A short history of Békéscsaba

The first written reference is from 1332. Békéscsaba lost its entire population during the Turkish occupation of Hungary and the county was considered to be obliterated. 1715 Csaba is mentioned as uninhabited; a year later his name appeared between the taxpaying. In order to revitalize the city Csaba, between 1718 – 1723 213 Slovakian peasant families settled, they were allowed to keep their Lutheran confession and received tax reliefs . Among them were also some Jewish settlers. The oldest Jewish trace is from 1821, it is the grave of Jacob Singer, another witness of this period is the “Cholera Hill” which is reminiscent to the cholera epidemic of 1825, among other victims there are 11 Jews mentioned.

The Jewish population has been actively involved in the First World War. 25 Jewish soldiers of the town found on several front their hero’s death. Also in the 101 Regiment stationed in Békéscsaba posted to 26 soldiers from the town in different ranks, many of whom had received for their heroic conduct high honors.

In my youth I remember of Békéscsaba as an average agricultural town. It had a population around 50’000, perhaps 3,000 or 6 %, were Jews. The city had at that time no central canalization and no central water supply, so for drinking and cooking , we had to fetch water from a the few artesian well,. Multistory buildings, except on the main road, there were hardly any. Some side streets even in the center of the town were made of natural soil and had no pavement, farmers kept their live stocks in the city, horses, cows, geese and chickens, were also urban residents. In the morning we awoke, as the herdsman with his horn gathered the herd and led to the common grazing land by the city, evening took the same procedure in the reverse direction place. In our house we had running water, because my father had installed an electric pump, but the water was groundwater, so it was suitable only for bathroom and toilet, but not for cooking or drinking.

Despite everything, Békéscsaba was at this time also industrialized in several industries, with a strong Jewish presence. Some statistical data of the Jewish property, commerce and trade. The information is from the country archive taken 1944 after the German occupation. Land 148; Jewish businesses and farms 137; Jewish industrial enterprises 80; shops and trade 226; requested Jewish trade and business 142