BAIA-MARE (Hg. Nagybánya), mining and industrial town in Transylvania, Romania, within Hungary until 1918 and between 1940 and 1944. The prohibition against Jewish settlement in Hungarian mining towns (issued in 1693) was abolished in 1848. The oldest document indicating a Jewish presence dates from the year 1664 and mentions a Jew trading in the locally mined metal. In a document dated 1725 the absence of the Jews is noted. In 1850 Jewish artisans, businessmen, and farmers began to settle in Baia-Mare. Subsequently Jews did much to develop local commerce and industry. A community was organized in 1860, and a burial society founded in 1862. The first synagogue was opened in 1887. During the
blood libel case in 1882, a mob attacked the synagogue and pillaged it. The community always remained Orthodox, and Satmar Hasidism (see
) had a strong following. There was also a flourishing Zionist movement. In the period between the two world wars there was increasing tension between the ḥasidic community and the Zionists. The Jewish population numbered 701 in 1890 (out of a total of 9,838); 1,402 in 1910 (out of 12,877); 2,030 in 1930 (out of 13,904); and 3,623 in 1941 (out of 21,404).
[Yehouda Marton /
Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]
Between the two world wars the Jewish population suffered from attacks by the Romanian Iron Guard. Between 1941 and 1944, the town served as the headquarters of Labor Service Battalion No. X, the recruitment center for many of the Jewish males of military age in Northern Transylvania. The Battalion was under the command of Lt. Col. Imre Reviczky (1896–1957), a decent Hungarian officer who saved a large number of Jews after the German occupation in 1944 by recruiting them into labor service and thus rescuing them from deportation. In 1962 he was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.
The roundup of the Jews of Baia Mare began on May 3, 1944, together with those from Northern Transylvania. The ghetto for the Jews of Baia-Mare was established in the vacant lots of the Koenig Glass Factory; at its peak, it held close to 4,000 victims. The approximately 2,000 Jews from the communities in the District of Baia-Mare, including Alsófernezely, Hagymáslápos, Kapnikbánya, Láposbánya, Misztófalu, Nagysikárló, Tomány, and Zazár, were concentrated in a stable and barn in Valea Burcutului (Hung. Borpatak), which could accommodate only 200 people; the others had to be quartered outdoors. The 5,917 Jews concentrated in these two ghettos were deported to Auschwitz in two transports on May 31 and June 5, 1944, respectively.
[Randolph Braham (2nd ed.)]
The Jewish population in Baia-Mare numbered 950 in 1947. Subsequent emigration to Israel, Western Europe, and the United States reduced the community considerably. In 1969 it numbered 120 families. In 2004 a very small number of Jews remained in the town.
Magyar Zsidé Lexikon (1929), 626. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R.L. Braham, Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary (19942); PK Romanyah, 86–89.
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