Carpathian Jewry

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  • #602130

    Naysberg
    Member

    Is anyone here sufficiently familiar to share some of the background and history of Carpathian Jewry? It was a large area with a very dense population of Orthodox Jews living there for hundreds of years (or longer.) It is also known as Sub-Carpathia or “Rus”. It was part of Hungary for almost 1,000 years before WWI. Between the world wars, the area was transferred from Hungary to Czechosolovakia (1921), back to Hungary (1938), back to Czechoslovakia (1944), and finally to the Soviet Union (1945). When the USSR broke up (1991), it became part of the Ukraine. Some of the cities in this region are Ungvar, Munkatch, and Seilish.

    TIA

    #943862

    Doswin
    Member

    A lot of the Chasidish oilem shtam from that area. It had a higher survival rate, as the area was part of Hungary during the war (and the Nazis ym’s didn’t go into Hungary until 1944.) One of the Spinka Rebbes lived in Seilish. Aside from the Chasidim, there were also other Orthodox and Neolog (similar to Conservative) living in those areas. Rav Menashe Klein zt’l learnt in the Yeshiva in Ungvar. Munkatch was a majority Jewish city (somewhat over 50% of the population.)

    #943863

    mdd
    Member

    A side point, it was not a part of Hungary for a thousand years. It was around 700 years. Before that, it was a part of Rus(sia).

    #943864

    Naysberg
    Member

    Other names for the region are Subcarpathia, Carpathian Ruthenia, and Transcarpathia. The ethnic natives are known as Rus(yn), which is a Ukrainian ethnicity and is distinct from Russians despite the similarity of the name. The region was never part of Russia.

    The region was part of Hungary from 895 CE through the end of WWI, which is slightly over 1,000 years. It was briefly part of Hungary again from 1938 until close to the end of WWII.

    #943865

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    While Munkacz was not more than fifty percent Jewish, the largest group (48% according to the census of 1921) of the town was.

    #943866

    Doswin
    Member

    Where did you find data from the 1921 census?

    #943867

    mdd
    Member

    Naiberg, even though it’s a side point, in the Rishonim times it was a part of Kievan Rus(an early Russian state). Btw, their name is a big-time give-away.

    #943868

    Naysberg
    Member

    The three largest ethnic groups in the region (in descending order) were the Hungarians, Ruthenians, and the Jews.

    #943869

    Naysberg
    Member

    mdd: Kiev is a Ukrainian state and nationality, not Russian.

    #943870

    BTGuy
    Participant

    I think they changed their name to the Woodfloorian Jews after remodeling some of their minhaggim.

    #943872

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Doswin – Wikipedia. Search “Mukachevo.”

    #943873

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    So when Rashi says that he was in Rusia, does that mean Ukraine? He also uses a Russian word in Nach. He says that Yekev, mention in the buildin of the Beis Hamikdash by Shlomo Hamelech, is dluta in Russian. Is that Russian or Ukrainian? Perhaps the Great Bear can shed some light on this issue.

    #943874

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    It could have been Ukraine, maybe even Slovakia. How far west were there Russian speakers in his time?

    #943875

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The Slavs were called Kenaanim.

    #943876

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Where? I didn’t know that.

    #943877

    mdd
    Member

    That’s the point — Transcarpathia was one of the western-most regions of the Kievan Rus. Ukrainian developed from local Russian under heavy influence of Polish.

    #943878

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Rashi someplace in Kedushin, I think, gives a Lashon Kenaani. I heard that Rabbi Binyamin of Tudela referred to them as such and said that they were called thus because they sold their children.

    #943879

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    I am enjoying this thread. Thanks for starting it, Naisberg.

    #943881

    Naysberg
    Member

    You’re welcome, yitayningwut. Do you shtam from the area or have some familial shaichos to it? The Yidden from the region generally consider themselves Ungarisher.

    #943882

    Chances are if you meet a dozen Yidden whose families left Europe just before the war or as refugees, 7 or 8 of them have roots in Carpathia (or the next region over toward Romania, Bukovina, which included major centers like Sadigora, which is really now a part of the former major Jewish city of Chernovitz; it is where my family is from). Those areas were not the worst places to live as Yidden until Communism and Naziism reared their hideous heads.

    All of Jewish Carpathia and Bukovina is part of Ukraine now. It remains rural and underdeveloped; the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Carpathia besides Jewish history is mineral springs around which some primitive resorts have cropped up. One day I will visit.

