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BALASSAGYARMAT: [Balážske, Ďarmoty, Balašské Ďarmoty, Jahrmarkt , Yarmit PDF Print E-mail

Coat of arms of Balassagyarmat Alternate names: Balassagyarmat [Hun], Balážske Ďarmoty [Slov], Balašské Ďarmoty [Cz], Jahrmarkt [Ger], Yarmit [Yid], Dzhormet, Děrmet, Balassa-Gyarmat. 48°05' N, 19°18' E. 42 miles NNE of Budapest on the Slovak border.

Wikipedia [Apr 2014]

SOURCE?: The most ancient finds date from the Middle Copper Age. Bronze weapons, jewellery, and other objects prove that people of the Late Bronze Age Piliny Culture settled here. Finds also show the existence of important trade routes in the area in the 1st-4th centuries A.D. The strategic location led to fairs held five times per year in the 1300s. In Summer 1552, the castle of Gyarmat was invaded and devastated by the Turks. This capture lasted until Autumn 1593 when the Turkish guard broke away and set the fortress on fire. Again invaded by the Turks in about 1663, the fortress was defunct in 1665. In 1828, Balassagyarmat had 51 merchants and 42 questors or 38.,27% of the entire county's merchants. The town was the most important free market town of the country. The merchants of consisted of 3 ethnic groups: Greeks, Germans and Jews. The Greeks and the Germans made the first specialized shops popular. The German merchants were involved iiron products. Most of the merchants in this county seat were Jews, mainly trading hides and wool as well as grain and crops. By the end of the Reform Era, Balassagyarmat was outstanding among the market-townswith a 7,529 population. The town was inhabited by Catholic Hungarians and Lutheran Slovaks from 1690. The peasantry spoke Slovakian. The tradesmen spoke Hungarian and the German. The first Jews arrived in Balassagyarmatmost likely in the 1720s. As a result of the settllemment policy of the Balassa and Zichy families, their number continuously increased. In 1750 fifteen families owning wagons, horses and oxen were registered. After 1730, Greek Orthodox and Jewish merchants moved into the town In 1825 the town had the 13th largest Jewish community with 870 members. In 1840 the Jews had freedom to live where they please so the Jewish community in Balassagyarmat grew to 2000 at about 1848. In 1886. the settlement lost its market-town title. The community built the first synagogue in the 18th century and the so-called "grand temple" in 1866. After the great split of Hungarian Jewry in 1868-1869, the Balassagyarmat Jews joined the Orthodox branch. The Jewish community of Balassagyarmat increased more or less steadily until the 1920s. Its population reached its peak in 1920 (at 2,245). In 1930s there were 2013 and in 1941 only 1,712 Jews. In addition, 61 Christian inhabitants were declared Jewish by the discriminatory anti-Jewish laws. In April 1944, the Orthodox congregation of 1516 members; was presided over by broom factory owner Mihály Lázár. The relatively wealthy community operated five institutions: the Chevra Kaddisha, Jewish Women's Association, Bet-hamidros Association (temple society), Girls' Youth Charity Association, and the Jewish Girls' Association as well as the Zsigmond Ungár - Zsófia Fröhlich Foundation for the Home for the Aged. Hungarian authorities planned on concentrating 1780 Balassagyarmat Jews, (Neolog, (non-Orthodox) Jews, and Christians defined as Jews by the anti-Jewish laws were around 250.) The Jews and Gentiles lived more or less harmoniously until 1944. The Arrow Cross had few followers in the town, perhaps a few youth. The centuries-long traditions peace, broken by an anti=Semitic wave of atrocities following the Tiszaeszlár blood libel case in 1883, saw a minor pogrom as soon dismantled by law enforcement agencies ordered by Sub-prefect Károly Madách. The anti-Jewish legislations stripped all of rights, livelihood, and property. The proximity of the Hungarian-Slovakian border made Balassagyarmat a transit stop for Jews escaping from Slovakia before 1944. (In 1942-1943 many illegal refuges arrived in the city, several of whom were arrested and imprisoned.) Ghettoisation in Nógrád County took place between May 5 and 10, 1944. By the beginning of May, the plan included collection points: Losonc (for Jews of the city Losonc, Losonc and Szécsény District), Balassagyarmat (for Jews of Balassagyarmat, Balassagyarmat and Nógrád Districts), Salgótarján (for Jews of the city of Salgótarján and Szirák District) and Kisterenye (for Jews of Kisterenye and Salógtratján District). The deadline was set for May 10. The local Jewish Council had been established. At first the ghettoisation aimed to designate one