UZHGOROD


UZHGOROD (Czech Užhorod; Hung. Ungvár), city in Transcarpathian district, Ukraine; part of Austro-Hungary until 1920, when it passed to Czechoslovakia; between 1938 and 1945 in Hungary; 1945–1991, in the Soviet Union. The Jewish community of Uzhgorod, probably dating from the 16th century, developed at the end of the 18th century (after the partition of Poland) and expanded further in the second half of the 19th century. Some of the outstanding rabbis of Hungary served in Uzhgorod, notably R. Meir *Eisenstadter (MaHaRaM Esh; officiated until 1852) who had great spiritual influence on Uzhgorod and Hungarian Jewry in general; and Solomon *Ganzfried, author of the Kiẓẓur Shulḥan Arukh, who served as dayyan in 1866. In 1864 Karl Jaeger established a Hebrew printing press with types bought in Vienna. The first book printed was M. Eisenstadter's responsa Imrei Esh (part 2). Printing continued until 1878. In 1926 another press was set up by M.S. Gelles and continued to be active until World War II. About 70 items were printed in Uzhgorod. In 1868 the community split to found a separate *Neolog community, whose first rabbi was M. *Klein, translator of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed into Hungarian. Subsequently the Neologists joined the status *quo trend, whereupon many joined the mother community.

Uzhgorod was a stronghold of the Orthodox as well as of Ḥasidism. From 1890 a Jewish elementary school, whose language of instruction was first Hungarian and later Czech, functioned there. Subsequently Hebrew schools were established. The community also maintained a talmud torah school and a yeshivah. In 1904 a central synagogue was established in a magnificent building. There was also a Jewish hospital and home for the aged. Between the two world wars Uzhgorod became a center of intense Jewish national and Zionist (Revisionist) activities. In 1930 the community numbered 7,357, about one-third of the total population. Following the Munich pact (1938), Uzhgorod was annexed by Hungary, which immediately implemented anti-Jewish legislation. In the winter of 1939/40, all Jews of Polish citizenship or Czech citizens originally from Poland were expelled to Poland, and many died under the severe conditions. The young were conscripted into forced labor and sent to the Russian front, never to return. On Passover (April 21–23) 1944, all the Jews of Uzhgorod and the surroundings (25,000 persons) were concentrated in a ghetto located outside the city (in a brick factory and a lumber yard), and three weeks later all were deported to *Auschwitz.

Following the war several hundred survivors returned to city, most of whom later went to Czechoslovakia.

By 2005, the Jewish community had a synagogue, a Jewish community center, a Jewish day school, and a magazine entitled Gut Shabbos, which covers Jewish activities in the region of the Carpathian Mountains. The Uzhgorod Jewish community oversees the nearby Jewish communities of Munkatch, Chust, Vinogradova, and Rachov.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

EG, 7 (1959); Y. Spiegel, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 4 (1950), 5–54; A. Solel, in: Jews of Czechoslovakia (1968), 125–52. PRINTING: P.J. Kohn, in: KS, 24 (1947/48), 276ff.; N. Ben-Menahem, ibid., 25 (1948/49), 231f.; H. Lieberman, ibid., 27 (1950/51), 115f.

[Encyclopaedia Hebraica /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]


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