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Szombathely

SZOMBATHELY

SZOMBATHELY (Ger. Steinamanger ), city in W. Hungary. The Jewish community there was first organized as a branch of the Rechnitz (Rohonc) community. Jews lived there as merchants from 1687, but only in 1840 were they permitted to settle permanently. In 1846 a school was built where instruction was given in German, and after 1861 in Hungarian. The older synagogue was used by the Orthodox congregation. A new synagogue was built in 1880. The Jewish population numbered 59 in 1840; 1,154 in 1869; 1,678 in 1880; 1,639 in 1890; and 2,635 in 1900. They were mainly occupied as merchants and also included artisans, members of the liberal professions, some landowners, and farm proprietors. Rabbis of Szombathely were L. Koenigsberger, who was ordained as rabbi by M. *Banet; Bela *Bernstein (officiated 1892–1901), and J. Horovitz (1911–52), who returned after being deported by the Germans and continued at his post.

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

During World War ii, after the entry of the Germans on March 19, 1944, the Jews, numbering around 3,000 in 1941, were crowded into a ghetto with Jews from the surrounding villages. On July 13, all were deported to the death camp at *Auschwitz, of whom some 250 returned. With the Jews of the surrounding district they numbered not more than 750 in 1946, and fewer than 80 in 1970 after emigration to Israel. The synagogue of the community was converted into a concert-hall.

bibliography:

B. Bernstein, A zsidók története Szombathelyen (1914).

[Baruch Yaron and

Alexander Scheiber]

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