“Siofok” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Hungary

46°54' / 18°03'

Translation of the “Siofok” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Hungary

Edited by: Theodore Lavi

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1975


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Francine Shapiro

Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem
for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Hungary: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Hungary,
Edited by Theodore Lavi, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.


[Page 532]

Siofok

A little town in the Veszprem area, on the shore of Lake Balaton, 26 kilometers from Szekesfehervar.
In 1941 the population was 4,545. The famous Imre Kalman was born there.

Jewish Population

YearNumber
1886578
1930287
194697
195936

Until the Second World War

The first Jews settled there at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1820 there were a few Jews there under the patronage of the Catholic Church, among them Matish Muth, the lord of a large manor. Today there is a town is called Muth-puszta, close of Siofok.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the town became a trade center for the entire area. Jewish settlement there increased, and Jews from near by were quick to settle there.

The majority of Siofok Jews made their living from trade. Others were artisans or practiced the free professions: lawyers, clerks, some government clerks, and teachers. There were also a few landowners. The Jews took an active role in making Siofok a famous vacation resort in Hungary. They built hotels that had a good name, in and beyond the borders of Hungary.

In the era between the wars the attitude of the local population to the Jews of Siofok, and also to the Jewish vacationers, was generally unfriendly, and many times there was friction.

Until 1862 the Jewish community was under Balatonfokajar, and then the community became independent.

The Hevra Kadisha and women's association were established in 1863.

The school was active in 1862, and opened in its new building in 1874. The synagogue was built in 1869. Among the rabbis of the town was Gabriel Dessauer (1878-1905), a Hebrew poet who wrote a book of poetry called Yad Gabriel (1883), HaAriel (1859), Degel HaLevi, and Shimrei Zimra.

During the First World War eleven of the members of the community fell at the front. Immediately after the Communist regime took power in August 1919, the staff of the national Hungarian Army under the command of Miklos Horthy, and became a center of White Terror activity that ran wild, especially the areas west to the Danube. Members of the terror bands, some of whom were officers under the command of Horthy, brought Jews from the surrounding area, and tortured them to death. About 300 Jews were cruelly murdered there, and their corpses were thrown into Lake Balaton. The Jews of Siofok fled to Budapest, and stayed there until the regime of the terror bands was liquidated.

In 1937 the Jews of Siofok were annexed to the Adand rabbinate.

In 1938 German tourists organized an anti-Jewish demonstration on the streets and in the restaurants, shouting, “Jews, get out of Hungary.”

The Holocaust

In the autumn of 1940 sixty Jewish men were conscripted into forced labor. Afterwards men over age 40 were freed. The local authorities were quick to enforce the discrimination laws.

On March 2, 1944, a month before the law came into effect that cancelled the rights of Jewish merchants, the licenses of Jewish shop owners in Siofok were revoked. On April 5, the Jews of Siofok were ordered to put on yellow stars, and fire their Christian servants. Their apartments were confiscated, and given to Hungarians whose houses were damaged by bombing. In May 1944 the Jews were transported to Komakut, a camp in the city of Wastbron. It was a deserted army camp that had become full of garbage, and the Jews were ordered to clean it, so they might live there. Before their transportation to the ghetto, the Jews were ordered to pay the whole sum of their yearly taxes.

Community life was organized in the ghetto. A little hospital was built with the help of the physician of the ghetto. A school and kindergarten was also organized. The youth took part in a broad activity, done outdoors because of the lack of suitable buildings. The authorities permitted men and women who were physically fit to work outside the ghetto. On June 25 the local Jews were taken to the wagons at the railroad station of Wastbron, and were transported to Auschwitz. Before they left the ghetto, the Jews suffered a series of cruel tortures. Its main purpose was to extract from them confessions about their valuable property, which they had either concealed or given to Christian friends. It is worth mentioning that Christian informers cooperated with the police.

After the war some Jews returned to Siofok, and renewed community life, a group of 97 people. But during the ensuing years, the majority of the Jewish population left the town. In 1959 only 36 remained.


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

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