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Translation of the
Kralovsky Chlmec chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Slovakia
Translation of the
Edited by Yehoshua Robert Buchler and Ruth Shashak
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 2003
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 2003
Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Slovakia: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Slovakia,
Edited by Yehoshua Robert Buchler and Ruth Shashak, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
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.
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Edited by Francine Shapiro
Kiralyhelmec in Hungarian. The Jews called it Helmetz.
It was the capital of the Zemplin sub-district, southeast Slovakia.
|Year||Total Population||Jewish Population||Percent|
Kralovsky Chlmec is first mentioned in documents from 1214 as the property of Leles Monastery, until the middle of the fifteenth century, and even then weekly market days were held there. Germans settled there in the fourteenth century.
After it received town rights in 1461, it belonged to Hungarian nobles and changed hands a few times.
Its people, Hungarians and Germans, made their living by crafts and agriculture, mainly from fruit orchards and growing wine grapes.
In the nineteenth century Kralovsky Chlmec became the capital of the sub-district, and had government institutions. In this century some small factories were built to utilize agricultural products, and it was a center for artisanship, trade, and many services in a broad farming region. During the Czechoslovakian Republic its economy was still based mainly on agricultural and associated occupations.
In the 1930 census, about 60% of its inhabitants registered themselves as having Hungarian nationality. The rest defined themselves as Slovakians or Jews. In November 1938 the district of South Zemplen was annexed to Hungary, and from March 1944 was under German rule. In November 1944 Kralovsky Chlmec was liberated from Nazi occupation by the Soviet army.
In the second half of the eighteenth century a few more Jewish families from Galicia and Russo-Carpathia settled there. During the nineteenth century the number of the Jews in the town gradually grew to about 400 people shortly before its end. In the nineteenth century the Jews made their living selling grain and other agricultural products, producing leather and its products, wine, cattle, and poultry. Some were farmers who owned of plots of land, and one had a very large farm.
Until the end of the eighteenth century the Jews of Kralovsky Chlmec belonged to the Satoraljaujhely community and its rabbinate. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the veteran families (Shtenfast, Keller, Rubin, Ziner, and some others) organized the Kralovsky Chlmec Jewish community, joined by many Jews nearby. From 1840 there were rabbis in Kralovsky Chlmec. At the time of the first rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Arie Laibush Wald from Hanusovce (he was the local rabbi during the years 1840-1875), a synagogue was erected using a traditional building style.
A yeshiva with about 50 students and other public institutions was inaugurated in the middle of the nineteenth century. After the Hungarian Jewish schism in 1869, Kralovsky Chlmec joined the Orthodox community organization.
In 1888 a Bet Midrash was established in the town, a hostel for visitors in the 1890's, and a Talmud Torah was opened where 60 children studied. As the community grew, Jews from other settlements joined it. At the end of the nineteenth century Jews from 26 settlements belonged to it. After the death of Rabbi Mordechai Arie in 1875, his son, Rabbi Joseph Wald, succeeded him. Rabbi Yoel Zeev Glattstein, author of Nachalat Avot, followed him and the Dayan, Rabbi Hanania Yom Tov Lipa Deutsch, assisted him. In Rabbi Glattstein's era, there were about 80 students in the local yeshiva.
After the beginning of World War I about 60 local Jews were conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian army. Seven of them were killed in battle. The town itself was relatively quiet in the period during the war.
In the 1920's and 30's there was Zionist activity in Kralovsky Chlmec, including branches of Mizrachi, the Revisionists, and some youth movements, among them Beitar, and possibly other Zionist organizations. In a nearby village a pioneering group was active, including members of youth movements who planned to make aliyah.
In 1929 the Jews of Kralovsky Chlmec donated 3,000 crowns to the Keren Kayemet to plant a grove in honor of President T.J. Masaryk.
There was also a strong branch of Agudat Yisroel headed by Rabbi Glattstein, and under his patronage Tziorei Agudat Yisroel and Bet Yaakov for girls were also active. The Jewish National Party took part in the elections to the City Council. In 1928 it was the third party, with 205 votes (19%). The Jews were involved in the general society and in the public life in the town. Generally nine of them were members of the local council-one was the deputy head of the council. Some senior offices in the administration and in the public sector were also held by Jews, among them the office of the Notary, Secretary of the Sub-district Administration, the main Attorney in the Sub-district Court (Dr. Joseph Hertz), the district physician (Dr. Sekely), the sub-district physician (Dr. Weinberger), etc.
The Jews had an important place in the local economy, although they were a quarter of the population.
They were mainly distinguished in trade and artisanship, banking, and among the free professionals. There were two Jewish banks in the town-a bank for economy and trade (its director was Dr. Emil Fuchs), and a commercial bank in the Budrug region (headed by Isidore Atchel). Three of the four local lawyers, and all the physicians in the town were Jewish. There were also10 Jewish families who made their living in agriculture, and a few owners of small factories. We can learn about the part the Jews played in the business world of Kralovsky Chlmec from the licenses that were issued by the local trade chamber in 1922.
|Type of Business||Number of Businesses||Under Jewish Ownership|
|Grocery and General Store||11||11|
|Taverns and Hotels||10||9|
|Leather and Shoes||5||5|
|Cattle and Horses||5||3|
After Hungary's occupation by the Germans in March 19, 1944, there were 860 members in the Kralovsky Chlmec community (180 families, headed by Joseph Katz. Rabbi Glattstein continued in his office. The Dayan was Rabbi Yakov Friedrich. Community activity continued until the expulsions, and some new institutions and an organization were created to assist Jews in their current difficulties. The community employed six workers, and maintained a school, Talmud Torah (and a Talmud Torah Society), a soup kitchen, and also was devoted to welfare activities including the Hevra Kadisha and other venerable charitable societies.
After the Passover of 1944, on April 16, Hungarian policemen began to concentrate the Jews of Kralovsky Chlmec in a temporary ghetto, which was established in some of the town streets. The Jews of Leles and Jews from other small towns were added to the ghetto. The crowding made life difficult, and the sanitary conditions were very poor. Before the expulsions, some youths succeeded in fleeing from the ghetto to the Slovakian region. Fifteen of them fought with the Slovak Partisans and the Czechoslovakian army. The rest of the Kralovsky Chlmec ghetto residents were sent to the expulsion center in Ujhely ghetto, and in the second half of May were expelled to Auschwitz. Among those expelled were Rabbi Joel Zeev Glattstein and his family members.
In the three villages of Bol, Gyres, and Biel, near Kralovsky Chlmec, little Jewish communities existed that had had institutions of their own. All the Jews who still remained in them in 1944 were expelled to Auschwitz.
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