Győr and Jewry

Once upon a time, there was a scout troop …

Jewish scouts at Révai High School – MEMOIRES NEVER PUBLISHED BEFORE

To the best of our knowledge, this document has never been published in any form, either on the World Wide Web or in print. It has been hidden in manuscript for over 20 years. We owe this little sensation to Margit Erdély, whose compilation about her grandfather, Dr. Ernő Erdély, the former Chief Commander of the Győr Fire Brigade, was published earlier on this site ( Ernő Erdély’s son Miklós, Margit’s father, was a member of this scout troop as a student at Révai and significantly contributed with his memories to writing this story.

This post is longer than average, but I didn’t see any reason to shorten or split the original manuscript. I have selected the photographs from various sources for illustrative purposes.

Thanks go to Margit Erdély for preserving this treasure and contributing to its publication, to Daniel Jaquet for putting the manuscript on the computer and to Judit Somló for the most indispensable corrections to the text.

Peter Krausz

The story of the László Szőgyi Scout Troop 479 in Győr, 1932-1940

Compiled by László Székely, Scout Officer, using the Yearbooks of the Royal Hungarian Révai Miklós High School (later Révai Miklós High School) of Győr and the recollections of László Szende and Miklós Erdély, 2001

Born in England at the beginning of the century and having arrived in Hungary before the First World War, scouting developed in the 1920s into a significant movement of youth, and especially of schoolchildren. This was demonstrated, among other things, by the 1926 County Scout Camp in Megyer, which was attended by 6 000 scouts representing the country’s scout troops. With its uniforms, excursions and camps, the scout movement became very attractive for the students of the Révai Miklós High School. The school’s scout troop Turul, which was formed before the First World War, had 60-70 scout members out of 340-350 students around 1930.

At that time, Győr, with a population of around 50 000, had a significant Jewish population almost 6 000. A considerable number of these citizens were merchants and intellectuals, and their sons were sent to the Révai Miklós High School (they had little choice: apart from the Benedictine Gymnasium, this was the only option for boys in the city to go into trade or higher education). These Jewish students also wanted to become scouts, but partly the Christian nature of a scout troop as such (and with it the majority of Hungarian scouting) and partly their different religious requirements (the Sabbath and the meal regulations) did not allow this. Thus, the need to form a separate Jewish scout troop arose in the early 1930s.

In 1931, there had been already 8 Jewish scout troops among the 589 scout troops in the country, and by 1934 (including the Győr troop!) their number increased to 12, meaning that elsewhere the same thinking was being followed as in Győr.

After such a precedent, in the first half of 1932 the (neologue) Israelite religion teacher of the school, József Ullmann, started to organise the scout troop. The Győr Israelite Community became the supporting body, while the troop recruited its members exclusively from the Jewish students of the Révai High School.

The Royal Hungarian Révai Miklós High School in the1920s,

The troop was officially formed in the autumn of 1932, at the beginning of the school year, with 33 members, who prepared for the recruit probation with great zeal under the leadership of Scoutmaster József Ullmann and Assistant Officer István Klein.

The Yearbook of the Catholic High School of the Order of St. Benedict in Győr, with the name of József Ullmann, Israelite religion teacher, Győr, 1934,

József Ullmann was primarily a religion teacher, he taught religion to students of the Israelite faith in several secondary schools in Győr. His profession, coupled with his purist personality, had a great impact on his work as a Scoutmaster. Parents were happy to allow their high school boys to become scouts because they knew their adolescent children were in good hands as a supplement to parental and school education. As a result, within two years, 70-80% of the school’s Jewish students were members of the troop.

The troop took the name of László Szőgyi, a teacher of the high school who died as a war hero in the WW1, and received the number 479 from the Hungarian Scout Association: thus the full name of the troop became László Szőgyi Scout Troop No. 479.

