TRENCIN


TRENCIN (Slovak Trenčín; Hung. Trencsén; Ger. Trentschin), town in western Slovakia.

In the 14th century there were several Jews in Trencin. In the 16th century Jews reappeared. After the Kuruc invasion of Ubersky Brod in 1683, some Jews took refuge in Trencin. For the next 100 years, the community was under Ubersky Brod's jurisdiction. In 1734 the Jews took a secret oath to use only Ubersky Brod's court in disputes and to avoid the Hungarian court system.

The Trencin Jews tried to develop community life. They established a ḥevra kaddisha and held services on the Sabbath and holidays in private homes. They also had a mikveh. In 1736 there was a Jewish school, and in 1760 the community hired its first rabbi, David Kahn Casid (d. 1783). The municipal authorities were not well disposed toward the Jewish community. It charged the Jews municipal and state taxes and prohibited several religious rituals, such as marriage and circumcision. To perform these rituals, the Jews were charged heavy taxes. They were forbidden to employ Christian servants. The authorities tried to curtail the expansion of the community.

In 1703 Jews opened a factory that produced a scarce oil for tanning hides. During the first quarter of the 18th century, Jews were engaged in trade in hides and bones, and in producing spirits. In 1787 a fire destroyed the community's archives. In 1834 the congregation owned a small wooden synagogue. During the first half of the 19th century, the school system was expanded. Most of the schools had been privately owned but slowly became public and then government-owned. The major government-run Jewish elementary school was established in 1857. It had an excellent reputation, and many gentile children were enrolled.

After the Congress of Hungarian Jewry in 1868, the Trencin congregation joined the Reform (Neolog) stream of Jewry. In 1911 a new synagogue was constructed, often described as one of the most beautiful in Hungary. The congregation had a ḥevra kaddisha, a cemetery, and a kosher butcher. There were several social, women's, religious, and charitable societies. During World War I, 150 men enlisted in the army.

From 1785 the community underwent rapid expansion. In that year there were 388 Jews in Trencin. In 1848 there were 688, while 50 years later the community numbered 1,113. An increase was seen in 1922 when the community reached its peak of 2,115. In 1930 the number decreased to 1,539.

At the end of World War I, mobs looted Jewish property and homes and injured and even murdered Jews. When the disturbances subsided, the Jewish community recovered and contributed significantly to economic life. Several local factories were owned by Jewish entrepreneurs. Outstanding among them was one that produced natural oil. It supported local agriculture and provided employment. Jews were well represented in the educated strata and comprised much of Trencin's intelligentsia. There was active political and social life in the community. In 1932 five Jews were elected to the municipal council, four of them from the Jewish party. A number of Zionist groups influenced the community. The congregation belonged to the Slovakia-wide Jeshurun association, which unified the Neolog and Status Quo congregations. There was also a small Orthodox group.

On the eve of the deportations in 1942, there were 2,500 Jews in Trencin and environs; in Trencin itself there were 1,619. Most of them perished in the extermination camps in Poland. In 1947 there were 228 Jews in Trencin. In the small synagogue, the names of the victims were inscribed on the walls. Most of the survivors emigrated or settled in other parts of Czechoslovakia. The rest attempted to preserve Jewish life.

In 1968, during the Prague Spring, another wave of emigration took place. In 1978 a memorial was unveiled in the cemetery for Jewish anti-Fascist fighters and victims of the Holocaust. The Reform synagogue served as the city's cultural center.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

M. Lányi and H. Propper, A szlovenszkói zsidó hitközségek története (1933); R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen unter Traenen mit Jubel werden sie ernten (1959), 195–8; Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 913; E. Bárkány-L. Dojc, Zidovské nábozenské obce na Slovensku (1991), 221–24.

[Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]


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