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The history of the Jews in Hungary dates back to at least the
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, an ...

Kingdom of Hungary
, with some records even predating the
Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin The Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, also Hungarian conquest or Hungarian land-taking ( hu, honfoglalás: "conquest of the homeland"), was a series of historical events ending with the settlement of the Hungarians Hungarians, also ...
in 895 CE by over 600 years. Written sources prove that Jewish communities lived in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and it is even assumed that several sections of the heterogeneous
Hungarian tribes The Magyar tribes or Hungarian clans ( hu, magyar törzsek) were the fundamental political units within whose framework the Hungarians Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( hu, magyarok), are a nation and ethnic group native to Hungary ( hu, Mag ...
practiced Judaism. Jewish officials served the king during the early 13th century reign of
Andrew II
Andrew II
. From the second part of the 13th century, the general religious tolerance decreased and Hungary's policies became similar to the treatment of the Jewish population in Western Europe. The Jews of Hungary were fairly well integrated into Hungarian society by the time of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. By the early 20th century, the community had grown to constitute 5% of Hungary's total population and 23% of the population of the capital,
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
. Jews became prominent in science, the arts and business. By 1941, over 17% of Budapest's Jews had converted to the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
. Anti-Jewish policies grew more repressive in the interwar period as Hungary's leaders, who remained committed to regaining the territories lost at the peace agreement (
Treaty of Trianon The Treaty of Trianon (french: Traité de Trianon, hu, Trianoni békeszerződés) was prepared at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919–1920, Paris Peace Conference and was signed in the Grand Trianon, Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles on ...
) of 1920, chose to align themselves with the governments of
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
and Fascist Italy – the international actors most likely to stand behind Hungary's claims. Starting in 1938, Hungary under
Miklós Horthy Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya ( hu, Vitéz nagybányai Horthy Miklós; ; English: Nicholas Horthy; german: Nikolaus Horthy Ritter von Nagybánya; 18 June 1868 – 9 February 1957), was a Hungarian people, Hungarian admiral and statesman who serv ...
passed a series of anti-Jewish measures in emulation of Germany's
Nürnberg Laws The Nuremberg Laws (german: link=no, Nürnberger Gesetze, ) were antisemitic Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is cal ...
. Following the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944, Jews from the provinces were deported to the
Auschwitz concentration camp The Auschwitz concentration camp () was a complex of over 40 Nazi concentration camps, concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany, occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaus ...

Auschwitz concentration camp
; between May and July that year, 437,000 Jews were sent there from Hungary, most of them gassed on arrival. The 2011 Hungary census data had 10,965 people (0.11%) who self-identified as
religious JewsReligious Jews are Jews who practice and observe Judaism. They may be affiliated with: * Orthodox Judaism, including ** Haredi Judaism ** Modern Orthodox Judaism * Conservative Judaism * Reform Judaism * Reconstructionist Judaism See also

* Jewi ...
, of whom 10,553 (96.2%) declared themselves as ethnic Hungarian. Estimates of Hungary's Jewish population in 2010 range from 54,000 to more than 130,000 mostly concentrated in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
. There are many active synagogues in Hungary, including the , the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world after the Temple Emanu-El in New York City.


Early history


Before 1095

It is not definitely known when Jews first settled in Hungary. According to tradition, King
Decebalus Decebalus () and sometimes referred to as Diurpaneus was the last king of Dacia. He is famous for fighting three wars, with varying success, against the Roman Empire under two emperors. After raiding south across the Danube The Danube ( ; ) i ...

Decebalus
(ruled
Dacia Dacia (, ; ) was the land inhabited by the Dacians The Dacians (; la, Daci ; grc-gre, Δάκοι, Δάοι, Δάκαι) were a Thracians, Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the ar ...

Dacia
87–106 CE) permitted the Jews who aided him in his war against
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
to settle in his territory. Dacia included part of modern-day Hungary as well as
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
and smaller areas of
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
. Prisoners of the Jewish-Roman Wars may have been brought back by the victorious Roman legions normally stationed in Provincia
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
(Western Hungary).
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a vari ...

Marcus Aurelius
ordered the transfer of some of his rebellious troops from Syria to Pannonia in 175 CE. These troops had been recruited partly in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
and Hemesa (now
Homs ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...

Homs
), which still had a sizable Jewish population at that time. The Antiochian troops were transferred to Ulcisia Castra (today
Szentendre Szentendre is a riverside town in Pest County, Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the south, Croati ...

Szentendre
), while the Hemesian troops settled in Intercisa (
Dunaújváros Dunaújváros (; german: Neustadt an der Donau; sr, Пантелија/Pantelija) is an industrial city in Fejér County Fejér ( hu, Fejér megye, ) is an administrative county (comitatus ''Comitatus'' was in ancient times the Latin term f ...

Dunaújváros
). According to
Raphael PataiRaphael Patai (Hebrew רפאל פטאי; November 22, 1910 − July 20, 1996), born Ervin György Patai, was a History of the Jews in Hungary, Hungarian-Jewish ethnographer, historian, oriental studies, Orientalist and anthropologist. Family backgro ...
, stone inscriptions referring to Jews were found in Brigetio (now
Szőny Szőny was a town in Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of a ...
), Solva (
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

Esztergom
), Aquincum (
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
), Intercisa (Dunaújváros), Triccinae ( Sárvár), Dombovár, Siklós, Sopianae (
Pécs Pécs ( , ; german: Fünfkirchen, ; known by alternative names) is the fifth largest city of Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the e ...
) and Savaria (
Szombathely Szombathely (; german: Steinamanger, ; see also #Etymology, other alternative names) is the 10th largest city in Hungary. It is the administrative centre of Vas county in the west of the country, located near the border with Austria. Szombathely ...
). A
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
inscription, the epitaph of Septima Maria, discovered in
Siklós Siklós ( sh, Šikloš/Шиклош) is the 4th largest town in Baranya county, Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southe ...
(southern Hungary near Croatian border), clearly refers to her Jewishness ("Judaea"). The Intercisa tablet was inscribed on behalf of "Cosmius, chief of the Spondilla customhouse, ead of the synagogue of the Jews during the reign of
Alexander Severus Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander (1 October 208 – 19/22 March 235) was a Roman emperor, who reigned from 222 until 235. He was the last emperor from the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his slain cousin Elagabalus in 222. Alexander himself was ev ...

Alexander Severus
. In 2008, a team of archeologists discovered a 3rd-century AD amulet in the form of a gold scroll with the words of the Jewish prayer Shema' Yisrael inscribed on it in Féltorony (now
Halbturn Halbturn ( hu, Féltorony) is a town in the district of Neusiedl am See Neusiedl am See ( cs, Nezider, hr, Niuzalj, hu, Nezsider, sk, Nezider) is a town in Burgenland, Austria, and administrative center of the district of Neusiedl am See (dist ...

Halbturn
,
Burgenland Burgenland (; hu, Őrvidék; hr, Gradišće; Austro-Bavarian Austro-Bavarian (also known as Austrian or Bavarian; or ; german: Bairisch ) is a West Germanic language spoken in parts of Bavaria and most of Austria. Before 1945, Austro-Bav ...
, in Austria). Hungarian tribes settled the territory 650 years later. In the Hungarian language, the word for Jew is ''zsidó'', which was adopted from one of the Slavic languages. The first historical document relating to the Jews of Hungary is the letter written about 960 CE to King Joseph of the Khazars by
Hasdai ibn Shaprut Monument to Hasdai ibn Shaprut in Jaén, Spain, Jaén, Spain Hasdai (Abu Yusuf ben Yitzhak ben Ezra) ibn Shaprut ( he, חסדאי אבן שפרוט; ar, حسداي بن شبروط, Abu Yussuf ibn Shaprut) born about 915 at Jaén, Spain; died ...
, the Jewish statesman of Córdoba, in which he says that the Slavic ambassadors promised to deliver the message to the King of
Slavonia Slavonia (; hr, Slavonija) is, with , , and , one of the four of . Taking up the east of the country, it roughly corresponds with five : , , , , and , although the territory of the counties includes , and the definition of the western exte ...

Slavonia
, who would hand the same to Jews living in "the country of Hungarian", who, in turn, would transmit it farther. About the same time Ibrahim ibn Jacob says that Jews went from Hungary to
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
for business purposes. Nothing is known concerning the Jews during the period of the grand princes, except that they lived in the country and engaged in commerce there. In 1061, King Béla I ordered that markets should take place on Saturdays instead of the traditional Sundays (Hungarian language has preserved the previous custom, "Sunday" = , "market day"). In the reign of (1077–1095), the Synod of Szabolcs decreed (20 May 1092) that Jews should not be permitted to have
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
wives or to keep Christian
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
. This decree had been promulgated in the Christian countries of Europe since the 5th century, and St. Ladislaus merely introduced it into Hungary. The Jews of Hungary at first formed small settlements, and had no learned
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

rabbi
s; but they were strictly observant of all the
Jewish law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → ...
s and customs. One tradition relates the story of Jews from Ratisbon (
Regensburg Regensburg or is a city in eastern Bavaria, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen River, Regen rivers. It is capital of the Upper Palatinate subregion of the state in the south of Germany. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regens ...

Regensburg
) coming into Hungary with merchandise from Russia, on a Friday; the wheel of their wagon broke near
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
(Ofen) or
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

Esztergom
(Gran) and by the time they had repaired it and had entered the town, the Jews were just leaving the synagogue. The unintentional
Sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Isra ...

Sabbath
-breakers were heavily fined. The ritual of the Hungarian Jews faithfully reflected contemporary
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
customs.


1095–1349

Coloman (1095–1116), the successor of St. Ladislaus, renewed the Szabolcs decree of 1092, adding further prohibitions against the employment of Christian slaves and domestics. He also restricted the Jews to cities with
episcopal see The seat or ''cathedra'' of the Bishop of Rome in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Phrases concerning actions occurring within o ...
s – probably to have them under the continuous supervision of the
Church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is usually used to refer to the p ...

Church
. Soon after the promulgation of this decree,
Crusade The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...
rs came to Hungary; but the
Hungarians Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( ; hu, magyarok ), are a nation and ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...
did not sympathize with them, and Coloman even opposed them. The infuriated Crusaders attacked some cities, and if
Gedaliah ibn YaḥyaGedaliah ibn Yahya ben Joseph (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...
is to be believed, the Jews suffered a fate similar to that of their coreligionists in France, Germany, and
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...

Bohemia
. The cruelties inflicted upon the Jews of Bohemia induced many of them to seek refuge in Hungary. It was probably the immigration of the rich Bohemian Jews that induced Coloman soon afterward to regulate commercial and banking transactions between Jews and Christians. He decreed, among other regulations, that if a Christian borrowed from a Jew, or a Jew from a Christian, both Christian and Jewish witnesses must be present at the transaction. During the reign of King (1205–1235) there were Jewish Chamberlains and mint-, salt-, and tax-officials. The
nobles Nobility is a normally ranked immediately below and found in some societies that have a formal . Nobility has often been an that possessed more acknowledged and higher than most other classes in society. The privileges associated wi ...

nobles
of the country, however, induced the king, in his
Golden Bull A golden bull or chrysobull was a issued by s and later by monarchs in Europe during the and , most notably by the . The term was originally coined for the golden (a '' aurea''), attached to the decree, but came to be applied to the entire ...
(1222), to deprive the Jews of these high offices. When Andrew needed money in 1226, he farmed the royal revenues to Jews, which gave ground for much complaint. The pope (
Pope Honorius III Pope Honorius III (c. 1150 – 18 March 1227), born Cencio Savelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 18 July 1216 to his death. A canon at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, he came to hold a number of importa ...

