The History of the Győr Jewish Community before the Holocaust
The Győr Jewish Community from the Early 20th Century until the Beginning of WWII
During WWI, Győr sustained great damage from the Romanian conquest as well as the Spanish Influenza, which caused the deaths of tens of millions of people around the world. At this time, 5,900 Jews lived in Győr – about one-eighth of the total population of the city. The Jews were divided into two communities: the larger Neolog community, and alongside it the smaller Orthodox community. During the war, the activities of the Women's Association, established in 1860, grew. The association provided clothing to students at the Jewish school, aided poor brides wishing to marry, organized soup kitchens for impoverished students and more, with the aid of many charitable funds.
After WWI, with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Győr was included in the territory of Independent Hungary. In 1922, the Orthodox community of the city established its own Women's Association, which operated alongside its counterpart in the Neolog community. During that period, the new Neolog synagogue in the city, dedicated at the end of the 19th century, was expanded, and a smaller synagogue was built alongside it, mostly for use by worshippers during the winter months.
In 1929, a center for Jewish youth was established in Győr, which reached the peak of its activities during the term of the Neolog rabbi of the community, Emil Roth. Rabbi Roth, who served from 1937, was murdered during the Holocaust, as was the last rabbi of the Orthodox community, Rabbi Ben-Zion Snyders.
From 1938 onwards, with the passing of the anti-Jewish laws in Hungary and the worsening of the economic situation of Hungarian Jewry, Jewish emigration from Győr out of the country grew. By 1941, the Jewish population of the city had dropped to some 4,700 people – 8.2% of the total population of Győr. At the same time, the activities of the Women's Associations in Győr increased. Working together, they established an aid committee especially for the Jews. The charitable institutions of the two communities – Neolog and Orthodox – joined forces to help those in need. Among their fields of activities, the aid associations of both communities tried to find employment for the Jews who had lost their livelihoods, organized lessons for adults and youth in Hebrew and other languages, supported destitute students, and provided professional and practical instruction to help those wishing to emigrate. They also organized courses in different skills for those wishing to immigrate to Eretz Israel, including cookery, bakery, tractor driving, mechanics and agriculture.