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Jewish Communities of Szeged, Szentes and Mako Hungary

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MAKO / Makó / Makov / מאַקאָוו

Makó History Wikipedia " Makó: A town in Hungary

Once Makó used to be the capital of Csanád, a historic administrative county (comitatus) of the Kingdom of Hungary. The town was once one of the largest centers of the Jewish population in Hungary.

Many famous Hungarian people were born or lived in Makó. Perhaps the most recognized person among them is the American journalist, Joseph Pulitzer who was born there on April 18, 1847.

Makov (Yiddish: מאַקאָוו) was the town in the county of Csanad. It has a total population of 33,722, of which 1,642 are Jews (1900). Jews began to settle there about the middle of the 18th-century, under the protection of Stanislavich, the Bishop of Csanad, who, in 1740, assigned a special quarter to them. They soon formed a community, and by 1747 had established a ḥebra ḳaddisha.

The first rabbi of Mako was Judah ben Abraham ha-Levi (who occupied the rabbinate from 1778 to 1824).
He was succeeded by Salomon Ullman (1826–63). Ullman wrote a commentary on certain sections of Yoreh De'ah, under the title "Yeri'ot Shelomoh" (Vienna, 1854).
 He was followed by Anton Enoch Fischer (1864–96), former rabbi of Duna-Földvar. Fischer introduced German and (later) Hungarian in his sermons.

Mako has a Jewish school (of which Marcus Steinhardt has been one of the teachers for 40 years), established in 1851, a Jewish women's association, a Jewish students' aid society, and a Jewish women's hospital.


The former community pasture of the town near the Maros River became part of the Körös-Maros National Park. The traditional name of the area, Csordajárás shows its former use as grazing ground for cattles.

Famous People

  • ▪ Moritz Löw (1841–1900, Steglitz, Berlin), Jewish Hungarian-German astronomer
  • ▪ Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911), Jewish Hungarian-US journalist
  • ▪ Emil Makai (1871–1901, Budapest), Jewish Hungarian poet[3]
  • ▪ József Galamb (1881–1955), Hungarian-US engineer
  • ▪ André (Endre Antal Mihály) de (Sasvári Farkasfalvi Tóthfalusi) Toth (1912–2002), Hungarian-US producer
  • ▪ Géza Vermes (born 1924), Jewish theologian, orientalist
  • ▪ Palya Bea (born 1976), female singer (de)
  • ▪ Krisztina Pigniczki
  • ▪ Antal Páger
  • ▪ István Dégi
  • ▪ Kátai Tamás (born 1975), musician
  • ▪ Béla H. Bánáthy (1919–2003), linguist, systems scientist, educator, founder of White Stag Leadership Development Program


Szentes is a city in south-eastern Hungary, Csongrád county. Population 2013, around 30,000.

In 1742 twenty Jewish families received permission to settle there. Until the nineteenth century the Jewish community grew, then shrank because of the low birth rate.

The majority of Jews in Szentes were merchants, but there were also farmers, members of the free professions, and clerks. In 1930 there were 147 merchants, three wholesalers, three farmers, ten lawyers, sixteen doctors, and 32 private clerks.

The community was founded in 1800 and the Hevra Kadisha in 1810.

The community had a rabbi.

In 1869 the community defined itself as Neolog after the religious split, and there was a strong assimilationist orientation.

Some time after 1920 a library was opened in the community, and a committee was organized to research the community's history.

The Young Women's Association (established 1921), was active in matters of charity. A society for the support of the poor was established in 1864. A Women's Association was established in 1866.

The synagogue was built in 1871. The school was opened in 1841. The built was burnt in 1860, and a new one was constructed the following year. In 1866 the Austrian authorities closed the institution briefly.

From 1938, after the publication of Discrimination Laws, social relations between Jews and Christians were ended because of anti-Semitic agitation. The local newspaper also published a lot of anti- Jewish material. Often glass windows were shattered in the synagogue and private homes under the influence of this agitation. Some Jews from Szentes were arrested because of malicious lies.
The Holocaust After the Germans entered Szentes on May 9, 1944, they created a ghetto, and brought the Jews from Szeghalom to it. Community leadership supplied food with the help of suppliers, who were permitted to enter the ghetto from time to time. On June 16 the Jews of Szentes were taken to railway cars and brought to a brick factory in Szeged, where they were kept under cruel conditions, crowded in with other district Jews. On June 24 and June 26 they were transported to Auschwitz or to Austria.

