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Hungarian Speaking Families Who Wanted to Immigrate to Palestine

Introduction by Professor John Hoenig

Background

In 1944, three non-governmental organizations in New York, the World Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, and the International Rescue and Relief Committee, compiled lists of people in Hungary and Hungarian-speaking lands that wanted to immigrate to Palestine. The lists are comprised of nearly 9,400 people in about 2600 families from Hungarian-speaking lands in present-day Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Serbia. About a third of the people lived in Budapest, a third in the rest of present-day Hungary, and a third in territory occupied by Hungary.

The lists identify families and contain names, ages, and towns. In many cases, they also contain detailed descriptions of extended families (cousins, in-laws, etc.) and street addresses. Early lists were sent directly to the Jewish Agency for Palestine. After the creation of the US Government’s War Refugee Board, the lists were sent to the Board for forwarding to the representative of the Jewish Agency in Istanbul. The lists are in the records of the War Refugee Board at the F.D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, and appear online in three pdf files as follows:

A more extensive description of the lists is provided in the publication, “Jews in Europe During the Second World Wat: New Documents, Testimonials and Approaches” coordinated by Antonio Faur. This booklet can be read online at https://tinyurl.com/zbvmkvya

Database

This database includes 9,399 members of families trying to immigrate to Palestine. Similar to the US Federal Census reports, the first individual in a family group is listed as the “Head” of the household and each additional member is identified by their relationship to that person, if known. Below are some additional details regarding the data field descriptions.

The fields for this database are as follows:

  • Family Group Number: Number used to tie together family members.
  • Applicant’s Surname
  • Applicant’s Given Name (and title): If a given name is followed by a title, (Roza, Mr. Samuel) the given name was known. If a given name starts with a title (Mrs. Samuelne) or is only a title, the given name was unknown. (Hungarian naming custom – married women are referred to their husband’s name by adding “ne” to the end of the husband’s given name.)
  • Family relationship
  • Gender
  • Age: If blank, unknown
  • Resident City
  • Resident Street Address
  • Resident County: Megye (county in Hungarian)
  • Resident Country
  • Address – Other: In the case where the details of the given address could not be easily determined, the entire address was entered in this field.
  • Current City Name
  • Current Country Name
  • Sponsor’s Surname: Usually an American relative who “sponsored” the family trying to emigrate.
  • Sponsor’s Given Name (and title)
  • Sponsor’s Relationship to Applicant
  • Sponsor’s Street Address
  • Sponsor’s City
  • Sponsor’s State
  • Comments: Other data found in the lists
  • Source: Page number was assigned by the person who filmed he original documents. The list number was assigned by the private relief agency.

Acknowledgements

The information contained in this database was indexed from the files itemized in the Background section of this introduction. John Hoenig compiled the list.

Finally, we thank Mike Kalt, HTML Volunteer Coordinator, for placing this description online, and Nolan Altman, Director of Special Projects and Coordinator of the Holocuast Database, for his continued devotion and dedication to JewishGen's important work.

Nolan Altman
May, 2021


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