HUNGARY, state in S.E. Central Europe.
Middle Ages to the Ottoman Conquest
Archaeological evidence indicates the existence of Jews in Pannonia and Dacia, who came there in the wake of the Roman legions. Jewish historical tradition, however, only mentions the Jews in Hungary from the second half of the 11th century, when Jews from Germany, Bohemia, and Moravia settled there. In 1092, at the council of Szabolcs, the Church prohibited marriages between Jews and Christians, work on Christian festivals, and the purchase of slaves. King Koloman protected the Jews in his territory at the end of the 11th century, when the remnants of the crusader armies attempted to attack them (see *Crusades). Jews resided only in towns ruled by the bishops where important communities developed: in Buda (see *Budapest; 12th century), Pressburg (*Bratislava, Hung. Pozsony; first mentioned in 1251), Tyrnau (*Trnava, Hung. Nagyszombat), and *Esztergom (by the middle of the 11th century). During the 12th century the Jews of Hungary occupied important positions in economic life. The nobles felt it necessary to curb this development, and in the "Golden Bull" (1222) an article was included which prohibited the Jews from holding certain offices and from receiving titles of nobility. The legal status of the Jews was settled by King Béla IV in a privilege of 1251, which follows the pattern of similar documents in neighboring countries. As a result of the Church Council of Buda in 1279, Jews were forbidden to lease land and compelled to wear the *Jewish badge. In practice, these decrees were not applied strictly because of the king's objection.
During the reign of Louis the Great (1342–82), the hostile influence of the Church in Jewish affairs again predominated. The *Black Death led to the first expulsion of the Jews from Hungary in 1349. A general expulsion was decreed in 1360, but in about 1364 their return was authorized though they were subjected to restrictions. In 1365 the king instituted the office of "judge of the Jews," chosen from among the magnates, who was in charge of affairs concerning Jewish property, the imposition and collection of taxes, representation of the Jews before the government, and the protection of their rights. The reign of Matthias Corvinus (1458–90) marked a change in favor of the status of the Jews, despite his support of the towns, whose inhabitants, the overwhelming majority of whom were Germans, were inimical to the Jews as dangerous rivals.
In 1494 there was a *blood libel in Tyrnau and 16 Jews were burned at the stake. In its wake, anti-Jewish riots broke out in the town; these were repeated at the beginning of the 16th century in Pressburg, Buda, and other towns. The economic situation of the Jews was also aggravated: King Ladislas VI (1490–1516) canceled all debts owing to the Jews. In 1515, however, the Jews were placed under the direct protection of Emperor Maximilian I (the pretender to the crown of Hungary). During this period, a degrading form of Jewish *oath before the tribunals was introduced; it remained in force until the middle of the 19th century. During the reign of Louis II (1516–26) hatred of the Jews intensified as a result of the activities of Isaac of Kaschau, the director of the royal mint, and the apostate Imre (Emerich) Szerencsés (Latin: Fortunatus), the royal treasurer who devalued the currency and raised the taxes in order to provide funds for the war against the Turks.
During the middle of the 14th century the most important Hungarian community was that of *Szekesfehervar (Ger. Stuhlweissenburg), whose parnasim also directed the general affairs of the Jews of the country. During the 15th century the community of Buda gained in importance as Jews expelled from other countries also settled there. Little information is available on the spiritual life of Hungarian Jewry during the Middle Ages. Apparently it was poor in comparison to that in neighboring countries because of the dispersion of the communities and the small number of their members. The first rabbi whose reputation spread beyond Hungary was Isaac *Tyrnau (late 14th–early 15th century); in the introduction to his Sefer ha-Minhagim ("Book of Customs") he describes the poor condition of Torah study in Hungary.
Period of the Ottoman Conquest
The first, temporary Ottoman conquest of Buda in 1526 caused many of the Jewish inhabitants to join the retreating Turks. As a result of this movement, congregations of Hungarian Jews formed within the important communities of the Balkans. After central Hungary was incorporated within the Ottoman Empire in 1541, the Jewish status was relatively satisfactory. Jewish settlement in Buda was renewed, and Sephardim of Asia Minor and Balkan origin also settled there. During the 17th century Buda was one of the most important communities of the *Ottoman Empire. This was largely due to the authority of its rabbi, *Ephraim b. Jacob ha-Kohen, author of Sha'ar Efrayim (1688).
In the Hapsburg dominions of Hungary in this period hatred toward the Jews increased. In 1529, following a blood libel in Bazin, 30 Jews were burned at the stake and the others were expelled from the town. The Jews were also expelled from Pressburg, Oedenburg (*Sopron), and Tyrnau. However, the magnates of western Hungary accorded their protection to the Jews expelled from the towns. The Jews expelled from Vienna found refuge on the estate of Count Esterhazy in *Eisenstadt
18th to 19th Centuries (Until 1867)
By the beginning of the 18th century, when most of Hungary came under Hapsburg rule, only a few remnants of the ancient Jewish settlement were to be found there. At this time, however, a movement of Jewish migration began, marking the formation of Hungarian Jewry of the modern era. The census of 1735 enumerated 11,600 Jews (in reality, their numbers were far greater) of whom only a few were born in Hungary, while the majority had come from Moravia and the minority from Poland. Most of the Jews were peddlers and small tradesmen. Because of the hostility of the townsmen, most of them lived in the villages. During the reign of *Maria Theresa (1740–80) the situation of the Jews deteriorated. In 1744 an annual "tolerance tax" of 20,000 guilders was levied on them. It was gradually increased, until it amounted to an annual sum of 160,000 guilders at the beginning of the 19th century. The reign of *Joseph II brought some improvements. In 1783 Jews were authorized to settle in the royal cities. There were 81,000 Jews in Hungary in 1787.
During the "period of reform" in Hungary in the 1830s and 1840s, the Jewish question was discussed in the legislative institutions, in literature, and in the periodicals and press. In general there was a marked tendency in favor of granting civic rights to the Jews, but on the whole society took a critical view of the Jews and assumed an attitude of reservation toward them, demanding religious and social reforms (see *Emancipation). The suppression of the revolution of 1848–49 also affected the status of the Jews. Because many of them were active in the revolution, the Austrian military government imposed a collective fine of 2,300,000 guilders on the communities; it was later reduced to 1,000,000 (in 1856, the sum was reimbursed in the form of a fund for educational and relief institutions). During the 1850s, the Jews were still subjected to judicial and economic restrictions (the Jewish oath; the need for a marriage permit; the prohibition on acquiring real estate; and others). Most of the restrictions were abolished in 1859–60; the Jews were authorized to engage in all professions and to settle in all localities. The first political leaders of the new Hungary, including Count Gyula Andrássy, Ferencz *Deák, and Kálmán Tisza, expressed their approval in the granting of civic and political equality to the Jews, and after the Compromise with Austria, the bill on Jewish emancipation was passed in Parliament without considerable opposition (Dec. 20, 1867). During the same period there was a rapid growth of the Jewish population of Hungary, due both to natural increase and immigration from neighboring regions, especially Galicia. The number of Jews had risen to 340,000 by 1850, and in the first population census held in modern Hungary (1869), 542,000 Jews were enumerated.
