“Körmend” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Hungary

47º01'N, 16º36'E

Translation of the “Körmend” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Hungary

Edited by: Theodore Lavi

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1975


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Acknowledgments

Project Coordinator

Francine Shapiro

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. Pages 494-495.


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.


[Pages 494-495]

Körmend

Translated by Shlomo Sné

Edited by Francine Shapiro

Town in the Vas district, Sub-district of Németujvár on the Raba River
Population (1941): 7,472
In Jewish publications: Kermend, Girmend, and Germend

Jewish Population

Year Number
173538
177083
1795190
1799297
180949 (families)
181753     “
182277     “
183174     “
1869740 (individuals)
1930389     “
1941300     “
194656     “
1960--

Until the Second World War

By 1300 according to a document there already were several Jews in Körmend. Later documents reveal that Körmend's Jews enjoyed equal rights, and even took part in frequent public debates among the population. There is also a conjecture that Jews exiled from Spain settled in the town at the end of the sixteenth century. According to a document dating from 1690 the area's Christian wine merchants complained of a local Jewish customs officer who was harassing wine sellers from outside the area. As a result, the Christian wine sellers alleged they were losing money. Their anger continued, and in 1696, the wine merchants' (who had a special dispensation from the king) accusation caused the tax official to be suspected of selling wine without a license, and he was given a hefty fine.

A document dated 1703 lists the rights and obligations of a Jewish butcher.

There are no documents about the establishment and development of the community at its start. We only know that it was under the authority of Rohonc until the middle of the eighteenth century. The community regulations were drawn up in 1705, but they were ratified by the Royal Council 150 years later. In the middle of the eighteenth century the community disconnected itself from Rohonc, and in 1868 it defined itself as Neolog. All the communities of the sub-district were under its authority from 1885.

In 1851 the cemetery was full, and the estate owner Prince Batthányi gave the community a large piece of land without cost, on condition that it would be fenced and used only as a cemetery. However, the area of the old cemetery would be returned to him. In 1869 the prince was made an honorary member of the Hevra Kadisha. In 1909 the cemetery was full, and the Hevra Kadisha bought a third piece of land for this purpose.

Besides the Hevra Kadisha there were other social institutions. The most important were: a Women's Association, a Young Women's Association, Bikur Holim, an association to assist the poor called Maskil El Dal, an old age home, and a mutual savings institution. There was also a public library. Besides these, the local Jews supported the national institutions of Hungarian Jews, such as the National Patronage Society, the Jewish Teachers' Association, Artists' Association, etc.

The synagogue, built in the eighteenth century, was structurally unsound. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Hatam Sofer permitted it to be destroyed in order to replace it with a new synagogue, in answer to Rabbi Bodánszky's request. Finally Prince Batthányi donated another plot of land and a new synagogue was built, dedicated in 1922.

When the community was separated from Rohonc, Jehoshua Falk was designated the local rabbi. In 1780 he aroused a storm by issuing a faulty writ of divorce. Rabbis Elazar Kalir from Rohonc and Meir Barbi from Pozsony declared the document invalid. To strengthen its validity, they sent it to Rabbi Yeheskel Landa, the famous rabbi of Prague, who ratified its invalid status, and ordered Rabbi Falk never to dare in the future write a writ of divorce only by himself.

Other memorable Körmend rabbis: Rabbi Elyakim Getz Koenigsberg (died in 1840) was mentioned a few times in the answers of Hatam Sofer. Rabbi Itzhak Bodánszky (until 1882) is mentioned in the answers of Katav Sofer. Rabbi Dr. Ignatz Krausz (1916-1944) published a chapter from the Karaite book, Ktab Al Muktabi by Yusuf L. Basir (Budapest 1911). He was lost in the Holocaust.

The school was established in 1860 on a piece of land bought from Prince Batthányi, and three teachers were hired to teach in it. In 1878 a teacher of handicrafts was added. There were 143 pupils in it in 1894. Most came from neighboring villages, but the number of pupils dropped after schools opened in these settlements.

After the publication of the Discrimination Laws in 1938, the social relations between Jews and Christians were almost completely disconnected. This situation influenced local Jewish youths to intensify the activities of the local Zionist branch that had been established in 1935. Some devoted themselves to agricultural training for the purpose of immigrating to Palestine. When Zionist activity was prohibited in 1941 by the Interior Ministry, this development was halted. Discriminatory laws were not strictly enforced except for the prohibition on traveling, and the confiscation of cars, typewriters, jewelry, and radios.

The Holocaust

A German S.S. unit came to Körmend in April 1944, and its general staff was housed in the luxurious villa of one of the rich members of the community, who was imprisoned and sent to a concentration camp. Two other Jews were imprisoned and disappeared. Körmend's Jews were concentrated on May 5 in a ghetto in the center of the town in the synagogue area. The Jews themselves were ordered to finance the fencing of the ghetto, and compensate the Christians who were pushed out of their homes for this reason. They also were ordered to remove the furniture and ritual objects of the synagogue in order to put ammunition and other army materiel in it, with the assumption that the Allied airplanes would not bomb the building. Those arrested were organized in the ghetto as much as possible. An elected council took care of food supplies, (except for milk products, which were forbidden to them), and two Jewish physicians took care of the sick. The ghetto entrance was guarded by a Jewish policeman in order to keep the arrested Jews inside, and the Christians outside.

Fifteen men were pressed into forced labor at the beginning of June, and taken to Köszeg. A short time later the Körmend Jews were transported to the ghetto in Szombathely. The non-Jewish citizens of Körmend stood quietly in the streets on this day and looked at the town's Jews. They were all marched to the railway station, except the old and the ill, who were put in carts. Those expelled were taken out quickly without giving them an opportunity to take any food or clothing. The majority of Körmend's Jews were taken to Auschwitz. The remainder, all men, were taken from Auschwitz to Mühldorf near Munich and lost their lives doing underground construction.

After the war 13 women and one man returned from Auschwitz, and 23 men returned from forced labor. They then renewed communal life. In the basement of the burned synagogue they found furniture, so they placed it in an apartment and made it suitable for prayer. Körmend is close to the Austrian border, and for this reason those who returned helped Jews who left Hungary and Romania to cross the border on the way to Palestine. But those who returned to Körmend slowly dispersed. Their prayers continued until Succot 1949. In 1950 a memorial stone was erected in the cemetery in memory of the martyrs of Körmend.


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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