also known as: Nagykapos (HU), Kapušany (CZ), Copus (Latin), Kapos (Yiddish)
48°33' N / 22°05' E
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was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century - 1918 and 1938-1944) with the name of Nagykapos
in the Ungvári járás (district) and Ung megye (county), next part of Czechoslovakia (1918-1938) with the name of Kapušany
in Podkarpatská Rus (Sub-Carpathia), and today known as Vel'ké Kapušany in the Košický (Košice) kraj (region) of Slovakia.
Other spellings/names for Vel'ké Kapušany are Nagy-Kapos, Nagy-Kaposch, Kapossan and Welké Kapussany. In Yiddish, Vel'ké Kapušany was referred to as Kapos
Vel'ké Kapušany is located about 40 miles ESE of Košice (Kassa) and 11 miles WSW of Uzhhorod (Ungvár), near the border with the Ukraine.
The first Jews probably settled in Vel'ké Kapušany (Nagykapos) late in the mid-18th century. The town began to grow when it became a county seat in 1848, reaching a population of 268 in 1869.
In 1877, the population of Vel'ké Kapušany was 1,246, made up of Hungarians, Rusyns and Jews, and comprised the following religions: Roman Catholic (277), Greek Orthodox (122), Eastern Orthodox (4), Agnostic (2), Reformed (573) and Jewish (268)*. A synagogue was consecrated in 1891.
* In 1877, Jews of nearby Kiskapos (17) and Csepely (50) also attended the Nagykapos synagogue.
After WWI, in the Czechoslovak Republic, the Zionists and Agut Israel became active and Jews served on the municipal council. In 1921, Jews owned 42 business establishments and 10 workshops.
In November, 1938, after annexation to Hungary, dozens of Jews were seized for forced labor, many dying on the eastern front.
By 1940-41, the population of Vel'ké Kapušany grew to 2,668, with 120 Jewish families or 464 Jewish inhabitants (17 percent). Vel'ké Kapušany was a fairly integrated community. The town had two synagogues, one Hasidic and the other Orthodox. There were two Zionist organizations: a revisionist group and Ha-Shomer Ha-Tsa'ir. Also, there was a Jewish school, a kosher butcher and a Jewish doctor. Jews owned the only bakery, the movie theater, the power plant and the flour mill. Jews were involved in a variety of pastoral pursuits such as the horse trade, farming, etc.
On 16 April 1944, after the German occupation, the Jews of Vel'ké Kapušany were rounded up and marched to the Uzhhorod ghetto and, from there, transported to Auschwitz, in mid-May 1944.
Today, Vel'ké Kapušany is a large town of more than 10,000 inhabitants. Besides a Slovak population, a number of Hungarians and Roma live there. A great number of Vel'ké Kapušany's Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Most of the 224 postwar Jewish survivors left for Israel and other countries and no Jews live there today.
Sources (portions): The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, (2001), p. 1383 Testimony of Elizabet R. TOBY Testimony of Martin SHLANGER
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