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KISVARDA (Hung. Kisvárda; Yid. Kleinwardein), town in N.E. Hungary. The Jewish community was organized in 1796; at first it was subordinate to the community of Nagykallo, but became independent in 1843 when Isaiah *Banet was appointed to the rabbinate. In the main, the members of the community were leaseholders, petty tradesmen, and peddlers. The synagogue was erected in 1801. The Jewish population rose from 118 in 1784 to 500 in 1840, and to 1,483 in 1860. The first rabbi of Kisvarda was Moses Mikhaelowitz (1818–24), who was succeeded by Moses b. Amram *Grunwald. Also among the rabbis of Kisvarda was Moses Ḥayyim Segal (1896–1942). Kisvarda had many ḥadarim and a yeshivah. From 1932 the Zionist movement had an active following. Dov Gruner, a member of the *Irgun Ẓev'ai Le'ummi executed by the Mandatory government in Palestine, was born in Kisvarda. The Jewish population numbered 3,454 in 1920, 3,658 in 1930, and 3,770 in 1941. In the revolution of 1918 the Jewish inhabitants were persecuted. From then on antisemitism increased: an armed mob attacked the Jews in 1938. In 1940 the Jews were enlisted into forced labor gangs and in 1942 they were deported to the front. After the German occupation (Spring 1944), a ghetto was set up and 7,000 Jews from the town and the neighboring villages were concentrated there. On May 25 and 27 the Jews were deported to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. After World War II, the community was reorganized. The Jewish population dwindled from 804 in 1946 to 650 in 1948 and 355 in 1953.


Y. Komlós, in: BJCE.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.