After the war about 120 Jews returned, the majority of them those who were arrested (during the war) in Austria. The community reorganized and a memorial was built to their martyrs. “Szentes”

Bibliography of Jewish Communities from the former Hungarian Kingdom by Gyorgy Ujlaki


Jews settled there at a relatively late date, at the close of the 18th century. Previously, the Austrian emperor and Hungarian King Charles III had left the choice "whether or not to accept Jews and gypsies" in the hands of the "free royal cities," and these cities, including Szeged, took advantage of this right to exclude them. Hence the first Jewish family settled in Szeged only in 1781; their numbers grew to 18 in 1786; 38 in 1792; 58 in 1799; 62 in 1806; and 681 in 1840. The first house was acquired by M. Pollak in 1788. Houses could be purchased by them in an extremely small area (1813). In 1844 there were 24 Jewish house owners in the town. The first register, of 1799, records two goldsmiths, two tailors, and one distiller among the Jews. The majority of the Jews in Szeged were merchants and peddlers, who were excluded from participation in the fairs. By the 1860s and 1870s Jews were active in the establishment of companies, banks, and industries, or as craftsmen. A number of crafts, such as goldsmithing and upholstery, were mostly in the hands of Jews. From the 1850s Jews also engaged in agriculture.

Throughout the community's existence, particularly when members of the Loew family served as rabbis (see below), it had an exemplary organization. The regulations of the community were drawn up in 1791 and revised in 1863, and remained in force until the Holocaust. The erection of the first synagogue was planned for 1789, but because of opposition from the authorities was not built until 1803. It was replaced by another (the "Old Synagogue") in 1839, which stood until 1905, when the Great Synagogue was erected. Noted for its magnificence, it was built upon the instructions of I. *Loew (it has been declared an architectural monument).

The first rabbi of the community was R. Jehiel (officiated 1789–90); he was followed by Hirsch Bak (1790–1843), and Leopold *Loew (1850–75), leader of the Hungarian Reform movement (see *Neology) who introduced very moderate reforms in his community. After the latter's death, W. *Bacher (1876–77), a prominent figure in the *Wissenschaft des Judentums, served as deputy rabbi and then I. *Loew succeeded his father, who died in Budapest. After World War I, J. Frenkel (who later settled in Israel) was at first acting rabbi and later rabbi of the community (1927–49). He was succeeded by J. Schindler (1950–63), and then by T. Raj.

Although the community of Szeged joined the Neologists after the schism in Hungarian Jewry following the Congress of 1869 (see *Hungary), it remained united out of respect for the Loew family. In contrast to most of the Hungarian communities, the Szeged community also granted a free hand to Zionist activities and allocated considerable sums to the national funds. The school of the community was established in 1844 and remained open until the Holocaust (1944), at first under the supervision of the rabbis of the Loew family, who acted as its principals and maintained its high standard. After World War II it resumed its work in conjunction with the institutions of *Youth Aliyah.

The Jewish population numbered 3,628 in 1869; 3,618 in 1880; 4,731 in 1890; 5,863 in 1900; 6,903 in 1910; 6,958 in 1920; and 5,560 in 1930. M. *Karman, the leading educator in Hungary, and W. Loew (a brother of I. Loew), the talented translator of Hungarian literature in the United States, were born in Szeged. The liberal and tolerant tradition toward the Jews in Szeged was replaced by anti-Jewish agitation after the establishment of the Horthy regime in the town.
Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

There were 4,161 Jews living in Szeged in 1941. After the German occupation (March 19, 1944), the Jews were confined to a ghetto with the Jews of the immediate vicinity. From there around 3,000 were deported to *Auschwitz, and others to Austria when two transports were erroneously sent to Strasshof.

About half returned from deportation, numbering 2,124 in 1946 and 927 in 1958, with a synagogue, school, old age home, and orphanage for 400 Budapest children who had lost their parents in the Holocaust. Only a few hundred Jews remained by the early 1990s. Encyclopaedia Judaica