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Tolcsva COA

Tolcsva, Hungary

Note on the coat of arms, the trails of green vines and yellow grape-clusters, so representative of this wine-producing region of Hungary.

Hebrew: טולצ'וא
Yiddish: טאלטשווא

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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

Relative Location of Tolcsva
Modern Annotated Map from GoogleMaps Showing Tolcsva (in italics),
in Hungary in Relationship to Slovakia and the Ukraine
Zemplen Map Annotated
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 corrections and additions, from the section that researchers at The Museum of The Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, Tel Aviv, Israel, wrote about Tolcsva.

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.

Tolcsva is a small town in the Zemplen district, NE Hungary.

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 throughout Hungary.

The majority of other Jews later also engaged in commerce, growing grapes and producing wine. There were also tradesmen and members of the free professions.

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 building that 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:

Many people 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
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
Ágnes SZEGÖ, Budapest, Hungary
Dena WHITMAN, New Jersey, USA
Diana WIENER, New York, USA -- for making so many Hebrew Books available on-line!

There have been visits to this page since 30 May 2017

 Compiled by Madeleine Isenberg
Originally published
30 June 2017
Updated: 15 February 2019

Copyright © 2017-2019
Madeleine R. Isenberg
All rights reserved.

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