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Hungarian Jewish Archives

The modern history of the Hungarian Jewish communities goes back to the period of the expulsion of the Turks. Jewish communities were set up based on landowners’ privileges until the 1840s and there was no superior ecclesiastical organization. An Israelite Universal Congress was summoned in 1868/1869 at the invitation of József Eötvös, Minister of Education. The Congress divided the communities accepting the principles of the Congress (Neolog) into districts, and their presidents elected the President of the National Office of Hungarian Israelites – MIOI. The Orthodox communities, which did not accept the principles of the Congress, established their national organization, the Orthodox Central Bureau in 1871. Those communities, which refused both regulations, created the so-called Status Quo regulation, which was recognized by the state in 1877. All three affiliations existed until 1950, when under state pressure all Jewish affiliations were united in a single organization, forming the National Representation of Hungarian Israelites–MIOK. In 1990 it was reorganized under the name of Association of Jewish Parishes of Hungary (MAZSIHISZ).

Before the Second World War the majority of the Jewish parishes had systematic archives, with sources going back to 100-200 years. The monographs of the parishes were usually based on these archives. As a result of the Jewish Laws and the deportation the rural parishes depopulated and the archival material was almost completely destroyed. After 1945 students of the Rabbinical Training College led by Sándor Schreiber tried to collect the surviving material and on this basis the Jewish Archives was established in the National Rabbinical Training College in 1972.

The Hungarian Jewish Archives in its recent format was established in 1994. Three archives were merged: the old archives of the Israelite Parish of Pest; the Jewish Archives, established in 1972 on the basis of the material collected from the depopulated rural parishes; and the historical archival material of the Jewish Museum, founded in 1910. In the new institution it became possible to arrange the surviving archival material according to uniform criteria, to explore and include the sources into the scientific research.

Since then the Hungarian Jewish Archives has belonged to the Association of Jewish Parishes of Hungary as denomination special archives. The research room and the archival material, which has been processed to a significant degree, was placed in the wings of the Dohány Street Synagogue. The research is assisted by the fond register, which will be accessible on the internet in the near future, a depository inventory, a list and a modest archival library, which does not include the entire Hungarian Jewish history, it only provides supplementary data (gazetteer, encyclopaedia, dictionary, etc.)


Further information:

Address: 1075 Budapest, Dohány u. 2.

Phone: +36 1 413 5551