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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Slovakia: Little towns

Dunajska Streda - Hermanuv Mestec - Novy Bydzov - Zilina

from: CSSR; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971)

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)



Dunajska Streda, half Slovak and half Hungarian town

from: Dunajska Streda; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 6 [[Germ. "Danube Street"]]

[Community rights since 1739]

DUNAJSKA STREDA (Hung. Dunaszerdahely), town in S.W. Slovakia, near Bratislava, now Czechoslovakia.

While still within Hungary, its community was a center of *Orthodoxy and had important yeshivot [[religious Torah school]]. The rights of the community were based on a charter granted in 1739 by Count Palffy, the local lord, but 16 families had already settled there by 1700. The number increased to 19 families in 1728, 112 in 1770, 121 in 1774, and 363 in 1848.

A new synagogue was built in 1780, and in 1865 another was constructed to seat 800 persons.

In 1887 the Jewish quarter was set on fire by anti-Semites, but was reconstructed shortly afterward. Celebrated rabbis who officiated in Dunajska Streda include Alexander Meislisch, David b. Menahem Mendel Deutsch, and Judah b. Israel *Aszód.

[1915-1918: Jewish refugees - numbers of 1921]

Many refugees from Poland settled there during World War I. The Jewish population numbered 3,029 in 1921 (1,471 of whom declared their nationality as Jewish), and 3,222 in 1930 (2,364 of declared Jewish nationality).

The Dunajska Streda community also had jurisdiction over the Jews living in about 50 villages in the vicinity (approximately 4,000 Jewish inhabitants) before World War II, mainly consisting of traders, craftsmen, and agriculturists.

The Jewish population formed over half the total population. In the municipal elections of May 1938 seven representatives of the Jewish party were returned on 556 votes.

[Holocaust period]

[[The collaboration of the local population and of the local government with the Nazi authorities is never mentioned in this article]].

Between 1938 and 1945 Dunajska Streda was again incorporated in Hungary. The yeshivah was closed down 1940-41, and Jews "without citizenship" were deported to Kamenets-Podolski [[Ukraine]]. In 1942 Dunaj Streda became the regional headquarters for Jewish labour battalions, and about 500 Jewish men were compelled to work in Hungarian labour corps. Dunajska Streda served as a transit center for refugees from Slovakia in 1942-43, and in 1944 the Germans established a ghetto there where Jews from Samorin and Velky-Mager and the vicinity were concentrated before deportation to the death camps. Nearly 4,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from Dunajska Streda [[and it can be admitted from there mainly to the tunnel systems]]. The large synagogue was partly destroyed by the Nazis in 1944 and demolished by the local authorities in the late 1950s.


About 600 survivors returned in 1945 and reconstituted the community, which kept the 27th of Sivan as a remembrance day for the martyrs. The majority soon (col. 269)

emigrated to [[racist Zionist Free Mason Herzl]] Israel and a few to the [[criminal]] United States [[whose banks financed all communism and a big part of the Third Reich]].

A few Jewish families were living there in the late 1960s. A charitable foundation in memory of the martyrs of Dunajska, Streda, and Magendorf was established in Tel Aviv.


-- Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 208

[AV.E.]> (col. 270)
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Dunajska Streda, vol.
                6, col. 269-270
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Dunajska Streda, vol. 6, col. 269-270


Hermanuv Mestec

from: Hermanuv Mestec; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 8

HERMANUV MESTEC (Czech Heřmanův Mĕstec, Ger. Hermann Mestetz), town in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia:

Jews settled in Hermanuv Mestec at the end of the 15th century and ten families are mentioned in a document of 1570. Statutes of the hevra kaddisha [[Jewish burial society]] exist from 1643 and an enlargement of the cemetery is recorded in 1667. In 1686 the local lord invited Jews to settle in houses formerly belonging to Christians who had died of the plague.

At the end of the 19th century several Jewish firms made the town a center of shoe manufacturing. Noteworthy rabbis included Moses Simhah Bumsla (d. 1724) and Moses *Bloch (1855-63). Sixty-three Jewish families lived in Hermanuv Mestec in 1724; by 1826 there were 492 Jews in the town, 721 in 1859, and 434 (9.3% of the total population) in 1880. In 1893 the community numbered 1,085, including the Jews in in 40 surrounding villages.

The community declined to 87 in 1921 and 54 (1.3%) in 1930. In 1942 the Jews were deported to the Nazi extermination camps and the synagogue appurtenances [[accessories]] sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague.

[[The collaboration of the local population and of the local government with the Nazi authorities is never mentioned in this article]].


-- Folkmann, in: H. Gold (ed.): Die Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1934), 170-3
-- Selbstwehr, no. 52 (Dec. 27, 1912), 7-8.

[J.HER.]> (col. 366)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Hermanuv Mestec, vol.
                8, col. 366
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Hermanuv Mestec, vol. 8, col. 366


Novy Bydzov

from: Novy Bydzov; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 12

NOVY BYDZOV (Czech Nový Byd¸ov; Ger. Neubitschow), town in N.E. Bohemia, Czechoslovakia.