The Emancipation Period, 1867–1914
During this period Hungarian Jewry consolidated from the political, economic, and cultural aspects and succeeded in establishing a strong position in the life of the country. Jews played a considerable role in the development of the capitalistic economy of Hungary, and from the 1880s large numbers entered the liberal professions, and also contributed to literary life, in particular in journalism. In economic activity Jews in Hungary were especially prominent from the mid-19th century in the marketing and the export of agricultural produce. Emancipation offered a wide scope for Jewish economic initiative in the establishment of banks and other financial enterprises. Jewish capital contributed significantly to the financing of heavy industry at the close of the 19th century. The role of the Jews in agriculture was also considerable, as owners of estates and in particular as contractors in agricultural management and marketing. Before World War I, 55–60% of the total number of merchants were Jews, approximately 13% of the independent craftsmen, 13% of owners of large and medium-sized estates, and 45% of the contractors. Of those professionally engaged in literature and the arts, 26% were Jews (of the journalists, 42%), in law, 45%, and in medicine, 49%. On the other hand, only a small number of Jews were employed in public administration. The Jewish population numbered 910,000 in 1910. The identification of the Jews with the Magyar element in the Hungarian kingdom was an important factor in determining the general political attitude toward them. In 1895 the Jewish religion was officially recognized as one of the religions accepted in the state, and accorded rights enjoyed by the Catholic and Protestant religions. The law was enacted despite vigorous objection from the Catholic Church and its allies the magnates, who succeeded in delaying its ratification on three occasions.
From the mid-1870s political antisemitism emerged as an ideological trend, subsequently to become a political force, led by a member of Parliament, Gyözö Istóczy. The driving forces behind it were the resentment felt by those classes which were dispossessed by the capitalistic economy and the effects of recent social changes. Thus the main bearers of antisemitism were the gentry. German examples also played some part in Hungarian antisemitism. At the beginning of the 1880s anti-Jewish propaganda intensified and reached a climax with the blood libel of *Tiszaeszlar in 1882, which aroused much emotion and was the cause of severe anti-Jewish disturbances in several towns. The acquittal of the accused and the condemnation of the libel by many gentile leaders did not calm feelings. In 1884 an antisemitic faction of 17 members of parliament was organized but it did not wield much influence there, owing to internal dissension. Jewish defense against antisemitism took the form of apologetic and polemic literature. In face of the emphatic attitude of the government and the main political parties against antisemitism, it was deemed unnecessary to initiate any organized action. At the turn of the
During World War I the Jews suffered losses in life (about 10,000 Jews fell on the battlefield) and property. At the same time, anti-Jewish feeling was strong having increased because of the presence of numerous Jewish refugees from Galicia, which had been occupied by the Russians, and through the activities of Jews in the war economy.
Internal Life during the 19th Century
In origin, spoken language, and cultural tradition and customs, Hungarian Jewry was divided into three sections: the Jews of the northwestern districts (Oberland) of Austrian and Moravian origin, who spoke German or a western dialect of Yiddish; the Jews of the northeastern districts (Unterland) mostly of Galician origin, who spoke an eastern dialect of Yiddish; and the Jews of central Hungary, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke Hungarian. In the classification of the inhabitants according to nationality, the overwhelming majority of the Jews in Hungary declared themselves members of the Hungarian nation; Jewish nationality was not officially recognized and the Jews thus became a party in the struggle between the ruling Magyar nation and the national minorities of Hungary. The internal life of the Jews of Hungary during the 19th century was marked by polemics between the Orthodox on the one hand and those advocating modern culture, integration, and *assimilation on the other. At the beginning of the century, a strict Orthodox trend was established in Hungary under the leadership of Moses *Sofer of Pressburg. This town became a spiritual center for the Orthodox Jews of Hungary, and its yeshivah the most important in central Europe; it exerted much influence over the Hungarian communities and even beyond them.
From the 1830s, Haskalah made its appearance in Hungary, and the movement of religious *Reform, whose leading spokesmen there were Aaron *Chorin and Leopold *Loew, spread to several communities. Extreme Reform did not strike roots in Hungary, but the wish to introduce reforms in education and religious life made progress and aroused violent opposition from the Orthodox. The polemics between the Orthodox and the reformers (who in Hungary were referred to as *Neologists gained in intensity to become a central issue at the General Jewish Congress convened by the government in 1868.
The Congress was called in order to define the basis for autonomous organization of the Jewish community. It was attended by 220 delegates (126 Neologists, and 94 Orthodox). The conflict between the factions was aggravated when the majority refused to accept the demands of the Orthodox on the validity of the laws of the Shulḥan Arukh in the regulations of the communities. A section of the Orthodox opposition left the Congress, which continued with its task and established regulations for the organization of the communities and Jewish education. The organizational structure was to be based on the existence of local communities, on regional unions of communities, and on a central office which was to be responsible for relations between the authorities and the communities. The Orthodox did not accept these regulations, and particularly opposed those concerning the existence of a single community in every place. They appealed to Parliament to exempt them from the authority of these regulations. Parliament consented to their demands (1870) and the Orthodox began to organize themselves within separate communities. There were also communities which did not join any side and retained their pre-Congress status (the *status quo communities). The threefold split left its imprint on the internal organization and life of Hungarian Jewry until the Holocaust.
Moses Sofer and his school decisively influenced the development of Orthodox Jewry in western and central Hungary. Torah study became widespread among large sections of Orthodox Jewry, and yeshivot were established in every large community. The most renowned of these, besides that of Pressburg, were those of *Galanta, Eisenstadt, *Papa, Huszt (*Khust), and Szatmar (*Satu-Mare). During the 19th century the Hungarian rabbinate was of a high standard and produced halakhists, authors of religious works, and community leaders, such as Sofer's son Abraham Samuel Benjamin *Sofer and grandson Simḥah Bunem *Sofer, Moses Schick, and Judah Aszód (1794–1866) in Szerdahely (Mercurea), Aaron David Deutsch (1812–78) in Balassagyarmat, Solomon *Ganzfried, and others. Torah literature underwent a considerable development, and a place of importance was held by learned periodicals in this sphere.
*Ḥasidism spread in the northeastern regions of Hungary, where it did not encounter violent opposition from the rabbis. Isaac Taub is regarded as having introduced Ḥasidism into Hungary; after his death the Ḥasidim there gathered around Moses *Teitelbaum in Satoraljaujhely. He founded a ḥasidic-rabbinical dynasty which was active in Maramarossziget (Sighet) and its surroundings. Another center of Ḥasidim was Munkacs (*Mukachevo), in Carpathian Russia, where Isaac Elimelech Shapira settled. In addition, the dynasties of the ẓaddikim of *Belz, Zanz, and *Vizhnitz had considerable influence in Hungary. Ḥasidism left its imprint on the Jews of the northeastern regions, and differences in customs and way of life arose between the Ḥasidim in Hungary and the section influenced by Pressburg and its school.
From the close of the 19th century, assimilation became widespread within Hungarian Jewry and there was an increase in apostasy especially among the upper classes. Mixed marriage became a common occurrence, particularly in the capital.
Attachment to Ereẓ Israel was already ingrained within Hungarian Jewry from the period of Sofer, upon whose recommendation some of his distinguished disciples had emigrated to Ereẓ Israel where they ranked among the leaders of the Ashkenazi yishuv during the middle of the 19th century. During the *Ḥibbat Zion period, Josef *Natonek was active in Hungary, and some believe that this activity influenced Theodor *Herzl, who was born in Budapest and spent his childhood and youth in Hungary. The nationalist ideal and political Zionism, however, only seriously attracted a limited circle of the academic youth, the intellectuals, and a minority of Orthodox Jewry, while assimilationist circles and the overwhelming majority of the Orthodox were sharply and firmly opposed to them. The Kolel Ungarn (Hungarian Community) in Jerusalem (see *Ḥalukkah) was a center of extremist opposition to Zionism in Ereẓ Israel, and the *Neturei Karta faction later developed from it.
1919 to 1939
The Communist regime which came to power in Hungary after its defeat in World War I included a considerable number of Jews in the upper ranks of the government led by Béla *Kun. After the Communist revolution had been suppressed, the establishment of the new regime was accompanied by riots and acts of violence against the Jews – "The White Terror" – the number of whose victims has been estimated at 3,000 dead.