Pope Honorius III
) thereupon excommunicated him, until, in 1233, he promised the papal ambassadors on oath that he would enforce the decrees of the Golden Bull directed against the Jews and the
Saracens upright 1.5, Late 15th century German woodcut depicting Saracens Saracens () were primarily Arab Muslims, but also Turkish people, Turks, Persian people, Persians or other Muslims as referred to by Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ag ...
(by this time, the papacy had changed, and the Pope was now
Pope Gregory IX Pope Gregory IX ( la, Gregorius IX; born Ugolino di Conti; c. 1145 or before 1170 – 22 August 1241) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Cathol ...

Pope Gregory IX
; he would cause both peoples to be distinguished from Christians by means of badges; and would forbid both Jews and Saracens to buy or to keep Christian slaves. The year 1240 was the closing one of the fifth millennium of the Jewish era. At that time the Jews were expecting the advent of their
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
. The
Mongol invasion The Mongol invasions and conquests took place during the 13th and 14th centuries, creating history's largest contiguous empire - The Mongol Empire, which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastation as one of ...
in 1241 seemed to conform to expectation, as Jewish imagination expected the happy Messianic period to be ushered in by the war of
Gog and Magog Gog and Magog (; he, גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג, ''Gōg ū-Māgōg'') appear in the Hebrew Bible as individuals, tribes, or lands. In Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land; in Genesis 10, Magog is a man and eponymous ancestor ...

Gog and Magog
.
Béla IV Béla may refer to: * Béla (crater), an elongated lunar crater * Béla (given name), a common Hungarian male given name See also * Bela (disambiguation) * Belá (disambiguation) * Bělá (disambiguation) {{DEFAULTSORT:Bela de:Béla pl ...
(1235–1270) appointed a Jewish man named Henul to the office of court chamberlain (Teka had filled this office under Andrew II); and Wölfel and his sons Altmann and
Nickel Nickel is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...
held the castle at
Komárom Komárom (, sk, Komárno, German language, German: ''Komorn'') is a city in Hungary on the south bank of the Danube in Komárom-Esztergom county. Komárno, Slovakia, is on the northern bank. Komárom was formerly a separate village called . In ...

Komárom
with its domains in pawn. Béla also entrusted the Jews with the mint; and Hebrew coins of this period are still found in Hungary. In 1251 a ''privilegium'' was granted by Béla to his Jewish subjects which was essentially the same as that granted by Duke to the Austrian Jews in 1244, but which Béla modified to suit the conditions of Hungary. This ''privilegium'' remained in force down to the
Battle of Mohács The Battle of Mohács (; hu, Mohácsi csata, tr, Mohaç Muharebesi) was one of the most consequential battles in Central European history. It was fought on 29 August 1526 near Mohács, Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a mon ...

Battle of Mohács
(1526). At the Synod of Buda (1279), held in the reign of King
Ladislaus IV of Hungary Ladislaus IV ( hu, IV. (Kun) László, hr, Ladislav IV. Kumanac, sk, Ladislav IV. Kumánsky; 5 August 1262 – 10 July 1290), also known as Ladislas the Cuman, was king of Hungary and king of Croatia, Croatia from 1272 to 1290. His mother, ...

Ladislaus IV of Hungary
(1272–1290), it was decreed, in the presence of the papal ambassador, that every Jew appearing in public should wear on the left side of his upper garment a piece of red cloth; that any Christian transacting business with a Jew not so marked, or living in a house or on land together with any Jew, should be refused admittance to the Church services; and that a Christian entrusting any office to a Jew should be
excommunicated Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Hum ...
.
Andrew III Andrew III the Venetian ( hu, III. Velencei András, hr, Andrija III. Mlečanin, sk, Ondrej III.; 126514 January 1301) was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was the ruling head of state A head of state ( ...

Andrew III
(1291–1301), the last king of the
Árpád dynasty The Árpáds or Arpads ( hu, Árpád-ház, hr, Arpadovići, sr, Арпадовићи, sk, Arpádovci) were the ruling dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''. ...
, declared, in the ''privilegium'' granted by him to the community of Posonium (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), that the Jews in that city should enjoy all the liberties of citizens.


Expulsion, recall and persecution (1349–1526)

Under the foreign kings who occupied the throne of Hungary on the extinction of the house of Arpad, the Hungarian Jews suffered many persecutions. During the time of the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by the plague bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bact ...

Black Death
(1349), they were expelled from the country. Although the Jews were immediately readmitted, they were again persecuted, and were once again expelled in 1360 by King Louis the Great of Anjou (1342–1382).. Although King Louis had initially shown tolerance to the Jews during the early years of his reign, following his conquest of
Bosnia Bosnia ( bs, Bosna / , ) is the north North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar r ...

Bosnia
, during which he tried to force the local population to convert from the "heretic" Bogomil Christianity to
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Catholicism
, King Louis attempted to impose conversion on Hungarian Jews as well. However, he failed in his attempt to convert them to Catholicism, and expelled them. They were received by and Dano I of Wallachia, the latter who afforded them special commercial privileges. Some years later, when Hungary was in financial distress, the Jews were recalled. They found that during their absence the king had introduced the custom of ''Tödtbriefe'', i.e., cancelling by a stroke of his pen, on the request of a subject or a city, the notes and
mortgage A mortgage loan or simply mortgage () is a loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient (i.e., the borrower) incurs a ...
-deeds of the Jews. An important office created by Louis was that of "judge of all the Jews living in Hungary," who was chosen from among the dignitaries of the country, the
palatine A palatine or palatinus (in Latin; plural ''palatini''; cf. derivative spellings below) is a high-level official attached to imperial or royal courts in Europe since Roman Empire, Roman times.
s, and treasurers, and had a deputy to aid him. It was his duty to collect the
taxes A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...

taxes
of the Jews, to protect their privileges, and to listen to their complaints, which last-named had become more frequent since the reign of Sigismund Luxembourg (1387–1437). The successors of Sigismund:
Albert Albert may refer to: Companies * Albert (supermarket) Albert Česká republika, s.r.o., is a division of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize group, operating in the Czech Republic. The company (then known as Euronova a.s.) began trading in Czec ...
(1437–1439), Ladislaus Posthumus (1453–1457), and
Matthias Corvinus Matthias Corvinus, also called Matthias I ( hu, Hunyadi Mátyás, ro, Matia Corvin, hr, Matija/Matijaš Korvin, sk, Matej Korvín, cz, Matyáš Korvín; ), was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was the ruling h ...

Matthias Corvinus
(1458–1490) all likewise confirmed the ''privilegium'' of Béla IV. Matthias created the office of Jewish
prefect Prefect (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...

prefect
in Hungary. The period following the death of Matthias was a sad one for the Hungarian Jews. He was hardly buried, when the people fell upon them, confiscated their property, refused to pay debts owing to them, and persecuted them generally. The pretender
John Corvinus John Corvinus ( Hungarian: ''Corvin János'', Croatian: ''Ivaniš Korvin'', Romanian: ''Ioan Corvin''; 2 April 1473 – 12 October 1504) was the illegitimate son of Matthias Corvinus Matthias Corvinus, also called Matthias I ( hu, Hunyadi Mát ...
, Matthias' illegitimate son, expelled them from Tata, and King Ladislaus II (1490–1516), always in need of money, laid heavy taxes upon them. During his reign, Jews were for the first time burned at the stake, many being executed at Nagyszombat (
Trnava Trnava (, german: Tyrnau; hu, Nagyszombat, also known by other alternative names ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples'' (formerly ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship'') is a quarterly pee ...

Trnava
) in 1494, on suspicion of
ritual murder #REDIRECT Human sacrifice Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more humans as part of a ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set ...
. The Hungarian Jews finally applied to the German Emperor
Maximilian Maximilian, Maximillian or Maximiliaan (Maximilien in French) is a male given name. It was coined by Friedrich III for his son in 1459, explaining it as a combination of the names of two Roman generals, Maximus Maximus (Hellenised as Maximos) is t ...

Maximilian
for protection. On the occasion of the marriage of Louis II and the archduchess Maria (1512), the emperor, with the consent of Ladislaus, took the prefect, Jacob Mendel of Buda, together with his family and all the other Hungarian Jews, under his protection, according to them all the rights enjoyed by his other subjects. Under Ladislaus' successor, Louis II (1516–1526), persecution of the Jews was a common occurrence. The bitter feeling against them was in part augmented by the fact that the baptized Emerich Szerencsés, the deputy treasurer, embezzled the public funds.


War against the Ottomans (1526–1686)

The
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe an ...
vanquished the
Hungarians Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( ; hu, magyarok ), are a nation and ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...
at the
Battle of Mohács The Battle of Mohács (; hu, Mohácsi csata, tr, Mohaç Muharebesi) was one of the most consequential battles in Central European history. It was fought on 29 August 1526 near Mohács, Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a mon ...

Battle of Mohács
(29 August 1526), on which occasion Louis II lost his life on the battlefield. When the news of his death reached the capital,
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
, the court and the nobles fled together with some wealthy Jews, among them the prefect. When the grand
vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called ' (secretary), who was at first merely a ...
, Ibrahim Pasha, preceding Sultan , arrived with his army at Buda, the representatives of the Jews who had remained in the city appeared garbed in mourning before him, and, begging for grace, handed him the keys of the deserted and unprotected castle in token of submission. The sultan himself entered Buda on September 11; and on September 22 he decreed that all the Jews seized at Buda,
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

Esztergom
, and elsewhere, more than 2,000 in number, should be distributed among the cities of the Ottoman Empire. They were sent to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
, Plevna (
Pleven Pleven ( bg, Плèвен ) is List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, the seventh most populous city in Bulgaria. Located in the northern part of the country, it is the administrative centre of Pleven Province, as well as of the subordinate Pleve ...

Pleven
) and
Sofia Sofia ( ; bg, София, Sofiya, ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the Sofia Valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country ...

Sofia
, where they maintained their separate community for several decades. In
Sofia Sofia ( ; bg, София, Sofiya, ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the Sofia Valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country ...

Sofia
, there existed four Jewish communities in the second half of the 16th century: Romaniote, Ashkenazi, Sephardi and "Ungarus". The overflow of Hungarian Jews from Sofia also settled in
Kavala Kavala ( el, Καβάλα, ''Kavála'' ) is a city in northern Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a ...

Kavala
later. Although the Ottoman Army turned back after the battle, in 1541 it again invaded Hungary to help repel an Austrian attempt to take Buda. By the time the Ottoman Army arrived, the Austrians were defeated, but the Ottomans seized Buda by ruse. While some of the Jews of Hungary were deported to
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, others, who had fled at the approach of the
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phone ...

sultan
, sought refuge beyond the frontier or in the
free royal town Royal free city or free royal city (Latin: libera regiae civitas) was the official term for the most important cities in the Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the ...
s of western Hungary. The widow of Louis II, the queen regent Maria, favored the enemies of the Jews. The citizens of
Sopron Sopron (; german: Ödenburg, ; sl, Šopron) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. ...

