Fehergyarmat Old Jewish Cemetery
There were two Jewish cemeteries in Fehérgyarmat. The old Jewish cemetery was in existence as early as 1867, which is the date marked on the oldest tombstone found in the cemetery. The most recently dated tombstone is from 1923. It can be assumed that this cemetery ceased its operations gradually when the new cemetery was opened (presumably in the late 1910’s). The cemetery was fenced in 2018. There is one ohel in the cemetery.
The first Jews began to settle in the Fehérgyarmat in the second half of the 18th century after being invited to work for the owner of the local estate. The Jews developed commercial life in the town and marketed local agricultural products, included jams and wool. In 1930 the town had 25 merchants, 30 artisans, 5 landowners, 7 farm owners, 9 industrialists, 3 doctors, 5 lawyers, a veterinarian, a pharmacist, and two street sweepers. Until 1810, the Jewish community of Fehérgyarmat came under the supervision of the Csenger rabbinate, after which they became an independent community. During the schism in Hungarian Jewry at the Congress of Hungarian Jews in 1868 and 1869 between the ultra-Orthodox and the Maskilim, the Jewish community of Fehérgyarmat joined the Orthodox sect. From 1885, the rabbinates of the surrounding villages came under the jurisdiction of the rabbinate of Fehérgyarmat.
In addition to a synagogue, there were also a beit midrash, a cheder, and charitable institutions such as Tiferet Bachurim, a burial society (Chevra Kadisha), and an association of boys. The school was founded in 1906 and there was also a cheder, a Talmud Torah, and a yeshiva. Rabbi Shmuel David Halevi Jungreiss (or Jungreiz), who founded the yeshiva, was the town’s rabbi in 1868-1893. Rabbi Yaakov Jungreis was the rabbi of the community until its destruction. During the period of “”white terror”” between 1919 and 1921 carried out by right-wing groups in the military after the fall of the Communist government in Hungary, an economic and social boycott of the Jews was declared. Several Jews were attacked and beaten in the streets and, as a result, many Jews left the town and emigrated to the United States and Canada.
In 1944, the Jewish community wrote in the census of Hungarian communities that their community had 708 members, the rabbi of the community was Rabbi Yaakov Jungreiss, and 108 children studied in the two schools of the community. In March 1944, when the German army entered Hungary, the locals fully cooperated in the concentration and confinement of the city’s Jews. In April, all the local Jews were transferred to the Mátészalka Ghetto, where they were held for about a month in harsh conditions. In May of that year, the first deportation from Mátészalka to the Auschwitz concentration camp left, and by the end of May 1944, the Ghetto was liquidated. After the Holocaust, 84 survivors returned to the town, most from forced labour camps and a small minority from Auschwitz. The survivors reorganized the Jewish community, but after the establishment of the State of Israel, 23 of the local Jews emigrated to Israel and the rest did not stay in the city.