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Marton, Ernö Jechezkel


MARTON, ERNÖ JECHEZKEL (1896–1960), editor and leader of Transylvanian and Hungarian Jewry. Born in Dicsőszentmárton (now Târnǎveni, Romania), Marton was the son of the city's rabbi. Toward the end of World War i, he participated in Hungarian public life and in 1918 he was appointed general secretary to the district governor. But he quickly left this position, moved to Kolozsvár, and took part in the "Zionist revolution" that was then taking place among the Jews of Transylvania. He joined the group that established the Hungarian-language Zionist newspaper Uj Kelet ("The New East") and was soon appointed editor in chief (1919). From then until his death he was editor of the paper (in Cluj and later in Tel Aviv). Marton was elected to major posts in the Zionist movement in Transylvania.

Marton was one of the founders and leaders of the Jewish Party in Romania and succeeded in convincing Romanian politicians to view the Jews of Transylvania as a national minority. In 1919 he was elected to the city council of Cluj on behalf of the Jewish Party and was appointed vice mayor. In 1932 he was chosen on the same list as a member of the Romanian parliament, where he defended the rights of the Jews.

During World War ii, with the reannexation of Cluj to Hungary (1940), the publication of Uj Kelet was discontinued. Marton moved to Budapest and joined the executive of the Hungarian Zionist Movement. In 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary, he moved to Bucharest and organized rescue activities on behalf of Hungarian Jewry. He renewed his ties with Romanian politicians and designed a program for the large-scale rescue of Hungarian Jews. With the liberation of Hungary, Marton headed a convoy to Budapest to organize welfare programs for the survivors of the ghetto. In 1946 Marton settled in Palestine. Two years later, together with David Dezsö Schoen, he renewed publication of Uj Kelet in Tel Aviv. He also founded the World Federation of Hungarian Jews and was its first chairman. In addition to numerous articles that appeared for decades in his newspaper, he also published books of ideological problems of Zionism. His most important work is A magyar zsidóság családfája ("Family Tree of Hungarian Jewry," 1941), in which he developed new theories on the history of the Jews in Hungary. The book also appeared in English translation in Hungarian Jewish Studies (1966), 1–59.


B. Vágó, in: Hungarian Jewish Studies (1966), 177–222.

[Yehouda Marton]

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