Sopron
(Ödenburg) began hostilities by expelling the Jews of that city, confiscating their property, and pillaging the vacated houses and the synagogue. The city of Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
) also received permission from the queen (9 October 1526) to expel the Jews living within its territory, because they had expressed their intention of fleeing before the Turks. The Jews left Pressburg on November 9. On that same day the
diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition) In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for #Health, health or #Weight management, weight-mana ...
at
Székesfehérvár Székesfehérvár (; german: Stuhlweißenburg, ), known colloquially as Fehérvár ("white castle"), is a city in central Hungary, and the country's ninth-largest city. It is the Regions of Hungary, regional capital of Central Transdanubia, and ...
was opened, at which
János Szapolyai János or Janos may refer to: * János, male Hungarian given name, a variant of John John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), includin ...
(1526–1540) was elected and crowned king in opposition to
Ferdinand Ferdinand is a Germanic nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one w ...

Ferdinand
. During this session it was decreed that the Jews should immediately be expelled from every part of the country. Zápolya, however, did not ratify these laws; and the Diet held at Pressburg in December 1526, at which Ferdinand of Habsburg was chosen king (1526–1564), annulled all the decrees of that of Székesfehérvár, including Zápolya's election as king. As the lord of Bösing (
Pezinok Pezinok (; hu, Bazin; german: Bösing; lat, Bazinium) is a town in southwestern Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country A landlocked coun ...
) was in debt to the Jews, a blood accusation was brought against these inconvenient creditors in 1529. Although Mendel, the prefect, and the Jews throughout Hungary protested, the accused were burned at the stake. For centuries afterward Jews were forbidden to live at Bösing. The Jews of Nagyszombat (
Trnava Trnava (, german: Tyrnau; hu, Nagyszombat, also known by other alternative names ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples'' (formerly ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship'') is a quarterly pee ...

Trnava
) soon shared a similar fate, being first punished for alleged ritual murder and then expelled from the city (19 February 1539). The Jews living in the parts of Hungary occupied by the Ottoman Empire were treated far better than those living under the
Habsburgs The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...
. During the periods of 1546–1590 and 1620–1680, the community of Ofen (
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
) flourished. The following table shows the number of Jewish
jizya Jizya or jizyah ( ar, جِزْيَة; ) is a per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and sta ...
-tax paying heads of household in Buda during Ottoman rule: At the end of the Ottoman era, the approximately one thousand Jews living in Buda worshipped in three synagogues: an Ashkenazi, a Sephardi and a Syrian one. While the Ottomans held sway in Hungary, the Jews of
Transylvania Transylvania is a historical region in central Romania. To the east and south its natural border is the Carpathian Mountains, and to the west the Apuseni Mountains. Broader definitions of Transylvania also encompass the western and north-western ...

Transylvania
(at that time an independent principality) also fared well. At the instance of Abraham Sassa, a Jewish physician of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
, Prince Gabriel Bethlen of Transylvania granted a letter of privileges (18 June 1623) to the Spanish Jews from Anatolia.. But the community of Judaizing Szekler Sabbatarians, which had existed in Transylvania since 1588, was persecuted and driven underground in 1638. On 26 November 1572, King Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II (1563–1576) intended to expel the Jews of Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), stating that his edict would be recalled only in case they accepted Christianity. The Jews, however, remained in the city, without abandoning their religion. They were in constant conflict with the citizens. On 1 June 1582 the municipal council decreed that no one should harbor Jews, or even transact business with them. The feeling against the Jews in that part of the country not under Turkish rule is shown by the decree of the Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire), Diet of 1578, to the effect that Jews were to be taxed double the amount which was imposed upon other citizens. By article XV of the law promulgated by the Diet of 1630, Jews were forbidden to take charge of the customs; and this decree was confirmed by the Diet of 1646 on the ground that the Jews were excluded from the privileges of the country, that they were unbelievers, and had no conscience (). The Jews had to pay a special war-tax when the imperial troops set out toward the end of the 16th century to recapture Buda from the Ottomans. The
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
community suffered much during this siege, as did also that of Székesfehérvár when the imperial troops took that city in September 1601; many of its members were either slain or taken prisoner and sold into slavery, their redemption being subsequently effected by the German, Italian, and Ottoman Jews. After the conclusion of peace, which the Jews helped to bring about, the communities were in part reconstructed; but further development in the territory of the Habsburgs was arrested when Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I (1657–1705) expelled the Jews (24 April 1671). He, however, revoked his decree a few months later (August 20). During the siege of Vienna, in 1683, the Jews that had returned to that city were again maltreated. The Ottomans plundered some communities in western Hungary, and deported the members as slaves.


Habsburg rule


Further persecution and expulsions (1686–1740)

The imperial troops recaptured
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
on 2 September 1686, most Jewish residents were massacred, some captured and later released for ransom. In the following years the whole of Hungary now came under the rule of the House of Habsburg. As the devastated country had to be repopulated, Bishop Count Leopold Karl von Kollonitsch, subsequently Archbishop of
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

Esztergom
and primate (bishop), Primate of Hungary, advised the king to give the preference to the German Catholics so that the country might in time become German and Catholic. He held that the Jews could not be exterminated at once, but they must be weeded out by degrees, as bad coin is gradually withdrawn from circulation. The decree passed by the Diet of Pressburg (1687–1688), imposing double taxation upon the Jews. Jews were not be permitted to engage in agriculture, nor to own any real estate, nor to keep Christian servants. This advice soon bore fruit and was in part acted upon. In August 1690, the government at Vienna ordered
Sopron Sopron (; german: Ödenburg, ; sl, Šopron) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. ...

Sopron
to expel its Jews, who had immigrated from the Austrian provinces. The government, desiring to enforce the edict of the last Diet, decreed soon afterward that Jews should be removed from the office of collector. The order proved ineffective, however; and the employment of Jewish customs officials was continued. Even the treasurer of the realm set the example in transgressing the law by appointing (1692) Simon Hirsch as customs farmer at Leopoldstadt (Leopoldov); and at Hirsch's death he transferred the office to Hirsch's son-in-law. The revolt of the Kuruc, under Francis II Rákóczi, caused much suffering to Hungary's Jews. The Kuruc imprisoned and slew the Jews, who had incurred their anger by siding with the king's party. The Jews of Eisenstadt, accompanied by those of the community of Mattersburg, Mattersdorf, sought refuge at Vienna, Wiener-Neustadt, and Forchtenstein; those of Holics (Holíč) and Sasvár (Šaštín-Stráže, Šaštín) dispersed to Göding (Hodonín); while others, who could not leave their business in this time of distress, sent their families to safe places, and themselves braved the danger. While not many Jews lost their lives during this revolt, it made great havoc in their wealth, especially in Sopron (county), Sopron County, where a number of rich Jews were living. The king granted letters of protection to those that had been ruined by the revolt, and demanded satisfaction for those that had been injured; but in return for these favors he commanded the Jews to furnish the sums necessary for suppressing the revolt. After the restoration of peace the Jews were expelled from many cities that feared their competition; thus
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

Esztergom
expelled them in 1712, on the ground that the city which had given birth to St. Stephen must not be desecrated by them. But the Jews living in the country, on the estates of their landlords, were generally left alone. The lot of the Jews was not improved under the reign of Leopold's son, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles III (1711–1740). He informed the government (June 28, 1725) that he intended to decrease the number of Jews in his domains, and the government thereupon directed the counties to furnish statistics of the Jew, Hebrew inhabitants. In 1726 the king decreed that in the Austrian provinces, from the day of publication of the decree, only one male member in each Jewish family be allowed to marry. This decree, restricting the natural increase of the Jews, materially affected the Jewish communities of Hungary. All the Jews in the Austrian provinces who could not marry there went to Hungary to found families; thus the overflow of Austrian Jews peopled Hungary. These immigrants settled chiefly in the northwestern counties, in Nyitra (Nitra), Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), and Trencsén (Trenčín). The Moravian Jews continued to live in Hungary as Moravian subjects; even those that went there for the purpose of marrying and settling promised on oath before leaving that they would pay the same taxes as those living in Moravia. In 1734 the Jews of Trencsén bound themselves by a secret oath that in all their communal affairs they would submit to the Jewish court at Ungarisch-Brod (Uherský Brod) only. In the course of time the immigrants refused to pay taxes to the Austrian provinces. The Moravian Jews, who had suffered by the heavy emigration, then brought complaint; and Maria Theresa of Austria, Maria Theresa ordered that all Jewish and Christian subjects that had emigrated after 1740 should be extradited, while those who had emigrated before that date were to be released from their Moravian allegiance.. The government could not, however, check the large immigration; for although strict laws were drafted in 1727, they could not be enforced owing to the good-will of the magnates toward the Jews. The counties either did not answer at all, or sent reports bespeaking mercy rather than persecution. Meanwhile, the king endeavored to free the mining-towns from the Jews – a work which Leopold I had already begun in 1693. The Jews, however, continued to settle near these towns; they displayed their wares at the fairs; and, with the permission of the court, they even erected a foundry at Ság (Sasinkovo). When King Charles ordered them to leave (March 1727), the royal mandate was in some places ignored; in others the Jews obeyed so slowly that he had to repeat his edict three months later.


Maria Theresa (1740–1780)

In 1735, another census of the Jews of the country was taken with the view of reducing their numbers. There were at that time 11,621 Jews living in Hungary, of which 2,474 were male heads of families, and fifty-seven were female heads. Of these heads of families 35.31 per cent declared themselves to be Hungarians; the rest had immigrated. Of the immigrants 38.35 per cent came from Moravia, 11.05 per cent from Poland, and 3.07 per cent from
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...

Bohemia
. The largest Jewish community, numbering 770 persons, was that of Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
). Most of the Jews were engaged in commerce or Industrial sector, industries, most being merchants, traders, or shopkeepers; only a few pursued agriculture. During the reign of Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, Maria Theresa (1740–1780), daughter of Charles III, the Jews were expelled from
Buda Buda (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Buda
(1746), and the "Toleration tax, toleration-tax" was imposed upon the Hungarian Jews. On September 1, 1749, the delegates of the Hungarian Jews, except those from Szatmár County, assembled at Pressburg and met a royal commission, which informed them that they would be expelled from the country if they did not pay this tax. The frightened Jews at once agreed to do so; and the commission then demanded a yearly tax of 50,000 Austro-Hungarian gulden, gulden. This sum being excessive, the delegates protested; and although the queen had fixed 30,000 gulden as the minimum tax, they were finally able to compromise on the payment of 20,000 gulden a year for a period of eight years. The delegates were to apportion this amount among the districts; the districts, their respective sums among the communities; and the communities, theirs among the individual members. The queen confirmed this agreement of the commission, except the eight-year clause, changing the period to three years, which she subsequently made five. The agreement, thus ratified by the queen, was brought on November 26 before the courts, which were powerless to relieve the Jews from the payment of this ''Malkegeld'' (queen's money), as they called it. The Jews, thus burdened by new taxes, thought the time ripe for taking steps to remove their oppressive Disabilities (Jewish), disabilities. While still at Presburg the delegates had brought their grievances before the mixed commission that was called . These complaints pictured the distress of the Jews of that time. They were not allowed to live in Croatia and
Slavonia Slavonia (; hr, Slavonija) is, with , , and , one of the four of . Taking up the east of the country, it roughly corresponds with five : , , , , and , although the territory of the counties includes , and the definition of the western exte ...

