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[Page 48]


1. Chevra Kadisha. Described in a separate article.

2. Association for the Support of Artisans (Yael Tzedek)

The association was founded in 1876 with the aim of supporting its members and their families by providing medical assistance and medication. (At the time social security was non-existent.) In case of illness, the head of the family received weekly aid. According to the humanitarian principle of matan beseter (giving in secret), the collection box was sent to the sick member and he could take from it as much as he needed. If he was wealthy, he made a contribution. This association had 200 members, all of them Jewish small artisans in Pápa. The association rose to fame on a national scale when they elected Bishop Dezső Baltazár as an honorary member, at the initiative of the energetic Samu Bőhm, in order to protect Jews. In Debrecen, a large delegation handed over the honorary diploma to the famous cleric, who said the following on the occasion: “Tell the Pápa Jews that although they have no rabbi, they have got a bishop!” (The rabbinical seat of Pápa was unoccupied at the moment.)

3. The Mór Wahrmann Association. Maskil Dol.

The association was founded in 1882, with the same purpose, financial resources, and manner of support as the Association for the Support of Artisans. The only difference was that everybody could join, irrespective of profession or social position. The association had about 180 members, their regular and much-loved physician was Dr. Károly Kreisler, followed by Sándor Buxbaum. Jenő Halász was the last chairman of the association, he led the well-established association with great care and zeal.

4. Israelite Women's Association

The oldest association of women in the country. It celebrated its centenary in 1925. It was founded by Roch Tevel, the grandmother of renowned community president Adolf Lőwenstein. Their aim was providing support for the sick and the needy. For decades this charitable association was led by Mrs. Vilmos Krausz (“tornyos”Krausz), who was followed by a worthy successor Mrs. Lázár Breuer. Not sparing time nor effort, she visited women to get support for the needy. The work of their members increased when the Jewish population of Burgenland and Austria lost their livelihood, as a result of the Anschluss. Every day they were sending parcels packed by industrious hands. After the death of Mrs. Lázár Breuer, in the most difficult times until the very end, the well-established association was led by Mrs. Gyula Fischer, née Margit Blau.

Since the most pious women opposed the annual ball organized by the association, in 1892 they founded a separate organization which was called:

5. Charitable Organization of Israelite Women

and in addition to charitable activities, it served the same purpose as the Chevra Kadisha. It was deservedly called the first Women's Chevra Kadisha in Hungary.

6. Malbish Arumim (Kreuzer Association)

The association was founded in 1880 with the aim of providing clothes and school equipment for poor students. In 1894 the membership fee was 2 fillérs (2 pence or cents), that is the explanation for the name “Kreuzer Association”. Out of loyalty for the monarchy, they distributed new clothes and winter shoes among poor children every year on the name-day of Queen Elizabeth, with all due ceremony. Later on spectacular ceremonies were abandoned out of regard for the poor parents and the needy received the aid inconspicuously. Aladár Schossberger was the last president of the association. His brother, living in the USA, supported the association.

7. The Girls' Association

It was founded by a very energetic teacher, Mrs. Rosenthal née Franciska Reiner. Although the members were all exclusively girls of the Israelite faith, there were hardly any lectures on Jewish subjects. They had lectures on a high level by writers and artists invited from the capital. Several times they had performances in the town theatre, which attracted much attention among the local population. None of the local cultural associations could compete with the Israelite Girls' Association, which fulfilled its mission faithfully – spreading Hungarian culture.

8. Bikur Cholim. The Association for Visiting the Sick.

According to the tradition, visiting the sick is one of the sacred precepts, whose fruits a person enjoys in this world, with its assets remaining intact for him in the world to come. The Bikur Cholim Association set for themselves the observance of this commandment. The association was founded in 1770, and reorganized in 1860. In addition to visiting the sick, they also supported the family of the sick breadwinner. In 1894 they helped 80 persons. The association had 200 members.

The chazan Viktor Schiffer, respected by all, fulfilled the post of book-keeper and treasurer for decades, managing the affairs of this humanitarian association with great zeal.

