Valea lui Mihai, Romania

also known as:
Érmihályfalva (HU), Mihafalu (Ger), Mihályfalva (Yiddish)

47°31' N / 22°09' E

~ Introduction ~

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

Valea lui Mihai   was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century - 1918) with the name of Érmihályfalva   in the Hajdú-Bihar megye (county), Körösvidék járás (district). After the Treaty of Trianon, Érmihályfalva became part of Romania with the name of Valea lui Mihai in the Hajdú-Bihor comitat (county), Crisana provincie (province) of Western Transylvania.

Other spellings/names for Valea lui Mihai are Mihaifalău and Valea lui. In Yiddish, Valea lui Mihai was known as Mihályfalva  .

Valea lui Mihai is located in west Transylvania, about 6 miles from the Hungarian border and about 12 miles W of Vámospércs, Hungary.

~ Maps ~

Bihar province, Romania
Map: Copyright ©2009 by Marshall J. KATZ

NOTE: Clicking a link will open a new page.

1910 Map: Bihar megye/Érmihályfalva (Click map to enlarge it)
1910 Map (Topographical): Bihar megye/Érmihályfalva
Austro-Hungary Military Map: Bihar megye/Érmihályfalva (Click map to enlarge it)
Street Map: Valea lui Mihai (Click map to enlarge it)

~ History ~

Jews from Galicia settled in Érmihályfalva (Valea lui Mihai) around 1780 and engaged in agriculture and commerce. Érmihályfalva was the center of Jewish life for the surrounding towns. In the beginning of the 19th century, around 1820, land was purchased for the synagogue and construction was started. On documents that have been found, they show the building was constructed in a short period of time and the first leaders were Sandor ROSENBERG, Jakab ROSENFELD, Izsak FELDMAN and Mendel OSTREICHER. In 1822, the first woman's Chevra Kadisha group was established and, in 1834, Solomon MINSZENTI was elected the first rabbi.

In 1873, an elementary school with two teachers and 102 students was opened and attended by most of the children in the community. At the same time, a yeshiva was established with land donated by Lajos DANCZINGER, while Beno GLUCK donated the building materials. Talmud study was established at the suggestion of Jeno ZELLER.

In 1877, the population of Valea lui Mihai was 3,901 made up of Hungarians, Rusyns and Jews and comprised the following religions: Roman Catholic (417); Greek Orthodox (407); Greek Catholic (1); Agnostic (18); Reformed (2,566), and Jewish (492).

In 1878, thirty Hasidic rabbis convened in Valea lui Mihai to protest against the critical attitude of the Orthodox rabbis in Budapest. In the late 19th century, Anschel BAK opened a Hebrew printing press.

In World War I, 15 Jewish men from Érmihályfalva died a heroic death. By 1920, the community was too large for its present synagogue, so the community the leader, President DANCZINGER, decided to build a new synagogue through the levying of an extra payment tax. The Jews of Valea lui Mihai were mainly business people employed in commerce and as professionals. By trade, there were three wholesalers, 105 businessmen, seven factory owners, 55 craftsman, four farm owners, three lawyers, one physician, two general proprietors, two office workers, four private offices, one teacher, eleven self-employed, 21 general laborers, eleven miscellaneous and 72 unemployed.

The Jewish population of Valea lui Mihai, in 1930, was approximately 300 Jewish families or 1,430 Jewish inhabitants (20% of the total). In the inter-war period, Jews were leaders in the local industries employing hundreds of workers, and the better situated Jews contributed greatly to the industrial development of Valea lui Mihai, such as the Beno GLUCK mill, the Marton FREUND textile factory, the two window shade factories of WURDINGER-HOFFMANN and DETCH-FOLMANN and the cement-concrete and brick factory of Jeno KATZ. Furthermore, many people from Valea lui Mihai worked on farms, such as Karoly FELMANN, who owned 300 hectares, Zoltan BENEDEK, who owned 400 hectares, and Henrick ROSENFELD, who owned 480 hectares.

Economic life, at this time, was difficult and the local Jewish community shouldered the Valea lui Mihai community's yearly expenses of 1,400,000 lei (Rumanian currency). The neighboring towns of Ersemjen, Erselind, Galospetri, Vasad, Otomany, Szalacs, Piskolt, Ertarcsa and Erkeseru also contributed in covering such a huge annual expense. Without their help, the taxpayer's burden would have been enormous.

