Hajos, a clerk, took her own life as she could not face the
horrors of the future.
The whole resettlement took place in four days. In that short period they
found time to organise a special auction of the animals which had
belonged to the Jews, as they could not let the animals suffer hunger,
unlike the human beings…
They took care of the harmless lunatics too, those who were not a public
danger: they moved them in the ghetto. The conditions there were
crowded and there was a danger of epidemic infection. To handle this
infection was entrusted to the Jewish doctors in the ghetto. Josef Azary-
Piroda, the chief town clerk, proposed to the higher authorities, to
transfer the Jews, as those crammed conditions were a centre of infection
and could spread to the town. The proposal was accepted…
The bureaucratic machine ground on even in this tragic situation: the
town office asked the county office whether they should provisionally or
permanently stop the Jewish pensions. History has given the answer, with
the adverse outcome that for most of the elderly it was a permanent
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situation.
It took them from 16 May to 1 June 1944 to transport the Jews. In the
ghetto the situation was so terrible, so cramped and the privations so
unbearable that consequently the Jews went of their own accord, without
resistance towards the wagons, figuring that whatever happened could not
be worse than they had already endured.
First they assembled the people who were destined for deportation in the
synagogue. They checked their parcels and took any small hidden
valuables, occasionally in the course of these searches they beat the Jews.
The loading in wagons happened on the “small station” (today Nové
Mesto in Slovakia). The destination was Auschwitz and Birkenau [*Nazi
death camps in Poland*]. They loaded 80 people in a cattle truck and by
June not one Jew was left in Ujhely, a situation which had never occurred
since the town had been established.
The previous sentence notwithstanding, there were some Jews left. One of
their trustworthy employees walled in the Izsáks, the baker and his
family, in their own attic. This man fed them and looked after all four
members of the family until the Russian troops arrived in December. The
parents have died by now, but as far as I know one son lives in Budapest
and the other in Israel. There is talk of a similar occurrence in Tolcsva,
where a whole family was hidden in a gigantic concrete barrel, but I was
not able to substantiate that.
Now the hunt for Jewish assets started. Some were given – from the owner
to a trusted person – for safe keeping, but much was unlawfully
appropriated: people moved into the furnished flats, took over the
vineyards, the wine cellars. I have to mention here that the assets which
were given for safe keeping – sometimes very valuable – were only partly
accepted for noble reasons, and some people escaped with them to
Austria or Germany. But there were instances where the objects were
really kept safe with the people who were entrusted with, they were
handed back, if there were anybody alive to whom it belonged. Those
trusted persons were primary the cooks, who served in the Jewish family.
Much has been written about the horrors of the camps. All the mental and
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corporal torments have been chronicled by some of the survivors. For this
reason I do not want to go in details, giving only the recollection of some
of the survivors from Ujhely.
Mr. Miklós Vértes-Weisz describes, first the dreadful journey to Birkenau.
There, he was engaged in road building, then he had to carry corpses,
finally as a watchmaker, he assembled explosives, – despite the ever
constant danger of detonation he was at last working inside – and received
minimal food. He was there until April 1945, when the Russian army
reached them.
Mr. Benjámin Eisenberg from Ujhely, who lives now in Ottawa tells us the
following touching story: one of his fellow prisoners fled the SS soldiers
looking for him to execute him, but then Mr. Hirsch, the rabbi from
Ujhely presented himself and said they should put him to death instead of
the escapee, as he was already old. And they executed him…
But, we have heard stories to the contrary too, as people react differently
in the shadow of death. There were men, even women, who for the
slightest privilege, such as a few morsels of food, betrayed their fellow
sufferers, disclosed their covert valuables, or made known their escape
plans. I know about someone who is alive, but has not dared to come back
to Ujhely, as he is afraid of the just revenge of his co-religionists.
The prisoners who came back to Ujhely from Auschwitz remember the
image of SS solders who announced that anybody who ate on the day of
Atonement [*a day on which Jews traditionally fast*] would receive a
double portion and a glass of beer. But nobody was eating! On the other
hand an elderly German solder occasionally gave to one or other prisoner
a biscuit, or a piece of bread with margarine.
At a rough guess, 1,200 Jewish citizens from Ujhely perished in the hell of
those concentration camps. In the new Jewish cemetery a humble
gravestone commemorates their memory, but the painful remembrance of
them will live for many of us in our heart until we die.
According to Mr. Imre Szamek, who is a resident here, 250 Jews came
back to Ujhely from the concentration camps, but this number includes
people from the neighbouring countryside as well. The people from the
19
forced labour camps came back in relatively larger numbers. In a sense it
is understandable, as although they were there in the inhuman conditions
longer, they were generally young, healthy men who could endure more
than the old, the women, and the children in the concentration camps.
After 1945, the life of the Jewish community moved in contrasting
directions. In the first two years, the people who returned started with a
great urge to rebuild their old lives. Frequently were the new marriages,
as there very few families where both of the spouses came back. Lots of
little photographs were in the homes of these new families, in
remembrance of the perished children. They found employment and
started working. I have not any knowledge of personal vendetta in Ujhely,
partly because of the presence of the Russian army, but partly because
the leaders who brought in the spiteful merciless measures of the war
years left with the German army, and never returned. In 1946 an Arrow
Cross guard was hanged in the prison court, after the judicial hearing
found him guilty.
The decisive year [*1948, the year when the pro-Soviets came to absolute
power*] brought sudden changes in our town too. The county of Zemplen
was abolished, they took all the establishments, like county hall, schoolinspectors
office, administration of inland revenues, state constructing
management and moved them to Miskolc. That meant that hundreds of
people had to endure every day twice the 80 km journey, and certainly
not in the best of conditions.
With the never before experienced hermetically closed Czechoslovak
border, the town regressed more and more. Building activities, industrial
developments were non existent, professional organisations gone, the