There was a witty remark by Kive Schreiber, a scholarly descendent of the Pozsony rabbinical dynasty, which was widely quoted in Pápa: How come there are still poor people left in Pápa? If a rich man has a new baby, marries off his daughter, or has any other simcha in his family, he is in a hurry to send tzedaka to the poor, and he does the same if his family is bereaved. The other way round as well, if the poor man has a new baby or is bereaved, the rich man helps at once. Before a holiday, and on the occasion of Purim, the rich never fail to send their charity to the poor. The rich always give and the poor always get; however, the difference between them is never levelled. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. The scholar gave the following answer to the unpleasant question: “It is because they, in fact, don't give, even if they should.” They observe charity only in theory and not in practice. This is the reason for the foundation of the

9. Gomlei Dalim Association (Helping the poor.)

in 1836 in Pápa, to replace the alleged individual charity by communal efforts in service of the sacred goal. The association had 150 members, carrying out their sacred mission with the help of weekly membership fees and synagogue contributions.

10. Kalo Association (Helping brides.)

It was also carrying out a sacred mission, helping to marry off poor girls. The association was founded in 1862, and the members paid weekly membership fees. In addition to that, they collected money on the occasion of weddings. On an annual basis, they provided financial aid to marry off about 15-20 poor girls. Mrs. Zsigmond Steiner née Ilka Lőwenstein headed the association for decades with great zeal.

11. Shiur Association

It was a highly popular association, located opposite the temple. At all hours they were busy, either praying or learning. The glowing iron stove made it a warm and cosy place where on Saturday afternoons they devotedly listened to lectures on the Torah by the maggids.

They learnt mishnayot for deceased relatives of their members during the year of mourning, and commemorated the names of the dead on memorial tablets on the wall.

12. Association Tiferet Bachurim

It was the association of religious Jewish youth, aiming at broadening the knowledge of young tradesmen and artisans in religious studies. They got together in the evening to study Torah and on Shabbat to listen to lectures. The lecturers were householders advanced in their scholarly studies or guest preachers. The lectures of David Breuer, a guest preacher from Sopron always raised public interest. Whenever he came to visit his grandfather, the highly respected Reb Yosef Leb Neuman, he always gave a lecture at the Association Tiferet Bachurim, telling about his several trips to the Holy Land in a Zionist spirit and describing the current situation in Palestine.

The annual Purim spiel, staged by the youth, was extremely popular as it was interlaced with local references. And of course, there was the paper Pápai Purim or Pápa Purim, the witty remarks of which remained the talk of the town for a long time. Only insiders knew that the credit for editing it was due to the teacher Károly Láng. It must be stated with regret, however, that the idea of Zionism was a taboo among young members of the association. They started to make friends with the idea only when dark clouds were already gathering…

13. Association of Pápa Jewish Students

Its members were high school students, who got together on Saturday night to get a bit of Jewish culture. Religious education teacher Ig. L. Marton gave them lectures on the Bible. The members read out their essays on Jewish subjects. The association was headed by Artur Linksz, a tireless youth, who later became a doctor, a renowned eye specialist in the USA. The Association was run without properly approved statutes, on account of which it was banned by the authorities at the end of 1918. In spite of this, it continued its activities underground until 1924. Surviving members of the association remembered happily the good old days; it was a nice experience for them to participate in the meetings on Saturday night.


[Page 51]


The monumental plan of Dr. Tivadar/Theodor Herzl, the establishment of a Jewish state, occupied Jewry all over the world. On the one hand, it was opposed by reform rabbis from a patriotic point of view and on the other, orthodox rabbis came out against it because they saw in the movement the denial of the messianic faith.

Pápa chief rabbi R. Moshe Arye Róth was the only Hungarian orthodox rabbi who participated in the Basel Congress, together with attorney Dr. Vilmos Koritschoner. After his return, he related his experiences at the congress to his congregation. He was profoundly moved when he recounted that during the first minutes, they appeared to him as a gathering of the faithless, but when he witnessed the sacred enthusiasm demonstrated by the so-called free thinkers or aufklerists, fighting for Eretz Yisrael, and refusing the Uganda plan even as a temporary solution, he became convinced that Zionism was the Future. All Jews should accept the basic principle of Zionism, considering Jews not only as a religious entity, but a nation as well, a nation which used to have a homeland and which should re-establish its historical homeland.