At this time, the leaders of the Orthodox-based community were:
  • Beni SCHONFELD, Chief Rabbi
  • Karoly FELDMAN, President
  • Bela GRUNFELD, Vice-President
  • Kalman HOFFMANN, Vice-President
  • Ferenc KLEIN, Treasurer
  • Aron WEISS, Caretaker
  • Mor BERNSTEIN, Lajos DANCZINGER, Beno GLUCK, Lajos GLUCK, Sandor JACOBOVITS and Jachel STEINMETZ, Election Committee.

Zionist activity began, in the 1930's, with the establishment of youth groups. Valea lui Mihai was the site of the Ha-No'ar ha-Tziyyoni national convention.

In the summer of 1941, ten families were expelled across the border into Ukraine and murdered in Kamets-Podolski. In May 1944, the Jewish community was transferred to the Oradea ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz. After the war some survivors returned, but soon left.

Today, Valea lui Mihai is a large town of over 13,000 inhabitants. A number of Hungarians, Romanians, Roma and over twenty other nationalities live there. A great number of the Jews of Valea lui Mihai were murdered in the Holocaust. Only three elderly Jews live there today (2009).

Source (portions):
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, (2001), pp. 1372-73.

~ 1934 Valea lui Mihai Almanac ~
Directory Data: Copyright ©2009 by George WHITE, Canada

Following are the contents of a 1934 almanac depicting the life of the community and the role its members played in it.

Population in 1930
By Ethnic Origin   By Religion
Romanian 1,382   Greek Orthodox 113
Hungarian 5,687   Greek Catholic 1,269
Jewish 1,641   Reform 4,639
Other 1   Roman Catholic 998
      Jewish 1,641
Total 8,711   Muslim 1
      Agnostic 50
      Total 8,711
By 1943 the total population was closer to 12,000 and the Jewish population about 3,000.

Health Care
Physicians   Dentists
Dr. Ernö ANDRÁSSY   Dr. András BALAJTI
Dr. Ludovic COZAC   Dr. László WEISZ
Dr. Mrs. Ludovic COZAC    
Dr. Sándor GRÓSZ    
Dr. Jenö KLEIN    
Akos MÁTRAI    
  Dr. Miklós BÁLINT  
  Dr. Sándor GLÜCK  
  Dr. Armin KÉPES  
  Dr. István SÓLYOM  
  Dr. Ernö JAKAB  
  Dr. Lajos MARKOVICS  
  Dr. Ignác BARTA  
  Dr. Emil MURESAN  

Telephone Subscribers
Name Phone Number   Name Phone Number
Sheriff's Office 1   Béla GRÜNFELD 14
Town hall 2   Border Police 15
Dr. István SOLYOM 3   György KOLLING 16
Henrik JAKABOVITS 4   Dr. ROXIN 17
Transport Office 5   Tax Office 18
Bonded warehouse 6   WEISZ and FISCH 19
Granary 8   K. HOFFMAN 21
Dr. Sándor GROSZ 10   Dávid BERGER 22
POPPER and LÁZÁR 12   Customs Office 23
Police Station 13   Dr. Ludovic COZÁR 24

Village Management
Position Name
Councilors Gheorge BOROS, Lajos PETHE, László WEISZ, Béla KÁDÁR
Notary Victor T. FARKAS
Manager Lajos SZALAI
Officials Stefan ZIH, Stefan ZOO, Joan CUIBUS, Nicolae GOYA
Treasurer Paul KOVÁCS
Bailiff Aurel BOB
In addition, the village employed eight policemen, two tradesmen, three streetsweepers, two paid firemen, one ranger and a facilitator at the county court.
Other Public Offices
Petty Court Tobacco Growers Office
County Court Railway Station
Finance Office Border Police
National Tax Office Duty Office
Post and Telegraph Office Notary Office
Telephone Exchange County Health Office
Tobacco Exchange County Veterinary Office

Places of Worship
Greek Orthodox
Greek Catholic
Roman Catholic
Orthodox Jewish

Type Number Students
State elementary school, four grades 627
Reform Co-Ed 230
Roman Catholic Co-Ed 60
Orthodox Jewish Co-Ed trade school 120

