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“Malacky” – Encyclopaedia
of Jewish communities, Slovakia
(Malacky, Slovakia)

48°26' / 17°01'

Translation of the
“Malacky” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Slovakia

Edited by Yehoshua Robert Buchler and Ruth Shashak

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 2003


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Slovakia: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Slovakia,
Edited by Yehoshua Robert Buchler and Ruth Shashak, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.


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(Pages 331-334)

Malacky, Slovakia

Translated by Shlomo Sné

(In Hungarian Malacka, capital of the subdistrict in the Bratislava district, in western Slovakia.)

 

Year Number of Residents Jews By Percent
1735--9 individuals--
1767--4 families--
18282,35397 individuals4.1
18803,75539710.6
19195,1723025.8
19307,2133114.3
19407,2762994.1
19487,696500.6

Malacky is mentioned in 1231 as the property of Hungarian nobles. In 1573 it gained the rights of a city, and permission to hold market days and fairs. In the seventeenth century many workshops were opened in the town, and its economy flourished. From the nineteenth century Malacky was at the center of the Palffy family holdings. Simultaneously it was the capital of the sub-district. Its economy developed, and there was an alcohol distillery, sawmill, soap factory, and brick factory. The process of industrialization was accompanied by demographic growth and prosperity. In 1877 some banks were established in the town. The population consisted of Slovaks, Catholics and Lutherans, who made their living by trade, artisanship, and agriculture. During the Czechoslovak Republic era, the economic growth continued and strengthened. More factories were built, and some schools were opened. Between the years 1939-1945 the city was part of the Slovakian state, which was a German satellite. In the Second World War years a German military base was built there. In 1944 the Nazis opened a big detention facility in the castle where anti-Nazi fighters and opponents of the regime were held. The Soviet Army liberated the city on April 6, 1945.

Community History

Jews lived in the region from the end of the seventeenth century, and some of them were expelled from Vienna in 1670. However, a census of the Jews of Bratislava district in 1727 did not reveal any Jews in Malacky. In a document from 1735, two Jewish families are mentioned: the family of Mordechai Hershl, of Viennese origin, and the family of a merchant named Yakov Gaieringer, from the village of Gaiery. Two more Jewish families settled in the city in 1749. The people of Malacky did not welcome the Jewish arrivals in the city. The authorities subjected them to harsh laws and heavy taxes, whose purpose was to limit their numbers. Because of their low status the Jews of Malacky protested to the governor's chamber in Bratislava in 1751, and described their distress. It seems that their protests did not move the authorities, for until the end of the century the Jewish settlement in Malacky did not develop. In 1767 four Jewish individuals who made their living by selling leather and wool were included in a regional tax list. At the time the Jews belonged to the Stupava community and its rabbinate.

It seems that the community was established at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A Jewish cemetery was opened in Malacky according to the evidence of tombstones found there. Public prayer was first held in private homes, then in a temporary prayer room. In the middle of the nineteenth century the number of the Jews in Malacky greatly increased. The community bought land and built a mikve, a bet midrash, a school, and later built a community house with apartments for religious officials. In 1866 a big synagogue in a modern style was inaugurated (the dimensions were 14x18 meters).

The leader, Leopold Shpitzer, represented the Jews of Bratislava district in the Jewish Congress in Budapest from 1868-69. Afterwards the Malacky community defined itself as a status-quo community. Later the community joined the organization of Orthodox communities. In the 1870's Malacky had its own rabbi. We know the rabbis: Rabbi Zvi Heinrich Fisk, Rabbi M. Levin, and the last rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Weiss.

Among the Jews of Malacky were Hovevei Zion supporters and activists in the Zionist movement. At the beginning of the twentieth century a Zionist Association was established in the city, and for a short time Malacky was the home of Zionist leadership in western Slovakia. Rabbi Weiss was a representative to the first world conference of the Mizrachi, held in 1904 in Bratislava.

Stefan Lukas was born in Malacky (1888-1936), a famous anti-Nazi author, publicist, and stage director. He was active in Germany after World War I, and murdered in 1936 in Switzerland by Nazi agents.

The Jews between the Two World Wars

There was an active community life during the 1920's. In 1922 there were 300 members in the kehilla, and 60 family heads paid taxes.

The community was headed by Adolph Shpitzer, and Rabbi Itzhak Werner was the religious authority. The community owned a synagogue, a cemetery, mikve, slaughter house, and a community dwelling with apartments for its employees. After the death of Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, there was no rabbi in Malacky, and the cantor, Yakov Rosenshtein, solved the religious problems of community members. The Jewish children studied in a state school, and took religion lessons in the Talmud Torah. There was a Jewish Women's Association and a few other charitable groups.