Following this enthusiastic account, the Association of Chovevei Tzion was founded in Pápa, still in Herzl's days. The attorney Vilmos Koritschoner, who participated in the Congress, became their first chairman, the chief rabbi the honorary chairman, religious education teacher Ig. L. Marton the secretary, and educational board official Ignác Lang the treasurer.

Magnificent gatherings were organized for the propagation of Zionist ideas many times, with guest speakers Dr. Izsák Pfeiffer Pap, Dr. Ármin Bokor and others describing the goals of the movement. The audience was greatly moved listening to the poems of Morris Rosenfeld about the sufferings in the Diaspora. Financial contributions were collected into “Kupat Leumit” money boxes. The campaign of buying off the shekel was started. In the periodical of that time, Zsidó szemle, Izsák Pap recalled a poor woman going to houses with her basket selling lemons, paying 10 fillérs at a time to the shekel collector for redeeming her shekel.

With the youth, the Zionist idea fell on fertile ground: They founded the Tzeirei Tzion Association, led by the Seelenfreund brothers (Viktor and Albert), Jenő M. Kohn and Gyula Láng.

The attack against Zionism was directed by R. Silberstein of Vác, and was joined by most orthodox rabbis. The severe attacks undermined the health of the Pápa rabbi who contracted a serious heart condition and died in the prime of his life. With his death, the Zionist movement came to an end in Pápa. An involuntary ten-year break followed; although the idea survived in the soul, practical realization of it was impossible.

The local branch of the Hungarian Zionist Association was founded in Pápa only in 1932, with Jenő Kaufmann as its president, Sándor Lőwenstein secretary, Izsó Várhelyi (teacher), Zoltán Ungár, Jakab Grünwald, Jenő Kohn M., Sári Pfeiffer, Dr. Pál Breuer, Dr. Elemér Gottlieb and Dr. Sándor Buxbaum board members. Legally the association could not function for long. After barely a year and a half, the police superintendent of Pápa invited the leaders Kaufmann and Lőwenstein to his house and showed them letters denouncing the movement. Police Superintendent Vida called on the leaders to make a choice: either they announce voluntarily that they dissolve or he will send the letters to the County Prosecutor's Office. As a result, the movement went underground; mainly through young people getting together at the lumber-yard of the Grünwalds.

The Keren Kayemet Leyisrael and the Keren Hayesod was headed by Luci Gottlieb.

Government chief councellor Dr. Ádám Kende was the president of the Pro-Palestine Association.The Zionist Girls' Association was founded in 1927. It was organized by Dénes Wittmann from Győr, who came for a visit to Pápa; later on he became a well-known artist and architect, the designer of the Haifa city hall. Ivrit was taught by the teacher Várhelyi. Zionist readings were held, contributions to Keren Kayemet Leyisrael were collected. The association was headed by enthusiastic, firmly convinced leaders: Erzsi Hacker, Manci Kellner, Irén Fürst, Manci Köves and Ilus Gerstl. It was a very small association, with only about 25-30 members, because of the serious difficulties they had to face, caused by the chassidim.

The first hachshara was established in 1930 under the leadership of Moshe Filip and Moshe Jungreisz. In the following years the hachshara was regularly held on the Hatvani Deutsch estate at Ihászi, with the financial and spiritual support of Laci Bass, Zoli Goldstein, Jani Weisz, Andi Bachrach, Judit and Jenő Tausz.

The Zionist idea sprung up first in a Hungarian religious community here in Pápa, but because of the harsh attacks of their religious leaders, after a few decades it found fertile soil only in the souls of young people. The youth had no hope of becoming Hungarian through assimilation so they chose to return to the Jewish people. They set out on their way to come Home: to the Ancient Land, to the New Homeland.


[Page 53]


by Amir Yakov Ben-Amram Grünwald

(The original appears in the Hebrew section of this book).

It started in the 1930s.

We were not the first ones. The branch of Aviva Brissia was working already without our knowledge. We were 15-16 years old and they were 20+, in the eyes of kids our age they looked like adults. Apart from the idea of Zionism, there was no connecting link between the groups. They did not organize us and we were not their followers.