Slavonia
, in Baranya (county), Baranya and Heves County (former), Heves Counties, or in several free royal towns and localities; nor might they visit the markets there. At Stuhlweissenburg (
Székesfehérvár Székesfehérvár (; german: Stuhlweißenburg, ), known colloquially as Fehérvár ("white castle"), is a city in central Hungary, and the country's ninth-largest city. It is the Regions of Hungary, regional capital of Central Transdanubia, and ...
) they had to pay a poll-tax of 1 gulden, 30 kreuzer if they entered the city during the day, if only for an hour. In many places they might not even stay overnight. They therefore begged permission to settle, or at least to visit the fairs, in Croatia and Slavonia and in those places from which they had been driven in consequence of the jealousy of the Greeks and the merchants.. The Jews also had to pay heavier bridge-and ferry-tolls than the Christians; at Nagyszombat (
Trnava Trnava (, german: Tyrnau; hu, Nagyszombat, also known by other alternative names ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples'' (formerly ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship'') is a quarterly pee ...

Trnava
) they had to pay three times the ordinary sum, namely, for the driver, for the vehicle, and for the animal drawing the same; and in three villages belonging to the same district they had to pay Toll road, toll, although there was no toll-gate. Jews living on the estates of the nobles had to give their wives and children as Security interest#Pledge, pledges for arrears of taxes. In Upper Hungary they asked for the revocation of the toleration-tax imposed by the chamber of Zips County (Szepes, Spiš), on the ground that otherwise the Jews living there would have to pay two such taxes; and they asked also to be relieved from a similar tax paid to the Diet. Finally, they requested that Jewish artisans might be allowed to follow their trades in their homes undisturbed. The commission laid these complaints before the Queen, indicating the manner in which they could be relieved; and their suggestions were subsequently willed by the queen and made into law. The queen relieved the Jews from the tax of toleration in Upper Hungary only. In regard to the other complaints she ordered that the Jews should specify them in detail, and that the government should remedy them insofar as they came under its jurisdiction. The toleration-tax had hardly been instituted when Michael Hirsch petitioned the government to be appointed primate of the Hungarian Jews to be able to settle difficulties that might arise among them, and to collect the tax. The government did not recommend Hirsch, but decided that in case the Jews should refuse to pay, it might be advisable to appoint a primate to adjust the matter. Before the end of the period of five years the delegates of the Jews again met the commission at Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
) and offered to increase the amount of their tax to 25,000 gulden a year if the queen would promise that it should remain at that sum for the next ten years. The queen had other plans, however; not only did she dismiss the renewed ''gravamina'' of the Jews, but rather imposed stiffer regulations upon them. Their tax of 20,000 gulden was increased to 30,000 gulden in 1760; to 50,000 in 1772; to 80,000 in 1778; and to 160,000 in 1813.


Joseph II (1780–1790)

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II (1780–1790), son and successor of Maria Theresa, showed immediately on his accession that he intended to alleviate the condition of the Jews, communicating this intention to the Hungarian chancellor, Count Franz House of Esterházy, Esterházy as early as May 13, 1781. In consequence the Hungarian government issued (March 31, 1783) a decree known as the , which wiped out at one stroke the decrees that had oppressed the Jews for centuries. The royal free towns, except the mining-towns, were opened to the Jews, who were allowed to settle at leisure throughout the country. The decreed that the legal documents of the Jews should no longer be composed in Hebrew language, Hebrew, or in Yiddish, but in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, German, and Hungarian language, Hungarian, the languages used in the country at the time, and which the young Jews were required to learn within two years. Documents written in Hebrew or in Yiddish were not legal; Hebrew books were to be used at worship only; the Jews were to organize elementary schools; the commands of the emperor, issued in the interests of the Jews, were to be announced in the synagogues; and the rabbis were to explain to the people the salutary effects of these decrees. The subjects to be taught in the Jewish schools were to be the same as those taught in the national schools; the same text-books were to be used in all the elementary schools; and everything that might offend the religious sentiment of non-conformists was to be omitted. During the early years Christian teachers were to be employed in the Jewish schools, but they were to have nothing to do with the religious affairs of such institutions. After the lapse of ten years a Jew might establish a business, or engage in trade, only if he could prove that he had attended a school. The usual school-inspectors were to supervise the Jewish schools and to report to the government. The Jews were to create a fund for organizing and maintaining their schools. Jewish youth might enter the academies, and might study any subject at the universities except theology. Jews might rent farms only if they could cultivate the same without the aid of Christians. Jews were allowed to peddler, peddle and to engage in various industrial occupations, and to be admitted into the guilds. They were also permitted to engrave seal (device), seals, and to sell gunpowder and Potassium nitrate, saltpeter; but their exclusion from the mining-towns remained in force. Christian masters were allowed to have Jewish apprentices. All distinctive marks hitherto worn by the Jews were to be abolished, and they might even carry swords. On the other hand, they were required to discard the distinctive marks prescribed by their religion and to shave their beards. Emperor Joseph regarded this decree so seriously that he allowed no one to violate it. The Jews, in a petition dated April 22, 1783, expressed their gratitude to the emperor for his favors, and, reminding him of his principle that religion should not be interfered with, asked permission to wear beards. The emperor granted the prayer of the petitioners, but reaffirmed the other parts of the decree (April 24, 1783). The Jews organized schools in various places, at Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), Óbuda, Vágújhely (Nové Mesto nad Váhom), and Nagyvárad (Oradea). A decree was issued by the emperor (July 23, 1787) to the effect that every Jew should choose a German surname; and a further edict (1789) ordered, to the consternation of the Jews, that they should henceforth perform Conscription, military service. After the death of Joseph II the royal free cities showed a very hostile attitude toward the Jews. The citizens of Pest, Hungary, Pest petitioned the municipal council that after May 1, 1790, the Jews should no longer be allowed to live in the city. The government interfered; and the Jews were merely forbidden to engage in peddling in the city. Seven days previously a decree of expulsion had been issued at Nagyszombat (
Trnava Trnava (, german: Tyrnau; hu, Nagyszombat, also known by other alternative names ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples'' (formerly ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship'') is a quarterly pee ...

Trnava
), May 1 being fixed as the date of the Jews' departure. The Jews appealed to the government; and in the following December the city authorities of Nagyszombat were informed that the Diet had confirmed the former rights of the Jews, and that the latter could not be expelled..


Toleration and oppression (1790–1847)

The Jews of Hungary handed a petition, in which they boldly presented their claims to equality with other citizens, to King Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold II (1790–1792) at Vienna on November 29, 1790. He sent it the following day to the chancelleries of Hungary and Moravia for their opinions. The question was brought before the estates of the country on December 2, and the Diet drafted a bill showing that it intended to protect the Jews. This decision created consternation among the enemies of the latter. Nagyszombat (
Trnava Trnava (, german: Tyrnau; hu, Nagyszombat, also known by other alternative names ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples'' (formerly ''AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship'') is a quarterly pee ...

Trnava
) addressed a further memorandum to the estates (December 4) in which it demanded that the Diet should protect the city's privileges. The Diet decided in favor of the Jews, and its decision was laid before the king. The Jews, confidently anticipating the king's decision in their favor, organized a splendid celebration on November 15, 1790, the day of his coronation; on January 10, 1791, the king approved the bill of the Diet; and the following law, drafted in conformity with the royal decision, was read by Judge Stephen Atzel in the session of February 5: "In order that the condition of the Jews may be regulated pending such time as may elapse until their affairs and the privileges of various royal free towns relating to them shall have been determined by a commission to report to the next ensuing Diet, when his Majesty and the estates will decide on the condition of the Jews, the estates have determined, with the approval of his Majesty, that the Jews within the boundaries of Hungary and the countries belonging to it shall, in all the royal free cities and in other localities (except the royal mining-towns), remain under the same conditions in which they were on Jan. 1, 1790; and in case they have been expelled anywhere, they shall be recalled." Thus came into force the famous law entitled ''De Judaeis'', which forms the thirty-eighth article of the laws of the Diet of 1790–1791. The ''De Judaeis'' law was gratefully received by the Jews; for it not only afforded them protection, but also gave them the assurance that their affairs would soon be regulated. Still, although the Diet appointed on February 7, 1791, a commission to study the question, the amelioration of the condition of the Hungarian Jews was not effected till half a century later, under Ferdinand I of Austria, Ferdinand V (r. 1835–1848), during the session of the Diet of 1839–1840. It is estimated that the Jewish population in Hungary grew by about 80% between 1815 and 1840, bolstered by immigration due to the perception of royal tolerance. In consequence of the petition of the Jews of Pest, the mover of which was Philip Jacobovics, superintendent of the Jewish hospital, the general assembly of the county of Pest drafted instructions for the delegates on June 10, 1839, to the effect that if the Jews would be willing to adopt the Hungarian language, Magyar language they should be given equal rights with other Hungarian citizens. From now on much attention was paid to the teaching of Hungarian in the schools; Moritz Bloch (Ballagi) translated the Pentateuch into Hungarian, and Moritz Rosenthal the Psalms and the ''Pirkei Avoth''. Various communities founded Hungarian reading-circles; and the Hungarian dress and language were more and more adopted. Many communities began to use Hungarian on their seals and in their documents, and some liberal rabbis even began to preach in that language.. At the sessions of the Diet subsequent to that of 1839–1840, as well as in various cities, a decided antipathy—at times active and at times merely passive—toward the Jews became manifest. In sharp contrast to this attitude was that of Baron József Eötvös, who published in 1840 in the ''Budapesti Szemle'', the most prominent Hungarian review, a strong appeal for the Jewish emancipation, emancipation of the Jews. This cause also found a friend in Count Charles Zay, the chief ecclesiastical inspector of the Hungarian Lutherans, who warmly advocated Jewish interests in 1846. Although the session of the Diet convened on November 7, 1847, was unfavorable to the Jews, the latter not only continued to cultivate the Hungarian language, but were also willing to sacrifice their lives and property in the hour of danger. During the Revolution of 1848 they displayed their patriotism, even though attacked by the populace in several places at the beginning of the uprising. On March 19 the populace of Pressburg (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), encouraged by the antipathies of the citizens—who were aroused by the fact that the Jews, leaving their ghetto around Pressburg Castle (Bratislava Castle), were settling in the city itself—began hostilities that were continued after some days, and were renewed more fiercely in April. At this time the expulsion of the Jews from
Sopron Sopron (; german: Ödenburg, ; sl, Šopron) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. ...

Sopron
,
Pécs Pécs ( , ; german: Fünfkirchen, ; known by alternative names) is the fifth largest city of Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the e ...
,
Székesfehérvár Székesfehérvár (; german: Stuhlweißenburg, ), known colloquially as Fehérvár ("white castle"), is a city in central Hungary, and the country's ninth-largest city. It is the Regions of Hungary, regional capital of Central Transdanubia, and ...
, and
Szombathely Szombathely (; german: Steinamanger, ; see also #Etymology, other alternative names) is the 10th largest city in Hungary. It is the administrative centre of Vas county in the west of the country, located near the border with Austria. Szombathely ...
was demanded; in the last two cities there were pogroms. At Szombathely, the mob advanced upon the synagogue, cut up the Torah scrolls, and threw them into a well. Nor did the Jews of Pest escape, while those at Vágújhely (Nové Mesto nad Váhom) especially suffered from the brutality of the mob. Bitter words against the Jews were also heard in the Diet. Some Jews advised History of the Jews in the United States#Jewish immigration, emigration to America as a means of escape; and a society was founded at Pest, with a branch at Pressburg, for that purpose. A few left Hungary, seeking a new home across the sea, but the majority remained.


