HLOHOVEC (Hung. Galgóc ; Ger. Freistadtl, Freistadt ; in popular Slovak Fraštak ), town in W. Slovakia, until 1992 Czechoslovak Republic, then Slovak Republic. The first Jews appeared in Hlohovec with the Romans. During the 9th-century Great Moravian Empire, Jews may have lived in the location of present Hlohovec. Since then, Germans who settled in the area bore hatred toward Jews, and in the 13th century Jews had to wear red markings on their clothes. After refusing to convert to Christianity, the Jews of the Hungarian kingdom were expelled in 1360. Before then, they could live in any part of the town. Upon their return four years after the expulsion, they were relegated to one "Jewish" street. In 1514 they were expelled again, during the peasant revolt. Hlohovec was located next to an important bridge over the river Váh; from the 15th to the 18th century, Jews collected the tax for crossing the bridge on behalf of the royal treasury.
In 1529, when Jews were being burned in the neighboring town of *Trnava, the Jews crossed the bridge and settled in Hlohovec. Most of the Jewish inhabitants of Hlohovec hailed from Moravia. They sold wine, grain, salt, and silverware, and some were glaziers. Another source of income was supplying food to soldiers of the imperial army fighting the Turks. They continued to act as military suppliers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Jewish businessmen from Hlohovec attended the fair in Leipzig, Germany. Hlohovec had a well-established Jewish community. In 1735/38 there were 128 Jews; in 1746 there were 133. Rabbi Mordechai Deutsch, a well-known Talmudic scholar, founded a yeshivah, serving as principal until his death in 1772. The Hlohovec Jews enjoyed the goodwill of the Erdoedy noble family, which owned the land. In 1750 the community erected its first synagogue.
In 1830/5 there were 556 Jews; in 1880, some 1,079 Jews lived in Hlohovec; and on the eve of the deportations in 1940, there were 727.
The talmud torah was opened in 1828, and a school in the German language operated from 1858 to 1862. In 1865 a new school opened its doors. A synagogue was constructed in 1830 and enlarged in 1890. A new edifice was erected in 1900. Following the Hungarian Jewish congress of 1868, a split occurred in the congregation. The majority chose Status Quo Ante, and the Orthodox minority established its own congregation. They shared the ḥevra kaddisha, the Torah scrolls, and the cemetery. The Orthodox community opened a school, as well as other religious institutions. In 1880 the two congregations united as Orthodox.
During the Hungarian commonwealth of 1848/49, many Jews enlisted with the Magyar troops. During World War i, 200 men were recruited into the army. After the war, the Zionist movement and the Jewish party appeared on the Jewish street. Party members were elected to the municipal council. Rabbi Moshe Schwarz headed a Torah va-Avodah yeshivah, where students received vocational training and engaged in rabbinic study.
In September 1938 Slovakia proclaimed autonomy, and on March 14, 1939, independence under the Third Reich. Persecution of Jews was among the state's main tasks, culminating in the deportation of Jews to camps in Poland. In April 1942, the Jews of Hlohovec and the vicinity were deported; very few returned. The authorities continued to persecute the remaining Jews, reducing the number of streets where they could live and expropriating Jewish public buildings. During the Slovak anti-Nazi uprising in August–October 1944, some fled the city and others were sent to extermination camps.
In 1947, only 27 Jews lived in Hlohovec. In 1949 there were 125. In 1968 a handful of Jews remained in the city, the rest having emigrated in 1948/49. They had a small prayer house, and services were conducted by Moshe Glueck, "the Ẓaddik of Hlohovec." In his capacity as caretaker of the local cemeteries, he discovered the 1772 grave of Sarele van Geldern, believed to be the forebear of German poet Heinrich Heine.
J.E. Rosenfeld, Ḥavvat Y.A.R. (1906), preface; Magyar Zsidó Lexikon, s.v.Galgóc; mhj, 5 pt. 1 (1959), 106, 131, 220, 222, 305, 311, 313, 314, 355; 7 (1963), 167; 8 (1965), 194, 196; 9 (1966), nos. 386, 429; S. Scheiber, Héber kódex maradványok magyarországi kötéstáblákban (1969), 33–40. add. bibliography: E. Bàrkàny-L. Dojč, Židovské náboženské obce na Slovensku, (1991), 194–99.
[Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]