With the stabilization of the political situation, the acts of violence abated, but the declared policy of the government remained antisemitic. In 1920, a *numerus clausus bill was passed, restricting the number of Jews in the higher institutions of learning to 5%. The situation improved while Stephen Bethlen was prime minister (1921–31), and the negative reactions aroused by the anti-Jewish policy weakened this tendency, even though widespread antisemitic activity was uninterruptedly carried on. In 1928 an amendment was introduced to the numerus clausus act, but the restrictions were not entirely abolished.
Another act of the same year granted the Jews the same right of representation in the Upper House of Parliament as the other religious communities. Rabbis Immanuel *Loew for the Neologists and Koppel *Reich for the Orthodox were elected to sit there. During the first few years after World War I, Zionist activity was brought to a halt by the government, but in 1927 the regulations of the Zionist Organization were again ratified and it was authorized to renew its organizational and propaganda activities.
The relative tranquilization in the situation of the Jews in Hungary also continued after the resignation of Bethlen and the rise to power of the Right. A sharp anti-Jewish turn took place during the late 1930s as a result of the strengthening of the Rightist circles and growing German-Nazi influence. In 1938 the "First Jewish Law" was presented to Parliament; it restricted the number of Jews in the liberal professions, in the administration, and in commercial and industrial enterprises to 20%. The term "Jew" included not only members of the Jewish religion, but also those who became apostates after 1919 or who had been born of Jewish parents after that date. The bill aroused objections from the opposition parties, but it was ratified by both Houses of Parliament. In 1939 the "Second Jewish Law" was passed; it extended the application of the term "Jew" on a racial basis and came to include some 100,000 Christians (apostates or their children) and also reduced the number of Jews in economic activity, fixing it at 5%; the political rights of the Jews were also restricted. As a result of these laws, the sources of livelihood of 250,000 Hungarian Jews were closed for them.
One reaction of the Jews to the anti-Jewish legislation was expressed by their emphasis on their patriotic attachment to Hungary, voiced by their official representatives; the Jews generally believed that the anti-Jewish current was only a fleeting phenomenon. Jewish communal organizations, led by the community of Budapest, began to develop ramified social aid activities to assist those ousted from economic life. Within certain sections of the community conversions increased; there were up to 5,000 apostates after the enactment of the First Jewish Law. However, wide circles of the Jewish public reacted by a return to Judaism, through fostering Jewish values, literature, and religious education. Zionism was strengthened and aliyah from Hungary to Ereẓ Israel increased.
Hungarian Jewry in the interwar period underwent great changes. Following the dismemberment of the country after World War I, the number of Jews was reduced by about a half (473,000 in 1920). Their number further declined during the 1920s and 1930s. The demographic decline of Hungarian Jewry in this period is evident by the sharp decline in the younger age groups (0–20) and increase in the older age groups. There was a marked tendency in the interwar years to concentrate in towns, especially in the capital. Over half of Hungary's Jewish population lived in Greater Budapest. The Neolog communities had 65% of the Jews, as against 29% Orthodox, and 5% status quo. This distribution was due to the fact that the great Orthodox centers of prewar times were ceded to the successor states.
The history of the destruction of Hungarian Jewry encompasses the Jewish population of the enlarged state of Hungary. In 1930, 444,567 Jews had lived in Hungary within the boundaries fixed in 1920. An additional 78,000 Jews came under Hungarian rule when southern Slovakia (Felvidék) was annexed by Hungary (Nov. 2, 1938). The 72,000 Jews who lived in the Czechoslovak province of Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia came under Hungarian jurisdiction when Hungary moved in on March 15–16, 1939. The Jewish population of the formerly Romanian northern Transylvania (awarded to Hungary on Aug. 30, 1940) numbered 149,000. According to the Jan. 31, 1941 census, out of a total population of 14,683,323 the Jews numbered 725,007 (184,453 of them in Budapest). In April 1941 there were about 20,000 Jews in the former Yugoslav territory (Bácska), occupied in the course of joint German-Hungarian military operations.
In conformity with the "Third Jewish Law" (1941), which defined the term "Jew" on more radical racial principles, 58,320 persons not belonging to the Jewish faith were considered Jewish. Thus the total number of persons officially registered as Jews in mid-1941 was over 803,000. According to a generally accepted estimate, the actual number of Christians of Jewish origin exceeded by far the officially recorded 58,320. Consequently, the total number of persons liable to racial discrimination in mid-1941 may be put at a minimum of 850,000.
The Third Jewish Law, based on the *Nuremberg laws, prohibited intermarriage. By mid-1941 the anti-Jewish measures had placed Hungarian Jewry in a most disadvantageous position in every sphere of political, economic, cultural, and social life. The government party, Magyar Élet Pártja (MEP, "Party of Hungarian Life"), pursued a pro-Nazi, antisemitic policy, while various national-socialist groupings and the *Arrow-Cross Party exerted increasing pressure upon the government to stiffen radically its anti-Jewish policy.
The decimation of the Jewish population began in the fall of 1940, shortly after the incorporation of northern Transylvania, from where thousands of Jews whose citizenship was in question were forcibly expelled, mainly to *Romania. The first large-scale loss of life among Hungarian Jewry occurred in July 1941, when the Office for Aliens' Control expelled to German-held Galicia about 20,000 Jews, whose Hungarian citizenship was in doubt (mostly inhabitants of the areas annexed from *Czechoslovakia), as well as refugees from neighboring countries. They were mostly concentrated in Kamenets-Podolski and murdered in the autumn of 1941 by *SS men, assisted by Hungarian troops. The second great loss occurred in January 1942, when 1,000 Jews were massacred by gendarmes and soldiers in Bácska, mainly in Novi-Sad. In May 1940, special forced labor units had already been set up for enlisting Jews, who were excluded from army service. When Hungary joined the war against the Soviet Union, the labor units were sent with the troops. At that time there were 10 to 12 labor battalions comprising about 14,000 men, but later the number of Jews on the eastern front reached 50,000. After the great breakthrough of the advancing Soviet army near the River Don (January 1943) the Second Hungarian Army disintegrated and fled in panic. It is estimated that of the 50,000 Jews, 40,000–43,000 died during the retreat.
The position of the labor units which remained in Hungary was much better, especially when on March 10, 1942, the extreme antisemitic prime minister László Bárdossy was succeeded by the moderate, conservative Miklós Kállay. Nevertheless, that month Kállay announced the draft law for expropriation of Jewish property and envisaged clearing the countryside of Jews. He successively announced measures to be taken to eliminate Jews from economic and cultural life. In April 1942 Kállay pledged the "resettlement" of 800,000 Jews – as a "final solution of the Jewish question," pointing out, however, that this could be implemented only after the war. Presumably, these extreme anti-Jewish plans were meant to curry favor with the Germans, but in fact Kállay, in an agreement with the regent Nicolas Horthy, refrained from drastic steps and resisted pressure from the German government. Dissatisfied with Kállay's halfhearted measures, Germany exerted greater pressure upon Hungary from October 1942 for legislation for the complete elimination of the Jews from economic and cultural life, for compulsory wearing of the yellow *badge, and finally, their evacuation to the east. Similar interventions went on early in 1943. The Kállay government rejected the German requests for deportation mainly on economic grounds, arguing that deportation would ruin Hungary's economy and would harm Germany as well.
In April 1943 Hitler conferred with Horthy and condemned Hungary's handling of the "Jewish question" as irresolute and ineffective. Again the Hungarians rejected the German demands for the deportations, pointing out the necessity of waiting for favorable circumstances. By 1943 the Kállay government completed the program of eliminating the Jews from public and cultural life, while a numerus clausus was applied in economic life to restrict the position of the Jews according to their percentage in the total population (about 6%). The Jewish agricultural holdings were almost entirely liquidated, while the "race-protective" legislation segregated Jews from Hungarian society. However, in the course of 1943 and beginning of 1944 the Kállay government secretly conferred with the Western Allies in preparation for Hungary's extrication from the war. Under these circumstances the Nazi-style handling of the "Jewish question" hardly suited the country's interests. In December 1943, military court procedure was initiated against the criminals involved in the anti-Serbian and anti-Jewish massacres in Bácska (January 1942). The Germans regarded the prosecution of the murderers of Jews as an attempt to gain footing with the Jews and the Allies, and the incident contributed to aggravate the tension between Berlin and Budapest.
