Magyar Zsidók Központi Tanácsának iratai (Documents of the Central Jewish Council)

Identifier
A
Language of Description
English
Dates
1 Jan 1944 - 31 Dec 1945
Level of Description
Sub-fonds
Source
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

Ca. 2 linear meters

Biographical History

The Central Council of Hungarian Jews (Jewish Council) was a body of Jewish representatives created by the Nazis and their Hungarian collaborators in 1944 to carry out the restrictive and genocidal measures against the Jews. On paper all Hungarian Jews were supervised by the Jewish Council, but its sphere of competence was actually limited almost exclusively to Budapest. The name and legal status of the Council changed in the course of its existence. Between March 21 and April 22, 1944 it was called the “Central Council of the Hungarian Jews” and it was under the “legal” supervision of the German authorities. Between April 22, 1944 and January 18, 1945 its official name was the “Interim Executive Board of the Association of Jews in Hungary” and was under the official purview of the Hungarian government. The administrative structure of the Council was based on and entwined with that of the Pest Israelite Congregation and the National Office of Hungarian Israelites (the umbrella organization of the Neologue Jewish communities). These two did not cease to exist with the creation of the Council, but carried on with their work, therefore practically three parallel administrations operated – overlapping and complementing each other at the same time. The head of all three was the same person: Samu Stern. As the genocidal steps by the Hungarian and German authorities progressed (disenfranchisement, plunder, ghettoization, deportation), the Council’s various offices and departments were in constant reorganization between March 1944 and January 1945.

Archival History

Only a fragment of the Jewish Council’s documentation survived the war. The destruction of the archives commenced as early as the summer months of 1944: the Council systematically burnt some of its documentation in July 1944, while another part of the material was moved to the Buda side of the capital where it perished during the siege. The headquarters of the Jewish Council (12 Síp Street) was heavily hit by an air raid on December 10, 1944 - a large part of the Council’s archives was destroyed. In the following months the building was hit by additional bombs. In the framework of the 1953 antisemitic campaign by the communist government, former Jewish Council leaders Lajos Stöckler and Miksa Domonkos were arrested and several surviving Council documents were confiscated. Years later, a part of these had been transferred to the Hungarian National Archives (today: Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár), from where they were returned to the Hungarian Jewish Archives (Magyar Zsidó Levéltár) in 2000. Besides these, additional fractions of the original Council archives can be found in the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center (Holokauszt Emlékközpont) as well as among the files of the Ministry of the Interior in the Hungarian National Archives. A copy of the former had been donated to the Hungarian Jewish Archives and was integrated into the collection.

Scope and Content

This group of documents contains the records of the Central Council of Hungarian Jews (as of April 22, 1944: Interim Executive Board of the Association of Jews in Hungary). The bulk of the material consists of the administrative materials (notes, reports, memoranda, correspondence, financial papers, registry books) of various departments, organizations and agencies of the Jewish Council, especially the Social Department, the Housing Office and the Ghetto Police. The documents also include various name lists, such as lists of able bodied men, ghetto police staff, internment camp prisoners, patients of ghetto hospitals and Jewish Council employees. It holds papers as well recording the relations of the Council vis-à-vis the German and Hungarian authorities. The document group also contains maps and building registries created during the June 1944 concentration of the Budapest Jews and the setting up of the Budapest ghettos in November-December 1944. Further noteworthy elements of the sub-fond are the documents of the nationwide survey conducted by the Council upon the order of the German authorities pertaining to the financial and organizational data of more than 700 Jewish communities, as well as an information registry card collection set up by the Council to record news arriving from the countryside during the ghettoization and deportation of Jews in the spring and summer of 1944.

System of Arrangement

The body of documents is arranged into three series: 1) core documents 2) documents transferred from the Hungarian National Archives and 3) collection of copies of stray documents. The core documents are further divided into five sub-series.

