Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Khazarian Jews Got to Hungary

Nadene Goldfoot
Back to the 8th Century, which would be sometime in the 700's CE, Hungarians were made up of nomadic tribes who lived in the neighborhood of a Turkish tribe, the Khazars who were led by their King Bulan.  The Royal House of this new empire of Khazaria had recently converted to Judaism.  A small group joined up with the Hungarian tribes in the conquest of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin towards the end of the 9th Century.

Today the R1a1 haplogroup is found to be in many Ashkenazi Levites traced back to the 8th and 9th Centuries.  R1a1 NRYs are found in high frequency and one could say they came from Khazaria to say this was a European origin. This is only a reasonable possibility of origin.  "It is not possible to use genetic information to pinpoint the exact origin of any putative founder from the currently available data sets".

After a few centuries had gone by, several groups of Jews arrived from other European countries.  Ashkenazi Jews came from Russian and Polish territories while Sefardic Jews arrived from countries of the Balkans.  At times Hungarian kings welcomed Jews and offered them privileges like Saint Stephen, but other restricted the rights of Jews like Andrew 2nd, with his Golden charta.

The Turks occupied Hungary for a period and Jews lived in villages and in the Castle of Buda defending it.  During the Turks occupation Jews had peaceful conditions.  Synagogues were untouched as the Turks had respect for the Jewish religion in those days because of the shared common roots with the Muslim belief.

Finally emancipation came to the Jews at the end of the 18th century with the Habsburg emperor Joseph issued his decree that every religion was equal and gave approval of Jews settling in the suburb of Pest.  The 19th century was called the Reform period.  In 1827 there were 5276 Jews but in 1848 the Jewish population grew to more than 10,000 living in Pest.

The Dohany Temple was built by  Joseph Hild, design by Frigyes Feszl, and Ludwig Forster,  who built cathedrals.  They said, "The Dohany Temple is the most beautiful catholic synagogue in the world.  It is the largest Jewish prayer house of Europe and 2nd largest one in the world after the New York Temple Emmanuel.  it was open on September 6, 1859.

Theodor Herzl, the journalist and one who recognized the need for a state for the Jews, was born here in Pest in 1860 and who died in 1904, known as the father of Zionism.  His parents spoke German and were assimilated Jews originally from Zimony, Serbia which was then part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.

Hungary had been an ally with Germany and was not militarily occupied.  Things changed in March 1944 when Hitler then occupied the country.  Adolf Eichmann headed the Gestapo and entered Hungary with the military troops.  They deported the whole Jewish population of the countryside to Auschwitz in a 3 month period  Pest became the last  ghetto of 162 buildings behind the synagogue for Jews of Hungary  in December 1944.  The Soviet Army liberated the survivors on January 18, 1945 but the 2 months of winter was so harsh that 10,000 Jews froze to death or died from starvation, illness and bloodshed.  They were buried in what had been the garden of the temple.

Before the 2nd World War 750,000 Jews lived in Hungary of which 200,000 were living in Budapest.  At the end of the war 600,000 Jews were killed of which 90% had come from the Hungarian countryside.  The synagogue was hit 27 times.

 However, in 1990, restoration started which finally took almost 10 million dollars to finish.  By September 5, 1996, the temple was again inaugurated.  There are anywhere from 7,000 to 17,000 Jews living in Hungary today.  There is anti-Semitism existing which makes being Jewish unpleasant.

Resource:  The Dohany Street Synagogue by Robert Frohlich and Dr. Alfred Schoner  Study on Jews in Hungary Today

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