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Jews in Debrecen in 1945

· Introduction
· Background
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database


Debrecen is the county-town of Hajdu County and the center of the Sixth District of the Gendarmerie and of the Army until 1945.  The first independent post-war government of Hungary was established here at the end of 1944.  In the summer of 1944, some 20,000 Jews of the Sixth District were deported to Strasshof (Austria) instead of Auschwitz, so the rate of survivors was relatively high.  Most of the survivors (not only the former inhabitants of the city) returned to Debrecen, and were registered by the local Jewish Community.  The registration information included first and last name, name of mother, place and date of birth, occupation and last address.

This file contains 3,979 names from one of those lists.  However, the fields included in this list are slightly different.  They are as follows:

  • Surname
  • First Name
  • Husband's First Name
  • Maiden Name
  • Marital Status
  • Place of Birth [abbreviations expanded]
  • Year of Birth
  • Mother's Maiden Name
  • Mother's First Name
  • Permanent Residence
  • Profession

As with other lists prepared under the Yad Vashem data sharing agreement with JewishGen, once the data are transcribed by JewishGen volunteers, they are then validated by Yad Vashem before being made available online.  The data in brackets for place of birth were provided as part of the validation effort, and were not included in t he original data.

In most cases, this information is an expansion of abbreviated terms in the original and appears in brackets along side the original data.  This information and the translation of professions have been added as research aids.


Jews were not allowed to settle in Debrecen until 1840, and until 1863 were not allowed to purchase real estate.  In the 19th century, Debrecen became one of the political, financial and cultural centers of East-Hungary.

By 1941 the population of Debrecen was about 126,000, with 10% being Jewish.  Jews played quite an important role in the economic life.  Jews were dominant among the educated professionals, and owned about half of the landed estates.  Most of the Jews of Debrecen were traditional; however, the various parts of the Jewish community kept a harmonious relationship.

In the aftermath of World War I, there were attempts at anti-Semitic attacks in Debrecen, in particularly from the students of the new local university.  The Jewish youth of the town fought back with notable results.  Ten years later, in 1933, these attacks resumed, and although the Jewish youth tried again to react, the anti-Semitic attacks continued, receiving more and more official sanction.

In 1940-1942 many Jewish men were inducted into labor battalions.  In the autumn of 1941, Jews from Poland were expelled from the city, and many were murdered upon their arrival at Kamenets-Podolski.  Following the German occupation in 1944, a ghetto was established, and at the end of June 1944 the Jews were deported.  One transport was sent to Auschwitz, two more arrived at Strasshof.  Small groups of young people succeeded in evading the deportation, and escaped to Budapest, where they joined the underground.  Some of the local Zionists joined the Rescue Committee (Kasztner) train to Switzerland.  As the Germans attempted to evacuate the Austrian camps on the approach of the Red Army, many Jews were murdered, but most survived.

By 1946, 4,640 Jews had returned to Debrecen, making it the largest Jewish community in the area.  By 1970, however, only 1,200 remained.

A copy of this list was given to Yad Vashem in 1989 by the Jewish community of Debrecen, where the original list resides.


  • Pinkas HaKehillot: Hungary (Jerusalem, 1975).


The information contained in this database was indexed as part of the data sharing agreement between Yad Vashem and JewishGen.  Thanks to Zvi Bernhardt and the Hall of Names staff, the data were provided from the files of Yad Vashem (file O.15.H/235).  This information is accessible to you today thanks to the effort of the following JewishGen volunteers who are responsible for the transcription of this file: Bob Keimowitz (coordinator), Susanne Belovari, Bobby Furst, Joan Hartmann, Debbi Korman, Margalit Modai, Henny Kestenbaum, Stephen Schmideg, and Vera Varga.

Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database, as well as the JewishGen Hungary Database.

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Last updated July 26, 2002 by RdR
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