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Papa

PAPA

PAPA (Hung, Pápa ), town in N.W. Hungary. A few families first settled in Papa under the protection of the Esterházy family; by 1714 the first synagogue was built. At that time the tax collector of the city was a Jew. A new synagogue was built in 1743. In 1748 Count F. Esterházy authorized Jews to settle in Papa and organize a community. A Bikkur Ḥolim society was founded in 1770. The first Jewish private school was opened in 1812, and the community school, founded in 1826, had 504 pupils in 1841. In 1899 the first junior high school was founded. The synagogue erected in 1846 was an important step toward the introduction of Reform: Space was left for an organ although none was installed; the *bimah was set in front of the Ark and not in the center of the synagogue. After the religious schism in Hungarian Jewry in 1869 the *Neologists left the community, but returned five years later. During the *Tiszaeszlar blood libel case (1882) anti-Jewish riots broke out in Papa but they were suppressed by the authorities.

The first rabbi of the community was Bernard Isaac, followed by Selig Bettelheim. The Orthodox rabbi Paul (Feiwel) Horwitz initiated the meeting of rabbis in *Paks in 1844. Leopold *Loew (1846–50) was the first rabbi to introduce Reform. Moritz *Klein, rabbi from 1876 to 1880, translated part of *Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed into Hungarian. He was followed by Solomon *Breuer (1880–83). The last rabbi was J. Haberfeld, who perished with his congregation in the Holocaust.

The anti-Jewish laws of 1938–39 caused great hardship in the community, and from 1940 the young Jewish men were sent to forced-labor battalions, at first within Hungary, but later to the Russian front (1942). The Jewish population in Papa increased from 452 in 1787 to 2,645 in 1840 (19.6% of the total population), and 3,550 in 1880 (24.2%). After the beginning of the 20th century a gradual decline began; there were 3,076 Jews in 1910 (15.3%), 2,991 in 1920, 2,613 in 1941 (11%) and 2,565 in 1944. After the German occupation on March 19, 1944, the Jews were confined in a ghetto on May 24 with another 2,800 Jews from nearby villages. All were deported to Auschwitz in the beginning of July. In 1946 there were 470 Jews in the town (2% of the population) and by 1970 the number had fallen to 40.

bibliography:

J. Barna and F. Csukási, A magyar zsidó felekezet… iskoláinak monográfiája (1896); Zsidó Világkongresszus Magyarországi Képviselete Statisztikai Osztályának Közleményei, 4 (1947); 8–9 (1948); 13–14 (1949); Új Élet, 25 (1970), 1.

[Laszlo Harsanyi]

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