Poruba pod Vihorlátom, Slovakia

also known as:
Német-Poruba / Németvágás (HU), Nemecká Poruba (CZ), Deutschporub (Ger)

48°50' N / 22°09' E

~ Introduction ~

( Click the arrow in the buttons below for pronunciation. )

Poruba pod Vihorlátom   was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century - 1918) with the name of Német-Poruba   (until 1899) and then Németvágás  , in the Ungvári járás (district) of Ung megye (county), next part of Czechoslovakia (1918-1938) with the name of Nemecká Poruba   in Podkarpatská Rus (Sub-Carpathia) and Deutschporub   during WWII. In 1948, it became known as Poruba pod Vihorlátom in the Michalovce okres (district) of the Košický (Košice) kraj (region) of Slovakia.

Other spellings/names for Poruba pod Vihorlátom are Németh-Poruba, Németporuba and Porubka/Porúbka [pod Vihorlatom]. In Yiddish, Poruba pod Vihorlátom was referred to as Poruba  .

Poruba pod Vihorlátom is about 15 miles NE of Michalovce.

~ Maps ~

Košický kraj, Slovakia
Map: Copyright ©2009 by Marshall J. KATZ, USA

NOTE: Clicking a link will open a new page.

Kompas.sk Map: Slovakia/Michalovce okres/Poruba pod Vihorlátom
1910 Map: Ung megye/Németvágás (Click map to enlarge it)
1910 Map (Topographical): Ung megye/Nem(ecká) Poruba
Austro-Hungary Military Map: Ung megye/Németvágás (Click map to enlarge it)

~ History ~

The first Jews probably settled in Poruba pod Vihorlátom early in the 19th century. In 1877, the population of Poruba pod Vihorlátom was 411, made up of Slavs, Hungarians, Rusyns, Germans, Gypsies and Jews, and comprised the following religions: Roman Catholic (19), Greek Catholic (217), Reformed (48) and Jewish (127). At this time, the Jews of Poruba pod Vihorlátom attended the Szobráncz synagogue.

The archaic Slavic word poruba (in Hungarian vagas) means breakage, stone-pit, but also glade or simply, a place where something was cut, such as: wood, coal or stone. Német means "German," pod Vihorlatom means "under the Vihorlat Mountains" where Poruba pod Vihorlátom is located, at an altitude of 633 feet. To the north, above the village, is the highest peak in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Slovakia, rising to 3,530 feet.

In 1940, Poruba pod Vihorlátom was still a small village of only a couple streets, 131 homes, a population of 634 and approximately 91 Jews.¹ This was a vibrant village with farmers, craftsmen, lumberman, miners and businessmen. By this time, the village was home mainly to Hungarians, Czechs, Gypsies, a few Germans (Schwabs) and Jewish families. There was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery. Religion played an important part in the day-to-day lives of the Jews that lived there.

Nearly every family was engaged in pastoral pursuits. The cultivated area surrounding the village was sectioned off into long strips of land and most families owned one or more plots. Wheat, potatoes, oats and rye were grown. Cattle were raised. The nearby mountain provided wood which was cut, stockpiled and sold on the plains, far from the mountains, in order to raise cash for items not easily manufactured at home. Woodpiles awaiting sale covered many acres around the village. Charcoal was made in the woods and sold in the surrounding villages and towns, as well as to Jewish merchants in Michalovce who then exported it by train to Switzerland. There was a flour mill in Poruba where farmers took their grain for grinding. Jews were involved in many of the commercial enterprises in the village, such as innkeeping, shoemaking, carpentry and operating general stores.

In 1942, tragically, 128 Jews were deported. However, this did not constitute the entire Jewish community. Several Jews managed to escape into the woods and then hid among the gentile population, while others joined up with partisan groups. A few Jewish families were helped to cross the border into Hungary while a few others were concealed in the village in potato storage cellars.

At this time, the first partisan groups came into existence in Eastern Slovakia, near Poruba pod Vihorlátom, in the forests surrounding Michalovce and Humenné, and centered in Vinné.²

In August of 1944, the German army occupied Poruba pod Vihorlátom. A short time later, two groups of partisans attacked the occupying German forces and, on 3 November 1944, in retaliation, the village was burned to the ground. The only building spared was the church, constructed around 1837, which still stands today. Full reconstruction of the village did not begin until 1947-48.

Sources (portions):

¹ 1940 Lexicon of Municipalities, National Statistical Office, Bratislava (1942)
² The Resistance of the Slovak Jews by Emil F. KNIEŽA, Slovakia
My Baba´s Nemecká Poruba Roots by Suzanne (née BUBNASH) WALKER, USA
Old stories that we do not lose their identity by the Zachráňme Project

Today, Poruba pod Vihorlátom is still a rather small village with about 605 inhabitants (2005), comprised mostly of Slovaks. There is a warehouse constructed on the site of the former synagogue and a Jewish cemetery still remains with appoximately 41 tombstones. A great number of the Jews of Poruba pod Vihorlátom were murdered in the Holocaust and no Jews live there today.

This page is hosted at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation. If you feel there is a benefit to you in accessing this site, your JewishGen-erosity is appreciated.

Compiled and created by: Marshall J. KATZ
with assistance from
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Houston Independent Media Center
Vivian KAHN, USA
Nikoli KATZ, USA
Emil F. KNIEŽA, Slovakia
National Statistical Office, Bratislava, Slovakia
Slovak Nation's Memory Institute
Igor SOĽANÍK, Slovakia
Zachráňme Project
Amos Israel ZEZMER, France
and the following

JewishGen members/descendants and contributors of Poruba pod Vihorlátom Jewish families:

Marshall J. KATZ, USA

Updated: 26 June 2011

Copyright ©2009 Marshall J. KATZ All rights reserved.

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