By the beginning of March 1944 the occupation of Hungary was decided upon in Berlin. One of the German arguments for this step was the alleged sabotage committed by the Hungarian government against the "final solution of the Jewish question." Kállay's rejection of the German demands for deportation was considered as evidence of Hungary's determination to join forces with the Western Allies. Operation Margaret, that is, the occupation of Hungary, took place on March 19, 1944. By the time of the German occupation, close to 63,000 Jews (8% of the Jewish population) had already fallen victim to the persecution. Prior to the occupation, on March 12, 1944, Adolf *Eichmann, at the head of SS officers of the *RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) began preparations in Mauthausen, Austria, for setting up the Sondereinsatzkommando (Special Task Force) destined to direct the liquidation of Hungarian Jewry. Most of the Sonderkommando members, among them Hermann Krumey and Dieter *Wisliceny, arrived in Budapest on the day of the occupation, while Eichmann arrived on March 21. On the German side special responsibility for Jewish affairs was assigned to Edmund Veesenmayer, the newly appointed minister and Reich plenipotentiary, and to Otto Winkelmann, higher SS and police leader and Himmler's representative in Hungary.
On March 22 a new government was set up under the premiership of the former Hungarian minister in Berlin, Döme Sztójay. The government consisted of extreme pro-Nazi elements, willing collaborators with Germany in the accomplishment of the "Final Solution." The new regime's minister of the interior Andor Jaross was in charge of Jewish affairs; however, actual execution of the anti-Jewish measures was directed by László *Endre and László *Baky, state secretaries of the Ministry of the Interior. Immediately after the entry of German troops into Hungary, hundreds of prominent Jews were arrested in Budapest and several other cities. Over 3,000 were detained by the end of March, increasing to 8,000 by mid-April. A great number of provincial Jews were rounded up, mainly at the Budapest railway stations, on the very evening of the occupation. They were interned at Kistarcsa and other concentration camps.
The Jewish organizations were dissolved throughout the country, and on March 20 a Jewish council (Zsidó Tanács) with eight members was set up in Budapest upon orders from the Germans, to act as the head of the Jewish communities. The Germans aimed at manipulating this authorized Jewish body to execute their measures without resistance and avoid an atmosphere of panic. By the end of March, similar Jewish councils were constituted in several larger provincial towns. However, unlike the Budapest Jewish Council, their activity was minimal and their existence short-lived. From the first days of the occupation, Eichmann and his collaborators endeavored to persuade the members of the central Jewish council that deportations were not intended and that Hungarian Jewry would not undergo brutal treatment. They assured them that no harm would befall the Jews, on condition that they obediently carry out the directives regarding their segregation and their new economic status.
The "Provisional Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation of Hungary," appointed by the Hungarian government on May 6, likewise aimed at ensuring complete observance of the anti-Jewish directives. By the time this body was set up, the Jews of the provinces had already been concentrated in ghettos, and Jewish community life had ceased to
On March 31, 1944, Jews were ordered to wear the yellow badge. Actually, in a few places (e.g., Munkacs), the local authorities issued this order earlier. On April 7, the decision was taken to concentrate the Jews in ghettos and afterwards to deport them. The ghettoization process was entrusted to the Hungarian gendarmerie in collaboration with the local administration. By mid-April an agreement was reached between the Hungarian government and the Germans stipulating the delivery of 100,000 able-bodied Jews to German factories in the course of April and May. By the end of April the Germans modified this plan by dismissing any criteria on ability to work and demanded the deportation of the entire Jewish population to concentration camps in the eastern territories. However, at the end of April, several groups of able-bodied Jews were transported from the outskirts of Budapest to Germany (1,800 persons on April 28, and a smaller group from the Topolya concentration camp on April 30).
GHETTOIZATION AND DEPORTATION
The ghettoization was started in the provinces. The Jews of Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia were evacuated to ghettos on April 16–19; up to April 23, about 150,000 Jews were concentrated on the northeastern areas of Hungary, pending their deportation to *Auschwitz, which started on May 15, with daily transports of 2,000–3,000. At the same time as the Carpatho-Ruthenian action, some ghettos were set up sporadically in different parts of the country, arbitrarily initiated by local authorities (e.g., the Nagykanizsa Jews were forced into a ghetto on April 19; a number of the Jews of the Veszprem county were crammed into improvised concentration camps as early as the last days of March). North Transylvanian Jewry was evacuated to ghettos in the first days of May, when the process of ghettoization had already been concluded in northeastern Hungary. The ghettoization in the rest of the country, except for the capital, was completed simultaneously. The Jews were driven out of their homes in the night, allowed to pack only a minimal supply of food and some strictly necessary personal belongings, and then assembled at temporary collection points. The provisional ghettos were set up in school buildings, synagogues, or factories outside the towns. In the large Jewish population centers, ghettos were established in the vicinity of the towns, mainly in brickyards, barracks, or out in the open.
Ghettoization was immediately followed by an inventory of the movable property and the sealing of the houses that had belonged to Jews. The Jews were permitted to add a few items of food and clothing to their scanty baggage during the inventory, which in most cases was accompanied by gendarme brutality and looting by the civilian auxiliary personnel. In this first phase of the ghettoization, the Jews in the villages were evacuated to temporary ghettos (collection points) set up exclusively in, or outside towns (from two to four collection ghettos per county). The second phase consisted of the evacuation from the collection ghettos to the larger, central ghettos. The concentration of Jews in the central ghettos is given in the Table: Jews in Central Ghettos.
About 8,000 detainees were interned in a number of concentration camps (e.g., Kistarcsa, Sarvar). The inmates were partly political prisoners and partly Jews from the provinces rounded up in Budapest. They also faced deportation along with the Jews of the ghettos. The living conditions of over 400,000 Jews forced into makeshift ghettos were characterized by overcrowding and lack of elementary hygienic facilities. Some of the inmates had no roof over their heads, and some ghettos were erected entirely outdoors. During the short period that ghettos existed in the provinces, inhuman conditions and torture claimed a number of victims and there were also numerous cases of suicide. When the next phase of the deportation began, the majority of the Jewish population was already in a state of physical and mental exhaustion.
The deportations, which started on May 14, were jointly organized by the Hungarian and the German authorities; but the Hungarian government was solely in charge of the Jews' transportation up to the northern border. Between May 14–15 and June 7, about 290,000 persons were evacuated from Zone I (Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia) and Zone II (northern Transylvania). More than 50,000 Jews of northwestern Hungary and those north of Budapest constituting Zone III were deported by June 30. Zone IV (southern Hungary, east of the Danube), with about 41,000 persons, was also evacuated by the end of June. The last phase was concluded by July 9 with the deportation of more that 55,000 Jews from Zone V, comprising Transdanubia and the outskirts of Budapest. According to Veesenmayer's reports, a total of 437,402 Jews were deported from the five zones. (There appears a slight difference, within a few thousand, between Veesenmayer's figures and other
The ghettoization and deportation were not condemned by Hungarian public opinion; instances of overt sympathy and willingness to help and rescue were an exception to the rule. Noteworthy among the few protests was the outspoken plea of Áron Márton, the Catholic bishop of Alba-Iulia. Hungarian authorities expelled him from Kolozsvar (now Cluj) in May 1944 for preaching in defense of the Jews. Attempts were made throughout the country to evade deportation, but only in northern Transylvania were most of them successful, due to its common border with Romania. The number of Jews who managed to cross the south Transylvanian border and escape to Romania in April–June may be put at about 2,000–2,500. In addition, a few hundred Jews went into hiding in the countryside, especially in northern Transylvania. Likewise some hundreds of Jews were spared deportation, when exempted by the authorities on grounds of military or other merit. A few thousand provincial Jews managed to evade deportation by either hiding in Budapest, or living in the Budapest ghettos alongside the bulk of the capital's Jewish population. About 95% of the deportees were directed to Auschwitz, where, under camp commander Rudolf *Hoess, large-scale preparations had been made for their mass murder. The able-bodied were dispersed to 386 camps throughout the German-held Eastern territories and in the Reich. A small percentage of provincial Jewry managed to evade deportation to Auschwitz. In the framework of a deal made by Rezsö *Kasztner with Eichmann (see below), some transports totaling several thousand (mostly from Debrecen, Szeged, and Szolnok) were directed to Austria. This group was spared selections, families remained united, and the majority survived.
