Authors: Hildegarda Pokreis, Tomáš Lang, Ludmila Pártošová, Lóránt Talamon, Lenka Wram, Eva Sudová
Thanks to the building of the sugar refinery in the second half of the 19th century, Diószeg became for many following decades the center of Central European sugar industry. The industrial complex built by Baron Karl de Kuffner Diószegh is still an example of an impeccable conjunction of a primary agricultural production and processing plants.
The emergence of the Jewish community is closely linked to the establishment of the sugar factory and the arrival of the Kuffner family. The Kuffners were successful Jewish entrepreneurs and employed many experts of Jewish origin who established many new businesses in our town.
Historically, the Jewish Religious Community has not been active in Diószeg for too long. Its activity stared around 1868 and ceased in 1944 when all the Jews were deported. After World War II only a small group of survivors returned, but they never succeeded to settle back into their lives. None of their confiscated land or homes were returned to them, nor were they given their old jobs back. Therefore almost all of the members of the Diószeg Jewish Religious Community, who survived, left short after.
This book is a memoir of the life and work of all the Jewish citizens who lived in our town during the mentioned period.
The publication is divided into three parts.
In the first part the experts describe the formation, organization and termination of the Diószeg Jewish Reilgious Community. In the chapter called The history of Jewish settlement, the author Tomáš Lang describes the settling of Jews in the southern region of Slovakia in the period from the 17th until the 19th century. In the next chapter Diószeg Jewish Religious Community Hildegarda Pokreis describes the history of this community, its exceptional members and various attributes of the life of the Jewish community before 1938. The most difficult period from 1939 to 1945 Tomáš Lang describes in the chapter Holocaust in Diószeg. His goal was to truthfully process all the documents of the inhuman era and map out the life journeys of the Diószeg Jews during the war period. This chapter contains a list of all know Diószeg Jews who were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz–Birkenau and also a List of Holocaust victims whose names are listed on the memorial in the Diószeg Jewish cemetery. In order to publish all the possible information, we have attached a list of the Holocaust victims from The Holocaust Memorial Institute at Yad Vashem, the memorial of the victims and heroes of the Holocaust in Israel, where victims’ place of birth or place of residence was listed as Diószeg. The history of the war survivors is described in the chapter Life after 1945 by Hildegarda Pokreis, who mapped the fate of those who after the war returned home. Lívia Katonová composed a brief chapter about the Jewish school in Diószeg. In the chapter Diószeg Jewish cemetery Peter Buday describes the history of the cemetery and its current state is described by Ludmila Pártošová who, in cooperation with OZ Atid, mapped and identified the graves.
In the second part we worked with the descendants of some Diószeg Jewish families. The family members helped us to gather information about their ancestors from the time of their arrival in Diószeg all the way to the fate of their descendants who are now scattered around the world. Logically, we started the chapter with the life and work of Baron Karl Kuffner de Diószegh, who was the most important figure in the history of our town, followed by the chapter on Baron Raoul Kuffner de Diószeghy and his family. We devoted one chapter to the artist Tamara de Lempicka, the second wife of Raoul Kuffner.
We organized these chapters in an alphabetical order of the families and individuals: Herman Adler, a writer, Raoul Harry Bott, a professor of mathematics at Harvard University, the Brauns, poultry and game traders, Büchler Gejza, a doctor, the Freibauers, a family of the administrator of the refinery, the Goldbergers, dentists, the Koláriks, a family of the local doctor, the Müllers, a family of a shoemaker, the Pfeffers, a family of the refinery director and also a major sugar industry lobbyist, the Schragges, traders, Schwitzer Edith, a daughter of the director of the secretariat of the refinery, the Somogyis, refienery workers and the Wollners, a family of the trader and more importantly, the first President of the Diószeg Jewish Religious Community.
Unfortunately, we were able to collect data only on the abovementioned families and individuals. We are greatly thankful for all the collaboration and help of their descendants. We hope this book will inspire other families’ descendants to contact us, so in the next publication it is possible to cover more life journeys. It is heartbreaking that in some families not a single person survived the Holocaust, thus there is nobody to tell their story or treasure the family photographs. All that remains is a memorial bearing their names.
The third part contains several articles about activities in our town, which were organized to remind and teach our fellow citizens the history of the Diószeg / Sládkovičovo Jewish Religious Community. In 2014 it was the Askara mourning commemoration to mark the 70th anniversary of enforced disappearance of Jews from Diószeg. We also put on an exhibition of historical photographs that inspired us to publish this book. In 2015 an ecumenical service was held at the Evangelical Church of God and rabbi Miša Kapustin was among many who attended this service. In the summer of 2014 we had the privilege of welcoming former Jewish citizens of Diószeg and their descendants who were and still remain a great contribution to the local Jewish community and our town.