Existence and Location of Copies

Magyar Zsidók Központi Tanácsának iratai (Documents of the Central Jewish Council)

Identifier
A
Language of Description
Hungarian
Dates
1 Jan 1944 - 31 Dec 1945
Level of Description
Sub-fonds
Source
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

Ca. 2 linear meters

Biographical History

The Central Council of Hungarian Jews (Jewish Council) was a body of Jewish representatives created by the Nazis and their Hungarian collaborators in 1944 to carry out the restrictive and genocidal measures against the Jews. On paper all Hungarian Jews were supervised by the Jewish Council, but its sphere of competence was actually limited almost exclusively to Budapest. The name and legal status of the Council changed in the course of its existence. Between March 21 and April 22, 1944 it was called the “Central Council of the Hungarian Jews” and it was under the “legal” supervision of the German authorities. Between April 22, 1944 and January 18, 1945 its official name was the “Interim Executive Board of the Association of Jews in Hungary” and was under the official purview of the Hungarian government. The administrative structure of the Council was based on and entwined with that of the Pest Israelite Congregation and the National Office of Hungarian Israelites (the umbrella organization of the Neologue Jewish communities). These two did not cease to exist with the creation of the Council, but carried on with their work, therefore practically three parallel administrations operated – overlapping and complementing each other at the same time. The head of all three was the same person: Samu Stern. As the genocidal steps by the Hungarian and German authorities progressed (disenfranchisement, plunder, ghettoization, deportation), the Council’s various offices and departments were in constant reorganization between March 1944 and January 1945.

Archival History

Only a fragment of the Jewish Council’s documentation survived the war. The destruction of the archives commenced as early as the summer months of 1944: the Council systematically burnt some of its documentation in July 1944, while another part of the material was moved to the Buda side of the capital where it perished during the siege. The headquarters of the Jewish Council (12 Síp Street) was heavily hit by an air raid on December 10, 1944 - a large part of the Council’s archives was destroyed. In the following months the building was hit by additional bombs. In the framework of the 1953 antisemitic campaign by the communist government, former Jewish Council leaders Lajos Stöckler and Miksa Domonkos were arrested and several surviving Council documents were confiscated. Years later, a part of these had been transferred to the Hungarian National Archives (today: Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár), from where they were returned to the Hungarian Jewish Archives (Magyar Zsidó Levéltár) in 2000. Besides these, additional fractions of the original Council archives can be found in the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center (Holokauszt Emlékközpont) as well as among the files of the Ministry of the Interior in the Hungarian National Archives. A copy of the former had been donated to the Hungarian Jewish Archives and was integrated into the collection.

Scope and Content

This group of documents contains the records of the Central Council of Hungarian Jews (as of April 22, 1944: Interim Executive Board of the Association of Jews in Hungary). The bulk of the material consists of the administrative materials (notes, reports, memoranda, correspondence, financial papers, registry books) of various departments, organizations and agencies of the Jewish Council, especially the Social Department, the Housing Office and the Ghetto Police. The documents also include various name lists, such as lists of able bodied men, ghetto police staff, internment camp prisoners, patients of ghetto hospitals and Jewish Council employees. It holds papers as well recording the relations of the Council vis-à-vis the German and Hungarian authorities. The document group also contains maps and building registries created during the June 1944 concentration of the Budapest Jews and the setting up of the Budapest ghettos in November-December 1944. Further noteworthy elements of the sub-fond are the documents of the nationwide survey conducted by the Council upon the order of the German authorities pertaining to the financial and organizational data of more than 700 Jewish communities, as well as an information registry card collection set up by the Council to record news arriving from the countryside during the ghettoization and deportation of Jews in the spring and summer of 1944.

System of Arrangement

The body of documents is arranged into three series: 1) core documents 2) documents transferred from the Hungarian National Archives and 3) collection of copies of stray documents. The core documents are further divided into five sub-series.

Existence and Location of Copies