aggressive farmers’ co-operative movements destroyed the agriculture.
Satoraljaujhely became a ghost town, and was even put on an official list
of towns that would be allowed to wither.
The returned local Jewish community sensed those circumstances and
responded accordingly. Many of them emigrated, they went to the USA,
Canada, Central and South America, Israel. At one time so many people
lived in Caracas from Ujhely, that the local indestructible humour
20
suggested that Caracas be incorporated as a sister city.
A number of people went to live in Miskolc or Budapest. The Jews who
stayed were mostly elderly married couples, some shop owners, or bank
clerks. Any exact information of those particular years cannot be
obtained, considering that by then not even the census was useful, as for
example, the column for “religion” was totally missing.
Once more, 1956 [*the year of the popular uprising against the pro-Soviet
government*] had an effect on the life of the Jewish community. In Ujhely
at the uprising that community, small in numbers and advanced in years,
did not participate, instead they kept their distance from the events of
that year. I met and often exchanged views in those days with my
husband’s friend Mátyás Löw-Lévai, who was a photographer by trade.
During the war he lived in Israel, but after the war he came back to settle
in Ujhely. He remarried, had a child, and managed the tobacco shop. In
1957 he emigrated again, went back to Israel. His motivation for that
decision was his general impression that the slightest antagonism entails a
fresh rise of anti-Semitism. After all he said and despite the decision he
made, he never really felt that Israel was his country. To his very last days
he fought against homesickness. Nevertheless, he decided that time that
he could only feel secure among his own people and left his native land to
settle in Israel with his family. Until his death he sent fabulous
photographs, which he had taken, mainly portraits from Israel, and yet
between every line, I could see his nostalgia, his displaced status.
And a lot of others, the middle-aged intellectuals and businessmen
followed the exodus after 1956 and left Ujhely for the same reasons.
In the seventies, we witnessed the start of a nostalgic return home for a
visit, and to look for old friends and seek memories. The visitors are
typically first generations who do not feel home neither there nor here.
There are hardly any Jews left in Ujhely. The latest I have seen were the
Menczel couple, who were promenading Saturday morning on the main
street, as once upon a time was the practice of the hundreds of Jewish
inhabitants in Ujhely.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION TODAY?
21
In Sátoraljaujhely currently there are 11 individuals who adhere
themselves to the stern Saturday rules. They are 4 men and 7 widows.
They could not in fact keep to the demanding rules, as they need 11 [*this
must be a printing error as it needs 10*] men for services. So for New
Year’s celebration they bring along men from outside to be able to
celebrate the festivities properly.
Mr. Lipot Klein from Budapest is acting on their behalf, he is the one who
is helping in all religious matters, and his deputy in Ujhely is Mrs. Ödön
Rosenberg. This is the first year [*1993*] that they have not a reader, as
the older ones have died, and none of the younger ones are familiar with
the ordinance of the faith.
Typical is the fate of the widow Mrs. Gottlieb nee Lea Friedman, who
supplied me with the particulars that I needed. She was a manager in a
shop, today she is a pensioner, who lives with her ailing son in their
family home. She, as so many local Jewish girls attended the higher
elementary public school where the teachers, characteristically did not
discriminate between Jewish or Catholic children. On the whole that was
the custom in the other schools as well. After so many years of sufferings,
she still speaks with affection about some of her teachers (Mrs. Ida Jozsa,
Mrs. Jozsa nee Sára Tarnovszki) who brought with devotion the view that
little county girls should be imbued with high cultural values.
In her report on the situation of today she speaks with bitterness. “In a
few short years it is impossible to eliminate anti-Semitism from peoples’
hearts and minds,” they were her words. Even today she feels stigmatised,
not only because of the effect of her Auschwitz number on her forearm,
but socially as well. To this naturally contributes her personal strokes of
fate and feelings of isolation.
POSTSCRIPT from the author.
The purpose of my work was to demonstrate the life of the Jewish
community of Sátoraljauhely. There is hardly anyone of that community
in the town now, however occasionally we find anti-Semitism, mainly
among those youngsters who have never met any Jewish person.
22
Fortunately that is not widespread.
I feel that, just like disappearing trades and folk art should be preserved
for posterity, small town liberal sentiments, such as Jewish and Christian
coexistence, also deserve to be remembered.
POSTSCRIPT from the translators
You may have the feeling that the English text is not perfectly correct. Yes,
you are right. There are different reasons.
First we wanted to give a true picture of that period. Then we wanted to
reflect the true feelings of that noble Christian lady who wrote this
booklet in her seventies and so movingly states, among other things, “in
the new Jewish cemetery a humble gravestone commemorates their
memory, but the painful remembrance of them will live for many of us in
our hearts until we die”. We tried hard to translate it word by word, to
render it how she wanted to tell her story. Last but not least, English is
not our mother tongue. Our younger son, John, looked over our
grammatical mistakes and helped all the way in preparing this work.
At the end of the publication Mrs. Dankó put a list of notable Jewish exresidents.
We have not translated the full details she has given about each
of them, but to keep the spirit of the publication and to place their names
on the record, we have listed them below. Some of them were born there,
some of them lived there, but all of them contributed to the high
standards of this town.
Agi’s grandfather lived in Budapest and she was born there, but
she will never forget the stories he lovingly told about Ujhely.
Those memories inspired us to translate this book and to take
the liberty of adding some Reichards, Agi’s original family
name, to Mrs. Dankó’s list of notables. Our additions are
marked with *.
Ernö Bólyai (Bettelheim): lawyer, political activist, translator
Jakab Erényi: journalist
23
Ignác Friedlieber: Rabbi, author of religious books
Mór Füredi: legal reporter
Sándor Knopfler: teacher at Kaestenbaum School, author of
textbooks
Alfred Kormos (Klein): president of Apollo Printing Co.
Mátyás Kronovitz, union organizer
Árpád Latabár, actor
Ernö Mezei, journalist,
Bernát Singer, Rabbi
Miklós Szépkuti, writer
Mozes Teitelbaum, “The Miracle Rabbi”
Arnold Vér: journalist, translator
Herman Weisz: doctor
Mor Weisz: Rabbi
Salamon Reichard: lawyer, mayor of Sátoraljaujhely*
Piroska Reichard: poet*
József Reichard and Nándor Zinner: orthopedic surgeons*
Zsigmond Reichard: judge*
24