In January 1943 a Zionist relief and rescue committee was formed in Budapest to help Jews in the neighboring countries. Otto *Komoly was president of the committee, Kasztner its vice president, and Joel *Brand was responsible for the underground rescue from Poland. Shortly after the German occupation, Kasztner and Brand established contact with Eichmann. Their names, especially that of Kasztner, became linked with the transaction known as Blut fuer Ware ("Blood for Goods"). Brand was sent to Istanbul to mediate between the Allies and the Germans for war materials, particularly trucks, in exchange for Hungarian Jewish lives, a mission doomed to failure. Kasztner went to Switzerland several times to meet with representatives of the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, *Jewish Agency, and *War Refugee Board to work out a rescue plan and arrange its financing by Jewish organizations. Kasztner succeeded in concluding a deal with Eichmann, which resulted in the transport on June 30, 1944, of 1,658 Jews from Hungary to Switzerland at the fixed price of $1,000 per head and two further transports on August 18 and December 6, consisting of 318 and 1,368 Jews respectively, most of whom were of Hungarian and Transylvanian origin. The first group was first detained at *Bergen-Belsen, but, as a result of *Himmler's intervention, finally reached Switzerland by the end of December.
After deportations from the provinces were completed, preparations went under way for the deportation of Budapest Jews. The timing of the Budapest deportation to follow the completion of the "Entjudung" ("ridding of Jews") of the provinces, was set for technical, economic, and tactical reasons. On June 15, 1944, the Ministry of the Interior ordered the concentration of the Budapest Jews in some 2,000 houses marked with a yellow star and designated to enclose about 220,000 Jews. On June 25 a curfew was ordered for the capital's Jews, who from this date led the life of prisoners in utter destitution. The series of foreign interventions in May increased in June, taking on a more organized form and exerting a favorable influence upon the fate of Budapest Jewry.
In June the Swiss press, and subsequently the press in other neutral states and in the Allied countries, published details about the fate of Hungarian Jewry. The press campaign and the activity of Jewish leaders in Switzerland brought about a series of interventions with Horthy. Among others, the king of Sweden, the *Vatican, and the International Red Cross intervened. Among the Hungarian personalities who interceded with Horthy for the cessation of the deportations were Protestant bishops and Prince-Primate Justinianus Serédi. These interventions, along with the concealed intention of the Hungarian government to create favorable conditions in case of a separate armistice treaty with the Allies, brought a halt to further deportations on July 8. At the same time Baky and Endre, the chief Hungarian organizers of the "Entjudung," were dismissed. At the end of July, Himmler also gave his approval to the suspension of the deportations. Meanwhile, as many Jews as possible were successfully placed under the protection of some neutral states (e.g., Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal).
In August a turning point was reached when Horthy and his supporters dismissed the Sztójay government. A new government less servile to the Germans was formed under General Géza Lakatos, with the aim of preparing the armistice with the Allies. Throughout July and August the situation of the Budapest Jews and of the labor conscripts appeared more hopeful. However, on September 4, the Lakatos government declared war against Romania, which had joined the Allies (August 23). Hungarian units crossed the south Transylvanian border and perpetrated acts of savagery against the Jewish residents in the strip occupied up to the beginning of October. They massacred the whole Jewish population of Sărmş and Sărmăşel (126 persons), committed murders at Ludus and Arad, and made preparations for the introduction of anti-Jewish measures in the temporarily occupied territories.
On October 15, the fate of the Budapest Jews took a dramatic turn for the worse. After Horthy's unsuccessful attempt
RESISTANCE AND RESCUE
Organized resistance among Budapest Jews made itself felt only in the autumn months, but it failed to develop on a large scale. A few small, armed groups were active in Budapest, attacking Arrow-Cross men and performing rescue operations. In several cases, armed Jewish youths, disguised as Arrow-Cross men or as soldiers, prevented executions and killed Szálasi's men. One form of resistance was the Zionist ḥalutz movement rescue activities, which consisted of forging identity cards, supplying money, food, and clothing, and facilitating escape or hiding. An attempt by the *Haganah to activate the rescue work by sending Hungarian-born Jews from Palestine failed in the summer of 1944. A few members of the Haganah were parachuted by the British into Yugoslav territory, from where they crossed into Hungary, but were captured. Two of them were executed (Perez Goldstein and Hannah *Szenes). The rescue operation by some neutral states proved to be efficient. Up to the end of October 1944, more than 1,600 Jews in Budapest were provided with San Salvador documents. By the end of the year, the number of Jews enjoying the protection of neutral states and of the International Red Cross in the "protected houses" rose to 33,000. The Arrow-Cross authorities recognized, among others, 7,800 Swiss and 4,500 Swedish safe-conduct passes. Prominent figures in this rescue work were Charles Lutz, a Swiss diplomat, and Raoul *Wallenberg, secretary of the Swedish Legation in Budapest.
By September–October 1944, northern Transylvania was occupied by the Soviet armies, followed by Hungary's eastern, southern, and northeastern strip. The Soviet forces occupied Budapest on Jan. 18, 1945, and by early April all "Trianon" Hungary. The Soviet occupation of Hungary brought freedom to the Budapest ghettos and to those labor conscripts who were within the borders.
Statistical data on the destruction of Hungarian Jewry show that about 69,000 Jews were saved in Budapest's Central Ghetto and 25,000 in the "Protected Ghetto." In addition to these two categories, which also include persons safeguarded in the buildings of some neutral diplomatic missions, about 25,000 Jews came out of hiding in Budapest. A few thousand survived in Red Cross children's homes. An exact assessment of the number of Jews who returned to Hungary is rendered difficult by the fact that northern Transylvania, Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, Felvidék, and Bácska were once again detached from it.
Throughout the first postwar months there was a large-scale fluctuation of population between "Trianon" Hungary and the so-called "succession states." The number of Jewish forced laborers who returned to Hungary or were liberated there, including those who later returned from Soviet captivity, may be estimated at 20,000. By the end of 1945 some 70,000 deportees had returned. The number of Jews saved in all these categories in postwar Hungary totaled 200,000. The losses of Hungarian Jewry from the Trianon territories was 300,000. A relatively high proportion of the survivors were non-Jews, who were, however, considered Jews according to the racial laws.
A total number of about 25,000–40,000 Jews who were saved returned to northern Transylvania; some 15,000 to Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia and about 10,000 to Felvidék, reattached to Czechoslovakia. The number of Jews who returned to Bácska is estimated at a few thousand. The relatively small number of survivors outside Hungary, who failed to return in 1945 to their former homes, cannot be assessed.
Of the 825,000 persons considered Jews in the 1941–45 period in greater Hungary, about 565,000 perished, and about 260,000 survived the Holocaust.
[Bela Adalbert Vago]
As a result of the Holocaust, the demographic composition and geographical distribution of Hungarian Jewry had radically changed after the war. When the survivors of the death camps and forced labor returned to Hungary, a few took up residence in their previous homes, and 266 communities were reestablished (out of 473). In the following years, however, most left the provincial towns, and the Jewish communities there ceased to exist.