    #943883

    cheftze
    Member

    There is a well-known story of the western visitor who asked an elderly citizen of Mukachevo in Ruthenia (Carpathia) about his career. Born in Hungary, was the reply; then apprenticed in Czechoslovakia; saw war service in Hungary; married in the Soviet Union; and now retired in Ukraine. “You’re a much-travelled man” observes the stranger. “No, I’ve lived in this house all my life.”

    #943884

    yitayningwut
    Participant
    #943885

    cheftze
    Member

    yitayningwut: Those areas were either Chasidish or Oberlander. Somehow I got the impression you were more on the Litvish side of things.

    #943886

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    cheftza – From what I understand the town was split between chassidish and non-chassidish, and my family was from the non-chassidish crowd, though you could probably classify them as Oberlander. The truth is I don’t know much else about the history of the town or the area and would like to know more, which is why I’m enjoying this thread. Either way, my Litvishe tendencies are better attributed to my Lakewood upbringing.

    #943887

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I’ve never heard of blazes oberlander

    #943888

    cheftze
    Member

    Oberlander is neither Chasidish nor Litvish but rather their own minhagim. The Chasam Sofer is probably the most well-known from the Oberlanders.

    #943889

    metrodriver
    Member

    Doswin; correction on one “Minor” detail. You wrote that “One of the Spinka rebbes lived there” (In Seilish). There was only one Spinka rebbe alive at that time. The Chakal Yitzchok. Son of the Imrei Yosef. All (of) the Spinka Rebbes today are his descendants.

    #943890

    metrodriver
    Member

    Doswin; Correction #2; You wrote “There were “Neologin”, (Similar to Conservative)”. That statement is incorrect. The counterpart of the Conservatives were the “Status-Quo”. The Neolog’in were considered the equivalent of the Reform movement. Even though some contemporary Historians consider the “Neolog’in” the equivalent of the Conservative movement, in the level of their observance.

    #943891

    metrodriver
    Member

    Cheftze(h)(a); That proves you can’t draw an image of a person by reading their posts on Coffee Room (Or anywhere else).

    #943892

    The Status-Quo were simply Congregations that didn’t officially affiliate with either the Orthodox or the Neolog. Status-Quo ran the variety of the spectrum and didn’t indicate much. By way of example, Debrecin was Status-Quo, and they are as frum as they come.

    #943893

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been lurking for a few months, waiting to pose basically the same question. I am very interested in finding other Jews from Hungarian lands- and I don’t want to forget Romania, which also has a good chunk of the Carpathian mountains.

    Jewish life was annihilated by waves of anti-semitism, and my guess you can find more Hungarian Jews here in Brooklyn than you can in the villages of Transylvania. I am especially concerned about preserving parts of their traditions, especially songs, foods and other parts of Jewish life that will get lost. Anyone who still remembers about life there is probably quite old, so I feel pressed for time to collect this. My guess is that people reading YeshivaWord are too young to have grown up in pre-WW II Hungary, but there are probably a lot of people here whose family comes from there.

    I am also very distressed at the current government in Hungary which I consider unwelcoming (to put it mildly) to Jewry, and current government’s association with outright anti-semites is eclipsed by the violently anti-semitic Jobbik party. It’s truly frightening.

    If anyone wants to contact me offline, please send me an email at BrooklynZsido {at} gmail [dot] com.

    Getting back to the original post of this thread, here are some online resources about Hungarian Jews and the Holocaust:

    http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/fht-wims-rosenthal-av-a01.htm

    And just in time for Purim, here are some photos from a Purim Shpiele from Miskolc:

    http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/pfh.miskolc_purim-shpiele.htm

    I started reading an interesting book about the history of Jews in Miskolc, which might not be the area you were thinking about. I can’t find my link to the book at the moment, but here’s a relevant link:

    http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/miskolc/mis015.html

    #943894

    cantgetit
    Member

    Hungarian Jewish traditions are preserved in many communities in NY.

    #943895

    mewho
    Participant

    fyi-there are some specifically ”carpathian” bungalow colonies upstate

    #943896

    DovidM
    Member

    I thought that there is great overlap between the minhagim of Yekkes and Oberlanders.

    #943897

    Health
    Participant

    DM – The truth of the matter is -there is no such thing as Oberlanders. The people in that area were either Hunks or Yekkes.