Facts and memoriesabout the history in the 20th centuryof the Jewish community in SátoraljaujhelyPrepared by:Mrs. István Dankó (nee Márta Majnik)retired high school teacher17 Kazinczy u. SátoraljaujhelyHungaryPrinted:Városvédö és Szépitö EgyesületSátoraljaujhely 1994The Society of the City Protection and Improvement.Translated by:Agi and Stephen CaseySydney, Australia“Whoever is a Jew attracts shares of persecution, and the portions formthe whole totality”Simon Wiesenthal2Translators’ ExplanationThe following text is the translation from Hungarian of a bookletprepared by a retired school teacher, Mrs. István Dankó, who wanted tochronicle the death of the Jewish community in her home town ofSátoraljaujhely.Sátoraljaujhely is a provincial capital in the west of Hungary, on theborder with Slovakia. Agi’s family is originally from the town (one of herancestors was the first Jewish mayor of the town, at the turn of the 20thCentury). The long name of the town translates into English roughly as“The New Town under the Tent”. The Tent refers to the large tentshapedhill at the edge of town.We found this little booklet and had the honour of meeting Mrs. Dankówhile on a visit to Sátoraljaujhely in June 2004 with our immediatefamily and with other relatives from the USA. An important reason forour trip to the area was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of thedeportation of Stephen’s parents from another part of Hungary toAuschwitz and their subsequent murder.We were so moved by the efforts of this wonderful woman to ensure thatthe life and death of her friends was documented that we felt it deservedbroader distribution and so have decided to translate it into English andmake it available on the internet.Note that throughout the text in square brackets with an asterisk [*] wehave put some additional comments which clarify facts and events forreaders who are not familiar with Hungary and her history.Agi and Stephen CaseySydney, AustraliaNovember 20043INTRODUCTIONI was born in 1921 in Sátoraljaujhely. The place and the time of my birthdetermined that I lived alongside the Jewish community. Although I am aCatholic I was brought up in a circle of Jewish friends.The era was the 1920s and 1930s. At first there was a flourishingeconomic situation, then widespread economic crisis, and in the lateryears a nascent recovery. Intellectually, open mindedness was dominant.After the fall of the Peoples’ Republic [*in 1919*] there were some anti-Semitic movements, but that was soon followed by religious and racialindifference, tolerance.In the development of this atmosphere, the church schools played apositive role. In the parochial school of the “Pious Fathers” not one of theteachers discriminated against or put any Jewish boy at disadvantage.Neither did the teachers give any aristocratic boy [*Christian*] anadvantageous position. From that period every student has a story of howone or other teacher (Abelsberg, Kontraszti, Korcsiák) made an exampleof the clever Jewish boy to the badly prepared young baron. In the“Sisters of Mercy” convent school, the teachers behaved similarly. Theequality of treatment there explains the large number of Jewish studentsin both establishments.That situation lasted till the outbreak of the Second World War, wheneven individuals started to turn Fascist, and more and more fell victim toArrow Cross [*Hungarian Nazi Party*] policy thinking.The second determinant of the history is the location. A quick glance atthe map of Europe and it is clear that the way to the west from Galicia,Poland and Russia is through the Hungarian Highland. So that is howMunkács region and the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains come to beinhabited with great number of Jews. Since the XIV century – in manywaves – a lot of Jewish family came to Zemplén county [*Sátoraljaujhely isthe capital of the county*].Sátoraljaujhely, at the crossroads of highways and railways, was a focus ofcommerce, particularly in wine, and there were strong judicial and healthinstitutions at the beginning of the 20th century. This created favourable4conditions for Jewish commerce and intellectual life and a fittingatmosphere for their settlement. This produced the liberal environment inwhich I was raised along with my contemporaries, and which was sodrastically ended by the 1940s fascist trend.Sátoraljaujhely, 20 May 1994Mrs. István Dankó, nee Márta Majnik5SHORT HISTORICAL REVIEWAlready from King Zsigmond’s time [*1385-1437*] we come across recordsabout Jewish immigration and settlement. Later the Turks were expelled[*after 150 years of occupancy in 1686*] and Hungary lost a considerablepart of its population. The Jews, along with others, played a significantrole in populating the empty regions.On the end of the 18th Century the statistical number of the Jews was1.7% in the country, but in Zemplen county it was 3%. The reason was thecounty’s geographic and economic position.The owners of the land granted permission to settle, subject to differentconditions, or in return for different services. There was usuallypatronage by a gentile and for a city dwelling there was a high price.The Jews habitually lived in the same neighbourhood, partly for a feelingof security in the community, but mostly because they needed a certainnumber for their religious ceremonies, and they kept their traditions.Those Jewish families were generally poor.In Sátoraljaujhely the Jewish community grew with the town. In 1754 thecounty hall was built, and the first synagogue was ready in 1791. Today itis a museum, behind the old county hall.In the time of József II [*1780-1790*] it was possible for the Jews to freelychange residence, it became possible to buy property. Elsewhere in thecountry the Jews were mostly in commerce, but in Zemplén county theystarted to buy vineyards, produce wine and sell it domestically andabroad. In this area there were more Jews whose occupations wereagriculture, animal husbandry and transport, than anywhere else in thecountry.A few facts about the Jewish establishmentIn 1781, the number of Jewish inhabitants in Zemplén county was 6,370,they lived in 1,925 houses. In 1812 their number in the county was15,000. The data of the 1881 census survives in Sátoraljaujhely, whichindicates that the total town population was 11,264 and among them63,892 Jews.The oldest Jewish grave in Sátoraljaujhely is from 1760, but the engravingis illegible.In time of Jozsef II, Jews were required to take family names. It isworthwhile reflecting on their choice of those names. Greater part, out ofreverence to the “Hatted King” [*Jozsef II liked to wear hats instead ofcrown*] took up German-sounding family names. Often rhetorical, oraccording to their physical build, there were names like Rosenberg,Lõvenkopf, Blumenthal, Schwarz, Klein, Grosz, Frequently the Jewishsurnames end with “ics” or “vics” Kivovics, Davidovics, Markovics,Iskovics, Moskovics, etc. Later Hungarian names appeared as well; Füredi,Verö, Székely, Korányi, Mezei etc. These were the surnames they chose inthose times, before a later period in which they adopted new Hungariansounding names [*in the early 20th Century, many Hungarian Jews withforeign-sounding surnames voluntarily chose new Hungarian surnames inorder to better assimilate*]It has to be mentioned that a Jew from Zemplénagard took the name ofHitler at the beginning of the 20th Century.In the War of Independence [*1848*] 100 Jewish boys fromSátoraljaujhely enlisted in the national home guard. That proves thatalong with the Hercegkut and Károlyfalva [*neighbouring townships*]Swabians [*people of Germanic descent*], the Jews also adopted theHungarian reform movement and actively defended it.In Sátoraljaujhely, 40 years after the defeat in War of Independence twoveteran Jewish lieutenants, a corporal, and three infantrymen were stillalive. One of the infantry men in his old age was a destitute beggar.After the War of Independence was defeated, the Austrian governmentlevied a war ransom on the Jewish population, which is further evidenceof their Hungarian nationalistic feelings.RABBI TEITELBAUM.One can not discuss the history of the Jewish community in Ujhely, [*the7name Sátoraljaujhely is usually shortened to Ujhely*] and not recall thecharacter of Rabbi Teitelbaum.The Hassidic movement – whose purpose was to strengthen Jewish identityand control the rabbinical court – gained more