Revolution and emancipation (1848–1849)


Jews and the Hungarian Revolution

Jews entered the national guard as early as March 1848; although they were excluded from certain cities, they reentered as soon as the danger to the country seemed greater than the hatred of the citizens. At Pest, Hungary, Pest the Jewish national guard formed a separate division. When the national guards of Pápa were mobilized against the Croatians, Leopold Löw, rabbi of Pápa, joined the Hungarian ranks, inspiring his companions by his words of encouragement. Jews were also to be found in the volunteer corps, and among the ''Royal Hungarian Landwehr, honvéd'' and ''landsturm''; and they constituted one-third of the volunteer division of Pest that marched along the Drava against the Croatians, being blessed by Rabbi Schwab on June 22, 1848. Many Jews throughout the country joined the army to fight for their fatherland; among them, Adolf Hübsch, subsequently rabbi at New York City; Solomon Marcus Schiller-Szinessy, afterward lecturer at the University of Cambridge; and Ignatz Einhorn, who, under the name of "Eduard Horn," subsequently became state secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Commerce. The rebellious Serbs, Serbians slew the Jews at Senta, Zenta who sympathized with Hungary; among them, Rabbi Israel Ullmann and Jacob Münz, son of Moses Münz of Óbuda The conduct of the Jewish soldiers in the Hungarian army was highly commended by Generals György Klapka, Klapka and Artúr Görgei, Görgey. Einhorn estimated the number of Jewish soldiers who took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Hungarian Revolution to be 20,000; but this is most likely exaggerated, as Béla Bernstein enumerates only 755 combatants by name in his work, ''Az 1848-49-iki Magyar Szabadságharcz és a Zsidók'' (Budapest, 1898). The Hungarian Jews served their country not only with the sword, but also with funds. Communities and individuals, Chevra Kadisha, and other Jewish societies, freely contributed silver and gold, armor and provisions, clothed and fed the soldiers, and furnished lint and other medical supplies to the Hungarian camps. Meanwhile, they did not forget to take steps to obtain their rights as citizens. When the Diet of 1847–1848 (in which, according to ancient law, only the
nobles Nobility is a normally ranked immediately below and found in some societies that have a formal . Nobility has often been an that possessed more acknowledged and higher than most other classes in society. The privileges associated wi ...

nobles
and those having the rights of nobles might take part) was dissolved (April 11), and the new Parliament – at which under the new laws the delegates elected by the commons also appeared – was convened at Pest (July 2, 1848), the Jews hopefully looked forward to the deliberations of the new body..


Brief emancipation and aftermath, 1849

Many Jews thought to pave the way for emancipation by a radical reform of their religious life. They thought this might ease their way, as legislators in the Diets and articles printed in the press suggested that the Jews should not receive equal civic rights until they reformed their religious practices. This reform had been first demanded in the session of 1839–1840. From this session onward, the press and general assemblies pushed for religious reform. Several counties instructed their representatives not to vote for the emancipation of the Jews until they desisted from practising the externals of their religion. For the purpose of urging Jewish emancipation, all the Jews of Hungary sent delegates to a conference at Pest on July 5, 1848. It chose a commission of ten members to lobby with the Diet for emancipation. The commission delegates were instructed not to make any concessions related to practicing the Jewish faith. The commission soon after addressed a petition to the Parliament for emancipation, but it proved ineffective. The national assembly at Szeged granted emancipation of Jews on Saturday, the eve of the Ninth of Av (July 28, 1849). The bill, which was quickly debated and immediately became a law, fulfilled the hopes of the Reform party. The Jews obtained full citizenship. The Ministry of the Interior was ordered to call a convention of Jewish minister of religion, ministers and laymen for the purpose of drafting a confession of faith, and of inducing the Jews to organize their religious life in conformity with the demands of the time, for instance, business hours on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. The bill included the clause referring to marriages between Jews and Christians, which clause both Lajos Kossuth and the Reform party advocated. The Jews' civic liberty lasted for just two weeks. After the Hungarian army's surrender at Világos to Russian troops, which had come to aid the Austrians in suppressing the Hungarian struggle for liberty, the Jews were severely punished by new authorities for having taken part in the uprising. Field Marshal Julius Jacob von Haynau, the new governor of Hungary, imposed heavy war-taxes upon them, especially upon the communities of Pest, Hungary, Pest and Óbuda, which had already been heavily taxed by Alfred I, Prince of Windisch-Grätz, commander-in-chief of the Austrian army, on his triumphant entry into the Hungarian capital at the beginning of 1849. Haynau punished the communities of Kecskemét, Nagykőrös, Cegléd, Albertirsa, Szeged, and Szabadka (now Subotica, Serbia) with equal severity. Numerous Jews were imprisoned and executed; others sought refuge in emigration. Several communities petitioned to be relieved of the war taxes. The ministry of war, however, increased the burden, requiring that the communities of Pest, Óbuda, Kecskemét, Czegléd, Nagykőrös, and Irsa should pay this tax not in kind, but in currency to the amount of 2,300,000 Austro-Hungarian gulden, gulden. As the communities were unable to collect such monies, they petitioned the government to remit it. The Jewish communities of the entire country were ordered to share in raising the sum, on the grounds that most of the Jews of Hungary had supported the Revolution. Only the communities of Temesvár (now Timișoara, Romania) and Pressburg (now
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
, Slovakia) were exempted from this order, as they remained loyal to the existing Austrian government. The military commission added a clause to tax requirements, to the effect that individuals or communities might be exempted from the punishment, if they could prove by documents or witnesses, before a commission to be appointed, that they had not taken part in the Revolution, either by word or deed, morally or materially. The Jews refused this means of clearing themselves. They declared to be willing to redeem the tax by collecting a certain sum for a national school fund. Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, Franz Joseph remitted the war-tax (September 20, 1850), but ordered that the Jews of Hungary without distinction should contribute toward a Jewish school fund of 1,000,000 gulden; they raised this sum within a few years.


Struggles for a second emancipation (1859–1867)

While the House of Habsburg controlled Hungary, emancipation of Jews was postponed. When the Austrian troops were defeated in Italy in 1859, activists pressed for liberty. In that year the cabinet, with Emperor Franz Joseph in the chair, decreed that the status of the Jews should be regulated in agreement with the times, but with due regard for the conditions obtaining in the several localities and provinces. When the emperor convened the Diet on April 2, 1861, Jews pushed for emancipation but the early dissolution of that body prevented it from taking action in the matter.. The decade of absolutism in Hungary (1849–1859) resulted in Jews establishing schools, most of which were in charge of trained teachers. Based on the Jewish school fund, the government organized model schools at Sátoraljaújhely, Temesvár (Timișoara),
Pécs Pécs ( , ; german: Fünfkirchen, ; known by alternative names) is the fifth largest city of Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the e ...
, and Pest, Hungary, Pest. In Pest the Israelite State Teachers' Seminary was founded in 1859, the principals of which have included Abraham Lederer, Heinrich Deutsch, and József Bánóczi. When the Parliament dissolved in 1861, the emancipation of the Jews was deferred to the coronation of Franz Joseph. On December 22, 1867, the question came before the lower house, and on the favorable report of Kálmán Tisza and Zsigmond Bernáth, a bill in favor of emancipation was adopted; it was passed by the upper house on the following day. Although the Antisemitic Party was represented in the Parliament, it was not taken seriously by the political elite of the country. Its agitation against Jews was not successful (see Tiszaeszlár affair). On October 4, 1877, the Budapest University of Jewish Studies opened in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
. The university is still operating, celebrating its 130th anniversary on October 4, 2007. Since its opening, it has been the only Jewish institute in all of Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe. In the 1890 Hungarian census, 64.0% of the Jewish population were counted as ethnic Hungarian by mother tongue, 33.1% as German 1.9% as Slovak, 0.8% as Romanian, and 0.2% as Ruthenian.


Austria-Hungary (1867–1918)


Family names

Most Jews did not have family names before 1783. Some family names were recorded for Jewish families: * 1050: Jászkonti * 1263: Farkas * 1350: Hosszú * 16th century: Cseh, Jakab, Gazdag, Fekete, Nagy, Kis * 1780: Bárány, Csonka, Horpács, Jónap, Kohányi, Kossuth, Kosztolányi, Lengyel, Lőrincz, Lukács, Szarvas, Szabó, Varga. Emperor Joseph II believed that Germanization could facilitate the centralization of his empire. Beginning in 1783, he ordered Jews to either choose or be given German family names by local committees. The actions were dependent on local conditions. With the rise of Hungarian nationalism, the first wave of Magyarization of family names occurred between 1840 and 1849. After the Hungarian revolution, this process was stopped until 1867. After the Ausgleich, many Jews changed their family names from German to Hungarian. In 1942 during World War II, when Hungary became allied with Germany, the Hungarian Defense Ministry was tasked with "race validation." Its officials complained that no Hungarian or German names were "safe," as Jews might have any name. They deemed Slavic names to be "safer", but the decree listed 58 Slavic-sounding names regularly held by Jews.


Population statistics


1890 / 1900 / 1910 census summaries

Almost a quarter (22.35%) of the Jews of Hungary lived in Budapest in 1910. Some of the surviving large synagogues in Budapest include the following: File:Dohany Street Synagogue Pest Hungary.jpg, Interior of File:Hegedus Gyula Utca Synagogue Pest Hungary.jpg, Hegedus Gyula Utca Synagogue File:Rumbach St Synagogue Pest Hungary 2.jpg, Rumbach Street Synagogue File:Vasvari Pal St Synagogue Pest Hungary.jpg, Vasvari Pal Street Synagogue File:Kazinczy St Orthodox Synagogue Pest Hungary.jpg, Kazinczy Street Synagogue, Budapest, Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue


1910 census

According to the 1910 census, the number of Jews was 911,227, or 4.99% of the 18,264,533 people living in Hungary (In addition, there were 21,231 Jews in autonomous Croatia-Slavonia). This was a 28.7% increase in absolute terms since the 1890 census, and a 0.3% increase (from 4.7%) in the overall population of Hungary. At the time, the Jewish natural growth rate was higher than the Christian (although the difference had been narrowing), but so was the emigration rate, mainly to the United States. (The total emigration from Austria-Hungary to the U.S. in 1881–1912 was 3,688,000 people, including 324,000 Jews (8.78%). In the 1880–1913 period, a total of 2,019,000 people emigrated from Hungary to the US. Thus, an estimated 177,000 Jews emigrated from Hungary to the US during this total period.) The net loss for Judaism due to conversions was relatively low before the end of the Great War: 240 people/year between 1896 and 1900, 404 between 1901 and 1910, and 435 people/year between 1911 and 1917. According to records, 10,530 people left Judaism, and 2,244 converted to Judaism between 1896 and 1917.''Magyar Statisztikai Szemle 1939-10'', p. 1115 The majority (75.7%) of the Jewish population reported Hungarian as their primary language, so they were counted as ethnically Hungarian in the census. The Yiddish speakers were counted as ethnically German. According to this classification, 6.94% of the ethnic Hungarians and 11.63% of the Germans of Hungary were Jewish. In total, Hungarian speakers made up a 54.45% majority in Hungary; German speakers (including those who spoke Yiddish), made up 10.42% of the population. Population of the capital, Budapest, was 23% Jewish (about the same ratio as in New York City). This community had established numerous religious and educational institutions. Pest was more Jewish than Buda. The prosperity, cultural, and financial prominence of Budapest's large Jewish community attested to its successful integration. Indeed, commentators opined in 1911 that Hungary had "absorbed" their Jews and "it has come to pass that there is no anti-Semitism in Budapest, although the Hebrew element is proportionately much larger (21% as compared to 9%) than it is in Vienna, the Mecca of the Jew-baiter" At that time Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna referred to the capital as Judapest, alluding to the high proportion of Jews. Budapest had the third largest Jewish population among the world's cities, after New York and Warsaw. Jews in Hungary were long prevented from owning land, which resulted in many going into business. In 1910, 60.96% of merchants, 58.11% of the book printers, 41.75% of the innkeepers, 24.42% of the bakers, 24.07% of the butchers, 21.04% of the tailors, and 8.90% of the shoemakers of Hungary were Jewish. 48.5% of the physicians in the country (2701 out of 5565) were Jewish. In the 1893–1913 period, Jews made up roughly 20% of the students of the gimnázium high school (where classical subjects were emphasized) students and 37% of reál high school (where practical subjects were emphasized). The strong class divisions of Hungary were represented in the Jewish population. About 3.1% of the Jews belonged to the "large employer" and "agricultural landowner of more than 100 hold, i.e. 57 hectares" class, 3.2% to the "small (<100 hold) landholder" class, 34.4% to the "working", i.e. wage-earning employee class, while 59.3% belonged to the self-employed or salary-earning middle class. Stephen Roth writes, "Hungarian Jews were opposed to Zionism because they hoped that somehow they could achieve equality with other Hungarian citizens, not just in law but in fact, and that they could be integrated into the country as Hungarian Israelites. The word 'Israelite' ( hu, Izraelita) denoted only religious affiliation and was free from the ethnic or national connotations usually attached to the term 'Jew'. Hungarian Jews attained remarkable achievements in business, culture and less frequently even in politics. By 1910 about 900,000 religious Jews made up approximately 5% of the population of Hungary and about 23% of Budapest's citizenry. Jews accounted for 54% of commercial business owners, 85% of financial institution directors and owners in banking, and 62% of all employees in commerce, 20% of all general grammar school students, and 37% of all commercial scientific grammar school students, 31.9% of all engineering students, and 34.1% of all students in human faculties of the universities. Religious Jews were accounted for 48.5% of all physicians, and 49.4% of all lawyers/jurists in Hungary. During the cabinet of pm. István Tisza three Jewish men were appointed as ministers. The first was Samu Hazai (Minister of War), János Harkányi (Minister of Trade) and János Teleszky (Minister of Finance). While the Jewish population of the lands of the Dual Monarchy was about five percent, Jews made up nearly eighteen percent of the reserve officer corps. Thanks to the modernity of the constitution and to the benevolence of emperor Franz Joseph, the Austrian Jews came to regard the era of Austria-Hungary as a golden era of their history. There was also Schism in Hungarian Jewry, religious division, with three denominations. Budapest, the South and West had a Neolog Judaism, Neolog majority (related to modern US Conservative and Reform Judaism- the kipah and organ were both used in religious worship in the synagogues). Traditionalists ("Status quo ante") were the smallest of the three, mainly in the North. The East and North of the country were overwhelmingly Orthodox (more orthodox than "status quo ante"). In broad terms, Jews whose ancestors had come from Moravia in the 18th century tended to become Neolog at the split in 1869; those whose ancestors were from Galicia (Eastern Europe), Galicia identified as Orthodox. In absolute numbers, Budapest had by far the largest number of Jews (203,000), followed by Nagyvárad (Oradea) with 15,000, Újpest and Miskolc with about 10,000 each, Máramarossziget (Sighetu Marmaţiei), Munkács (Mukachevo), Pozsony (
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; formerly ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 430,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 - approximately 150% of the off ...

Bratislava
), Debrecen with 8,000, Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare), Temesvár (Timișoara), Kassa (Košice) with about 7,000 each.


Interwar (1918–1939)


Population

Using data from the 1910 census, 51.7% of the Hungarian Jews lived in territories that stayed inside the "small" Hungary after 1921, 25.5% (232,000) lived in territories that later became part of Czechoslovakia, 19.5% (178,000) became part of Romania, 2.6% (23,000) became part of Yugoslavia, 0.5% (5,000) became part of Austria and finally 0.2% (2,000) lived in Fiume, which became part of Italy after 1924. According to the censuses of 1930–1931, 238,460/192,833/about 22,000 Jews lived in parts of Czechoslovakia/Romania/Yugoslavia formerly belonging to Hungary, which means that the overall number of people declaring themselves Jewish remained unchanged in the Carpathian basin between 1910 and 1930 [a decrease of 26,000 in the post-WW1 Hungary, a 6,000 increase in Czechoslovakia and a 15,000 increase in Romania]. According to the census of December 1920 in the "small" Hungary, the percentage of Jews increased in the preceding decade in Sátoraljaújhely (to 30.4%), Budapest (23.2%), Újpest (20.0%), Nyíregyháza (11.7%), Debrecen (9.9%), Pécs (9.0%), Sopron (7.5%), Makó (6.4%), Rákospalota (6.1%), Kispest (5.6%) and Békéscsaba (to 5.6%), while decreased in the other 27 towns with more than 20 thousand inhabitants. Overall, 31.1% of the Jewish population lived in villages and towns with less than 20 thousand inhabitants. In 1920, 46.3% of the medical doctors, 41.2% of the veterinarians, 21.4% of the pharmacists of Hungary were Jewish, as well as 34.3% of the journalists, 24.5% of performers of music, 22.7% of the theater actors, 16.8% of the painters and sculptors. Among the owners of land of more than 1000 hold, i.e. 570 hectares, 19.6% were Jewish. Among the 2739 factories in Hungary, 40.5% had a Jewish owner. The following table shows the number of people who declared to be Israelite (Jewish) at the censuses inside the post-WWI territory of Hungary. Between 1920 and 1945, it was illegal for Hungarians to fail to declare their religion A person's religion was written on their birth certificate, marriage license (except in 1919, during the short-lived Commune, see Hungarian Soviet Republic), and even on a child's school grade reports. The net loss for Judaism due to official conversions was 26,652 people between 1919 and 1938, while 4,288 people converted into the faith, 30,940 left it. The endpoints of this period, 1919–1920 (white terror) and 1938 (anti-Jewish law) contributed to more than half of this loss; between 1921 and 1930, the net loss rested around pre-war levels (260 people/year).: In 1926, the districts I, II, III of Buda were Jewish 8%,11%,10% respectively. The 19,000 Jews of Buda constituted about 9.3% of both the total population of Buda and the entire Jewish population of Budapest. On the left (Pest) side of the Danube, downtown Pest (Belváros, district IV then) was 18% Jewish. Districts V (31%), VI (28%), VII (36%), VIII (22%), IX (13%) had large Jewish populations, while district X had 6%. The four Neolog communities of Budapest (I-II, III, IV-IX, X) had a total of 66,300 members paying their dues, while the Orthodox community had about 7,000 members paying religious taxes. In the countryside of the post-WW1 Hungary, the Orthodox had a slight edge (about 49%) over the Neolog (46%). Budapest and countryside combined, 65.72% of the 444,567 Jews belonged to Neolog communities, 5.03% to Status quo ante, while 29.25% were Orthodox in 1930. The Jewish communities suffered a 5.6% decline in the 1910–1930 period, on the territory of the "small" Hungary, due to emigration and conversion. The Jews of Hungary were fairly well integrated into Hungarian society by the time of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. Class distinction was very significant in Hungary in general, and among the Jewish population in particular. Rich bankers, factory owners, lower middle class artisans and poor factory workers did not mingle easily. In 1926, there were 50,761 Jewish families living in Budapest. Of that number, 65% lived in apartments that contained one or two rooms, 30% had three or four rooms, while 5% lived in apartments with more than 4 rooms. Education. The following chart illustrates the effect of the 1920 "Numerus clausus" Law on the percentage of Jewish university students at two Budapest Universities. Those who could afford went to study to other European countries like Austria, Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. In 1930, of all males aged six and older, Seven of the thirteen Nobel prize winners born in Hungary are Jewish. In sports, 55.6% of the individual gold medal winners of Hungary at the Summer Olympic Games between 1896 and 1912 were Jewish. This number dropped to 17.6% in the interwar period of 1924–1936.


Revolution

More than 10,000 Jews died and thousands were wounded and disabled fighting for Hungary in World War I. But these sacrifices by patriotic Hungarian Jews may have been outweighed by the chaotic events following the war's end. With the defeat and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary would be forced by the Allies to adhere to the
Treaty of Trianon The Treaty of Trianon (french: Traité de Trianon, hu, Trianoni békeszerződés) was prepared at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919–1920, Paris Peace Conference and was signed in the Grand Trianon, Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles on ...
, which ceded to neighboring nations fully two-thirds of Hungary's imperial territory and two-thirds of its population, including a third of its ethnically Magyar citizens and many Jews. These losses provoked deep anger and hostility in the remaining Hungarian population.Mason, John W; "Hungary's Battle For Memory," ''History Today'', Vol. 50, March 2000 The first post-war government was led by Mihály Károlyi, and was the first modern effort at liberal democratic government in Hungary. But it was cut short in a spasm of communist revolution, which would have serious implications for the manner in which Hungarian Jews were viewed by their fellow-countrymen. In March 1919, Communist and Social Democrat members of a coalition government ousted Karolyi; soon after (March 21), the Communists were to take power as their Social Democrat colleagues were willing neither to accept nor to refuse the Vix Note to cede a significant part of the Great Plains to Romania and the communists took control of Hungary's governing institutions. While popular at first among Budapest's progressive elite and proletariat, the so-called Hungarian Soviet Republic fared poorly in almost all of its aims, particularly its efforts to regain territories occupied by Slovakia (although achieving some transitional success here) and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
. All the less palatable excesses of Communist uprisings were in evidence during these months, particularly the formation of squads of brutal young men practicing what they called "revolutionary terror" to intimidate and suppress dissident views. All but the one Sándor Garbai, the revolution's leaders, including Béla Kun, Tibor Szamuely, and Jenő Landler – were of Jewish ancestry. As in other countries where Communism was viewed as an immediate threat, the presence of ethnic Jews in positions of revolutionary leadership helped foster the notion of a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. Kun's regime was crushed after four and a half months when the Romanian army entered Budapest; it was quickly followed by the reactionary forces under the command of the former Austro-Hungarian admiral,
Miklós Horthy Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya ( hu, Vitéz nagybányai Horthy Miklós; ; English: Nicholas Horthy; german: Nikolaus Horthy Ritter von Nagybánya; 18 June 1868 – 9 February 1957), was a Hungarian people, Hungarian admiral and statesman who serv ...
. The sufferings endured during the brief revolution, and their exploitation by ultra-nationalist movements, helped generate stronger suspicions among non-Jewish Hungarians, and undergirded pre-existing anti-Semitic views. Beginning in July 1919, officers of Horthy's National Army engaged in a brutal string of counter-reprisals against Hungarian communists and their allies, real or imagined. This series of pogroms directed at Jews, progressives, peasants and others is known as the White Terror (Hungary), White Terror. Horthy's personal role in these reprisals is still subject of debate (in his memoirs he refused to disavow the violence, saying that "only an iron broom" could have swept the country clean). Tallying the numbers of victims of the different terror campaigns in this period is still a matter of some political dispute but the White Terror is generally considered to have claimed more lives than the repressions of the Kun regime by an order of magnitude, thousands vs hundreds.


