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Persecution of Hungarian Rabbinate Students

The fate of 185 Jewish Hungarian students was the motive for the visit Professor Matthias Morgenstern from the Seminar for Theology and Jewish Studies at Tubingen University paid to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. In the archives, he retraced the individual lives of the persecuted students adding information mainly on their incarceration. “The research possibilities the ITS offers are exemplary”, said Morgenstern.

In the historical period lasting from 1870 up until the Holocaust, the Hungarian students completed their rabbinate studies at the Jewish-Theological Seminar in Breslau, the Rabbi Seminar of the Hungarian country in Budapest, at the University for the Study of Judaism in Berlin or the Rabbi Seminar in Berlin. “Some of them were deported to ghettos and concentration camps while studying”, knows the 52-year-old. “We know for sure that 23 of the students were murdered in the Holocaust.”

At the ITS archives, Morgenstern came across prisoners’ identification cards, lists on new-arriving prisoners and reports on changes in the number of prisoners – information that will contribute to completing the biographies of the Hungarian students. “As to Heinrich (Hendrik) Fisch, nothing has become known about his having been persecuted up to now”, explains the professor. “Thanks to my research at the ITS, I have come to see that he was deported from Auschwitz to Dachau in July 1944 and was freed there on 30th April 1945.”

The information found will round off a dissertation which Morgenstern has supervised and which deals with the subject “Contemporary Rabbi Studies in Germany and Hungary. Hungarian Listeners in German Rabbi Seminars (1854-1938).