Later on it turned out that there had been good Zionists in our community even before Aviva Brissia; some of the teachers and principals in the Jewish elementary and high schools, some of the merchants and respectable householders, and also some good Jews. However, it was not they who founded Aviva Brissia, and Aviva Brissia was not their movement.

There were all kinds of Jews in our community. Orthodox and neolog, chassidic and secular, Zionists and anti-Zionists, cynics and atheists, socialists and even communists. However, like all Hungarian Jews, they were isolated and scattered individuals. The great ideologial trends – the chassidism of the Bal Shem Tov and its opponents, the rabbis, the enlightenment, the assimilation and the emancipation, Zionism and Socialism – swept away masses in the agitated communities of Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, in Hungary these ideas were absorbed only by individuals.

There was no great Zionism in Hungary, yet there were great Zionists. Rabbi Moshe Arye Róth of blessed memory was such; he was a famous rabbi in his generation and served the Pápa community for 20 years. He was a talmid hacham, a great rabbi and a great Jew. His personal greatness can be appreciated in consideration of the fact that at the end of the 19th century, he not only absorbed the Zionist ideal, but also became its open supporter. He was active and even participated in the first Zionist congresses. In spite of that, he did not establish a Zionist movement either, neither in Hungary, and nor in Pápa.

He had a few followers, individuals who remained faithful to him and his ideas deep in their hearts. The community renounced his path after his death. The blue collection boxes of the Keren Kayemet could be seen here and there on the walls of houses, next to boxes of Rav Meir Baal Haness, but they were usually empty and rusty. Here and there you could find some Zionists, who did not even know one another, since there was no contact between them because there was no chance to identify themselves or reveal themselves to others.

The Jews were all deeply absorbed in their worries about livelihood. The poor were fighting for their daily bread and the rich were struggling to stay rich and to increase their fortune. Jewish life centered around the synagogue and after the prayers, around the beit hamidrash, where they were reading the Gemara, to have a break from the worries of livelihood. The life of the community focused on dealing with community affairs. Taxes had to be levied and collected in order to maintain ritual judges, butchers, precentors, chazans, and teachers. There were weddings and bar mitzvas and funerals for the rich and the poor. There were boxes for charity and each box had a gabbai in charge. There were community leaders and a community president. Elections were held for all the respected positions; with scheming going on among the householders and the candidates for the posts, there was great turmoil. Every Shabbat there were sermons, followed by disputes concerning the sermons. There were local beggars from the town or from the surrounding villages, and there were also “respectable” international beggars, going from one country to another, bringing along news and spicy gossip from the life of other communities that lived the same way, which consequently became the conversational topic of the synagogue and the beit hamidrash.

This state of affairs characterized our community when the ken of the Shomer was born. It is difficult to describe exactly how it was created. In the beginning, we did not know anything about ideology. We did not join the Hashomer Hatzair because we knew the differences between the different factions of Zionism. We did not have the slightest idea about the very existence of different trends in Zionism. Only a few of us had certain (rather faint) notions about Zionism at all. On the other hand, there was something in the air that made our souls receptive to the idea.

It was in 1929 or 1930. Fascism in Italy had already consolidated. Since Mussolini was not antisemitic, most Jews did not consider it a bad thing. The Nazis in Germany were already very strong, but the Jews of Hungary still lived in the “Garden of Eden” of economic liberalism. It is true that Numerus Clausus was in effect and each year the skulls of many Jewish students were cracked at the universities by members of the antisemitic association “Turul”. Our fathers were reconciled to that. Antisemitism was spiritual, “ideological”, and not economic. Livelihood was still possible. And as a result, the son could be sent to study at a medical school in Italy or Austria. Nevertheless, we the sons suffered from spiritual antisemitism. In the elementary and high schools, we learnt Hungarian culture, which became our flesh and bone, although our schools were Jewish schools. We were taught in Hungarian. At home our parents spoke Yiddish with each other only when they did not want us to understand. We learnt Hungarian history, literature, poetry. Our heroes were Hungarian; Kinizsi, Toldi, Hunyadi were our heroes. Petőfi, Arany, Vörösmarty, Jókai, Mikszáth, Ady, Attila József were the writers and poets that we admired. Our souls completely identified with the sufferings of the Hungarian people. We used to sing the national anthem with all our hearts, and on March 15, on the Hungarian day of independence, we declaimed the Talpra Magyar with firm belief.