and more ground. Thefollowers of the Hassidic movement complied strictly to the religiousrules, studied the Torah, at the same time the festivities were celebrated,with songs, dancing and alcoholic beverages were not scorned.One of their most famous rabbis was Moses Teitelbaum, who is regardedtoday as a “miracle rabbi” (1759-1841). “Prophet Jeremiah’s soul lives inhim”- said his contemporaries. Far beyond the boundaries of the townwas he known and gave many sermons. His strict morals, sense of order,prophetical capacity and undoubtedly highly cultured mind distinguishedhim, far the best among the average rabbis.In the town there is a legend that he cured the 9 year old Lajos Kossuth,and predicted that this little boy would become a man of greatimportance. [*Kossuth,1802-1894, became governor general in 1948, butafter the defeat in the War of Independence he had to go into exile anddied in Rodosto, Turkey*]Rabbi Teitelbaum’s grave is even today an international site of pilgrimage.Between the two world wars – from the second half of the twenties – on therabbi’s feast day, the Czechoslovakian border was opened, so that thecrossing for the Jewish pilgrims was more comfortable.Today, every year in cars and buses, pilgrims come from Russia, Ukraineand the USA to his striking memorial.SCHOOLS.It is worthwhile to mention the Jewish schools separately, asSátoraljaujhely lead the country in that respect.When Ferenc Kazinczy [*1759-1831, the leading figure of Hungarianlanguage reform*] was school commissioner, there was a significantexpansion in the schools of the Highland and with them, the Jewishschools also expanded. His motto was: “the whole nation has the right to8the treasures of knowledge.”In Ujhely, and even beyond the boundaries of the county, theKaestenbaum school was well known. Marton Kaestenbaum, was a selfmademan. He was married twice, but he had no children. So he left hisfortune – 262,000 gold forints – for the establishment of a school [*forJewish children to learn Hungarian, and have the equal opportunity, to goto higher education --- for a history of this school in English, see http://www.geocities.com/dagreerga/Kaesztenbaum.html *] When the sheriff ofthe county read out his will – according to witnesses – he was so touchedthat his eyes were full of tears. He considered this prominent figure andgenerous contributor to be a great example. So the Kaestenbaum schoolcame into existence, raised its standards slowly, grew in numbers, and for106 years educated the Jewish children. Before the establishment of theKaestenbaum school, only the “cheder’ [*religious school*] was possiblefor the Jewish children, where they learnt only Hebraic subjects [*inYiddish*].Here I have to insert my personal remark. Even in my student years, itwas customary to say, about a pupil who crammed meaninglessly that “hecan only drone on in Hebrew”. We didn’t even know exactly what itmeant, but it expressed the essence of the fact that even the majority ofthe Jewish children did not know the meaning of the Hebrew text, whichthey had to memorise.Previous to the Kaestenbaum school, the more rigorous or affluentfamilies who didn’t want to send their children to the religious chederschool engaged private tutors for their children. It was a big step to openthe Kaestenbaum school. The school opened in 1838 with three teachersand three classes. Only boys could attend. The lessons, from thebeginning, were conducted in Hungarian [*this was an important step inthe integration of Jews in Hungary who had previously been taught inYiddish*].In 1847 they had big plans to develop the school but the state of warthwarted the plans. [*The Hungarian War of Independence, 1848*]In 1852 they enlarged the school, and it was operating from 1860-72 as9“Royal Israelite Model school”. After 1872 it was under the direction ofthe Jewish denomination.I was able to make a study of the 1902-03 school reports. By then theschool had six classes, with 124 boys and 132 girls.SUBJECTS of INSTRUCTIONS:Hebrew reading, praying and biblical history in all classesHungarian reading, writing, grammar in all classesGerman reading, writing from the III classMathematics in all classesGeography in III classHistory from IV classHandicraftsGymnasticsDrawingSingingAnalysing the subjects it can be ascertained that it used a demanding andhigh level education method, which the teachers who where better thanaverage put into practice. One of them was Ignác Füredi, who translatedfrom French to Hungarian Rousseau’s Emile, and prepared a Hebrew-Hungarian dictionary. Mozes Felmar could not have been a run-of-the-millteacher, as his students who later in the Second World War suffered thepains of hell, even from the other side of the globe continue to rememberthe teaching of this prominent man. Dr Vilmos Schön doctor, who was ahighly respected personality in the town, dedicated all his free time to theschool affairs, in addition to his medical practice. As the deputy principal,he worked for a high level of training in the Hungarian language, not onlyfor the language itself but he also insisted in the “development of nationalfeelings”. This mentality raised the standards of the school so high, thatthey were as strong as any institution in the country.It is no wonder that this school has given the foundation to a number ofpupils, so they were able to obtain higher culture and higher education.Here I have to mention another school, which belonged to the town, butby all means had a prominent place in the local and neighbouring Jewish10community, that is the Sátoraljaujhely Municipal School of Commerce. Itwas founded in 1911, though there were already plans for it towards thebeginning of the century. The rule for the establishment of the school wasthe following: “to provide general cultural education with practicalstudies, to give a moral basis and knowledge to be able, after graduation,to be a merchant or to enter in any clerical position in banking, inindustrial or agricultural enterprises.” This program was suited very wellto the developing Jewish society, in the town and throughout the county,and so they enrolled their 15-16 year old sons in growing numbers. Fromthe first yearbook it can be ascertained that among the enrolled 50students, two thirds was from Jewish origin.Beside the boys’ School of Commerce, a course of commerce wasfunctioning for the girls (one year, later two years). There they trainedthe first secretaries, shorthand writers, typists, and among them were agreat number of Jewish girls.The Jewish community by the turn of the century was differentiated intoclasses, socially as well as religion-wise. This showed even in theirappearance.In Ujhely one could find the elegant, fashionable dressed, well-to-do,educated Jews, as well as families who wear ritual hair locks, ritual clothesand often were in want of culture.In the town and in the county we find three separate groups of Jewishcommunities:The Hassidic congregation, whose members wore ancient attire,was very strict in religious laws. They didn’t communicate withanyone outside their community.The Orthodox, who already made the first step to assimilation.They keep the religious laws, keep the Saturday as holiday, dressthemselves in a modern way, and speak Hungarian well, but athome in the family they use Yiddish.The status-quo (who wanted to keep the present situation)congregation is the largest. Most and the very best of thesolicitors, doctors, financiers, and businessman in the town arefrom that community. Their cultural demand is well developed,11so they are in the theatrical societies, musical assemblies, culturalorganisations, and they buy the greatest number of newspapersand books in town.The split between the Orthodox and status-quo communities was about1870. The Orthodox demanded autonomous congregations, while some ofthe congregation wanted to continue the liberalistion that was the presentsituation, (hence the name of “status-quo”) and live accordingly. Thefather of that intellectual freedom was Jeremy Löw the Rabbi of Ujhely.The orthodox and status-quo split was not only in religious matters, butthey also broke from each other socially and economically. In the townboth had separate synagogues, schools, bathhouses. The people from thesurrounding villages as a rule, followed the Orthodox tendencies.THE TOWN’S SOCIETY AND THE ROLE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY FROMTHE TURN OF THE CENTURY.In the age of the developing capitalist society, our town was the countyseat with an advanced state of industry and widespread commercialactivity. The civil service and the courts attracted the newly impoverishedformer landed gentry [*Christians*], who in large numbers had lost theirlands, while the civilised Jewish merchants, doctors, and lawyersdetermined the social conditions.Around the turn of the century different organisations like trade guilds,scientific societies, relief funds, youth and ladies clubs establishedthemselves in significant numbers.One part of the Jewish organisations definitely detached themselves andperpetuated a separate Jewish identity, but the other part blended in thetown and county’s organisations.In the first group is the “Status-Quo Jewish Association” whose purpose isto establish and protect the usage of the ritual bath, the kosher butcherand other religious institutions. Similarly the “Jewish Women Club”, withonly Jewish members, established in 1888, whose aim is to help the needyJewish women.12The following two Jewish social association aims were very noble. First“The Relief Fund for Poor Jewish School Children” helped the needy andworthy with school equipment, and with clothing. Their only purpose wasto promote interest in education. Second, “The Chevra Khadisha Nursingand Funeral Organisation”, whose aims were to attend those who neednursing, give assistance to the people who require help, visit those whosuffer, bury the dead and uphold religious ceremonies.We also find Jewish citizens in all the other non religious gatherings intown. For example, the Fire Brigade, the Winegrowers Association, and inall sort of industrial associations etc. In particular they played a big rolein The Industrial and Commercial Youth Society and Sick Relief Fundwhose members, and board of directors were mostly Jewish youth. Theirfunctions were beneficial, contributed to cultured entertainment, and ifneeded, for charitable proposes.It is very interesting to note and indicative of the character of this townthat even the president of the hunting club was a Jew. And so was thechief medical officer, Dr. Lörinc Löcherer.It is also worth mentioning the great number of mixed marriages. I am notthinking about that well-known cliché of the novels, the marriage ofconvenience between the children of impoverished gentry and the richJew. Instead it was simply the reality that young people who lived close bylistened to their heart and chose their partner for life without concern foreach others’ religion. From the 1930s it became more usual that theJewish partner converted to Christianity, but even at that time the basis oftheir union was the affection which drew them toward each other. Severalof their descendants – who considering the Nazi-era laws are only 50%Aryan – still live in Ujhely.Jewish society in the town also contributed its share in the First WorldWar: 150 Jewish boys went to war, among them 36 died a hero’s death.Naturally, the Jewish merchant took advantage of favourable wartimecommercial conditions, as the state of war had an adverse effect on thePolish wine trade.We came across the first anti-Semitic movement in July 1918: police13raided the synagogue, supposedly looking for deserters, but they couldnot find any, so they beat up the people who were praying there. On 30July the next police raid on the trains, where everybody with a beard wasarrested. On 3rd of August a deputation consisting of Jews and non-Jewswent to the high sheriff of the county and to Wekerle, the prime ministerto complain about the atrocities, and indicated that this sort of behaviourwould have an adverse effect on commerce, especially the wine trade.Wekerle was outraged and promised urgent measures, even more so asthe London Times published an article about the anti-Semitic occurrences.These events were the harbingers of the dark shadows of the future,though supposedly the reason was that they were looking for some peoplewho were illegally crossing the border from Galicia.The local Jewish citizens also took part in the eventful period of theFrostflower Revolution and the Hungarian-Soviet Republic [*in 1918, atthe end of First World War, a peaceful revolution installed a democraticrepublic; in 1919 this was overthrown by a communist republic whichinstituted a “red terror*]. The local leader of the communist dictatorship,Károly Csuta was a Christian, and the greatest number among the peoplewho where later executed as a consequence of their participation in thoseevents were Christians. But the leading personality of the events was ErnöBettelheim Bólyai [*a Jew*], and Harry Kroó [*a Jew*] also played aleading role as he was a commissar. Both left Ujhely, Bettelheim went toBudapest in the spring of 1919, and Kroó left for Czechoslovakia andsubsequently to Israel just before the collapse of the Republic. The foreignoccupation [*Czechoslovakia occupied that part of Hungary*] put an endto the communist republic. The subsequent White Terror [*instituted bynew right-wing Hungarian regime*] did not have any great significance forthe Jewish population and it was not worse here than elsewhere. Onlythose Jews who had an active role in the communist republic were subjectto harassment.Between the two world wars, the changes in commercial life firmlyimpacted on the life of the local Jewish community. After the TrianonAgreement [*the peace treaty that ended World War I and created newborders, including one between Hungary and Czechoslovakia which wentthrough Ujhely and split off one of the town’s neighborhoods*] there were14commercial difficulties and foreign trade problems, but the Jews were ableand willing to help. The vine merchants established a Wine Exchange inthe Central Cafe.In 1920s came the first “numerus clasus” [*laws which restricted thenumber of Jews in the universities*]. From Zemplen county, only 6% ofJewish students were allowed to enter universities [*as that was thesituation in the country as 6% of the population of Hungary was Jewish*].Then, for the first time the Jewish boys started to go to foreignuniversities. Also the Zionist movement started in those years, which waspopular mostly among the young.In those years the Jewish hospital in Sátoraljaujhely had wide-rangingactivities. It is not by chance, because their eminent doctors attractedpatients even from outside the county. To name just two: Dr. LászloSzékely surgeon, and Dr Sándor Zinner internal specialist. The hospitalwas where the health centre is now, opposite the present day hospital.During the war it was destroyed with a bomb, and the ruins weredemolished.In those decades a prominent personality in town was Samuel Roth, arabbi whose tall Apponyi-bearded stature [*Apponyi was the HungarianPrime Minister*] had great prestige even in anti-Semitic circles.In year 1929, the Depression was felt in our town too, with significantindustrial and commercial stagnation, and unemployment. A number ofJewish businessmen became bankrupt and they tried to avoid total ruinby transferring the shop on the name of their spouse. According to thelaw at that time, spouse’s property could not be forfeited. On thesignboards everywhere one could spot the new “Mrs.” sign. A humoristgave the town a new name Mrs. Sátoraljaujhely. [*in Hungarian it soundssimpler as it becomes one word “Sátoraljaujhelyné”*]Unemployment is a good breeding ground for anti-Semitism. All over thecountry, politicians took positions more sympathetic to German policies,and that trend came to our town as well.When the Second World War came our town no longer had its old liberalspirit. In 1941 they passed the first “Jewish Law”, [* Jews could occupy15only 6% in any public employment, banking, theatre, music etc*] and thefirst summons for forced labour service were issued. In Garany (northfrom the town, today Slovakia) they established the first interment camp.There was even a joke that “Silence is golden; to speak means Garany!”