The postwar Hungarian regime abolished the anti-Jewish legislation enacted by its predecessor. The men who had
The central Jewish institutions reconstituted after the war were the central office of the Neolog communities (which also included the "status quo" communities) and the central office of the Orthodox communities. Whereas before the war the Jewish leadership was composed of the Jewish financial aristocracy, the postwar leadership had a broad popular base, with Zionists playing a prominent role.
In December 1948, an agreement was reached between the government and the Jewish community, similar to agreements with other religious denominations, whereby the Jewish community was accorded official recognition, guaranteed freedom of religious practice, and assured of financial support. This agreement was renewed in 1968. In 1950, at the urging of the government the three religious trends – Neolog, Orthodox, and status quo – united into a single community organization. The Orthodox, who had voiced strong opposition to the forced unification, were granted a large measure of autonomy within the unified organization. Leadership of the community was under the direction of the Magyar Izraeliták Országos Képviselete ("National Representation of Hungarian Israelites"), while religious affairs were handled by two rabbinical committees – one Neolog and one Orthodox; the chairman of each committee was recognized as chief rabbi of the respective religious trend. A Jewish periodical, Uj Élet ("New Life"), was founded as a biweekly, in November 1945.
After the liberation of the country, Hungarian Jewry entered upon a new era of public activities. The Zionist Movement, including its various subdivisions and youth movements, was greatly strengthened and became very active in the field of education. It established a network of schools, in which Hebrew was the medium of instruction, as well as other youth institutions. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) played an important role in the rehabilitation of the impoverished community, spending as much as $52 million on food, welfare, and education, during the period 1946–52.
The transformation of Hungary into a people's republic under Communist rule in 1949 was a fateful turning point for the country's Jews. The effects of this move were felt in the economic situation of the Jews, in their public life, and in their educational activities. The nationalization of the means of production, agencies, and services deprived large sections of the Jewish population of their means of livelihood. The new regime adopted a hostile attitude to the Jewish national movement, and Zionist activities were severely curtailed and eventually outlawed. The Zionist organization was disbanded in March 1949, and its leaders were sentenced to prison terms. Contacts between Hungarian Jews and world Jewry were restricted. Due to the strained relations with the United States, the work of the JDC was at first curtailed, and in the beginning of 1953 brought to a complete stop. Jewish educational institutions were absorbed by the general school system (a step which had far-reaching negative effects upon the education of Hungarian Jewish youth).
The growing severity of the Communist regime and the struggle it carried on against opposition resulted in large-scale expulsions from the cities to the provinces in 1951. An estimated 20,000 Jews were affected by this campaign, most of whom were driven out of Budapest. In 1953, when a more liberal policy was adopted, the situation of the Jews underwent some improvement, and many of those who had been expelled were permitted to return to their homes.
The 1956 uprising also had its effects upon the Jews. As a result of the emigration of rabbis and other Jewish leaders, organized Jewish life was disrupted. Some 20,000 Jews are believed to have left Hungary during this period. The report that antisemitic right-wing elements became active during the rebellion seems to be well founded in fact.
The period of liberalization that began at the end of the 1950s was beneficial to the Jews, and their communal religious and cultural life made some progress. The regime, however, frowned upon identification with any factor other than the socialist state, and an individual who sought to preserve his Jewish identity and engage in religious activities encountered difficulties in his economic and social advancement. This situation resulted in the further estrangement of young Jews from their Jewish heritage. The ties between Hungarian and world Jewry fluctuated over the course of the years. In the early postwar period, the ties were very close: Hungarian Jewry was affiliated to the *World Jewish Congress and sent representatives to international Jewish conferences. After the Communist take-over, the contacts with world Jewry declined, but they were revived in the 1960s, and representatives of Hungarian Jews again took part in meetings of the World Jewish Congress and other international Jewish conferences. Hungarian Jews also maintain links with Jewish communities in other East European countries and with the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, which supports Jewish cultural and scientific institutions in Hungary.
In 1967 the Jewish population of Hungary was estimated at 80–90,000, including some 10,000 who did not take part in religious or communal life. The largest and most important community was in Budapest, where all the central Jewish institutions were located, and then numbered 60–70,000 persons. About 20 synagogues existed, and the community provided religious, welfare, and educational services, maintaining a Jewish high school and a rabbinical seminary. The latter was headed by the well-known scholar, Alexander *Scheiber, and was the only institution of its kind in Eastern Europe. It also served as the center of scientific work, especially the publication of source material on the history of the Jews in Hungary (Monumenta Hungariae Judaica (MHJ), vols. 6–11, 1959–68). Other Jewish communities existed in the large provincial centers – Miskolc, Pécs, Debrecen, and Szeged.
During the 1970s the Jewish community in Hungary numbered some 60,000, of whom 50,000 resided in Budapest, which was thus the second or third largest in Eastern Europe; second only to that of the Soviet Union, and about the same, or slightly smaller, than that of Romania. About 60% were above the age of 50. Conservatism, as a tendency rather than ideology, characterized all aspects of the life of this closed community, and a goodly number of the Jews of Hungary belonged to the Reform (Neolog) stream of Judaism.
The communities were organized in the Association of Communities, a religious body recognized by the authorities, which operated the community's institutions: the Hungarian language publication Uj Elet ("New Life"), a Rabbinical Seminary, a Jewish gymnasium, museum, orphanage, oldage home, hospital, kosher meat shops and religious schools. There were 15 rabbis and 30 synagogues, of which six were in outlying cities.
The community received financial aid from the American Joint. On Dec. 6, 1977, the centenary of the Rabbinical Seminary in Budapest was celebrated, at which delegations from other Eastern European communities, including the Soviet Union, participated, as did Dr. Nahum *Goldmann, then president of the World Jewish Congress, Philip Klutznick, and graduates of the Seminary now active in the West. Graduates serving as rabbis in Israel were not invited.
Apart from this, the authorities continued to maintain the strict wall of isolation, severing the community from contact with communities in the West and in Israel.
In February 1980 an agreement was reached between the Joint Distribution Committee and the Hungarian government whereby the JDC would provide welfare services for Hungarian Jews.
In April 1980 the "Order of the Republic," one of its highest awards, was bestowed by the government on Rabbi Laszlo Salgo for his efforts in strengthening relations between the State and the Jewish community, and in May the government completed a memorial and permanent exhibition at the site of Auschwitz, in memory of the 435,000 Hungarian Jews deported to the death camp during World War II, 400,000 of whom were murdered by the Nazis. Among the exhibits are documents detailing the history of Hungarian antisemitism since 1919. A memorial pillar bears the names of 30,000 of the victims.
In the course of the 1980s a revolution of sorts occurred within the Jewish community in Hungary, with repercussions on its existence and development. This change can be defined as mainly one of quality but also one of quantity: There were now many more Hungarian Jews than there were a decade or two previously, that is, many more people of Jewish origin were now willing to identify themselves as Jews and no longer felt or saw a need to hide their Jewishness.
The freedom which returned to Hungary with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe also gave back to its Jews, who had suffered greatly, a sense of being free to be Jews, to maintain a natural link to the State of Israel, and to try to give Jewish education to their children. At the same time, antisemitism reappeared, and the Jews now faced the same choices as their brethren in the West: identification with Zionism and possible aliyah, or accelerated assimilation, or carefully walking the tightrope between the two.
ASSIMILATION, ZIONISM, ALIYAH
Assimilation continued apace among the Jews of Hungary. The problem of intermarriage made itself felt in almost every Jewish family in Hungary.
As soon as it was legally possible, a Zionist Federation was founded in Hungary, led by psychologist Dr. Tibor (Samuel) Englander, but it had little influence and only a tiny fraction of Hungarian Jews were active in it. In 1992 no more than 100 Jews emigrated to Israel.
