The Jewish population developed rapidly during the 1880s. In 1885, the community was designated as the Jewish center for the three villages of Felsövisó, Alsóviso (Viseul-de-Jos), and Középvisó (Viseul de Mijloc), and later for a number of other villages. The ḥevra kaddisha was established in 1895.
The community was Orthodox and Ḥasidism wielded a powerful influence. There were four synagogues, a number of additional prayer houses, and a yeshivah. In the main, the occupations of the Jews, including ordinary laborers, were connected with the forests and the wood industry of the town and its environs.
In 1896, a Hebrew press was established; as it was the only press in the town it also printed works in other languages. The Hebrew religious periodical, Degl ha-Torah, was printed there from 1922 and ran to about 80 issues.
In 1930, there were 3,734 Jews (33.7 percent of the total population) in Viseul-de-Sus. About the same number of Jews lived there in the spring of 1944, when the Fascist Hungarian authorities set up a ghetto, in which Jews from the surrounding villages were also concentrated. It is estimated that about 35,000 Jews passed through this ghetto on their way to Auschwitz. After World War II, about 700 Jews returned to the town. Their numbers declined through emigration and, by 1971, the Jewish community had ceased to exist.
Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 272; I. Benoschofsky and E. Karsai, Vádirat a nácizmus ellen, 2 (1960), 259, 266, 272.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.