László Szőgyi’s name in the list of former teachers of the High School (Révai),

László Szőgyi joined the Győr Main Real School in 1910 and was a teacher at the school until 1915, after a one-year break (1911-12). He also enjoyed engaging with his students outside the classroom, for example, in the summer of 1914 he and three of his students rowed on the Danube from Ulm to Győr. In 1915 he was called up as a soldier and died at the front. His name is on a memorial plaque in the school lobby, unveiled in 1925, along with that of four of his colleagues and 55 former students.

In respect of the number 479, the scouts of the troop had a battle cry that went like this

“479! (whispered) – 479!!! (in the middle voice) – 479!!!!! (at full voice)”.

The debut of the team took place on March 8, 1933, whereby Pál Seller, national Scout Inspector, Gergely Bencsik, the Co-president of the Székesfehérvár Scout District (also a teacher of the school and the commander of the Turul team) and Dr János Erdős, the Chairman of the team’s organizing committee, were really impressed by the good work the team had done so far. As a result of the inspection, the troop was certified by the Hungarian Scout Association on 14 June 1933 and was inaugurated by District Co-President Gergely Bencsik on 19 June at a nice ceremony.

The troop held its first camp in Balatonlído (sic!) from 16 July to 30 July 1933. It was attended by 34 scouts. The camping was made possible by the generous support and dedication of Dr Ernő Erdély, School Board President.

The participating 34 scouts represent practically the whole troop – even in the following years the whole troop always camped together. This is remarkable, because e.g. in the Turul troop only 50-60% of the members were also campers. Obviously, this was only possible thanks to the parents, as well as wealthy (merchant) members of the community, who also provided substantial support to the troop, e.g. by paying for the camping costs of poorer scouts. The city of Győr also contributed to the costs with a 50 Pengo camping grant (at that time the cost of a scout camping was around 5-10 Pengo).

Dr Ernő Erdély, School Board President, was the Chief Commander of the Győr fire brigade. His son attended the second grade in this school year and he was of course a member of the scout troop.

This summer, the 4th Jamboree, the great meeting of the world’s scouts, was held in Gödöllő, Hungary. The recently formed, novice troop could not, of course, attend, but it nevertheless went on a one-day trip to the huge event, which attracted 30 000 Scouts, at the beginning of August.

Cover of the meeting’s photo album,

This visit was a wonderful experience for the Scouts of the newly formed troop, and the boys’ reports of their impressions gave a great boost to the recruitment of new members.

Scout fever, Gödöllő, 1933, Múlt-kor történelmi magazin

From the autumn of 1933, the Jewish Community of Győr, supported by generous external financial contributions, provided the troop with a scout “home” and equipment ideally tailored to the scouting goals.

Boy scouts on the train, Gödöllő, 1933,, Fortepan

The Israelite Women’s Association also bought scout uniforms for the needy scouts, contributing to the uniform image of the troop.

In the school year 1933-34, the troop continued to grow and by the end of the year the troop had 50 scouts and 9 recruits under the leadership of two officers (Commander József Ullman and Frigyes Ullmann) and three assistant officers (István Klein, Imre Herzberger, Ervin Freiberger).

On September 10, 1933, the troop unveiled the troop flag donated by Dr Jánosné Erdős (wife of the chairman of the organizing committee) in the presence of a large distinguished audience. The inaugural speech was given by Dr János Erdős, President of the Organising Committee. A speech was delivered also by Dr Henrik Kallós, President of the Jewish Community, about the team’s namesake, László Szőgyi, who died a hero’s death (in WW1). The scout flag of the troop with the inscription “Ancient faith and integrity for the homeland” was blessed by Chief Rabbi Dr Mór Schwarz.

The good performance of the troop was recognised by letting it send six patrols to the national competition of the Hungarian Scout Association. The best result was achieved by the patrol “Hawks”. Three patrol leaders (Tibor Holzer, Zoltán Kállai, Pál Weiler) could participate in the 13th (national) training camp for patrol leaders in Hárshegyi Scout Park (Budapest).