Despite that, we were despised by the Hungarians. In their eyes we were “stinking Jews”. The non-Jews did not accept us socially, did not befriend us. We felt humiliated, not needed, we did not belong. At the same time, the petty intrigues within the community did not interest us. We did not understand the language of our prayers at the synagogue. We translated the Bible into Hungarian in the two weekly religious education classes much the same as we translated the Odyssey from Greek in 6 classes a week. We did not learn Jewish history. We did not have Jewish heroes. We were distressed, yet filled with anticipation of something, we did not know what.

One day an issue of the Zsidó Szemle fell into my hands. It was the only Zionist weekly and it was my first encounter with the Zionist idea. It swept me off my feet completely. It was exactly what I was looking for: Jewish consciousness, Jewish pride, identity and belonging. My distress was over. All of a sudden I felt that life was meaningful.

At about the same time I was invited by Elazar Bass (Laci) – may he rest in peace – to a meeting for youth of my age. He said that somebody had come from Szombathely and wanted to talk to us. We went to the meeting wearing pressed Charleston pants and ties, as it behooved young gentlemen from good homes. To our great surprise, the guest was a handsome blond young man with blue eyes, only 2 or 3 years older than we, wearing the Scouts' uniform! A Jewish scout? It made a great impression on us. (We had no chance to be accepted by the Scouts) We had not seen such a thing before and what he said was also brand new for us. He talked about the life of Jewish Scouts in Szombathely, about their social life, meetings, talks, games, lectures, trips and summer camps! He talked about Palestine, the land of our fathers, about the chalutzim who immigrate to Israel in order to redeem the land, about the swamps, about malaria, about farmers and Jewish villages. His words were absorbed into our souls yearning for the idea of redemption, with youthful enthusiasm.

And it was only the beginning. Most of us came from orthodox families and we stayed observant for a long time. The following story is a good example to illustrate the beginnings. Once we had a meeting to talk with a shaliach from the leadership in Budapest . When it was the time to pray Minchah, we asked the shaliach to stop talking so that we could pray in minyan. He concealed his surprise but of course fulfilled our request. One of us – Dénes Zommer, of blessed memory – not only did not know how to pray, but was talking and laughing and wanted to make us laugh in the middle of the shmone-esreh. The rascal put us to shame in the company of the shaliach, and after the prayer we said we were sorry and asked the shaliach to forgive him for his behaviour. It was not his fault, his secular parents had not taught him to pray, but we would “educate him”.

There is another story about our ardent Hungarian patriotism, while being orthodox. Shortly before the ken initiation and our solemn admission into the national movement of hashomer hatzair,we received a circular from the top leadership together with the 10 commandments of the movement.

The draft of the commandments coincided exactly with the Hungarian scouts ' 10 commandments, with the exception of the third one, which said: “Hashomer is loyal to his country, language and homeland, to Eretz Yisrael.” We organized a series of talks about each commandment – only he who belonged to the shomers knows what it was like. Eventually we came to a decision, which was drafted together with an explanation for our decision, included in a long letter and sent to the top leadership: “We have discussed the 10 commandments seriously and we accept everything in them according to the letter and the spirit, with the exception of the third commandment. Since our country is Hungary, our language is Hungarian, and our homeland is Magyarország forever.”

