NYIREGYHAZA


NYIREGYHAZA (Hung. Nyiregyháza), town in N.E. Hungary. Jews were living in the district in the 18th century, but were excluded from Nyiregyhaza itself until 1840, when they were authorized to settle in the towns. By 1848–49, 71 Jews lived in the town. In 1865 they became affiliated to the community of Nagykallo. After the general Jewish Congress of 1868–69 the community remained within the framework of the *status quo ante communities. In 1904 the Orthodox members formed a separate community. The first synagogue of the congregation was built in 1880, when the Orthodox also built their own synagogue. A Jewish elementary school serving the whole community was established in 1868 and existed until the Holocaust. Rabbis of the community included Jacob K. Friedman (officiated 1856–1905), who participated in the Congress of 1868–69 as representative of the whole district; and the historian, Bela *Bernstein (1900–1944), who was deported with his congregation in the Holocaust. The court hearings of the *Tiszaeszlar blood libel case were held in Nyiregyhaza. The Jewish population numbered 60 in 1850; 1,128 in 1869; 2,097 in 1880; 2,159 in 1890; 3,008 in 1900; 5,066 in 1920; 5,134 in 1936; and 4,993 in 1941. Their economic position was favorable.

Holocaust Period and After

When World War II broke out, refugees from Poland arrived in Nyiregyhaza and were assisted by a special communal committee organized for that purpose. The community also supported refugee children from Slovakia. After the imposition by the Hungarian authorities of anti-Jewish laws and forced labor from 1938 to 1944, the Germans occupied the town on March 19, 1944. During Passover (April 17, 1944) SS units herded the Jews of the town and from 36 surrounding villages, totaling 11,000, into the ghetto. At the end of May and beginning of June, more than 5,000 Jews were deported in the most inhumane conditions in closed cattle wagons. Some days later the synagogue was blown up.

The two congregations in Nyiregyhaza reorganized after the war and opened a yeshivah. The number of the Jewish population decreased from 1,210 in 1946 to 180 in 1970 as most left for Israel after 1956.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Zsidó Világkongresszus Magyarországi Képvˇiselete Statisztikai Osztátyanak Közleményei, 4 (1947), 8–9 (1948), 13–14 (1949); S. Gervai, Nyiregyháza zsidósága élete (1963); B. Bernstein, in: Semitic Studies in Memory of Immanuel Loew (1947), 57–62.

[Laszlo Harsanyi]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.