Girl scouts, Gödöllő 1933,, Fortepan

The 1934 Big Camp was held from 9 to 24 July in Fonyód-Béla-telep with the participation of 51 scouts.

65 years later, László Szende, who was in the second year of high school at the time, remembers the camp as follows:

It was a real pleasure to camp on the shores of Lake Balaton. The murmur of the water almost echoed in the tents and accompanied our dreams.

Of course, this great experience also had its drawbacks, because when a storm raced across the lake, it didn’t spare the camp. The tent canvas was stretched to the point of being torn to pieces, and some of the more fragile parts of the tent fell on the occupants. It had to be rebuilt with the help of the most storm-resistant members of the team.

A great event was the flag-raising ceremony with a horn call at the opening of the camp, and the ceremonial lowering of the flag to music at the closing. Between these two occasions, the flag was flying in an imposing way.

In the mornings, a line-up and the issuing of orders in front of the flag followed a horn call, and in the evenings, the retreat to the tents was accompanied by music. All this made the sunrise and sunset more colourful.

Of course, those who were reprimanded in any way by the commanding officer during the morning call – for their objectionable behaviour the previous day – were not taken in by the cheerful colours, but rather by ‘other’ feelings and thoughts.

In general, a mischievous cheerfulness ruled the camp. Just to give a few examples …

… our friend N., who was fast asleep and disturbed his tent-mates with his snoring, was ‘rewarded’ by the others by having black shoe-paste smeared on his nose, forehead, face and many other parts of his body. On awakening, the tent dwellers were greatly amused at the spectacle. The most amusing thing was that, at first, our friend N., unaware of what had happened to him, laughed with the others. Then, when he realised what had been done to him, he withdrew, blushing and embarrassed, to “wash away the shame of what the centuries had smeared on him”.

… another nice experience was that when we found out that our friend J. was sleeping the sleep of the righteous in the night watch. A not quite appropriate piece of rubber was found somewhere and stuck in his open mouth until he woke up. He saw the joke and removed the “piece”, i.e. spat it out.

… the boat trip to Badacsony with a crew of about 3 men happened to be a nice adventure. First, we walked around the mountain and thereafter we “climbed” it (a low mountain). The route led up past some very spectacular press houses and vineyards, with the Kisfaludy house visible at the end. There was an amazing view down to Lake Balaton, walking down to the harbour and then crossing the water to the campsite was of course much easier. It was a really romantic day out.

An old photo of the Kisfaludy House in Badacsony, Magyar Nemzeti Digitális Archívum

In the school year 1934/35, the enrolment ceremony was held on 25 March 1935 in the presence of a large and distinguished audience. The inaugural address was given by Dr Károly Barna, Chief Government Councillor and President of the National Grand Committee of the Hungarian Jewish Scouts. The Hungarian Scout Association awarded the troop with two commemorative medals (for the raids and the obstacle race) acknowledging their good work this year. The 14th National Patrol Leader Training Camp, held in the spring in Hárshegyi Scout Park, was attended by Patrol Leaders Pál Kőnig and Miklós Erdély. The troop consisted of 6 officers (Scoutmaster József Ullmann, Commander, Officer Frigyes Ullmann, Assistant Officers István Klein, Imre Herzberger, Ervin Freiberger and István Silbermann) and 58 Scouts at the end of the school year.

From 8 to 20 July 1935 the troop camped in Sopron at the Tómalom. The generous support of the Jewish Community, the Women’s Association and the Holy Association made it possible for all the scouts to take part in the camping, which was refreshing for body and soul. After 65 years, little was known about the camp. Recalling his memories, Miklós Erdély, a former camper, said that …

… the boys had visited Vienna under the guidance of Scoutmaster Frigyes Ullmann, where the scouts had been warmly welcomed. They visited the most important sights of the city, but he also recalled that they saw soldiers in helmets everywhere. Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, who had introduced a fascist-style dictatorship, was assassinated by Austrian National Socialists in a failed coup in June 1934. A year later, in his opinion, there were riots because of the anniversary.

