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SZEKESFEHERVAR (Hung. Székesfehérvár ; Ger. Stuhlweissenburg ), city in W. central Hungary; during the early Middle Ages the capital of Hungary. Jews were living there in the 13th century, and the community, an important one during the 14th, played a role in Jewish affairs in the country as a whole. It interceded with the queen on behalf of the Jews of Pressburg (*Bratislava) in 1503. In the 16th to 17th centuries wealthy Jews who had escaped massacre in Buda (see *Budapest) settled in the town. After Buda passed to the Hapsburgs, Jews were not authorized to enter Szekesfehervar. The first Jews to be granted permission to reside there subsequently were members of a family which opened an inn for Jews attending the fairs. In the year following enactment of the law permitting unrestricted residence (1840) 20 Jewish families settled in the town. The first synagogue was erected in 1867, and in 1892 an organ and a female choir were introduced. The community of Szekesfehervar was one of the staunchest supporters of the *Reform movement. A split within the community occurred in 1861 when the Orthodox group was authorized to form a separate organization, even before the official separation within Hungarian Jewry in 1869. The Jewish population numbered 3,024 in 1910; 2,867 in 1920; and 2,450 in 1930. They were mostly merchants but there were also a number of lessees and landowners, as well as members of the liberal professions.

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

From 1938 the community was affected by the restrictions and disabilities imposed on the Jews in Hungary. After the German occupation (March 19, 1944) about 5,000 Jews were concentrated in Szekesfehervar and with the 2,075 Jews in the town were deported to the death camp at *Auschwitz. Only 250 returned.


B. Bernstein, in: Magyar Zsidó Szemle, 11 (1894), 508f.; Etudes orientales à la mémoire de Paul Hirschler, ed. by O. Komlós (1950), 1–15, 137–44 (Hung.); Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 834–6.

[Baruch Yaron]