[*in Hungarian gold, arany, rhymes with Garany*]It is interesting to note that Jews and Christians adapted to the new anti-Jewish law with little disagreement. The Christians, mainly the youngones, had been fed up with the international economic crisis andunemployment, and now they sat happily in one or other of the Jewishshops, in the banks in the place of the Jewish clerks, or they took over theJewish vineyards and wine cellars. In the Jewish community in themeantime, the general opinion was that if they observed the law, nofurther harm would befall them.In 1941 came the first call-up for forced labour for the younger men.They took them to Ukraine. In the coming years increasingly older menwere called up. Numerous diaries and personal statements give us a fullaccount of life in forced labour, those dreadful experiences and bitterfates, and about those tragic episodes I do not want to dwell on now.These events all took place outside our town and unfortunately manypeople from Ujhely were involved.The German occupation in March 1944 brought its tragic consequences toour town too. One remarkable occurrence was the famous jailbreak [*inthe chaos of the occupation the prisoners tried to escape and were shot*],which impacted the Jewish population as well, but did not giveexpressions to their consternation. In a paralysed state they were waitingfor the events to unfold. Characteristic to their profound belief in Godthat most of them manifest their emotion by saying, “it is impossible thatGod would not protect us.”By that time the possessions of the Jews were seized, mainly the shops,the vineyards, the cellars. In the town, they took hostages to preventdisturbances, Dr Zinner, Dr Safir and Dr Scweiger were the hostages.Prohibitory and restrictive bulletins appeared continuously: the Jewscould go out only at certain hours; could shop in certain places, and theywere obliged to hand in their valuables.16By now it was compulsory to wear the yellow star [*from 4th of April 1944every Jew had to wear a prominent yellow star, sewn on their outsidegarment *]. That meant an incredible emotional blow, mostly to theelderly, as all their life they considered themselves as equal and respectedcitizens, but now they suffered public humiliation.On 15th of April they started to establish the ghetto. It was delineated bythe streets currently known as Rákoczi-Szigeti-Virág-Wörösmarty-Postaköz- Dózsa György- Aradi Vértanuk-Árpád-Kisfaludy-Kölcsey-Zápolya-Munkácsi. They started the process of moving in the Jews, not only fromthe town, but from the whole county as well. Under other circumstances,the administrative authority of our town always waited for orders fromsuperiors, but now it displayed its independence, by not waiting for thoseorders and ignoring exemptions to the requirement to move to theghettos, such as for those with a medal for courage in the First World War,or because they occupied a prominent post in the Slovakian-Hungarianaffairs, etc. They took those people to the ghetto too. There were someincidents as Ella Hajos, a clerk, took her own life as she could not face thehorrors of the future.The whole resettlement took place in four days. In that short period theyfound time to organise a special auction of the animals which hadbelonged to the Jews, as they could not let the animals suffer hunger,unlike the human beings…They took care of the harmless lunatics too, those who were not a publicdanger: they moved them in the ghetto. The conditions there werecrowded and there was a danger of epidemic infection. To handle thisinfection was entrusted to the Jewish doctors in the ghetto. Josef Azary-Piroda, the chief town clerk, proposed to the higher authorities, totransfer the Jews, as those crammed conditions were a centre of infectionand could spread to the town. The proposal was accepted…The bureaucratic machine ground on even in this tragic situation: thetown office asked the county office whether they should provisionally orpermanently stop the Jewish pensions. History has given the answer, withthe adverse outcome that for most of the elderly it was a permanent17situation.It took them from 16 May to 1 June 1944 to transport the Jews. In theghetto the situation was so terrible, so cramped and the privations sounbearable that consequently the Jews went of their own accord, withoutresistance towards the wagons, figuring that whatever happened could notbe worse than they had already endured.First they assembled the people who were destined for deportation in thesynagogue. They checked their parcels and took any small hiddenvaluables, occasionally in the course of these searches they beat the Jews.The loading in wagons happened on the “small station” (today NovéMesto in Slovakia). The destination was Auschwitz and Birkenau [*Nazideath camps in Poland*]. They loaded 80 people in a cattle truck and byJune not one Jew was left in Ujhely, a situation which had never occurredsince the town had been established.The previous sentence notwithstanding, there were some Jews left. One oftheir trustworthy employees walled in the Izsáks, the baker and hisfamily, in their own attic. This man fed them and looked after all fourmembers of the family until the Russian troops arrived in December. Theparents have died by now, but as far as I know one son lives in Budapestand the other in Israel. There is talk of a similar occurrence in Tolcsva,where a whole family was hidden in a gigantic concrete barrel, but I wasnot able to substantiate that.Now the hunt for Jewish assets started. Some were given – from the ownerto a trusted person – for safe keeping, but much was unlawfullyappropriated: people moved into the furnished flats, took over thevineyards, the wine cellars. I have to mention here that the assets whichwere given for safe keeping – sometimes very valuable – were only partlyaccepted for noble reasons, and some people escaped with them toAustria or Germany. But there were instances where the objects werereally kept safe with the people who were entrusted with, they werehanded back, if there were anybody alive to whom it belonged. Thosetrusted persons were primary the cooks, who served in the Jewish family.Much has been written about the horrors of the camps. All the mental and18corporal torments have been chronicled by some of the survivors. For thisreason I do not want to go in details, giving only the recollection of someof the survivors from Ujhely.Mr. Miklós Vértes-Weisz describes, first the dreadful journey to Birkenau.There, he was engaged in road building, then he had to carry corpses,finally as a watchmaker, he assembled explosives, – despite the everconstant danger of detonation he was at last working inside – and receivedminimal food. He was there until April 1945, when the Russian armyreached them.Mr. Benjámin Eisenberg from Ujhely, who lives now in Ottawa tells us thefollowing touching story: one of his fellow prisoners fled the SS soldierslooking for him to execute him, but then Mr. Hirsch, the rabbi fromUjhely presented himself and said they should put him to death instead ofthe escapee, as he was already old. And they executed him…But, we have heard stories to the contrary too, as people react differentlyin the shadow of death. There were men, even women, who for theslightest privilege, such as a few morsels of food, betrayed their fellowsufferers, disclosed their covert valuables, or made known their escapeplans. I know about someone who is alive, but has not dared to come backto Ujhely, as he is afraid of the just revenge of his co-religionists.The prisoners who came back to Ujhely from Auschwitz remember theimage of SS solders who announced that anybody who ate on the day ofAtonement [*a day on which Jews traditionally fast*] would receive adouble portion and a glass of beer. But nobody was eating! On the otherhand an elderly German solder occasionally gave to one or other prisonera biscuit, or a piece of bread with margarine.At a rough guess, 1,200 Jewish citizens from Ujhely perished in the hell ofthose concentration camps. In the new Jewish cemetery a humblegravestone commemorates their memory, but the painful remembrance ofthem will live for many of us in our heart until we die.According to Mr. Imre Szamek, who is a resident here, 250 Jews cameback to Ujhely from the concentration camps, but this number includespeople from the neighbouring countryside as well. The people from the19forced labour camps came back in relatively larger numbers. In a sense itis understandable, as although they were there in the inhuman conditionslonger, they were generally young, healthy men who could endure morethan the old, the women, and the children in the concentration camps.After 1945, the life of the Jewish community moved in contrastingdirections. In the first two years, the people who returned