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Jewish Families from Stropkov, Slovakia

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Stopkov, Slovakia.

Jews first settled in Stropkov, located on the Ondava River, in 1648 fleeing the Chmielnicki pogroms in Poland. Jews soon led the economy of Stropkov; although many Jews lived in poverty. Jews owned all the taverns and shops in Stropkov. Possibly because of their economic success, the Jews of Stropkov were expelled to Tisinec in 1700. In 1800, many Jews returned to Stropkov and reclaimed their position in the local community. Stropkov grew to become the largest Jewish community in the area.

Rabbi Moshe Schonfeld was the first rabbi of Stropkov and led the community until 1820. The community maintained a synagogue, rabbinical court, and mikveh. Many famous rabbis practiced in Stropkov and the town became the center of Torah study in Greater Hungary.

From 1400-1892, Jews were not permitted to bury their dead inside Stropkov and therefore established a cemetery in Tisinec, 4 miles away from Stropkov. Hundreds

of Jews were buried from Stropkov in this massive gravesite. From 1892 to 1942, the Jewish community of Stropkov established a second cemetery on the outskirts of the town, which was utilized until World War II.

Prior to the Holocaust, approximately 2,000 Jews lived in Stropkov. By 1939, influenced by the rise of Nazism, more and more anti-Semitic laws were imposed on the Jewish community of Stropkov. The first transport left Stopkov on March 24, 1942, carrying hundreds of Jews to Auschwitz . By 1945, only 100 Stropkov Jews remained. Today, no Jews remain in Stropkov.

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RABBIS

 

  • Rabbi Moshe Schonfeld (17??-1826) was  the  first rabbi of Stropkov and/or  of Tisinec. According to Avraham Weinstein, Rabbi Schonfeld left Stropkov  for a position in Vranov, where he lived until his death in 1826.

   

  • Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum (1818-1883)  served  as  Stropkov’s chief rabbi and head of its Rabbinical Court  until leaving    for  a  post in Ujhely, Hungary.

 

  • Rabbi Chaim Yosef Gottlieb (1790-1867), the “Stropkover Rav”,  became Stropkov’s  chief  rabbi  and head of its Rabbinical Court  on the recommendation of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, who claimed the appointment was by heavenly decree. Even today, his descendants and followers name  children in his honor.  Even today, his descendants  gather  at his grave at the Tisinec cemetery on the anniversary of   his death.

For further information regarding these memorial services, as well as concurrent services in NYC and Jerusalem,  contact either the  Committee for Preservation of Tisinec/Stropkov Cemeteries, 1622 52nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11204 or  the Rabbi Chaim Yosef Yeshiva, Beth Hora’ah, 37 Chaim Ozer Street, P.O. Box 1243, Jerusalem, Israel.

 

  • Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam (1811-1899)  ,  the son of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, became Stropkov’s  chief  rabbi and head of its Rabbinical Court, as well as a Talmud Torah at the death of the Stopkover Ruv.  His  scholarship, piety, and personal charisma transformed Stropkov into one of the  most  respected  Chassidic centers in all Galicia and  Hungary.  Rabbi Halberstam   passed away  in Sienawa on 6 Tevet.  

 

  • Rabbi Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum (1842-1897),  the son of Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Teitelbaum (see above), was appointed   Stropkov’s chief rabbi   and head of its  Rabbinical Court in 1880.  He died on 24 Tevet in Ujhely, Hungary.

 

  • Rabbi Yitzhak Hersh Amsel (c1855-1934),  the son of  Peretz Amsel of Stropkov, traced his line to the Maharal of Prague.   Charismatic and and scholarly, he was beloved by all.   Rabbi Amsel held the post of  “Zborover Ruv”  (rabbi of Zborov) all his life, even while  becoming     first a   Stropkov Rabbinical Court judge   and then  head of its Rabbinical Court.  Rabbi Yitzhak Hersh Amsel died   while at prayer in Zborov, and is buried in the Stropkov cemetery where a  "tent"  still protects his  grave.   

 

  • Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam (1856-1940),  the son of Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, became  Stropkov’s chief rabbi and head of its Rabbinical Court  in 1897.  Jews, learned and simple   alike,  sought the  advice and blessing of   this "miracle rabbi of Stropkov," revered as a living link in the chain of  Chassidut of Sanz and Sienawa.     Rabbi  Halberstam served in Stropkov for some forty years, until the early 1930's,  when he  assumed a rabbinical post in the larger town of Kosice. He  died there on 6 Sivan.

 

  • Rabbi Menachem Mendl Halberstam (1873-1954)  became  Stropkov’s chief rabbi  and head of its Talmud Torah when his  father, Rabbi Avraham Shalom  Halberstam, left  for Kosice.  During the Holocaust,  the Rebbe  initially hid   in Budapest, and then, when the Nazis occupied Hungary, was spirited to Bratislava, Slovakia--along with his wife, a granddaughter, and one son. After his wife and son were killed, the Rebbe and his granddaughter were accepted into  an underground  bunker  on the condition that  the Rebbe guarantee—in writing, that all its seventeen occupants  would  survive the war. Both grandfather and granddaughter survived.  

After the war, Rabbi Menachem Mendl Halberstam  taught at the  Stropkover Yeshiva, founded  in his honor in  Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He died there on  6 Iyar, and is buried on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. Source