also known as: Mezökászony (HU), Kosino (CZ), Kosiny (RU)
48°15' N / 22°28' E
~ Introduction ~
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Koson' was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century - 1920 and 1938-1944) with the name of Mezökászony in the Bereg megye (county), next part of Czechoslovakia (1920-1938) with the name Kosino in Podkarpatská Rus (Sub-Carpathia), then part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1945-1991) with the name of Kosiny and, since 1991, known as Koson' in the Berehivskyi rayon (district) and the Zakarpats'ka oblast (county) of Ukraine.
Other spellings/names for Koson' are Mezökaszony, Kosini, Kosyny, Kosyno, Kászony, Koszing, Koszon and Koszini.
Koson' is located 18 miles SW of Mukacheve (Munkács), 9 miles WNW of Berehove (Beregszász), on Ukraine-Hungary border.
Koson' was first mentioned in 1332 as Kozun and is a border crossing point to Hungary. The first Jews probably settled in Koson' in the first half of the 18th century.
In 1746, three Jewish distillers were living in the town and by 1830, the Jewish population had grown to 110.
By 1877, the population of Koson' was 1,454 made up of Hungarians, Rusyns and Jews and comprised the following religions: Roman Catholic (179); Greek Catholic (34); Agnostic (2); Reformed (925), and Jewish (314 or about 22% of the total population).
In 1921, the number of Jews in Koson' reached to 601. Some Jews earned their livelihood from farming and from producing high-quality wine.
The Hungarians occupied Koson' in November of 1938, and by 1940, the Jewish population dropped to 479.
In 1941, more than 100 Jews of Koson' were drafted into the Hungarian Labor Battalions for forced labor or service on the eastern front, where some were murdered. In August of 1941, a few Jewish families were expelled to Kamenets-Podolski and executed. The Jewish population in 1941 dropped to 359.
In April, 1944, the remaining Jews of Koson' were forceably moved to the Beregszász (Berehove) ghetto and then were deported to Auschwitz in mid-May, 1944.
Today, Koson' is a still a small town with about 2,754 inhabitants (2001), of which, 90% are Hungarian. A great number of the Jews of Koson' were murdered in the Holocaust. Few Jews returned to Koson' and the last Jew living there, Karcsi LEBOVICS, died in 1988.
(Click the images below to view a larger image.)
Notable Jewish citizens:
Bela AUSPITZ (b. 1904 Mezökászony - 1941), joined the air force of the Soviet Union and attained the rank of colonel as a test pilot. He lost his life in 1941, in Moscow, while testing a new aircraft.
Sándor ICZKOVICS (b. unknown) was the last president of the Orthodox Jewish Community of Kaszony, handling all financial matters of the Rabbinate, the Yeshivot and the Great Synagogue. He was also in charge of the welfare of the poor, the sick, the orphans and all other religious institutions such as the mikvah (ritual bathhouse) and the cemetery. When he assumed the presidency in the early 1930s, at the time of the depression, the community was in great financial trouble. He worked hard, without pay and after a few years, was able to improve the community's financial position considerably. Later in the 1930s, through his hard work and devotion, community funds were available to renovate the synagogue, modernize the mikvah, provide support the yeshiva, the poor and all others needing the Jewish community's help.
Dr. George (Gyuri) KLEIN (b. 1925 Kosino - ) has published over 800 papers in Swedish and other international scientific journals. He became a full professor at the Karolinska Institute and head of the Department of Tumor Biology in Stockholm. For his research, he has received many honors, among them member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and honorary member of the French Society of Immunology. For ten years, he was a visiting professor at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School and received the Rabbi Shai Shacknai Prize in Tumor Immunology in 1972.
Miska KLEIN (b. 1894 Mezökászony - 1962) was another outstanding leader that the Jewish community produced. He was born into a well-to-do family, one with great sensitivity to the needs of all the population. In World War I, while serving in the Austro-Hungarian army, earing several medals for bravery and dedication. Under the Czechoslovak regime, Miska established good relations in governing circles and established the first volunteer fire department in the village. For years, he himself, headed the department. He survived the Holocaust and returned to Koszony to use his experience with the Soviets to the benefit of the village. He was an exceptional administrator and received many civilian honors and decorations for his work.
Dezső RAPAPORT (b. 1892 Mezökászony - ) acquired his secular education through reading. Through hard work, he acquired his own house, a vineyard and his own drug store. He became the leader of the Betár movement. Under his influence many young people left the village for a hachshara (training camp) and later went to Palestine. He was the photographer of the village and also played the violin very well. He was one of the organizers of all the Purim shows and Chanukah plays. His outstanding sense of humor was reflected in the plays, satires and songs he wrote for those occasions, but all of his writings were lost in the Holocaust. In 1944, he was taken to Auschwitz with the others and allegedly, he survived the camp, but he never arrived home.
Julis ZÁLI (b. Munkács) If there were any heroes of the Holocaust period among the Jews of Kaszony, she was certainly one of them. Arriving as a young girl from Munkács, where her brother was a Hasid, she abandoned the practices of the Jewish religion. All her friends were non-Jews and she attended church services with them on Sundays. Very few people knew that she was Jewish. When the Jews of Kaszony were forceably moved to the ghetto in Beregszász, she remained behind and used her freedom to rescue children from the ghetto. For example, she managed to rescue Manci WALDMAN's child by taking him over the Slovakian border and deliver him into the hands of his mother, from whom he had been separated. He was last living in Natanya, Israel with his mother. Unfortunately, somebody tipped off the gendarmerie about Julie activities and she was deported to Auschwitz with the rest of the Jews. In Auschwitz, she volunteered "to take with her" several children, in order to save their mothers and this is how Lili and Lenke HALPERT were saved.
Sources (portions): The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, (2001), p. 663 Kaszony Yiskor Book by Joseph EDEN (EINCZIG), USA
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Goldi (née SHTARK) ALTSHULER, Israel
Yossi BAREL, Israel
Lara DIAMOND, USA
Joseph EDEN (EINCZIG), USA
Moshe FELBERBAUM, Romania
Meyer ROTTENBERG, USA
Lisa (née BRAHIN) WEINBLATT, USA
Rozsi (née ACKERMAN) WEISSMAN, Israel