started with agreat urge to rebuild their old lives. Frequently were the new marriages,as there very few families where both of the spouses came back. Lots oflittle photographs were in the homes of these new families, inremembrance of the perished children. They found employment andstarted working. I have not any knowledge of personal vendetta in Ujhely,partly because of the presence of the Russian army, but partly becausethe leaders who brought in the spiteful merciless measures of the waryears left with the German army, and never returned. In 1946 an ArrowCross guard was hanged in the prison court, after the judicial hearingfound him guilty.The decisive year [*1948, the year when the pro-Soviets came to absolutepower*] brought sudden changes in our town too. The county of Zemplenwas abolished, they took all the establishments, like county hall, schoolinspectorsoffice, administration of inland revenues, state constructingmanagement and moved them to Miskolc. That meant that hundreds ofpeople had to endure every day twice the 80 km journey, and certainlynot in the best of conditions.With the never before experienced hermetically closed Czechoslovakborder, the town regressed more and more. Building activities, industrialdevelopments were non existent, professional organisations gone, theaggressive farmers’ co-operative movements destroyed the agriculture.Satoraljaujhely became a ghost town, and was even put on an official listof towns that would be allowed to wither.The returned local Jewish community sensed those circumstances andresponded accordingly. Many of them emigrated, they went to the USA,Canada, Central and South America, Israel. At one time so many peoplelived in Caracas from Ujhely, that the local indestructible humour20suggested that Caracas be incorporated as a sister city.A number of people went to live in Miskolc or Budapest. The Jews whostayed were mostly elderly married couples, some shop owners, or bankclerks. Any exact information of those particular years cannot beobtained, considering that by then not even the census was useful, as forexample, the column for “religion” was totally missing.Once more, 1956 [*the year of the popular uprising against the pro-Sovietgovernment*] had an effect on the life of the Jewish community. In Ujhelyat the uprising that community, small in numbers and advanced in years,did not participate, instead they kept their distance from the events ofthat year. I met and often exchanged views in those days with myhusband’s friend Mátyás Löw-Lévai, who was a photographer by trade.During the war he lived in Israel, but after the war he came back to settlein Ujhely. He remarried, had a child, and managed the tobacco shop. In1957 he emigrated again, went back to Israel. His motivation for thatdecision was his general impression that the slightest antagonism entails afresh rise of anti-Semitism. After all he said and despite the decision hemade, he never really felt that Israel was his country. To his very last dayshe fought against homesickness. Nevertheless, he decided that time thathe could only feel secure among his own people and left his native land tosettle in Israel with his family. Until his death he sent fabulousphotographs, which he had taken, mainly portraits from Israel, and yetbetween every line, I could see his nostalgia, his displaced status.And a lot of others, the middle-aged intellectuals and businessmenfollowed the exodus after 1956 and left Ujhely for the same reasons.In the seventies, we witnessed the start of a nostalgic return home for avisit, and to look for old friends and seek memories. The visitors aretypically first generations who do not feel home neither there nor here.There are hardly any Jews left in Ujhely. The latest I have seen were theMenczel couple, who were promenading Saturday morning on the mainstreet, as once upon a time was the practice of the hundreds of Jewishinhabitants in Ujhely.WHAT IS THE SITUATION TODAY?21In Sátoraljaujhely currently there are 11 individuals who adherethemselves to the stern Saturday rules. They are 4 men and 7 widows.They could not in fact keep to the demanding rules, as they need 11 [*thismust be a printing error as it needs 10*] men for services. So for NewYear’s celebration they bring along men from outside to be able tocelebrate the festivities properly.Mr. Lipot Klein from Budapest is acting on their behalf, he is the one whois helping in all religious matters, and his deputy in Ujhely is Mrs. ÖdönRosenberg. This is the first year [*1993*] that they have not a reader, asthe older ones have died, and none of the younger ones are familiar withthe ordinance of the faith.Typical is the fate of the widow Mrs. Gottlieb nee Lea Friedman, whosupplied me with the particulars that I needed. She was a manager in ashop, today she is a pensioner, who lives with her ailing son in theirfamily home. She, as so many local Jewish girls attended the higherelementary public school where the teachers, characteristically did notdiscriminate between Jewish or Catholic children. On the whole that wasthe custom in the other schools as well. After so many years of sufferings,she still speaks with affection about some of her teachers (Mrs. Ida Jozsa,Mrs. Jozsa nee Sára Tarnovszki) who brought with devotion the view thatlittle county girls should be imbued with high cultural values.In her report on the situation of today she speaks with bitterness. “In afew short years it is impossible to eliminate anti-Semitism from peoples’hearts and minds,” they were her words. Even today she feels stigmatised,not only because of the effect of her Auschwitz number on her forearm,but socially as well. To this naturally contributes her personal strokes offate and feelings of isolation.POSTSCRIPT from the author.The purpose of my work was to demonstrate the life of the Jewishcommunity of Sátoraljauhely. There is hardly anyone of that communityin the town now, however occasionally we find anti-Semitism, mainlyamong those youngsters who have never met any Jewish person.22Fortunately that is not widespread.I feel that, just like disappearing trades and folk art should be preservedfor posterity, small town liberal sentiments, such as Jewish and Christiancoexistence, also deserve to be remembered.POSTSCRIPT from the translatorsYou may have the feeling that the English text is not perfectly correct. Yes,you are right. There are different reasons.First we wanted to give a true picture of that period. Then we wanted toreflect the true feelings of that noble Christian lady who wrote thisbooklet in her seventies and so movingly states, among other things, “inthe new Jewish cemetery a humble gravestone commemorates theirmemory, but the painful remembrance of them will live for many of us inour hearts until we die”. We tried hard to translate it word by word, torender it how she wanted to tell her story. Last but not least, English isnot our mother tongue. Our younger son, John, looked over ourgrammatical mistakes and helped all the way in preparing this work.At the end of the publication Mrs. Dankó put a list of notable Jewish exresidents.We have not translated the full details she has given about eachof them, but to keep the spirit of the publication and to place their nameson the record, we have listed them below. Some of them were born there,some of them lived there, but all of them contributed to the highstandards of this town.Agi’s grandfather lived in Budapest and she was born there, butshe will never forget the stories he lovingly told about Ujhely.Those memories inspired us to translate this book and to takethe liberty of adding some Reichards, Agi’s original familyname, to Mrs. Dankó’s list of notables. Our additions aremarked with *.Ernö Bólyai (Bettelheim): lawyer, political activist, translatorJakab Erényi: journalist23Ignác Friedlieber: Rabbi, author of religious booksMór Füredi: legal reporterSándor Knopfler: teacher at Kaestenbaum School, author oftextbooksAlfred Kormos (Klein): president of Apollo Printing Co.Mátyás Kronovitz, union organizerÁrpád Latabár, actorErnö Mezei, journalist,Bernát Singer, RabbiMiklós Szépkuti, writerMozes Teitelbaum, “The Miracle Rabbi”Arnold Vér: journalist, translatorHerman Weisz: doctorMor Weisz: RabbiSalamon Reichard: lawyer, mayor of Sátoraljaujhely*Piroska Reichard: poet*József Reichard and Nándor Zinner: orthopedic surgeons*Zsigmond Reichard: judge*24



