We regret that we were unable to interview a single person who came from Leh. We did, however, find in the Yad Vashem archives three documents referring to this village. According to those documents, the Jews of Leh were taken to the Tecs ghetto, and from there were transported to Aushwitz. One family, by the name of Rosenthal, consisting of 8 individuals and the head of which was by profession a melamed (teacher), hid in a bunker in the forest near the village. After four months in hiding, they were discovered by a local gentile, who turned them in to the gendarmes. They were taken to the jail of the city of Debrecen, and from there were taken to the camp at [Shveiner-Neustadt (?)], where there were other families. The Rosenthal family survived.
In the 1735 census was listed a Jew by the name Eliyahu Coleman, with a wife and two children. He was poor and owned no property. He paid no land-rental tax.
Seeing as the compilers of Sefer Marmaros did not succeed in interviewing any survivors of this village, I will here take the liberty of adding a few words of my own. My own grandfather Benish Davidovits was born in this village Szeleslonka (Leh, in Yiddish) in approximately 1875. His family had lived in the village from at least the 1820s, as his grandfather Leba Davidovits appears in a Hungarian Tax Census as living in Szeleslonka in 1828. Benish himself left for America (Cleveland) in 1903. From my own research, and from interviews with holocaust survivors and from old family letters, I was able to piece together a bit of the history of this village.
With the defeat of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian empire in WW1 and the death of King Franz Josef in 1919, the Austro-Hungarian empire disintegrated. When the Russian revolution broke out in that same year, there was an abortive attempt by ethnic Ukrainians who lived both in Russia and in the northeastern regions of Hungary (bordering the Russian Ukraine) to establish an independent Ukrainian state. In terms of repeated Jewish history, Ukrainian power or unrest usually translated into bloody antisemetic pogroms. The Ukrainian uprising of 1919 was no exception. For example, in the Russian Ukraine, the Ukrainian leader Simon Petlura led a widespread series of pogroms (about 1,400 separate pogroms in the Ukraine alone) in which seventy thousand Jews were murdered and about an equal number wounded.
As a part of this larger attempted political uprising by the Ukrainians, there was a local antisemetic pogrom carried out in 1919 by the ethnic Ukrainians-Ruthenians in the village Szeleslonka. The Ruthenians rioted and destroyed Jewish property and homes and forcibly drove the Jews out of town in the freezing winter. I don't know if anyone was actually killed in Szeleslonka, but in the Chust Yizkor Book it is mentioned that people were in fact killed during this uprising in the nearby city Chust.
The Jewish refugees from Szeleslonka hid in the forests and found refuge in neighboring towns where the local Jewish population was larger and better able to defend themselves. I am in possession of family letters giving some details of this pogrom. I was told other details in speaking with various Holocaust survivors from Szeleslonka and vicinity.
When some of the young Jewish men from Szeleslonka who had served in the Hungarian army in WW1 returned home from the war and found out what the local Ruthenians had done, they took revenge by torching and burning down most of the village.
Order was restored to the area when in 1920 Subcarpathian Ruthenia (including northern and central Marmaros) was added to the newly formed state of Czechoslovakia. The Czech army entered the area and put down the local Ukrainian rabble. Our village Szeleslonka (now renamed Shirukiy Luh) was rebuilt, and many of the Jews who had fled eventually returned. At around this time (in the early to mid 1920s) a number of additional Davidovits relatives are known to have attempted to leave the area for America.
During the 1941 Hungarian-Nazi deportations of foreign nationals, it seems that our family members who had remained in Leh were able to obtain citizenship papers attesting to their Hungarian taxpayer status since the mid 1800s, and thus were not deported to Poland at that time.
However, when the Germans invaded the area in the spring of 1944, it seems that all of the Jews of Leh were rounded up and deported to one of the ghettos which had been set up in the area, probably in the ghetto in Mateszalka, Tecs and/or Chust (see Sefer Marmaros Chapter 7, from which it seems that they might have been sent to Mateszalka). From there the Jews were deported to Aushwitz, where Davidovits family members are known to have arrived in a transport during the first week of June, 1944. None are known to have survived.]
Translated and edited by Moshe A Davis. This translation is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather Benish Davidovits (in America, Bennie Davis), and to the members of his family (family surnames mainly Davidovits, Markovits, and Katz) from this village Leh (a.k.a. Szeleslonka, Shirukiy Lug), who were murdered by the accursed Nazis and their accomplices. Hashem Yenakam Damam!
In this translation, I have endeavored to maximize ease of readability and the grammatical flow of the material, while keeping true to the spirit and the content of the information contained therein. To this end, in many places I have taken the liberty of rearranging the sentence and/or paragraph structure from that of the original Hebrew in order to improve the clarity and natural flow of ideas in English. Also, in many places I have slightly expanded the material, in order to clarify ideas or to define concepts which may not be familiar to readers who lack background in traditional Jewish customs and who are unfamiliar with Jewish Law. My own additions I have set apart by enclosing them in square brackets .
Please note that many of the original sources used by the authors of Sefer Marmaros were written in languages other than Hebrew, which is the language of the text of Sefer Marmaros itself. Those original sources were not available to the translator, and thus most of the surnames and/or place names as transliterated here may in fact have been spelled somewhat differently in the original source.
List of Jewish surnames mentioned in this article:
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