Vas Megye, Hungary 


Other Names: Celldömölk [Hun], Klein Zell [Ger], Izsákfa, Czelldömölk, Nemesdömölk, Kisczell, Pordömölk


Location: 47°15' N 17°09' E -- 92 miles W of Budapest

Location of Vas County

Brief History of Celldömölk

Celldömölk, the centre of Kemensalja is located in the north-east of Vas county. Its current population is 12 thousand people. Due to its location, natural values as well as its religious heritages it is the touristic centre of the region. The town situated at the foot of the Ság hill has a 750 year history: it was born as the merger of five neighbouring settlements: Pórdömölk, Nemesdömölk, Kiscell, Alsóság and Izsákfa. The 1910 Map below indicates the location of the various communities that make up Celldömölk.

Map 1910

The seat of Celldömölk district derived its name from the merger of Kiscell and Nemesdömölk in 1904.

The census in 1828 already mentions Pórdömölk as a part of Kiscell.

The foundation of Nemesdömölk was probably the trade route nearby. However Kiscell, a growing settlement absorbed it. Development was fuelled by the location of the salt office, an important governmental office in Kiscell. The settlement’s development was temporarily stopped because of a fire and an epidemic in the 1780s. In the 1790s Kiscell was able to hold fairs and became an agricultural town. At the beginning of the 19th century the economy of the settlement increased and it became the centre of Kemenesalja. Its importance was further increased by the completion of the railway section of the Hungarian Western Railways that reached Kiscell in 1871. The settlement soon became a railway exchange point.

The most ancient settlements of the area are most probably Alsóság and Izsákfa situated at the foot of Ság hill. They were famous for their agricultural activities. In 1950 Alsóság was mergd with Celldömölk and in 1979 Izsákfa became the part of it as well.

Data on the Jewish residnts of these communities are likely to be in the LDS database under the original name of the community.


History of Jewish Presence

The 1725 census indicates that there were 179 Jewish head of households in Vas county. The various census indicate that the Jewish families were scattered throughout the county and that their overall numbers increased (402 households in 1783, 760 households in 1835). They were mainly merchants, attended fairs or were peddlars.

In the 1977 Gazetteer(source below), in 1877
Kisczell & Pordömölk were (now part of Celldömölk) were listed as a community of 1,360 residents including a Jewish population of 196 people with a local place of worship in Kisczell.  Nemesdömölk had a population of 678 including a Jewish population of 21 people whose place of worship was in Kisczell.

source: Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary, compiled by Jordan Auslander, Avotaynu, 2005

There had been Jews in Nemesdömölk from 1746 on, though never many. In 1746, two Jewish families with a total of ten members lived in Nemesdömölk. Their numbers grew to 33 in 1836, but declined to 28 in 1870 and to 15 in 1900.

The market town of Kiscell did not admit Jews until 1840. Among the first to move there was Zsigmond Pick, who moved from Nemedömölk to Kiscell in 1841. With his son Henrik, he was involved in the economic and social life of the community. In 1869 he was elected to the position of community judge (this did not require a law degree). He initiated the first oil lighting program in Kiscell. In 1888 he was made a noble by Franz Joseph I (Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary).

 In 1848 Celldömölk counted 39 Jews, but for many decades they did not build an independent community but belonged to the Jewish congregation of Simonyi.

After the 1868 Jewish Congress that took place in Pest, conflicts arose between the Kiscell community which was open to reformations and the orthodox mother community of Simonyi.

In 1870 they separated and Kiscell founded its own congregation. In 1872 it bought property for a cemetery and founded a Chevra Kadisha. As long as the community was small, services were held in the neighboring village of Nemesdömölk. Later the Jews in Kiscell rented a prayer house but large celebrations were held in the Simonyi synagogue.

After the community became independent, the 51 families had a synagogue built in 1882. The design was by Ludwig Schöne who had also built the Szombathely synagogue. On March 21 a student of the national institute for the training of rabbis, still an aspirant rabbi back then, later Dr. Ede Neumann, inaugurated the synagogue. It was the only synagogue in the comitatus that did not have a women’s gallery, the women sat on slightly higher seats on both sides of the ground floor and participated at those services that were accompanied by the organ.

Around 1900 conservative Jews from the surrounding villages came to Celldömölk and had a gallery built. They also wanted to have the organ removed but the community did not comply to that. The discontented orthodox left and founded their own community in 1902. 1908 they built a small synagogue for themselves, only the school and the cemetery were shared with the neological Jews. There are no synagogues left today.

The Jews of Celldömölk always endeavored to live in peace with their neighbors, yet several Jews were killed during the white terror of 1919 – 1920. Soldiers broke into the synagogue, captured the rabbi and the faithful, desecrating the Torah scrolls, and incited the locals to kill Jews. During the pogrom of August 23, 1919, the rampaging mob robbed Jews and committed horrific crimes against 11 Jews and murdered five others.

The last census of 1944 shows that there were 214 persons in the Celldömölk congressional mother community and 285 orthodox members. Altogether 394 Celledömölk Jews were deported to the Jánosháza ghetto. After the war a mixed community of neological and orthodox Jews was founded, counting 81 people. Its last prayer hall was on Szentháromság Square. The building still stands.

Balázs Edit (ed.), Zsidó Emlékek a Nyugat-Pannon Eurégióban (Burgenland, Györ-Moson-Sopron, Vas és Zala megye), ISBN 978-963-06-4708-3
Braham Randolph L. (ed.), The Geographical Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary, Northwestern University Press 2013

From the Yad Vashem files, click here for a copy of the original list of Martyrs from Celldömölk and Alsoság. It is quite breathtaking to view this old, typed list.

Searchable Databases

Search the JewishGen Hungary Database. This is a multiple database search facility which incorporates all the databases listed below.  These databases have been contributed by the JewishGen Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) and individual donors.  The combined databases have more than 800,000 entries, referring to individuals living in the current and former territory of Hungary — this includes present Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, northern Serbia, northwestern Romania, and subcarpathian Ukraine.  The database is a work in progress and new entries are being added regularly.

The New York Public Library has placed online 650 of the 700 postwar Yizkor books in their entirety.

LDS Jewish Family History Resources (general information)

Compiled by Anne-Marie Pollowy Toliver (born Balázs)
 Last updated 8 November 2016
Copyright © 2016 Anne-Marie Pollowy Toliver





Location of Vas County in Hungary



   Last prayer house
The Last Prayer Hoouse


Kiscell Cemetary

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