During the time of the Czech Republic, Jews became more active in public life, and held offices in the local government. Before World War I Samuel Lukas was the public notary of Malacky and after the war some Jews held senior offices in various branches of public administration. In the census of 1921, 184 citizens of Malacky declared their nationality as Jewish, and the rest defined themselves as Slovakians and Germans. The National Jewish Party in Malacky performed well in the municipal elections. In 1923 it received two mandates; in the 1928 elections it received 115 votes and two seats on the council, and in 1938, again two mandates.

Zionist activity in Malacky peaked between the two world wars. The Zionist association had broad support. Its activity mainly focused on spreading Zionist ideas and collecting donations for the national funds. A branch of W.I.Z.O. held various social activities. In 1929 the Jews of Malacky donated 2,500 crowns for planting a forest in Palestine, named for President T.G. Masaryk. The majority of Jewish youth belonged to Zionist youth movements. HaShomer Kadima (afterwards the Hashomer HaZair) branch was the first in Malacky, and the Bnai Akiva Movement was established in the 1930's. Jewish youth was also active in the Maccabi Sport Association, established in 1926, and had dozens of members.

We can learn about the power of the Zionist movement in Malacky by the numbers of Shekels sold before the Zionist Congresses.

CongressShekels
192731
193141
193760
1939125

The Jews of Malacky made an important contribution to the city's economic life. The had 26 storehouses (11 groceries, cloth and clothing shops, two lumber warehouses, four shops for house wares and iron, two leather shops, and two liquor stores), also three bakeries, a print shop, and two factories. 12 Jews made their living as artisans, three were agents, four sold agricultural products, and two were butchers. The five lawyers in the town were Jewish.

In the Holocaust

When the Slovakian state was established on March 14, 1939, there were 300 Jews in Malacky. Rabbi Joseph Fisher substituted for the rabbi. The community institutions strengthened their activities in the spheres of education and mutual aid. In 1940 Dr. Oygen Lichtenstein, a lawyer, was nominated as head of the Jews' Center in the Malacky sub- district. At the beginning of the 1940-41 academic year the Jewish pupils were expelled from the state schools and the community opened a Jewish school for them, directed by Stefan Shalgo, a teacher. The school included a junior high school, and included children from all the settlements of the sub -district.

During 1941Jews were distanced from the local economy, and the majority remained jobless, and lacked the means to make a living. The authorities closed a majority of Jewish businesses, and in their place Slovakian shops were opened. The 20 businesses with the highest revenues were made Aryan. In the autumn of 1941, some dozens of Jews were sent to forced labor camps.

On the eve of the expulsions at the beginning of 1942 there were 92 Jewish families. The expulsions began at the end of March, 1942. On March 26, 45 young women were sent to the Patronka Transit camp, and two days later were annexed to the transport to Auschwitz. Eight young women succeeded in fleeing and hiding. On March 27 some dozens of young Jewish men were sent via the Novaky camp to the Maidanek camp in Poland. In the spring and summer of 1942 the majority of the remaining Jews were expelled through the transit camps in Slovakia to Auschwitz and the Lublin district in Poland. In Malacky only a few Jews remained who had protection documents. 13 were arrested in September 1942, accused of supporting left-wing parties, and sent to a detention facility in Ilava. About 80% of Malacky and the sub-district Jews were expelled to extermination camps. After the series of expulsions about 60 Jews remained in Malacky and 117 in the whole sub -district. Those who remained organized a community framework, active until the summer of 1944.The Jewish school was closed because of the tiny number of pupils. In February 1944, 40 Jews with protection documents remained in the city and 100 in the whole sub- district. After the German invasion of Slovakia at the beginning of September 1944, some of them were caught by the Nazis, and expelled to camps, while the rest succeeded in fleeing and hiding with Slovakian farmers.

After the War

After liberation some dozens of Jews who had survived the camps and the hiding places returned. Community life renewed, and the Zionist movement also renewed its activities in the town. In 1947 the Jews of Malacky donated 8,500 crowns for planting a forest in memory of the Czechoslovakian martyrs in the mountains of Jerusalem. Some of the Jews of Malacky made aliyah in 1949. After the stoppage of aliyah some Jewish families remained, who continued have a little community until the 1960's with Jews from neighboring places. During those years the majority of Jews moved to Bratislava.

When there were no more Jews in Malacky, local townspeople changed the function of the synagogue to that of a cultural center. The bet midrash, mikve, and communal apartments remained in place. In the cemetery, ruined and profaned in most of its area, the beautiful family plot of the Shpitzer family remained, for many of its members had been leaders of the community in the past.

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