15 Responses to The Jews of Satoraljaujhely, Hungary (SAH)

  1. Kamilla Kohn says:

    Hi,

    My fathers family came from this city. As far as I believe my father, Jenö Kohn, was the only survivor. His father Samuel Kohn, mother Margit Kohn (born Weiss) and sister Louise, brohters Hugo and Zoltan all died – we believe.
    Any information you may have in your records of this family would be highly appreciated.
    My father, is still alive, however very sick. My father came to Sweden after the liberation of B-Belsen and has lived there since. My mother, my sister and I know very little about his past.

    best regards and hope to hear from you,
    Kamilla Kohn

  2. Kimberley Kincher says:

    Greetings to you and thank you for posting this information! Some of my Jewish relatives are from Sátoraljaujhely. The surname Reichard. My great-grandfather is Jeremiah Reichard of Gem Safety Razor Co. His father was born in Sátoraljaujhely. Any information you may have would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Kimberley Kincher

    • george reichard says:

      kimberly

      Your great grandfather was my father’s first cousin. I have alot of information
      about his father, siblings but not him. I would appreciate anything you can
      give me and I will share what I have. There are a few of us Reichards into
      geneological research and I have traced this branch back to the 1780′s with
      some interesting findings. I would like to hear from you.

      George

  3. Ilan ben Moshe says:

    My paternal grandmother Chana came from this town, her parents were Ozer and Blooma Rott or Roth. She married my Grandfather Yehoshua Tzvi of Gorlice Poland. They had I think all or all but 1 daughter were born there. Illona, Mina or Margaret, Teema, and Sima, the only surviving sister. And they were basically hairdressers the daughters. My Grandfather was a Shoemaker, which his eldest son my beloved Uncle Jacob, rest his kind and sensitive soul also did, and he use to make me shoes, my dad just need to outline my foot when I was a kid and a few weeks later I had handmade real leather shoes that didnt pinch. I was proud to be able to say that my Uncle made my shoes, nobody else in Hebrew school could brag about that.

    My Grandmother and all her daugthers but Sima died in Belzec in 1942. They had moved to Gorlice where her 6 sons were born. 5 survived 1 was murdered by the Gestapo for attempting to evade the trains but he turned himself in rather then suffer knowing that other Jews were going to be killed in great numbers quickly if he didnt surrender himself. They shot him where he stood at Gestapo headquarters.

    Glad to see others are not forgetting the martyrs of this little town on the border. Peace to all of you.

  4. Ilan ben Moshe says:

    As an aside, I dont know if my Grandmother was an only child, nothing is mentioned of other siblings of hers in the Gorlice memorial book, for all I know, she may have had Aunts Uncles, Cousins. the job is to find them if they exist. And we know how hard it is to find such records, even with the butcher paperpusher Eichman involved in their murder and we know how he loved to keep records, bastard.

  5. Jill Gluck says:

    I am so excited that I found this website. The information has provided me with confirmation of some names on my family tree. All my father’s paternal side came from Satoraljaujhely and I am deep into my research right now. My leads are growing scarcer so finding this site and the wonderful description of the school and the town’s history is thrilling to me. Koszenem szepen!!!

  6. Les Gluck says:

    My father was born in Satoraljaujhely-his name was Geno Gluck-changed to Eugene Gluck when he immigrated to the US as a
    16 year old in 1937,luckily just bebore the Nazis got there.

    Koszenem for a great history!

  7. Eva Fielding-Jackson says:

    My mother family came from Saturaljaujhely. My maternal grandfather Leopold Jurovics, his wife Frida nee Hamerman their 7 children died in Birkenau on 15th June 1944. Only my mother Adel who was deaf and at the times stayed at the School ofr the Deaf in Budapest, survived. I wish to know if there is/was anyone who remember Leopold as he was a Rabbi, Sochet and Hazan of Saturaljaujhely.
    My Maternal grandmother wrote books, she used pseudonym name, i wish I knew what. would love to hear anything about this family, thanks.

  8. kleinfeld georges says:

    My mother was from ujhely she was from home Ringel she was a twin with her sister my mother name was cesarine & my aunt gitel . she was deported to auschwitz just be for shavoeoth . Her mother died by birth of the twins in 1924 she beried in ujhely

  9. Debra Breskovic says:

    My fathers family came from the city of Satoraljaujhely. My grandfathers name was Josef Tanczos. I would like to learn about my family. My grandmother, Mary Nehez, was also born in Hungary. Please advise as to how I can find some information. I would love to learn more. Any help would be so appreciated.

    • papp emil says:

      tisztelt debra papp emil vagyok a tanczoscsaladbol, vannak meg elök tancos istvan es ferenc is el meg de mar öregek ,en is ujhelyben szuletem a pochlot csaladbol szarmazom ,nagy apam david jozsef ill tanczos jozsef csak anya neves volt igy lett david jozsef ha enyivel tudtam segiteni

  10. My mother’s family lived in Satoraljaujhely. My grandmother was Tamasi Erszebet. My father and mother, Andras and Iren Jasso, also lived in Satoraljaujhely. I would love to find out more information about how I can trace the family tree on the Tamasi side. Your help is appreciated.

  11. Jerry Blum says:

    My grandfather came to the US from Satoraljauhely in 1923. His name was Gabor Bigyersz or Bigzersz and worked in a shoe factory in Satoraljaujhely at an early age. His mother died when he was about 3 and his father when he was about 9 or 10. He lived with his sister Zelda with his grandparents who had about an acre of land then. His wife’s name was Liba (Libeh) Sigelman and had a son Nandor (Nate) before leaving. The surname became Blum upon entering the US through Brazil. I have not been able to find this surname anywhere.

  12. Geri Roth says:

    My Roth family was from Kovacsvagas, very close-by to Satoraljaujhely. My great
    grandfather Josef had a married sister who had a family in Ujhely, but I do not know
    her first name or her married name. Any Roth could be related. I also had a cousin Mor
    Roth and his family there who were killed during WWII.
    My great grandfather’s father was Mihaly Roth and that is going back really far. Josef
    my great grandfather from Kovacsvagas died in 1924 at age 110! I have the death certificate to prove it. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who new of my family.
    There is a connecton betwwen my Roth family in Ujhely and Kovacsvagas and Gonc and
    Goncruszka.

  13. Sandy Snyder says:

    Thank you for compiling this information. I was in “ujhely” about twelve years ago and was happy the town hall workers were able to locate shtetl census records in the town hall for me and my son. We were able to find my grandfather and his family (Mano Grunwald) and learn a lot about him. The people in the office kindly made copies of the records for us to take with us.

    I wonder whether genealogy.com knows about the existence of these records.

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