Interwar years

In the first few decades of the 20th century the Jews of Hungary numbered roughly 5 percent of the population. This minority had managed to achieve great commercial success, and Jews were disproportionately represented in the professions, relative to their numbers. In 1921
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

Budapest
, 88% of the members of the stock exchange and 91% of the currency brokers were Jews, many of them ennobled. In interwar Hungary, more than half and perhaps as much as 90 percent of Hungarian industry was owned or operated by a few closely related Jewish banking families. Jews represented one-fourth of all university students and 43% percent at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest Technological University. In 1920, 60 percent of Hungarian doctors, 51 percent of lawyers, 39 percent of all privately employed engineers and chemists, 34 percent of editors and journalists, and 29 percent of musicians identified themselves as Jews by religion. Resentment of this Jewish trend of success was widespread: Admiral Horthy himself declared that he was "an anti-Semite", and remarked in a letter to one of his prime ministers, "I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary everything, every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theater, press, commerce, etc. should be in Jewish hands, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad." Unfortunately for Jews they had also become, by a quirk of history, the most visible minority remaining in Hungary (besides ethnic Germans and Gypsies); the other large "non-Hungarian" populations (including Slovaks, Slovenes, Croats, and Romanians, among others) had been abruptly excised from the Hungarian population by the territorial losses at Trianon. That and the highly visible role of Jews in the economy, the media and the professions, as well as in the leadership of the 1919 Communist dictatorship left Hungary's Jews as an ethnically separate group which could serve as a scapegoat for the nation's ills. The scapegoating began quickly. In 1920, Horthy's government passed a "Numerus Clausus" law that placed limits on the number of minority students in proportion of their size of the population, thus restricting the Jewish enrollment at universities to five percent or less. Anti-Jewish policies grew more repressive in the interwar period as Hungary's leaders, who remained committed to regaining territories lost in WW1, chose to align themselves (albeit warily) with the fascist governments of Germany and Italy – the international actors most likely to stand behind Hungary's claims. The inter-war years also saw the emergence of flourishing fascist groups, such as the Hungarian National Socialist Party and the Arrow Cross Party.


Anti-Jewish measures


Anti-Jewish Laws (1938–1941)

Starting in 1938, Hungary under
Miklós Horthy Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya ( hu, Vitéz nagybányai Horthy Miklós; ; English: Nicholas Horthy; german: Nikolaus Horthy Ritter von Nagybánya; 18 June 1868 – 9 February 1957), was a Hungarian people, Hungarian admiral and statesman who serv ...
passed a series of anti-Jewish measures in emulation of Germany's Nuremberg Laws. # The "First Jewish Law" (May 29, 1938) restricted the number of Jews in each commercial enterprise, in the press, among physicians, engineers and lawyers to twenty percent. # The "Second Jewish Law" (May 5, 1939), for the first time, defined Jews racially: individuals with two, three or four Jewish-born grandparents were declared Jewish. # The "Third Jewish Law" (August 8, 1941) prohibited intermarriage and penalized sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews. Their employment in government at any level was forbidden, they could not be editors at newspapers, their numbers were restricted to six per cent among theater and movie actors, physicians, lawyers and engineers. Private companies were forbidden to employ more than 12% Jews. 250,000 Hungarian Jews lost their income. Most of them lost their right to vote as well: before the second Jewish law, about 31% of the Jewish population of Borsod county (Miskolc excluded), 2496 people had this right. At the next elections, less than a month after this new anti-Jewish legislation, only 38 privileged Jews could vote. In the elections of May 28–29, Nazi and Arrow Cross (Nyilas) parties received one quarter of the votes and 52 out of 262 seats. Their support was even larger, usually between 1/3 and 1/2 of the votes, where they were on the ballot at all, since they were not listed in large parts of the country For instance, the support for Nazi parties was above 43% in the election districts of Zala, Győr-Moson, Budapest surroundings, Central and Northern Pest-Pilis, and above 36% in Veszprém, Vas, Szabolcs-Ung, Sopron, Nógrád-Hont, Jász-Nagykun, Southern Pest town and Buda town. The Nazi parties were not on the ballot mainly in the Eastern third of the country and in Somogy, Baranya, Tolna, Fejér. Their smallest support was in Békés county (15%), Pécs town (19%), Szeged town (22%) and in Northern Pest town (27%)


January 1941 census

According to ''Magyarország történelmi kronológiája'', the census of January 31, 1941, found that 6.2% of the population of 13,643,621, i.e. 846,000 people, were considered Jewish according to the racial laws of that time. In addition, in April 1941, Hungary annexed the Bácska (Bačka), the Muraköz (Međimurje County) and Muravidék (Prekmurje) regions from the Yugoslavia#World War II, occupied Yugoslavia, with 1,025,508 people including 15,000 Jews (data are from October 1941). This means that inside the May 1941 borders of Hungary, there were 861,000 people (or 5.87%) who were at least half Jewish, and therefore were considered Jewish. From this number, 725,000 (or 4.94%) were Jewish in accordance with Jewish religious law (4.30% in pre-1938 Hungary, 7.15% in the territories Vienna Award, annexed from Czechoslovakia and Romania in 1938–1940 and 1.38% in the territories Axis occupation of Vojvodina, annexed from Yugoslavia in 1941). The following is from another source, a statistical summary written in the beginning of 1944 and referring to the 1941 census data: The question about Jewish grandparents was added late to the questionnaires at the census of 1941, when some of the sheets had already been printed. In addition, a lot of Christians of Jewish ancestry did not answer this question truthfully. So while about 62,000 Christians admitted some Jewish ancestry (including 38,000 in Budapest), their actual number was estimated at least 100,000:


First massacres

It is not clear whether the 10,000–20,000 Jewish refugees (from Poland and elsewhere) were counted in the January 1941 census. They and anyone who could not prove legal residency since 1850, about 20,000 people, were deported to southern Poland and either abandoned there or were handed over to the Germans between July 15 and August 12, 1941. In practice, the Hungarians deported many people whose families had lived in the area for generations. In some cases, applications for residency permits were allowed to pile up without action by Hungarian officials until after the deportations had been carried out. The vast majority of those deported were massacred in Kameniec-Podolsk (Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre) at the end of August. In the massacres of Újvidék (Novi Sad) and villages nearby, 2,550–2,850 Serbs, 700–1,250 Jews and 60–130 others were murdered by the Hungarian Army and "Csendőrség" (Gendarmerie) in January 1942. Those responsible, Ferenc Feketehalmy-Czeydner, Márton Zöldy, József Grassy, László Deák and others were later tried in Budapest during December 1943 and were sentenced, but some of them escaped to Germany. During the war, Jews were called up to serve in unarmed "Labour service (Hungary), labour service" (munkaszolgálat) units which were used to repair bombed railroads, build airports or to clean up minefields at the front barehanded. Approximately 42,000 Jewish labour service troops were killed at the Soviet front in 1942–43, of which about 40% perished in Soviet POW camps. Many died as a result of harsh conditions on the Eastern Front and cruel treatment by their Hungarian sergeants and officers. Another 4,000 forced laborers died in the copper mine of Bor, Serbia. Nevertheless, Miklós Kállay, Prime Minister from March 9, 1942, and Regent Horthy resisted German pressure and refused to allow the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the German extermination camps in occupied Poland. This "anomalous" situation lasted until March 19, 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary and forced Horthy to oust Kállay.


The Holocaust


Germany invades Hungary

On March 18, 1944, Adolf Hitler summoned Horthy to a conference in Austria, where he demanded greater acquiescence from the Hungarian state. Horthy resisted, but his efforts were fruitless – while he attended the conference, German tanks rolled into Budapest. On March 23, the government of Döme Sztójay was installed. Among his other first moves, Sztójay legalized the Arrow Cross Party, which quickly began organizing. During the four days' interregnum following the German occupation, the Ministry of the Interior was put in the hands of László Endre and László Baky, right-wing politicians well known for their hostility to Jews. Their boss, Andor Jaross, was another committed anti-Semite. A few days later, Ruthenia, Northern Transylvania, and the border region with Croatia and Serbia were placed under military command. On April 9, Prime Minister Döme Sztójay and the Germans obligated Hungary to place at the disposal of the Reich 300,000 Jewish laborers. Five days later, on April 14, Endre, Baky, and Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer in charge of organising the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the German Reich, decided to deport all the Jews of Hungary. Although from 1943, the BBC Polish Service broadcast about the exterminations, the BBC Hungarian Service did not discuss the Jews. A 1942 memo for the BBC Hungarian Service, written by Carlile Macartney, a British Foreign Office adviser on Hungary, said: "We shouldn't mention the Jews at all." Macartney believed that most Hungarians were antisemitic, and that mentioning the Jews would alienate much of the population. Most of the Jews did not believe that the Holocaust might happen in Hungary: "This might be happening in Galicia to Polish Jews, but this can't happen in our very cultivated Hungarian state." According to Yehuda Bauer, when the deportations to Auschwitz began in May 1944, the Zionist youth movements organized smuggling of Hungarian Jews into Romania. Around 4,000 Hungarian Jews were smuggled into Romania, including the smugglers and those who paid them on the border. The Romanians agreed to let those Jews in, despite heavy German pressure.


Deportation to Auschwitz

''SS-Obersturmbannführer'' Adolf Eichmann, whose duties included supervising the extermination of Jews, set up his staff in the Majestic Hotel and proceeded rapidly in rounding up Jews from the Hungarian provinces outside Budapest and its suburbs. The Yellow badge, Yellow Star and Ghettoization laws, and deportation, were accomplished in less than 8 weeks, with the enthusiastic help of the Hungarian authorities, particularly the gendarmerie (''csendőrség''). The plan was to use 45 cattle cars per train, 4 trains a day, to deport 12,000 Jews to Auschwitz every day from the countryside, starting in mid-May; this was to be followed by the deportation of Jews of Budapest from about July 15. Just before the deportations began, the Vrba-Wetzler Report reached the Allied officials. Details from the report were broadcast by the BBC on June 15, and printed in ''The New York Times'' on June 20.Laurence Rees, Rees, Laurence, ''Auschwitz: A New History'', Public Affairs, 2005. World leaders, including Pope Pius XII (June 25), President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 26, and King Gustaf V of Sweden on June 30,A holokauszt Magyarországon: A deportálások leállítása
(in Hungarian; retrieved September 11, 2006)
subsequently pleaded with Horthy to use his influence to stop the deportations. Roosevelt specifically threatened military retaliation if the transports were not ceased. On July 7, Horthy at last ordered the transports halted. According to historian Péter Sipos, the Hungarian government had already known about the Jewish genocide since 1943. Horthy's son and daughter-in-law both received copies of the Vrba-Wetzler report in early May, before mass deportations began. The Vrba-Wetzler Report is believed to have been passed to Hungarian Zionism, Zionist leader Rudolf Kastner no later than April 28, 1944; however, Kastner did not make it public. The first transports to Auschwitz began in early May 1944, and continued, even as Soviet troops approached. The Hungarian government was solely in charge of the Jews' transportation up to the northern border. The Hungarian commander of the Kassa (Košice) railroad station meticulously recorded the trains heading to Auschwitz with their place of departure and the number of people inside them. The first train went through Kassa on May 14. On a typical day, there were three or four trains, with between 3,000 and 4,000 people on each train, for a total of approximately 12,000 Jews delivered to the extermination facilities each day. There were 109 trains during these 33 days through June 16. (There were days when there were as many as six trains.) Between June 25 and 29, there were 10 trains, then an additional 18 trains on July 5–9. The 138th recorded train (with the 400,426th victim) heading to Auschwitz via Kassa was on July 20. Another 10 trains were sent to Auschwitz via other routes (24,000+ people) (the first two left Budapest and Topolya on April 29, and arrived at Auschwitz on May 2), while 7 trains with 20,787 people went to Strasshof between June 25 and 28 (2 each from Debrecen, Szeged, and Baja, Hungary, Baja; 1 from Szolnok). The unique Kastner train left for Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen with 1,685 people on June 30. By July 9, 1944, 437,402 Jews had been deported, according to Reich plenipotentiary in Hungary Edmund Veesenmayer's official German reports. One hundred and forty-seven trains were sent to Auschwitz, where most of the deportees were murdered on arrival. Because the crematoria could not cope with the number of corpses, special pits were dug near them, where bodies were simply burned. It has been estimated that one third of the murdered victims at Auschwitz were Hungarian. For most of this time period, 12,000 Jews were delivered to Auschwitz in a typical day, among them the future writer and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, at age 15. Photographs taken at Auschwitz were found after the war showing the arrival of Jews from Hungary at the camp. The devotion to the cause of the "final solution" of the Hungarian gendarmes surprised even Eichmann himself, who supervised the operation with only twenty officers and a staff of 100, which included drivers, cooks, etc.