This is how it was in the beginning. It was an unforgettable experience for us when the first agricultural hachshara reached our town. “hachalutzim” materialized. Until then we had only heard stories about them and pictured them to ourselves with the help of our imagination. They were young people the age of our elder brothers and sisters, most of them had already passed the matriculation exam. Instead of going to university to study medicine or law (the accepted professions among Jewish youth from well-to-do families) they put on work clothes and learnt how to work. Moreover, it was the work most despised by our fathers: tilling the land. They lived in a dilapidated house at the corner of Korona and Irhás Streets. We saw them starting off to work with a shovel and a hoe on their back in a dignified manner, singing. We had an enormously high respect for them. We admired them with all our heart. Jews working in the fields! Turning the soil, ploughing, sowing and harvesting! Preparing for the life in the Land of Israel! We idolized them. We identified with them. They instilled a feeling of pride in us. Because of them, we could walk tall in front of the non-Jews. It was the proof that Jews could do all kinds of work, even work in the fields. We made friends with them and spent the evenings at their place. We learnt Israeli songs from them together with the taste of horah. When they returned from their exhausting work, they washed and put on their Scout clothes. They ate supper together, talked quietly and seriously, they lived like a family. Almost every evening ended up in the raptures of horah. Nobody knows who started to sing, but they joined in and the song went soaring. Nobody knows who started to dance horah, but the circle was getting wider and wider, sweeping everybody along, including us, the guests. It was a cathartic ecstasy.

One of them, Moshe Jungreisz of blessed memory, was an activist in the ken, he showed/taught us the real line of action of the Zionist ken of the shomer. The ken grew bigger. We made friends and also foes.

We roused Jewish youth and caused a revolution in the Jewish street. Most parents and adults did not understand us. The Jewish public of the provincial town was not ready for the idea of a Jewish national and socialist movement. At our public performances our parents did not recognize us on the stage. We introduced a new atmosphere, which was fresh and electrifying, but also alarming. At our Shabbat parties, dozens were standing outside, near the windows of the “hall”, listening to our songs with mixed feelings: chassidic songs, sung by teenagers wearing shorts. There was no tango, no foxtrot, and no Charleston pants. They did not know how to relate to this phenomenon.

In addition to the bustling and lively social life of youth – talks until midnight, lectures, readings, Shabbat parties, games, sport competitions and trips – we also brought new dynamism, unknown so far in our community, to everyday Zionist activities.

We started to remove the dust and the rust from the collection boxes of Keren Kayemet. We were not deterred by failures. If we were thrown out through the door, we tried to climb in through the window. We made our appearances at weddings with the blue boxes, and it did not do the community leaders any good that they chased us away. We turned up again and again and we dared to claim the right of representation. We organized fund-raisings of the shekel. We toured the villages in the area by bicycle. With Papa as the hub, we travelled in a large circle with a radius of 50-60 kilometers, trying to bring the message of Zionism to every Jew. We visited houses. We made acquaintances. We discovered isolated Zionists and linked each one to the chain. We resurrected the Zionist organization of adults, this way creating a legal framework for our movement. And since our activities had an unmistakably clear socialist tint, we also resurrected the opposition party groups: Hatzionim Haklaliim and Hamizrachi.

At this point two persons should be mentioned from the respectable householders, without whom it is impossible to describe the Zionist activities in our community. The first one was a language teacher called Várhelyi. For us he was a walking encyclopaedia, concerning the Jewish renaissance [meaning Zionism]. Even when he was very busy, preoccupied with his livelihood, he never let us down, never refused our request to give us a lecture, to talk about something, to teach. He refused to accept payment for teaching Modern Hebrew; he taught everybody free of charge. He died sanctifying the holy name. The second person, Alexander Lőwenstein was marked for a long life; he ended up in Israel. His soul was responsive to progressive thought; he belonged to us right from the beginning. We “stole” him from Tiferet Bachurim, the association of young orthodox householders, where he was also a co-ordinator, a magnet-like central figure. He could feel the good, the new, the truth in our phenomenon, and being faithful to himself, he dedicated his life fully to the cause and its propagation. He did everything – from organizing and staging programmes in public, through all the activities in the ken, to paper work. He organized and founded the local branch of the Zionist association, where he worked as its secretary from the beginning to the very end.

However, even we were unable to break the ice of Jewish indifference. Indeed, we increased in number, succeeded in reaching different groups, youngsters and adults.