Jews are first mentioned in town records of 1514; they acquired a cemetery in 1520, the oldest tombstones dating from the mid-17th century. A synagogue was mentioned in 1559 (renovated in 1660 and 1838) and ten Jewish families were recorded in 1570.

Between 1656 and 1670 Jews sold salt. After a case of plague, the community was temporarily expelled, some of its member founding communities in surrounding villages. There were 90 Jewish families in Novy Bydzov in 1724. Three years later they were segregated from Christians in a special quarter. Expellees from Prague in 1744 reinforced the community. In 1750 Mendel of Novy Bydzov was burnt at the stake in connection with the emergence of the sect of the "Abrahamites".

There were 37 Jewish houses in 1786. A new cemetery was consecrated in 1885 (still in existence). Some of the 838 members of the community in 1893 lived in the 35 surrounding villages. The old Jewish quarter burned down in 1903.

In 1930 the community numbered 148 (2.1% of the total population). [[Probably there was an emigration wave]].

During the Holocaust 98 Jews were deported to *Theresienstadt and from there to the death camps in 1942; one only (col. 1241)


[[There can be admitted that more survivors have taken directly the way to western Europe to the DP camps for emigration]].

[[The collaboration of the local population and of the local government with the Nazi authorities is never mentioned in this article]].

Synagogue equipment and documents were transferred to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague (see *Museum, Jewish). No congregation was reestablished after the Holocaust.

-- J. Koudelka, in: H. Gold (ed.): Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens (1934), 416-9
-- J. Proke¨, in: JGGJČ, 8 (1936), 147-308
-- J. Hráský, ibid., 9 (1938), 246, 259
-- AZDJ, 2 (1838), 562, 600
-- Bondy-Dworský, 299

[J.HER.]> (col. 1242)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Novy Bydzov, vol.12,
                col. 1241-1242
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Novy Bydzov, vol.12, col. 1241-1242



from: Zilina; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 16

ZILINA (Slovak. ´ilina; Hung. Zsolna; Gerl. Sillein), town in N.W. Slovakia, Czechoslovakia.

[Jews and Germans invited after the exodus of the Tatars - Toleranzpatent - community life since 1852]

After the repulsion of the Tatar invasion in the 13th century, King Béla IV of Hungary elevated Zilina to the status of a royal city and invited Jews and Germans to the abandoned and depopulated town, granting them certain important privileges. The town later suffered severely from various vicissitudes [[ups and downs]] and was repeatedly burned down;

the town archives therefore retain no documents concerning Jewish life there in this period. Despite the *Toleranzpatent [["law of tolerance"]] issued by [[Emperor of Vienna]] *Joseph II the municipality gave no permission to Jews to settle in Zilina in the early 19th century, and they were only allowed to visit markets and fairs. Nevertheless, some Jewish families were living in Zilina in 1840.

An organized community was formed in 1852, with 52 members. A synagogue was opened in 1861, a school in 1860, and a hevra kaddisha [[Jewish burial society]] in 1865. After Zilina became an important railway center an increasing number of Jewish families settled there. Jews took a major role in the rapid development of business and industry, establishing, among other enterprises, a factory for cellulose and textile factories. Through Jewish initiative Zilina became the center of the timber trade in Slovakia.

Arnold *Kiss, the noted rabbi of Buda, officiated for a short while in Zilina. The community was *neologist [[reform Jewry]]. David *Friedmann served as rabbi from 1902. After his death in 1934 he was replaced by Hugo Stránsky, who let for London 1938. His successor, E. Lichtenstein, perished in the Holocaust. A new synagogue, one of the most beautiful in Czechoslovakia, was built in 1934.

In 1929 the Orthodox minority seceded from the community and established a separate congregation. The last rabbi was Martin (Mordechai) Klein, a noted talmudist. He returned to Zilina after the Holocaust, and died soon afterward. Zilina was one of the centers of Zionist activity in Slovakia after World War I.

[[3,500 Jews were living there in 1940]].

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods.

During World War II, in 1942, the Slovak Fascist government [[with the local population mostly in collaboration]] established a transit concentration camp at Zilina; many thousands of Jews passed through this "anteroom to hell" to death camps in Poland [[and probably to the tunnel systems]].

After the war some 700 Jewish survivors returned to Zilina, out of the 3,500 living there before World War II. About 400 of them left for Israel or other countries before 1950; others moved to the capital or crossed the borders in 1968 after the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

In 1971 only some dozens of Jews, mostly of advanced age, were living in Zilina. Although the community was officially recorded as the main Jewish center for northern Slovakia, there was little congregational life there.


-- M. Lányi and H. Propper: A szlovenszkói zsidó hitközségek torténete 81933)
-- Z. Lippa and I. Halpert, in: Die aussäen unter Tränen mit Jubel werden sie ernten, e. by R. Iltis (1959), 206-11

[E.BE.]> (col. 1022)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zilina, vol.16, col.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zilina, vol.16, col. 1022



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