Efforts to rescue Jews

Very few members of the Catholic or Protestant clergy raised their voices against sending the Jews to their death. (Notable was Bishop Áron Márton's sermon in Kolozsvár on May 18). The Catholic Primate of Hungary, Serédi decided not to issue a pastoral letter condemning the deportation of the Jews. Rome was liberated on June 4, D-day landing in Normandy was on June 6. But on June 15, the Mayor of Budapest designated 2,000 (5%) "starred" houses where every Jew (20%+) had to move together. The authorities thought that the Allies would not bomb Budapest because the "starred" houses were scattered around the town. At the end of June, the Pope in Rome, The Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, King of Sweden, and, in strong terms, President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged the halt to the deportations. Admiral Horthy ordered the suspension of all deportations on July 6. Nonetheless, another 45,000 Jews were deported from the Trans-Danubian region and the outskirts of Budapest to Auschwitz after this day. "After the failed attempt on Hitler's life, the Germans backed off from pressing Horthy's regime to continue further, large-scale deportations, although some smaller groups continued to be deported by train. In late August, Horthy refused Eichmann's request to restart the deportations. Himmler ordered Eichmann to leave Budapest." The Sztójay government rescheduled the date of deportation of the Jews of Budapest to Auschwitz to August 27. But the Romanians switched sides on August 23, 1944, causing huge problems for the German military. Himmler ordered the cancellation of further deportations from Hungary on August 25, in return for nothing more than ’s promise to see whether the Germans' demands would be met. Horthy finally dismissed Prime Minister Sztójay on August 29, the same day the Slovak National uprising against the Nazis started. In spite of the change of government, Hungarian troops occupied parts of Southern Transylvania, Romania, and massacred hundreds of Jews in Kissármás (Sărmașu; Sărmașu massacre), Marosludas (Luduș; Luduș massacre) and other places starting September 4.


Arrow Cross rule

After the Nyilaskeresztes (Arrow Cross) coup d'état on October 15, tens of thousands of Jews of Budapest were sent on foot to the Austrian border in death marches, most forced laborers under Hungarian Army command so far were deported (for instance to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen), and two ghettos were set up in Budapest. The small "international ghetto" consisted of several "starred" houses under the protection of neutral powers in the Újlipótváros district. Switzerland was allowed to issue 7,800 Schutzpasses, Sweden 4,500, and the Vatican, Portugal and Spain 3,300 combined. The big Budapest ghetto was set up and walled in the Erzsébetváros part of Budapest on November 29. Nyilas raids and mass executions occurred in both ghettos regularly. In addition, in the two months between November 1944 and February 1945, the Nyilas shot 10,000–15,000 Jews on the banks of the Danube. Soviet troops liberated the big Budapest ghetto on January 18, 1945. On the Buda side of the town, the encircled Nyilas continued their murders until the Soviets took Buda on February 13. The names of some diplomats, Raoul Wallenberg, Carl Lutz, Ángel Sanz Briz, Giorgio Perlasca, Carlos Sampaio Garrido, and Carlos de Liz-Texeira Branquinho deserve mentioning, as well as some members of the army and police who saved people (Pál Szalai, Károly Szabó, and other officers who took Jews out from camps with fake papers), an Interior Ministry official (Béla Horváth) and some church institutions and personalities. Rudolf Kastner deserves special attention because of his enduring negotiations with Adolf Eichmann and Kurt Becher to prevent deportations to Auschwitz, succeeding only minimally by sending Jews to still horrific labor battalions in Austria and ultimately saving 1,680 Jews in Kastner's train.Anna Porter. Kasztner's Train. 2007


Number of survivors

An estimated 119,000 Jewish people were liberated in Budapest (25,000 in the small "international" ghetto, 69,000 in the big ghetto, and 25,000 hiding with false papers) and 20,000 forced laborers in the countryside. Almost all the surviving deportees returned between May and December 1945, at least to check out the fate of their families. Their number was 116,000. It is estimated that from an original population of 861,000 people considered Jewish inside the borders of 1941–1944, about 255,000 survived. This gives a 29.6 percent survival rate. According to another calculation, Hungary's Jewish population at the time of the German invasion was 800,000, of which 365,000 survived.


Communist rule

At the end of World War II, only 140,000 Jews remained in Hungary, down from 750,000 in 1941. The difficult economic situation coupled with the lingering anti-Semitic attitude of the population prompted a wave of migration. Between 1945 and 1949, 40,000–50,000 Jews left Hungary for Israel (30,000–35,000) and Western countries (15,000–20,000). Between 1948 and 1951 14,301 Hungarian Jews immigrated to Israel, and after 1951 exit visas became increasingly expensive and restrictive. People of Jewish origin dominated the post-war Communist regime until 1952–53 when many were removed in a series of purges.Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, Roots of radicalism: Jews, Christians, and the Left (1996) p. 89 During its first years, the regime's top membership and secret police were almost entirely Jewish, albeit naturally anti-religious. Leaders like Mátyás Rákosi, Ernő Gerő and Gábor Péter, Peter Gabor repudiated Judaism and were strict atheists per Communist doctrine. Indeed, under Communist rule from 1948 to 1988, Zionism was outlawed and Jewish observance was curtailed. Moreover, members of the upper class, Jews and Christians alike, were expelled from the cities to the provinces for 6–12 months in the early 1950s. Jews were on both sides of the 1956 uprising. Some armed rebel leaders like István Angyal, an Auschwitz survivor executed on December 1, 1958, were Jewish. Jewish writers and intellectuals such as Tibor Déry, imprisoned from 1957 to 1961, occupied the forefront of the reform movement. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, about 20,000 or so Jews fled the country. About 9,000 went to Israel while others settled in the United States, Canada, Australia, Western Europe, and Latin America. An estimated 20% of the Hungarian refugees entering Canada in 1957 were Jewish. The Hungarian Jewish population declined both because of emigration and because of high levels of assimilation and intermarriage and low birth rates. The Jews with the strongest Jewish identities were typically the ones who emigrated. By 1967, only about 80,000–90,000 Jews (including non-religious Jews) remained in the country, with the number dropping further before the country's Communist regime collapsed in 1989. Under the milder communist regime of János Kádár (ruled 1957–1988) leftist Jewish intelligentsia remained an important and vocal part of Hungarian art and sciences. Diplomatic relations with Israel were severed in 1967 following the Six-Day War, but it was not followed by antisemitic campaigns as in Poland or the Soviet Union.


From the 1990s

Hungary's Jewish population (within its current borders) decreased from nearly half a million after World War I and kept declining between 1920 and 2010, significantly between 1939 and 1945 (World War II and the Holocaust), and further between 1951 and 1960 (the Hungarian Revolution of 1956). Despite the decline, in 2010 Hungary had the largest Jewish population in Eastern Europe outside the former Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, Hungary had two prime ministers of Jewish origin, József Antall (1990–1993) and Gyula Horn (1994–1998) In April 1997, the Hungarian parliament passed a Jewish compensation act that returns property stolen from Jewish victims during the Nazi and Communist eras. Under this law, property and monetary payment were given back to the Jewish public heritage foundation and to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Critics have asserted that the sums represent nothing more than a symbolic gesture. According to Randolph L. Braham: "The overshadowing of the Holocaust by a politically guided preoccupation with the horrors of the Communist era has led, among other things, to giving priority to the compensation of the victims of Communism over those of Nazism. To add insult to injury, an indeterminate number of the Christian victims who were compensated for properties nationalized by the Communist regime had, in fact, 'legally' or fraudulently acquired them from Jews during the Nazi era. Compounding this virtual obscenity, the government of Viktor Orbán sought in late 1998 to ease the collective conscience of the nation by offering to compensate survivors by paying approximately $150 for each member of their particular immediate families, assuming that they can prove that their loved ones were in fact victims of the Holocaust."


See also

*List of Hungarian Jews *Arrow Cross Party *Budapest Ghetto *History of Hungary *History of the Jews in Bekes (Hungary) *History of the Jews in Carpathian Ruthenia *Hungary during the Second World War *:Israeli people of Hungarian-Jewish descent *Kiryat Mattersdorf *Miskolc pogrom *Neolog Judaism *Oberlander Jews *Shoes on the Danube Promenade *Siebengemeinden *Batei Ungarin *Unsdorf


Notes


References

:Note: This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Büchler, Alexander (1904). "Hungary". In Singer, Isidore (ed.). ''The Jewish Encyclopedia''. Volume 6. New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Co., pp. 494–503.


Further reading

*Randolph L. Braham, Braham, Randolph L. (2001) ''The Holocaust in Hungary: a selected and annotated bibliography, 1984–2000''. Boulder: Social Science Monographs; Distributed by Columbia University Press *Braham, Randolph L. (2001) ''The Politics of Genocide: the Holocaust in Hungary. (Rev. and enl. ed.) 2 vols. Boulder: Social Science Monographs; Distributed by Columbia University Press [Hungarian translation available.] (1st ed.: New York: Columbia University Press, 1981.) * Herczl, Moshe Y. ''Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry'' (1993
onlineHungary and the Holocaust
US Holocaust Memorial Museum *Miron, Guy,
Center or Frontier: Hungary and Its Jews, Between East and West
, ''Journal of Levantine Studies'', vol. 1, Summer 2011, pp. 67–91 *Patai, Raphael, ''Apprentice in Budapest: Memories of a World That Is No More'' Lanham, Maryland, Lexington Books, 2000,


External links


Documents on the Holocaust in HungaryMagyar Zsidó Lexikon
*[https://web.archive.org/web/20120105151744/http://budapestvacationservice.com/holocaust_heroes_budapest.html Heroes of the Hungarian Holocaust]
Interview with István Domonkos, son of Miksa Domonkos, who died after the show trial preparations (Hungarian)Chabad-Lubavitch Centers in HungaryHungarian Jewish HomepageJewish Budapest MapJewish Heritage Walking Tours in Budapest
{{DEFAULTSORT:History Of The Jews In Hungary Jewish Hungarian history,