An impartial observer received the impression that he was seeing vibrant Jewish life. Dozens of organizations – B'nai B'rith, WIZO, Na'amat, the Jewish Culture Organization, Zionist youth movements from Bnei Akiva to Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, Chabad, and so on – carried on feverish activity which, however, touched only a small part of the Jewish population. Though the Jewish population of Hungary was estimated to be as high as 100,000 in 2005, with 80–90% living in Budapest, only around 6,000 were formally registered with the community and only 20,000 had contact with Jewish organizations.
Paradoxically, Jews seem to have been goaded into "Jewish life" by the antisemitism which reasserted itself under the new rule. Although it was still illegal, the police in a liberal regime were unable – and the government apparently did not care – to enforce this law. The result was a great spurt in antisemitic journalism and hateful antisemitic remarks by a few of the elected representatives of the Democratic Forum (MDF), the ruling party. The most prominent of the antisemitic papers were the Magyar Forum, under the editorship of the author Istvan Csurka, and Szent Korona ("The Holy Crown"), edited by Laszlo Romhany. Romhany
In spring 1993 antisemitic feelings were aroused by an interview given by the head of the Jewish community, Gusztav Zoltai, and the chief rabbi of Budapest, Georg Landesman, to a Catholic weekly. The rabbi made a few lame statements which were seen as contemptuous of Hungarian culture. The rabbi apologized, but his opponents in the community used the ensuing storm of public opinion to call for his resignation. The Hungarian prime minister, Jozef Antal, addressed himself – in an unprecedented step – not to the board of the Jewish community, but to the Israel ambassador in Budapest, David Kraus, and demanded the dismissal of the rabbi, whose remarks were, as stated in Antal's letter, "false, shocking, detrimental to the Hungarian people, and likely to cause an outbreak of antisemitism." The ambassador rejected the letter's contents, but the Hungarian minister of the interior ordered that an investigation be opened to see whether there was any basis for accusing the rabbi of "causing hatred of Jews." After Rabbi Landesman apologized, but refused to resign, the community board canceled the position of chief rabbi and its duties were divided among the other rabbis. Landesman did stay on as the rabbi of the Great Synagogue on Dohany Street.
At the head of organized Hungarian Jewry stands Mazsihisz, the Alliance of Jewish Communities, which unites the organized Jewish Neolog communities. After a 50-year break, during which the Jewish leaders were appointed by the Communist regime, elections were held in 1990 and since then an elected directorate has been in operation. Among all Jewish organizations listed above, the largest and strongest is the culture organization, Mazsike, and even its membership does not exceed a few hundred. The Alliance publishes a biweekly called Uj Elet ("New Life"). The Orthodox congregation, operating four synagogues, a mikveh, and kosher food stores, is organized as the Autonomous Orthodox Community, and a small Reform congregation, Sim Shalom, is also in operation.
In addition to kindergartens, three Jewish day schools serving 1,800 children were in operation through the 1990s and the early 2000s. These were the American Foundation School founded by the Canadian Reichmann family; it had 12 grades and maintained a moderate religious atmosphere; the Yavneh School (founded by the Lauder Foundation), defining itself as a "secular Jewish school"; and the Anne Frank Gymnasium, the oldest of the three, which was the only Jewish school not closed by the Communist regime, although it was severely limited by it, so much so that by the end of the 1970s only 15 pupils were enrolled in its four classes. In addition, the famous Rabbinical Seminary, founded nearly 120 years ago and headed by Chief Rabbi Dr. Schweitzer Jozsef in the early 2000s, was now part of the Yahalom Jewish College, which also included a teachers' training college preparing young people for teaching in the Jewish schools.
Relations with Israel
From the liberation to 1949, there was substantial migration of Jews from Hungary to Israel, and during Israel's *War of Independence, the Hungarian government supported Israel. The Communist regime, however, opposing Zionism, prohibited large-scale emigration, and apart from an agreement made in 1949, under which 3,000 Jews were allowed to settle in Israel, there has been only a small trickle of Hungarian Jews moving to Israel. Contrary to the policies adopted by most other Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the Hungarian government persisted in its restrictive attitude to aliyah. In conformity with the attitude of the government, the official relationship of Hungarian Jewry to Israel remained restrained. The Jewish institutions were warned against identifying with Israel. In fact, there does exist great interest in Israel, which is strengthened by the many family ties. Diplomatic relations between Hungary and Israel were established as early as 1948, and there has been a continuous rise in trade relations. The scope of trade reached $26,000,000. In June 1967, in the wake of the *Six-Day War, Hungary followed the Soviet Union's lead in breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel, but the rupture of diplomatic relations did not reflect upon trade relations.
The government of Hungary instituted an internal policy which was among the most liberal in Eastern Europe, and in this respect, it deviated from the line dictated by Moscow. That, however, did not apply to foreign policy, in which – and especially with regard to the Middle East conflict, with the exception of commercial ties – Hungary was in every respect a Soviet satellite.
Commercial ties between Israel and Hungary continued after diplomatic ties were severed in 1967, and in 1980 Israel exports to Hungary amounted to $2.7 million and imports to $11.0 million.
After the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1989, bilateral trade jumped, reaching $154 million in 2001. Of this, $78 million were exports from Israel (including telecommunication equipment) and $76 million were imports from Hungary (nearly half chemical products). Israelis have also invested $1.5 billion in Hungary, two-thirds of it in real estate. In addition, over 100,000 Israeli tourists visit Hungary annually, though Hungarian tourism to Israel dropped because of the Intifada, from 16,000 in 2000 to 5,400 in 2002.
With the resumption of diplomatic relations, visitors to Israel included President Arpad Gonz, Prime Minister Jozef Antall, and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszensky between 1990 and 1992. President Chaim Herzog of Israel visited Budapest (amid rumors that Arabs tried to assassinate him while there). Hungary was of great assistance to Israel in the transit of immigrants from the Soviet Union to Israel when they passed through the Budapest transit center. In 1992 terrorists attacked a busload of Soviet Jewish immigrants; although they were not hurt, two Hungarian policemen were wounded. In addition to the increased tourism, relations between cities and increased cooperation at international forums are developing.
