The History of the Munkács Community Before the Holocaust
The Munkács Zionist Movement in the Interwar Period
Chaim Kugel was born in 1897 in Minsk to parents active in the "Hovevei Zion" movement. He acquired his doctorate in Economics and Philosophy at the Czech University in Prague. He arrived in Munkács as an emissary from the Jewish-Zionist students' union in Prague, in order to lecture to the Zionist youth movements in the town.
Kugel was one of the founders and the director of the Munkács Hebrew Gymnasium – the flagship of the Zionist educational enterprise across Subcarpathian Rus'. He played an active role in the Jewish life of the region, and in 1935 was chosen as a delegate to the Czech parliament in Prague, as a representative of the Jewish Party. He became prominent in the battle for Jewish rights and Zionism.
After the Hungarian invasion of Munkács, Dr. Kugel fled the town, aware that he was listed by the Hungarians as a wanted man. In 1939 he immigrated to Eretz Israel and became the first mayor of Holon.
Kugel passed away in 1953, at the age of 56.