The history of the primary school of the Satoraljaujhely Statusquo Jewish Congregation. On behalf of the school committee Memento of the millennium written by

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of the primary school of the Satoraljaujhely
Statusquo Jewish Congregation.

On behalf of the school committee

Memento of the millennium

written by

Alexander Knopfler

Published by the Congregation School Committee


Printed in Miksa Landesmann and Co. printing house


Translated by Agi and Stephen Casey

(A Note from the Translators)

My name is Agi Casey, a Reichard granddaughter. My husband is Stephen, we were both born and bred in Hungary. In 1956 we finally escaped the ever changing but never tolerant regime. We came to Australia with two little boys and have loved every minute of it.

We put our life on hold for the past few weeks to translate this book. It was a work of love and a homage to my grand father, Armin Reichard, who was always a very proud Reichard, as I think so are all of us. My husband was with me all the way, and without his major contribution I could not have done it. Also my younger son John looked over our grammatical mistakes, as he speaks Hungarian, but his Hungarian is not good enough to be our translator. In addition I should mention my first born Andrew, who became interested in Jewish genealogy, and thank to his research, he discovered all of you in the United States.

We tried to translate it word by word and not twist it, - producing only the meaning, - to show the flowery style the Hungarians used at that time, 105 years ago, hence the long sentences. The Reichards are mentioned lot of times, my own grand father and his two brothers as well (on page 67) were among those who attended the Kaesztenbaum school. Dr. Salamon Reichard was on the school board and later became, in Satoraljaujhely, Hungary’s only Jewish major. One of his granddaughters Zsuzsi Uray, who attended that school - even under his presidency - still lives in Budapest. Nobody lives in Sátoraljaujhely any more.

The name of the town: Sátoraljaujhely could be translated as the new (uj) place (hely) situated under (alja) the tent (sátor).

The Internet site of the town explains, that there is a small, tent shaped mountain behind the town, which is called officially as the Sátor Mountain. Obviously, when established a community under the mountain, called it just like that, the new place under the Sátor Mountain.

It was not an easy job, as some of the words or even the concepts don’t exist anymore and even we had to figure it out, (and engaged our friends), about what they meant. One example is the term used several times: “zug-iskola”, the translation could be loosely termed as “non reputable, non recognized school”, we put it as unofficial school.

Some of the governmental office holder functions existed only in the Monarchy and as we have a dictionary printed after the war, in Communist times, it does not refer to it. One example is “főispán” which we translated as “head of the County”, it was a position appointed by the central government, “alispán”, “deputy head of the County”, was an elected position. “Status quo” or “status quo ante” is a not-so-religious congregation in Hungary, though this day they call it “neolog”, opposite of “orthodox”.

The Hungarian Jews were generally not a religious group, they did not speak Yiddish, they were mostly “very Hungarian”. The Yiddish speaking Jews were considered Polish.

It is interesting to consider “junior” or ”senior” after the given name. Jewish people do not give their son the same first name as the father has. Were they so much “hungarised”? Most probably the same first name was the name of a relative from the same family.

In Hungary in my time the official designation of the Jewish religion was “Izraelita” i. e. “Israelite” (or short form “izr.”). That was the term used in official documents, birth, marriage, death etc. certificate. The word “zsidó=Jew, (which is the correct translation of Jewish) was used as a derogatory term, like Yid. In my grandfather’s time in official documents it was written as “of Moses faith”. I have a High School certificate from him.

Equally interesting that they never wrote in the text: Mr., just the name and so we left it at that.

Some short historical background. In 1526 the last Hungarian king died in the battle of Mohacs against the Turks, and from Austria a Habsburg Emperor, Ferdinand was crowned as King of Hungary. A 160 years of Turkish occupation followed till Buda was recaptured.

In 1848 the Hungarian independence war broke out and was lost in 1849. In Hungarian it is called “Szabadságharc”, which could be translated to English as “Fight for freedom”. Interesting to mention that the present levy for the school was not sufficient in that year, but nobody wanted to discuss the problem, they were all occupied with the “sacred affairs of the Fatherland” (page 17). Lajos Kossuth the leader fled and died later in Turin, Italy.

Repression followed. The Austrian Interior Minister of the Empire, Bach, hated the Hunga­rians and the Hungarians loathed him. This was the time when Heilprin went to America (page 32), as his free spirit could not bear that atmosphere. At that time Vienna appointed the official representatives, whose title was “the representative of the Emperor (császár) of Austria and the King (király) of Hungary”. Those are the “cs. ”and “kir. ” in the Hungarian text.

In 1867 Ferenc Deák, a Hungarian politician, a practical man, made a historical compromise (the kiegyezés) with the Habsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy came to existence. Those were the golden years of Hungary, 1867-1914 in the Hungarian history usually called “békében” “in the times of peace”. All of Europe was at peace in this period. More or less the history of the Kaesztenbaum school falls to that era.

The whole spirit of the Kaesztenbaum school could be found in the sentences at page 35-36, in the opinion of headmaster Deutsch:

From the scholarly point of view it is impossible and unforgivable to make divisions between the Jewish and all similar, other denomination schools, because the Jewish child, as future citizen, should have not more, not less or no different study from a Christian child, moreover, it is an imperative necessity, that in all public schools, countrywide, the method of teaching, the number of subjects and the length of the scholastic years to be equal. So, when a Jewish child would like to continue his education in a higher institution, he should have the necessary knowledge, same as his Christian counterpart.”

We hope you find it as much interesting and fascinating reading it as we did by translating it.

Agi and Stephen

Foreword (A Note from the Editor)

My name is David Greer. I came into possession of this book through fairly circuitous route.


  • My Great Grandmother Sarah Weiss married my Great Grand Father Armin Kestenbaum sometime in the 1890s.

  • Armin and Sarah moved to Brooklyn, NY, USA in the very late 1890s or very early 1900s.

  • My Grandmother Flora (1903) and Grand Uncle Lou (1905) were born in Brooklyn.

  • Armin, Sarah, Flora and Lou moved back to Hungary shortly after Lou’s birth, to the family estate in Nyiregyhaza.

  • My Grand Aunt Rhoda (1907) and Grand Uncle Daniel (1909) were born there.

  • Armin grew worried about conditions and moved back to the US shortly before WW I, again to Brooklyn.

  • Many of my family perished in WW I, and as a result, Flora, Louis, Rhoda and Dan were the only surviving members of the family I ever knew.

  • A rabbi was fleeing Hungary during the late 1950s and gathered up several books on his way out of the country.

  • The rabbi came to my grandmother’s, synagogue sometime during the 1980s. As he went around meeting his new congregants he would ask them where they were from, what their maiden names were, etc. When my grandmother told the rabbi her name, he said, “I have a book here about your family.” He then gave my grandmother the book.

I have been trying for several years, on and off, to get this book translated to learn the story it tells of my distant ancestor Marton Kaesztenbaum. Many thanks to Agi and Steve for their tireless effort in this project.

One of the notable features of this book is the numerous names scattered throughout its pages. I have created an index of all the family names mentioned in the book and the pages on which they appear. Many occurrences of names in the book seem to be alternative spellings of the same name. Toward the end of the book the author includes a list of roughly two hundred students who attended the school, their subsequent fields of endeavor and where they went after school.

I have paginated this English translation to match up with the .jpg images of the original Hungarian if anyone wishes to match up the English with the original Hungarian; that is why there are large blank spaces at the bottom of many pages.

It is my wish that this project will help someone connect with a lost family member.

Best Regards,

David Greer

Directory: 01800

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