N. Katzburg, in: Sinai, 31 (1952), 339–52, incl. bibl.; J. Bergel, Geschichte der ungarischen Juden (1879); Magyar Zsidó Szemle, (1884) 1–65 (1948); IMIT; MHJ; Zs. Groszman, A magyar zsidók a xix. század közepén, 1849–1870 (1917); L. Venetianer, A magyar zsidóság története a honfoglalástól a világháború kitöréséig (1922), incl. bibl.; J. Eisner (comp.), Az Izraelita hitfelekezet és hitközségeket érintö tȯrvények és rendeletek gyujteménye (1925); S. Stern, Die politischen und kulturellen Kaempfe der Juden in Ungarn vom Jahre 1848–1871 (thesis, Vienna, 1932), incl. bibl.; N. László, Die geistige und soziale Entwicklung der Juden in Ungarn in der ersten Haelfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (thesis, Berlin, 1934); J. Zsoldos (ed.), 1848–1849 a magyar zsidóság életében (1948); S. Roth, Juden im ungarischen Kulturleben in der zweiten Haelfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (1934), incl. bibl.; N. Katzburg, Antishemiyyut be-Hungaryah (1969), incl. bibl.; R.A. Kann, in: JSOS, 7 (1945), 357–86. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS: M. Kolosváry-Borcsa, A zsidókérdés magyarországi irodalma (c. 1943); N. Katzburg, in: Sinai, 40 (1957), 113–26; 164–76; 248–55; 303–20; MHJ, 1–12 (1903–69); B. Wachstein, Die Grabschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Eisenstadt (1922); idem, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Eisenstadt und den Siebengemeinden (1926). LEGAL STATUS: R. Hajnóczi (comp.), A magyar zsidók közjoga… törvények és rendeletek gyüjteménye (1925); Stein, A zsidók (1909); J. Eisner (comp.), Az israelita hitfelekezet és hitközégeket erintö törvények és rendeletek gyüjteménye (1925); Stein, A zsidók köz és magánjoga Magyarországon (n.d.). GENERAL WORKS: J. Bergl, Geschichte der ungarischen Juden (1879); L. Venetianer, A magyar zsidóság története (1922; incl. bibl.); J.J. (L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), Toysnt Yor Yidish Lebn in Ungarn (1945). ROMAN PERIOD AND MIDDLE AGES: A. Scheiber, Corpus Inscriptionum Hungariae Judaicarum (1960); idem, Hebraeische Kodexueberreste in ungarlaendischen Einbandstafeln (1969); idem, in: HJ, 14 (1952), 145–58; F. Fülep, in: Acta Archaelogica, 18 (1966), 93–98; S. Kóhn, A zsidók története Magyarországon (1884); L. Zolnay, in: New Hungarian Quarterly, 7 (1966); A. Büchler, in: Bernard Heller Jubilee Volume (1941). TURKISH PERIOD: F. Grünwald, in: Bernard Heller Jubilee Volume (1941); N. Katzburg, in: Sinai, 31 (1952), 339–52; A. Scheiber, in: Acta Orientalia, 12 (1961), 107–38 (Ger.). MODERN TIMES: B. Bernstein, in: David Kaufmann Memorial Volume (1900); A. Sas, in: Juedisches Archiv, 1 (1928), 1–6, 33–39; 2 (1929), 34–44; Zs. Groszman, A magyar zsidók V. Ferdinánd alatt (1916); idem, Amagyar zsidok a XIX. század közepén (1917); J. Zsoldos (ed.), 1848–49 a magyar zsidóság éléteben (1948); J. Eötvös, "A zsidók emancipatiója," in: Budapesti Szemle (1840), and other editions; S. Stern, Die politischen und kulturellen Kaempfe der Juden in Ungarn vom Jahre 1848–1871 (thesis, Vienna, 1932), incl. bibl.; R. Kann, in: JSOS, 7 (1945), 357–86; N. Katzburg, Antishemiyuth b'Hungaria 1867–1914 (1969), incl. bibl.; idem, in: Zion, 22 (1957), 119–48; idem, in: Bar-Ilan… Sefer ha-Shanah, 3 (1965), 225–51; 4–5 (1967), 270–88; 7–8 (1970), 303–43; B. Klein, in: JSOS, 28 (1966), 79–98; J. Halmi, Das schwarze Buch ueber Kecskemét (1921); Joint Foreign Committee, The Jewish Minority in Hungary (1926). TRANSYLVANIA: Transylvania, Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia: Z.Y. Abraham, Le-Korot ha-Yehudim be-Transylvania (1951); M. Weinberger, in: Jewish Studies in Memory of Michael Guttmann (1946); EG, 7 (1959), vol. on Karpatorus. INTERNAL LIFE: Y. Ben-David, in: Zion, 17 (1952), 101–28; N. Katzburg, in: Bar-Ilan… Sefer ha-Shanah, 2 (1964), 163–77; M. Eliav, in: Sinai, 51 (1962), 127–42; idem, in: Zion, 27 (1962), 59–86; M.Z. Kaddari, in: Sinai, 59 (1966), 185–90; J.J. (L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), Toledot Mishpaḥat Rosenthal (1921); idem, Le-Toledot ha-Reformazyon ha-Datit be-Germanyah u-ve-Ungaryah (1948); N. László, Die geistige und soziale Entwicklung der Juden in Ungarn in der ersten Haelfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (thesis, Berlin, 1934); S. Roth, Juden im ungarischen Kulturleben in der zweiten Haelfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (1934), incl. bibl.; M. Grünwald, Zsidó Biedermeyer (1937); M. Pelli, in: HUCA, 39 (1968), 63–79 (Heb.); A. Hochmuth, Leopold Löew als Theologe, Historiker und Publizist (1871); W.N. Löw, Leopold Löew. A Biography (1912); M.J. Burak, The Ḥatam Sofer (1967), incl. bibl; J. Katz, in: Studies… in Honour of Gershom Sholem (1968); L. Löew, Der juedische Kongress in Ungarn (1871); N. Katzburg, in: Aresheth, 4 (1966), 322–67, incl. bibl.; idem, in: Divrei ha-Congress ha-Olami ha-Revi'i le-Madda'ei ha-Yahadut, 2 (1968), 173–5 (Heb. sect.; Eng. summary, 191–2). EDUCATION: J. Barna and F. Csukási (eds.), A magyar zsidó felekezet… iskoláinak monográfiája, 1–2 (1896); B. Mandl, Das juedische Schulwesen in Ungarn unter Josef II (1780–1790) (1903); A. Moskovits, Jewish Education in Hungary (1848–1948) (1964). SPIRITUAL TRENDS: L. Löw, in: Gesammelte Schriften, 4 (1898); J.J.(L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), in: Ha-Ẓofeh me-Ereẓ Hagar, 2 (1912); idem, in: Ha-Ẓofeh le-Ḥokhmat Yisrael 5 (1921); S. Kohn, Die Sabbatharier in Siebenbüergen (1894); Simon Péchi Szombatos imádságos könyve (1914); N. Ben-Menachem, in: Israel Elfenbein Jubilee Volume (1963); idem, Mi-Safrut Yisrael be-Hungaryah (1958). ZIONISM: S. Hakohen Weingarten, Ha-Ḥatam Sofer ve-Talmidav (1945); Y.Z. Zehav i, Me-ha-Ḥatam Sofer ve-ad Herzl (1967). PERIODICALS: Magyar Zsidó Szemle, 1 (1884)–65 (1948); Izraelita Magyar Irodalmi Társulat Evkönyve 1895–1918; 1929–1943; 1948; Ha-Ẓofeh me-Ereẓ Hagar, 1 (1911)–4 (1915); continued as Ha-Ẓofeh le-Ḥokhmat Yisrael, 5 (1921)–15 (1931); continued as Ha-Soker, 1 (1933)–5 (1938); Magyar Rabbik, 1905–08 HOLOCAUST PERIOD: R.L. Braham (ed.), The Hungarian Jewish Catastrophe: a Selected and Annotated Bibliography (1962); idem (ed.), Hungarian-Jewish Studies, 2 vols. (1966–69); idem, The Destruction of Hungarian Jewry: a Documentary Account, 2 vols. (1963); idem, Eichmann and the Destruction of Hungarian Jewry (1961); Institute of Jewish Affairs, New York, European Jewry Ten Years after the War (1956), 60–81; J. Lévai (comp.), Black Book of the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry (1948); idem (ed.), Eichmann in Hungary: Documents (1961); idem, in: Yad Vashem Studies, 5 (1963), 69–103; L. Rothkirchen, ibid., 7 (1968), 127–46; I. Benoschofsky and E. Karsai, Vádirat a nácizmus ellen, 3 vols. (1958–67), index; E. Landau (ed.), Der Kastner Bericht… (1961); M. Sandberg, My Longest Year (1968); Ha-Yo'eẓ ha-Mishpati la-Memshalah Neged Adolf Eichmann. Eduyyot, 2 (1963), 830–975. S. Rozman, Zikhron Kedoshim li-Yhudei Carpatoruss-Marmarosh (Yid., 1968), 214–327. CONTEMPORARY PERIOD: P. Meyer et al., Satellites (1953), 373–489; American Jewish Congress, Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe (1967), 30–37; Kovács, in: JSOS, 8 (1946), 147–60; Kutas, in: Journal of Central European Affairs, 8 (1949), 377–89; AJYB (1945– ); R.L. Braham and M.H. Hauer, Jews in the Communist World: a Bibliography (1963), 25–29; P. Lendvai, Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe (1972), 301–25.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.