closed-off area that proved too small for the Jews of the Balassagyarmat and Nógrád Districts. Therefore two ghettos were created. The "large ghetto" was set up in the territory bordered by the even-numbered side of Kossuth Lajos Street, and Thököly, Hunyady and Rákóczi Streets. Local Jews were crowded into this "large ghetto". The "small ghetto" was designated in the Old City by the buildings between 2 and 22 Óváros Square, the even-numbered side of Kúria Street stretching out to the banks of the Ipoly River, the odd-numbered side of Baintner Ottó Street between numbers 17 and 21, the part of Reményi Sándor Street overlooking the river, Zsák Street and the buildings between 16 and 22 Zichy Street. The Jews from the neighbouring settlements were concentrated here. The ghettos were set up between May 5 and 10. Order inside the ghettos was maintained by the Jewish police consisting of thirty people. On May 18 the custody of the large ghetto was taken over by a unit of sixty gendarmes redeployed from Miskol. The small ghetto was guarded by the local police during its whole existence. The ghettos were overcrowded with an average of eight to ten people were crammed into one room. Soon a typhoid fever epidemic danger emerged; director of the local hospital Dr. Albert Kenessey-ordered compulsory vaccination to be performed by Jewish physicians with the vaccine was paid for from confiscated Jewish wealth. The Ministry of Defence helped at the last minute before the deportation by sending summonses to report for forced labor. About 300 men ages of 16 and 48 were called and escaped deportation to Auschwitz. Women were  dispatched out of the ghetto to perform agricultural work, but later taken back. The Balassagyarmat ghettos were liquidated at the beginning of June. The inhabitants of the large ghetto were taken to the nearby Nyírjespuszta, while those of the small ghetto were transported to Illéspuszta, a farmstead also on the edge of the city. Jews were accommodated here in tobacco-drying sheds. Not even the basic hygienic conditions were provided in the overcrowded "camp".The prisoners of Nyírjespuszta and Illéspuszta were deportedon two transports dated June 10 and 12 in cattle cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Approximately 800-900 Jews were sent immediately to the gas chambers. Of 400-450 women and 150 men capable of working, 60 women and two men returned to the city after the war. Of the 300 men in forced labor in 1944, 120 returned.The loss of Balassagyarmat Jewry was 80-90 percent. In 1949 the Orthodox Jewish community consisted of 228 members. The abandoned houses of the Jews were sealed. The valuables hidden in the small ghetto or confiscated during the brutal investigations were transported to the large ghetto, inventoried by 200 civilians. Many items were taken away by German military personnel. Civilian population also looted the abandoned property, 800 such incidents.  At the end of July, traces of the ghetto were covered up: the fences demolished and those Christians forced to move out in May were allowed to move back to their apartments. The library of the Orthodox congregation (several thousand volumes) was taken to a vacant lot at the corner of Óváros Square and Szerb Street. Gilded covers were stolen and the volumes were left to be destroyed by the weather. The synagogue became an ammunition magazine. On December 8, 1944, before retreating from the city, the Germans blew up the temple. Among the ruins was the marble plaque that commemorated the 1894 Balassagyarmat visit of King and Emperor Franz Joseph inscribed with the words of the monarch to the Jewish community: "There is no wall erected by religious differences in my heart between my peoples. Therefore you can always count on my royal clemency and protection." [February 2009]


Cemetery: Address: Temető Street 1. Hours: 8-18.00 [February 2009]

Hebrew website with photo. Buried here: Rabbi Aharon David Deutsch David Goren Zia"a Mh"s [Apr 2014]

CEMETERY DESECRATED IN BALASSAGYARMAT, HUNGARY: Hungarian police reported on June 13th that [the] Jewish cemetery ... was desecrated ahead of a commemoration of Holocaust victims scheduled for the next day. Vandals smashed one tombstone and uprooted several others and painted swastikas and Nazi slogans over the tombstones and surrounding fence. The Federation of Jewish Communities expressed "shock" and said the incident was the result of the authorities' past failure to make full use of the law against "anti-Semites and racists." [1997]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 21:37
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