“Olaszliszka” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Hungary
(Hungary)

48°15' 21°26'

Translation of the “Olaszliszka” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Hungary

Edited by: Theodore Lavi

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1975


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Acknowledgments

Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem
for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Hungary: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Hungary,
Edited by Theodore Lavi, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. Page 142.


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
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Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.


[Page 142]

Olaszliszka

Translated by Jerrold Landau

It is town in the region of Zemplén district of Tokaj, near Bodrog,
at the foot of Mount Hegyalja. In 1941, its population was 2,993.

 

Jewish Population

Year Population
1771 1 (family)
1811 20 (families)
1850 19 (individuals)
1930 227

 

Until the Second World War

The first Jewish family settled in Olaszliszka during the first half of the 18th century and was already mentioned in the census of 1771. Since the town was known for its vineyards and winemaking, Jewish wine merchants were attracted to the area, who marketed their merchandise in Russia and Poland as well through the agency of Jewish wine merchants in those countries. Their businesses, which developed and flourished, provided a means for many Jews to earn their livelihoods through them, as wagon drivers or ordinary employees. Several other branches of business opened with the passage of time. Between the two wars, there were 18 merchants in Olaszliszka, including one wholesaler, four tradesmen, two distillery owners, two government officials, four officials in Jewish enterprises, two teachers, one contractor, seven free professionals, eight workers, and 20 with undefined sources of livelihood.

The relationship between the residents and the local Jews was inimical at first, as they regarded them as unwanted competitors (as has been noted, the growing of grapes and production of wine were the chief sources of livelihood in the town). The hatred

[Page 143]

of Jews did not stop throughout almost all the years. In 1925, the rabbi of Olaszliszka was accused of money forgery. The local anti-Semites succeeded in poisoning the local atmosphere until he was vindicated and cleared from the accusation.

Apparently, the community was set up in 1810.

The first synagogue was built during the first half of the 19th century.

The local benevolent organizations included: the Chevra Kadisha (founded in 1930), the Woman's Organization (founded 1909), the Organization for Assisting the Jewish Poor (founded 1922), the Shelter for the Poor (founded 1921).

From among the rabbis of Olaszliszka, we will note: Tzvi Hirsch Friedman 91840-18740, the author of “Pri Tov” (an anthology of Halachic commentary), and “Hayashar VeHatov” (explanations on the festivals). As a veteran student of Moshe Teitelbaum, the Admor of Sátoraljaujhely, he disseminated Hassidic ideas in Olaszliszka. Under his watch, the community turned into a Hassidic center in Hungary, attracting Hassidim from all areas of Hungary, who would come to the court of the rabbi for the festivals. He refused to accept a salary from the community. He generously disseminated most of the money that he received from his supporters to the poor of the city. The salary that he refused to accept was fully dedicated to the building of the large synagogue. The attempts of the community to at least use the salary to build the house of the rabbi was also pushed aside by him, stressing that living in the Diaspora is supposed to be on an ad-hoc basis. He was infused with love for the Land of Israel. Chaim Friedlander (1875-1904) was the author of “Tal Chaim” and “Tal Chaim Ubracha.”

The school was opened in 1872, after the teacher of the cheder refused to allow the students to waste their time on secular studies, in opposition to the heads of the community who wanted their children to study the Hungarian language and culture. The Talmud Torah building was built in 1912, with the clear pretext of preparing the students to study in Yeshiva, as a protection against the assimilation that was spreading throughout the Jews of Hungary. The Yeshiva, which opened shortly thereafter, was noted for its Hassidic spirit, which was followed by most of the local Jews.

Thirty-six members of the community were drafted into the army during the First World War. Ten of them fell in battle.

 

The Holocaust

Men up to the age of 42 were distributed to forced labor camps in 1942. When the German Army entered in 1944, only the elderly, women, children, and the ill remained. They were transferred to the Sátoraljaujhely Ghetto at the end of April 1944 and transported to Auschwitz in May.

After the war, 15 people returned, some from Auschwitz, and the rest from labor camps. They encountered the enmity of the residents, and did not have the energy to reconstitute the community. Some left the place. In 1957, three Jewish families remained, and guarded the ancient cemetery.

Y.K.

 

Bibliography:
Zsidó Lexikon, pp. 660-661.
Ben Chananja 2(1859), pp. 90-91.
Mon. Hun. Jud., VIII p. 267

 


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

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