At the same time, the number of our enemies was also growing. Fathers who did not understand the message of Zionism, fearing that their sons and daughters would be led astray, and community leaders who were afraid of what the non-Jews would say, wrote letters and reports about us to the police. The secret police started to keep an eye on us and the bitter end was drawing near. One day the president of the local branch of the Zionist association (Jenö Kauffmann, of blessed memory, a wealthy grain dealer) and its secretary (Alexander Lőwenstein) were summoned to the police station. The officer showed them the pile of letters of complaint from parents and community leaders and gave them an ultimatum : either dissolve the branch voluntarily, or its dissolution would be ordered within a few days. The secretary asked for a delay, trying to win time in order to prevent the misfortune by the mediation of influential people, so he asked the captain to grant him a few days to assemble the extended leadership. Unfortunately, the president decided differently: he surrendered, without consulting his secretary. He went back to the police commander and told him that he was ready to dissolve the branch. This way a short, lively and stormy period of legal Zionist activities came to an end.

However, the ken of Hashomer Hatzair did not surrender and did not dissolve. In fact, on that very day, the period of illegal activities started. The club was closed down but the fields were still open. There were benches in the groves, in the Calvary cemetery there were no detectives walking up and down, and in the countryside it was possible to breathe freely. There were also many parents who permitted the friends of their children to enter their apartments. Small groups could meet and talk in apartments while larger gatherings of the ken took place in Nature's bosom, on trips. Nobody was missing. We did not give in. What had been done could not be undone. There were police persecutions and arrests, but all the activities continued. The seeds were planted, they struck roots and grew, no force could stop them. We grew up, went to hachshara, and immigrated to the land of Israel.


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Priests in Biblical times, the kohanim were also doctors. They were in charge of the prevention and cure of infectious diseases. Their knowledge was passed on to doctors of the modern era, taking their place. According to tradition, only a good person can become a good doctor. Medical science continued to flourish in Jewish circles for centuries because of this hereditary goodness. Our coreligionists were court doctors for rulers, often even for the Pope. Rabbi Moshe Maimonides, the Rambam, one of the greatest rabbinical authorities of his age and modern time, was also a doctor, the family doctor of Saladin, the sultan of Egypt.


was a health officer in Pápa long before the emancipation. In 1859, he was awarded a gold medal. In 1831, his medical book written in Latin was published in Vienna. His other work entitled Über die praktische und teorische Bezihung Jüdischen Religion und Medicin was published in Pápa in 1841. He died in 1879. It is mentioned by the historian of the Hungarian War of Independence as a curiosity that the doctor's daughter Anna Pserhoffer urged her fiance Jónás Fischer of Pápa to join the Honvéd Army and fight for the Homeland.


was a Pápa health officer. In 1842 his Hebrew book Meshivat Nafesh (Restoring the Soul, Psalm 19:8) was published. In 1855 he wrote a religious book entitled Gotteswort: Gottessegen. He was an ardent follower of the great R. Lőw. It was his suggestion to invite the rabbi serving at Nagykanizsa at that time to Pápa. During the War of Independence, he accompanied the great rabbi on his recruiting trip.

He also wrote the story of the cholera epidemic in Pápa.


was born in Pápa and returned to his hometown with a medical diploma from Vienna. He joined the freedom fighters and got to Komárom where he worked near Klapka until the surrender. Then he was conscripted into the Austrian army as a regimental surgeon. In 1853 he got to Theresienstadt where he was in charge of the Hungarian political prisoners, including former Treasury Secretary Dusche and future Lord Chief Justice baron Miklós Vay. Dr. Manovill found ways to make the prisoners' lives easier, sometimes even at the risk of his own freedom.


was born in 1839 in Pápa. His articles in Hungarian and German medical journals attracted attention. In addition, he translated the prayer book. His work entitled Ájtatos Izr. Hölgy (Pious Israelite Lady) was published in 1861.

Nineteenth century Jewish doctors had a profound knowledge of Hebrew. It is demonstrated by the fact that they produced religious books, following in the footsteps of their great master, the Rambam.


the son of Pápa chief rabbi Lipót Lőw, was born in Pápa in 1846. He became a famous doctor in the capital and the general secretary of the Balneological Institution. From 1891 he was the editor of the Balneological Yearbook. Already as a young man he published several Hebrew articles in the religious periodical called Ben Chananya, edited by his father. Many of the epitaphs in the Jewish cemetery of Szeged prove his inspired poetic talent and great knowledge.


son of Pápa health officer Dr. József Steiner, won himself an outstanding name among his contemporaries, teaching at the University of Kolozsvár/Cluj, and contributing a medical work of major importance on the surgical treatment of prostatic hypertrophy. During the German occupation he was one of the enthusiastic organizers of the Jewish Hospital in Kolozsvár/Cluj and he was in charge of its urological department without pay.