Valea lui Mihai Associations
Kaszinó (country club) Country Hungarian Party
Rumanian Kaszinó National Liberal Party
Tradesmen's Assoc. National Peasant Party
Rumanian Ladies Club Jewish Party
Reform Ladies Club    -Chairman J DEUTCH
Reform Girls Club    -Deputy Chairman:
Reform Mixed Quire        K. HOFFMAN, Géza FISCH
Catholic Housewives Union    -Attorney Dr. A. KEPES
   -Secretary S. ROSENBLÜTH  

Jewish Associations
Ladies Club   National Union
   -Chair Paula FISCH      -Chair Dr. A. KEPES
   -Deputy Chair M. GOLDSTEIN      -Deputy Chairmen: J. DEUTCH,
   -Treasurer M. FRIEDMAN         K. FELDMANN, M. GRÜNFELD
   -Controller J. DEUTCH         Dr. S. GRÓSZ
   -Secretary B. ABRAHAM      -Manager Dr. A. BALAJTI
Girls Club      -Deputy Managers: Géza FISCH,
   -Chair I. ROSENFELD         Sándor WEISZ, M. GOLDSTEIN
   -Deputy Chair H. KLEIN      -Secretary O. GLÜCK
   -Secretary Lili WEISZ      -Treasurer H. LÖRINCZ
   -Treasurer J. FELDMANN      -Controller K. GLÜCK
   -Controllers: Sz. GRÜNBERG, D. HOFFMAN    
  Palestine Office  
  Mizrachi CEIRE  
  Mizrachi CEIROTH  
  Hacioni HANOAR  
  Zionist Women's World Association  
     -Chair Dr. Mrs. M. BÁLINT  
     -Deputy Chair Mrs. S. JACOBOVITS  
     -Treasurer Mrs. E. GROSINGER  
     -Controller Béláné (Ella) WEISZ  
     -Secretary F. BLUM  
     -Cultural Chair Rózsi ORENSTEIN  

Numerous retail outlets sold grocery, hardware, fabrics, shoes, clothing, meat products, bread, pastries, etc.

       Photo: Copyright ©2009 by
George WHITE, Canada

(Click the image to view a larger image.)

A large wholesale store was operated by Géza FISCH, Béla WEISZ and Ocsi WEISZ.

Grain merchants, meat packers and wine merchants helped to ship local produce to other parts of the country and even to London and the U.S.A.

There were two banks: a savings bank and an agricultural bank.

There was a chicory coffee and chocolate factory.

Construction materials were supplied by a large brickyard and two lumber yards, one of which was operated by Sándor WEISZ, nephew of Herman WEISZ.

A textile factory produced decorative cords for clothing, bedding and curtains.

Two large mills produced vegetable oils mainly from sunflower seeds. One of these mills was associated with a ceramic factory; other supplied electricity to the whole village.

Herman WEISZ founded the Record paprika mill which employed fifty to sixty people. (See the advertisement, opposite: the original, in Hungarian, and its translation.)

Herman WEISZ also operated a broom factory in 1926, and later, a soap factory.

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Created by:
Marshall J. KATZ, USA
Compiled by:
Eugene KATZ, USA
with assistance from
City of Valea lui Mihai Town Hall

Updated Jul 2021 BAE
David ADMONI, Israel
Fulop JOSKA, Érmihályfalva
Bela and Eszter KISS, Érmihályfalva
Zsolt KISS, Érmihályfalva
Istvan MAGYAR, Érmihályfalva
Csaba RENCZ, Érmihályfalva
Istvan SZILAGI, Érmihályfalva
Michael VALLEY, Érmihályfalva
Amos Israel ZEZMER, France
and the following

JewishGen members/descendants and
contributors of Valea lui Mihai Jewish families:

Rifky (née ROTH) ATKIN, USA
Lajcsi Itzhak GROSZ, Israel
Veronica/Vera (née SOLOMON) HECHT, USA
Eugene KATZ, USA
Sophie (née WEISZ) MIKLOS, USA
Yishay ROTH, Israel
Ari TESLER, Belgium
George WHITE, Canada
Miriam (née GOLDSTEIN) YAGODA, Israel

Updated: 22 August 2020

Copyright ©2009
Eugene KATZ
All rights reserved.

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