A town in the Békés district, eastern Hungary. In Jewish sources called Tatcsaba.
The first Jewish settlers came to the place at the end of the 18th century, from what is today Czechoslovakia. At the beginning the majority of Jews were peddlers or petty traders, but in the course of time, they erected large enterprises such as a flour mill, textile factory, cold storage warehouses, printing works, a large department store and a sales room for motor cars and agricultural machinery.
In 1869, because of differences of opinion between haredim (orthodox) and maskilim (enlightened) at the Jewish congress the community affiliated with the “status quo” group which refused to take a stand in the dispute.
In 1883 the haredim created an independent orthodox community and also built their own synagogue in 1894. An existing synagogue was built in 1850. The synagogue of the “status quo” group was consecrated in 1896. While the hevra kadisha was used by the two communities until 1926. The communities also started separate schools. There were also Jewish printing works which issued the daily newspaper. Several benevolent institutions were active, as well as schools and libraries.
Relations with the other inhabitants were generally good. In 1920 there were some anti-semitic incidents.
From 1927. and until the Holocaust, branches of various revisionists, habonim and others. During World War I, 25 of the town’s Jews fell in battle. In 1930 the community numbered 2,458.
The Holocaust period
In 1938. with the publication of “discriminatory laws” which aimed at limiting Jewish participation in the economic and cultural fields, many Jews lost their means of livelihood. In 1940 many Jews were sent to do forced labor in the framework of “labor battalions” (work on fortifications and in services together with other Hungarian citizens whom the authorities would not allow to join the armed forces).
At the end of March 1944. after the German occupation, 36 Jewish residents were arrested and sent to Austria. Jewish owned businesses and Jewish property were confiscated.
On May 11, 1944, all the Jews were assembled in the buildings adjoining the synagogue. Some tens of Jewish males were conscripted in military labor battalions. A Judenrat (Jewish council) was set up, consisting of five members of both communities. In the middle of June, all the Jews were sent to warehouses in the vicinity of the railway station, where they suffered from hunger, overcrowding and cruel treatment by soldiers of the Hungarian gendarmerie. A small number managed to escape to Romania or Budapest, or found refuge, against high payment, in Christian homes. The Jews of the nearby villages in the area were also brought to this place. On June 25 they were expelled to Austria; the majority returned after the end of the war.
The Jews of Bekescsaba were transported to Auschwitz which they reached on June 29.
After the war, about 60 survivors from Auschwitz and some 240 from forced labor and from Austria returned. The two communities reorganized anew, separately, but united in 1950. A considerable number of the survivors emigrated to Israel.
In 1968 there were still 151 Jews living in the town.