Note on the coat of arms, the trails of green vines
and yellow grape-clusters, so representative of this wine-producing
region of Hungary.
Search These Specific Databases for Tolcsva
Connect with others researching Tolcsva.
Click the button to search the JewishGen Family Finder database.
JewishGen Hungarian Database (for Tolcsva)
Where else would Tolcsva references appear?
Click the button to show all entries in the JewishGen Hungary Database for Tolcsva.
Location and Maps:
Located in NE Hungary, near the border with Slovakia
Region: Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen County
Coordinates: 48°17' N 21°27' E
12 mi N of Tokaj
122 mi ENE of Budapest
Jewish Population (in 1890): 929
Jewish Population (in 1941): 363 out of a total of 2,845
Modern Annotated Map from GoogleMaps Showing Tolcsva
in Hungary in Relationship to Slovakia and the Ukraine
Annotated Map of Tolcsva and Surrounding Towns, from Yehuda HEIMLICH,
who had family members who were also born in Tolcsva. Original complete map of the Zemplen Region in pre-Trianon Hungary is a public domain map.
Below is an adaptation, with
additions, from the section that researchers at The Museum of The Jewish
People at Beit Hatfutsot, Tel Aviv, Israel, wrote about Tolcsva.
Tolcsva is a small town in the Zemplen district, NE Hungary.
Note that there is some overlap between what is written here and the translation of the section on Tolcsva from
the Hungarian Yizkor Book. The latter has some photos and some
references to specific people who had been part of the Jewish community.
The first information available about Jewish settlement in the town is
from 1723, when the estate owners permitted seven Jewish families to
reside in the town, as renters of vineyards. Their wines became famous
The majority of other Jews later also engaged in commerce, growing
grapes and producing wine. There were also tradesmen and members of the
The Hevra Kadisha (ritual burial society) was established in 1770, and
in 1860 the first synagogue
was built. It went up in flames in 1864, as did the subsequent
replaced it. However, the latter was capable of renovation. The
town had a synagogue, yeshiva and active charitable organizations.
In 1868, because of differences of opinion between haredim (orthodox)
and maskilim (moderates) at the Jewish Congress, the community
chose to be affiliated with the orthodox stream (which refused to accept the
decisions of congress).
Between the two world wars a rich cultural life developed, and Zionist activities were recognized.
In 1941 there were 363 Jewish residents in the town, vs. 929 in 1890.
The Holocaust Period
In 1938, with the publication of "discriminatory laws," aimed at
limiting Jewish participation in the economic and cultural fields,
relations with the Jews went from one extreme to the other and the
estates and vineyards belonging to Jews were immediately confiscated.
Later, also Jewish business were expropriated.
In 1941, a number of Jewish families were expelled to Kamenec-Podolsk,
charged with not having valid documents, and there were shot to
death by soldiers of the SS and the Hungarian gendarmerie (together with about 20,000 Jewish families from the length and
breadth of Hungary, in similar situations). In 1942, young Jews were
conscripted for forced labor (work on fortifications and in services,
together with other Hungarian citizens whom the authorities would not
allow to join the armed forces). They were sent to the Ukrainian front
to help the Hungarian-German war effort. The majority perished there.
On March 19, 1944 the Germans invaded Hungary. In May 1944, Tolcsva's
Jewish residents were transported to the ghetto in Satoraljaujhely. From
there they were transported to Auschwitz where most did not survive.
After the war, about 40 survivors returned to Tolcsva, about half of
them from forced labor and the balance from Auschwitz. They renewed the
life of the community temporarily, but in 1970 only a single Jewish
family remained in the town. The majority had emigrated to Israel.
JewishGen has Yizkor (Memorial) Books available, but unfortunately only a
fraction of the world-wide towns have been translated into English.
One of these Yizkor books exists for, Pinkas Hakehillot Hungaria, or Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Hungary.
The section for Tolcsva is available in English.
- See also various places to search for more information in databases and resources on the "Other" menu option on this site.
Contributors and Thanks:
have provided help in the way of suggestions as well as documents and
photographs. These all help to gain a better
understanding of what life was like for Tolcsva's Jews. Your efforts have
all been valuable. If I have forgotten to mention someone, please forgive me, and be sure to remind me!
Peter ABSOLON, Kosice, Slovakia
Frantisek, BANYAI, Prague, Czech Republic
Larry BRIGGS, Moraga, California, USA
William BROCK, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Michael GROSSMAN, Urbana, IL
Yehuda HEIMLICH, Jerusalem, Israel
Madeleine ISENBERG, Beverly Hills, CA, USA
Rabbi David JUNGREIS, Brooklyn, New York
Sandra KIFERBAUM, IL
Julie KIRSH, Toronto, Canada
Lawrence KOHN, Hollywood, FL, USA
Max PRESTON, New Jersey, USA
Dr. Neil ROSENSTEIN, New Jersey, USA
(for his help regarding rabbinic dynasties)
Mark REICHARD, Torrance, CA
Andrew ROTH, Marin County, CA, USA
Zahava SZASZ STESSEL, New York, USA
Ágnes SZEGÖ, Budapest, Hungary
Dena WHITMAN, New Jersey, USA
Diana WIENER, New York, USA
HebrewBooks.org -- for making so many Hebrew Books available on-line!
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