Jewish doctors served the town of Pápa and the surrounding settlements selflessly, in the interest of public health.


a long-time president of the Jewish School Board, at one time was a senior health officer.

After his death,

Dr. SÁNDOR WELTNER became a junior health officer.

Dr. JÓZSEF KÖVI served as a senior district health officer.


had a yeshiva education and was much in demand as a doctor among the older generation.


was a popular doctor at the Aid Association named after Mór Wahrmann.

The younger generation of doctors lived up to their famous predecessors, for whom healing people was not considered a job to make money, but rather as an expression of Jewish humanitarianism.


born to Pápa parents, was a popular doctor with local peasants.


son of cotton wool manufacturer Gottlieb .who livedunder the “kapuszin” arch. As a prisoner of war in World War I, he became the manager of the evacuated Swedish Hospital of the 19th Company in Kiev and sent home thousands of war prisoners.


a young and talented doctor, froze to death at the Don-Bend, while on forced labour service.





Dr. SÁNDOR GLÜCK (gynaecologist)

committed suicide in the ghetto.


set up a maternity ward in the ghetto.





Dr. SÁNDOR WEISZ (gynaecologist),



made an artistically perfect handwritten Mizrach-tablet, which was the most exquisite decoration in the Shiur Chevra.



both served as doctors at the Miseri Hospital.


an internist, died at a young age in Israel. He got to the land of his dreams at a difficult time. A great number of German refugees filled the jobs in the profession, so he had to earn his bread with the hardest physical labour before he became a doctor for the Kupat Holim in Jerusalem.

He was very goodhearted and he was very overworked during the War of Independence, curing and helping people day and night.

Dr. RÓBERT BLUM (dentist)

was accused of being a communist during the counter-revolution and was executed in the forest of Devecser.

Other Pápa dentists were the following: the strictly observant





the head physician of the Poria Hospital, who died in the prime of his life in Israel, is also considered a Pápa Jew. He was the grandson of school Principal Mór Pfeiffer, and the son of chief rabbi Dr. Izsák Pfeiffer.


of Pápa worked as a doctor at the Pest Jewish Hospital. He perished in forced labour service. He was buried in a mass grave at the Martyrs' cemetery in Kerepesi út, Budapest, which is cared for by the Jewish community of Pest.

Out of Pápa doctors the outstanding psychiatrist

Dr. DÉNES KARDOS, together with

Dr. ASHER BUXBAUM (cardiologist)

continued their blessed work in Israel.

The doctors from Pápa who became famous abroad:


became an outstanding professor at the Stockholm Institute of Cancer Research (Karolinska Institute). His lectures abroad have made his name internationally recognized in the medical profession.


was the son of the Devecser chief rabbi and finished high school at Pápa. He was the first Jew to become the secretary of the Pápa school literary and debating society (Pápai Kollégiumi Képzőtársulat). As a student he headed the Association of Pápa Jewish Students. Even after several decades, his fellow students remembered vividly the lectures that he gave there. Initially, he wanted to become a journalist, but when he became convinced that medicine was his true profession, he left Budapest law school for the Prague medical school. To escape the Nazis, he moved to America. First he worked in medical research, then started to teach at the ophthalmological department of NYU. He published four scholarly books in his field. He was the president of the Society of Hungarian Doctors in America.

The following doctors also carry on their blessed work abroad:

Dr. VERA KRAUSZ (London),

Dr. VILMA AMBRUS (England),

Dr. GERŐ, née KLÁRA LÁZÁR (Melbourne),

Dr. JÁNOS WEISZ (Australia),

Dr. IMRE NEY (New York),



of Pápa died in the prime of his life in America.

Only one doctor was left in Pápa to represent the one-time large and excellent medical community:


who was the local health officer.


Dr. LAJOS PÁPAI (town and district health officer),





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