    If people started taking others’ Minhagim because they lived in the same area -doesn’t make this right. It’s just like if a Yekke lives in BP and Davens in a Chassidishe place and starts doing all the Minhagim that they do.

    #943898

    There are many pre WWII Hungarians still alive here in our midst and continuing tradition of food, language and in der heim customs. My husbands family chose to stay in Romania after the war and stayed till 1962 when Communism basically took over. Surprisingly, being that i learned Hungarian just by listening to my parents speak, my husband and me very often speak the language too. Our children also understand and speak a little. Our cooking is 90% Hungarian. So traditions are passed on to the next generation and will phase out. In regard to Oberlanders, i too agree that here in N.Y. it’s very rare. Kehillos such as Nitra and Vien who were considered Oberlander,davened Ashkenaz,with many men clean shaven and wore up hats have changed to Chassidish all the way. But a fact is fact that the ehrlichkeit of the Oberlanders is something to be looked up at, as rare as it may be and something to learn from.

    #943900

    Mammele
    Participant

    Health: what’s a Hunk? I suspect you’re wrong, but please explain first…

    #943901

    Health
    Participant

    Mammele -“Health: what’s a Hunk?”

    Hungarian.

    #943902

    Mammele
    Participant

    I’m not enough of an historian to argue, but Oberlanders probably encompass more than Hungarian, more like Prussian, which I believe would include the former Czechoslovakia and Austria. But then we get back who who is a Yekke, only German Jews or Austrian as well?

    And in the real world moving affects minhagim, or else we’d all have the same nusach, same headgear etc.

    Even of someone is meticulous with his minhagim, when he moves and the new local Rabbi institutes a new tekanah he must follow it, and he may not do differently than the tzibbur in many instances.

    #943903

    mdd
    Member

    Mamele, Prussian is German. North-Eastern German to be precise.

    #943904

    Rooskie
    Member

    Austria is also German.

    #943905

    Mammele
    Participant

    I was obviously wrong about the term Prussia. I did find this on Parnes.net on the history of Hungarian Jews:

    “Internal Life during the 19th Century

    In origin, spoken language, and cultural tradition and customs, Hungarian Jewry was divided into three sections: the Jews of the northwestern districts (Oberland) of Austrian and Moravian origin, who spoke German or a western dialect of Yiddish; the Jews of the northeastern districts (Unterland) mostly of Galician origin, who spoke an eastern dialect of Yiddish; and the Jews of central Hungary, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke Hungarian. In the classification of the inhabitants according to nationality, the overwhelming majority of the Jews in Hungary declared themselves members of the Hungarian nation;”

    So basically the concept of Oberland existed, as Hungarian Jewry was somewhat of an amalgam of Jews from different origins. As I understand it the more assimilated lost their connection to either East or West, and the rest were classified as Polish or oberland. Then chassides was added to the mix…

    You can contend that oberlander are really German Yekkes, similarly to the anti-Yiddish crowd (no offense, it’s just an illustration) that claims Yiddish is only a different dialect of German– it depends how far back you chose to go.

    #943906

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Most languages with few exceptions are decended from or dialects of other languages

    I am no linguist and I cant tell you the difference between a dialect and new language. Many western languages that we speak are called indo-european languages

    The basically fall into the Romance Language (Decended from Latin which are Spanish, French Portguese. Romanian Ladino and smaller languages)

    And the Germanic Lanaguages which are German, English, Dutch, Swedish, Norse, Yiddish and similar

    Romance languages are somewhat mutually intellegible to each other, but the Germanic ones generally are not. A Spanish and Italian Speaker can usually understand each other, however an English and German speaker generally cannot.

    However Yiddish / German speakers CAN understand each other.

    Words , Lexicon and grammar do not come out of a vaccum.

    #943908

    Mammele
    Participant

    zdad: it seems we agree on this one. What I’m saying is that you can’t deny an “ethnicity for minhagim” exists simply because it originated elsewhere. Or else we’d all be exactly the same in our practices (or languages).

    #943910

    WIY
    Member

    Does anyone here know how Seilish is spelled in English? (I was once at the Holocaust museum and I saw that the city called Seilish is spelled differently in English and on the maps.)

    #943911

    Paylesher
    Member

    The city today is called Vynohradiv in the Ukraine. ????? is the town’s yiddish name based off the town’s Hungarian name of Sz?l?s.

    Do you have family from there?

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