Győr and Jewry Outlook

“This selfless woman doesn’t work for awards, but for humanity”

Award for the Jewish People of Hungary” to Dr. Erzsébet Nagy

On 24 March 2022, the Award for the Jews of Hungary was presented at a formal function in the ceremonial hall of the Association of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz) in Síp Street, Budapest. This year, the prestigious award, founded in 2005, was given to Dr. Erzsébet Nagy, Hungarian history teacher, local historian, among others.

“With this award, the Mazsihisz expresses its appreciation to Dr. Erzsébet Nagy, Hungarian history teacher, local history researcher, for her devoted and humane work, through which she explores and makes known the Hungarian Jewish community – including in the Győr-Moson-Sopron county, Győr and Gyömöre – even beyond the borders of Hungary, making an exemplary contribution to the preservation of the memory of the martyrs who were exterminated during the Holocaust” – reads the decorative diploma awarded to Dr. Erzsébet Nagy as presented in the banquet hall of the Mazsihisz headquarters. 

Dr. Erzsébet Nagy’s work was praised by András Heisler, President of the Mazsihisz, who said: the awardee was born in Gyömöre, Győr-Moson-Sopron County, in a simple Christian Hungarian peasant family, which should be emphasized now because her origins have fundamentally determined, and still determine, her way of thinking and her world view.

Dr. Erzsébet Nagy at the reception of the award

“Her childhood experiences in the small village, her experience of the humane behaviour of simple peasants, have accompanied her throughout her life: their example of standing up for others has taught her to persevere in her studies, work and profession with hard work and humanity,” said the President.

In the laudation it was said that Dr. Erzsébet Nagy began to research local history of the Jewish community in parallel with her work as a teacher. Her research into the history of the Popper family in Győr, and then into the local history of her home village of Gyömöre, was interwoven from the very beginning with the nearly two hundred-years history of local Jewry.

For years, she collected local memoirs of Jews killed in the Holocaust from elderly people in the village, and regularly visited archives and libraries to gather the necessary material. She published her research in a book entitled “The Memory of the Jews of Gyömöre”, the publication of which was supported by the family of Tibor Villányi of Győr, said András Heisler. “We are happy to present her with this award, because she deserves it, even though we know that she is a selfless woman who works not for rewards, not for prizes, but for humanity, and humanity that she brought with her from her home village.”

The memorial book of the Jewish inhabitants of Gyömöre, also known as ‘Little Palestine’ ©

Without roots we can become strangers, without roots there is no spiritual or physical freshness. Man is rooted in his past. He who forgets his past becomes rootless. With the past we carry all its good and bad moments, the joy of our wise decisions and happy moments, but we also carry with us our mistakes and the burden of the sins committed against us. Both the guilty and the victim must cherish the memory of the past, so that some of the bad pages of history may not be repeated. Erzsébet Nagy’s local historical writing evokes Jewish people and Jewish families – in a completely objective way.

Chaim Sofer, Orthodox rabbi of Gyömöre 1852 (later he served in Sajószentpéter, Mukács and Budapest) © The National Library of Israel collection

She wrote a book of remembrance of the Jewish inhabitants of Gyömöre, also known as ‘Little Palestine’, where 25-30% of the souls living there belonged to Judaism, and where not only an Israelite school but also a separate yeshiva, a school of religious studies, operated from 1851 until the end of 1943. Erzsébet Nagy took the trouble to search the archives and talk to the people of Gyömöre who were willing to help with their personal recollections to write her work. (The book’s blurb)

For our compilation we used the websites;; and the book “The memory of the Jews of Gyömöre” by Dr. Erzsébet Nagy. Ed. Péter Krausz

Featured image: cottonbro pexels