On 1 September, a boat launching ceremony was held. The 5 new boats of the troop were inaugurated by Dr Pál Vidor, Scoutmaster. This was a great opportunity for the troop to make adventures on the water, which, in Győr, given the rivers in and around the city, was a great opportunity. The scout troops operating here were able to take advantage of this situation very easily, as there was a separate scout boathouse on the banks of the Rába river.

The troop commander was pleased to note in his report in the yearbook of the Révai High School that the young scout troop was making progress year-by-year. He also wrote that they were striving to achieve the goal that scouting would help the boys in developing their spiritual and intellectual gifts and talents, which God had instilled in them.

On February 9, 1936, a scout enrolment ceremony was held again, at which Chief Rabbi Dr Emil Róth delivered the enrolment address. On this occasion, 5 new recruits took their vows and 32 Scouts made their pledges.

Dr Emil Róth, Rabbi, 1930s, Gyor Jewish Website

During the “good deed week”, the team collected two cartloads of in-kind donations and P100.15 cash for the needy. The donations were delivered to the city’s Social Welfare Department for distribution.

The Hungarian Scout Association rewarded the troop with a commemorative plaque of 500 good points rating for their good work during the year.

The size of the troop also continued to grow: this year, 52 Scouts and 32 Cub Scouts led by 6 officers were actively involved.

In 1936, the summer camp for the scouts was held in Kőszeg, but there was also a separate camp for the Cub Scouts in Vaspuszta, on the estate of Ignác Bruck, the Community President. In addition to the two camps, the troop’s rover patrol also attended a three-week boating camp at Lake Balaton.

Unfortunately, nothing more has been found out about these camps, even their exact dates, duration and number of participants have been forgotten over the decades. In any case, the fact that they were able to organise three camps in one summer reflects very favourably on the zeal of the leaders and the financial situation of the team.

A successful summer was followed by a very good year of scouting. According to the report the scouts participated in all national scouting events of the Hungarian Scout Association. During the “good deed week”, the usual 2 cartloads of donations was collected again this year, but the amount of financial donations almost doubled reaching 185.09 Pengo. The Hungarian Scout Association honoured the troop with an even greater award, 600 good points on the usual commemorative plaque.

László Szende (then in 5th grade) recalled that he was a member of the Seagull Patrol at that time. The leader of the patrol – son of the above-mentioned Dr. Ernő Erdély, Chief Commander of the Győr Fire Brigade and Chairman of the School Board – was Miklós Erdély. Dönci (this was his scout nickname), as a firefighter offspring, was extremely attracted to the fire brigade (he became a fire brigade officer after the war). From the point of view of the Seagull Patrol, this was interesting because …

… the patrol had a “fire discipline”,

… several times, its members would participate in a light drill of the firefighters in the yard of the fire fighter station (e.g. rolling out hoses, assembling, etc.),

… the scouts went often skating on the rink of the Skating Club next to the fire fighter station, managed by the fire brigade,

… in the spring and autumn, they played football and did athletics on the skating rink, which had been converted for the purpose.

Such programmes were accessible not only the Seagull patrol but other patrols could also participate in similar sports activities.

In his memoirs, László Szende also writes that besides the practical work, they also received theoretical training in the patrol (troop), talked in detail about the 10 Scout Laws (after 65 years he still remembered five of them verbatim!) and other requirements of the scout trials. But they also did special tests, he recalled, for example, taking the cook’s special test and the observation special test – and the badge related to these tests to wear on his arm.

In the summer of 1937, the camp was held at Síkfőkút, near Eger.

László Szende was also at this camp (he didn’t go to many camps because he had to help in his father’s grocery store in the summer), and this is how he recalled it long after the event:

Síkfőkőkút is located in the western part of the Bükk Mountains, an extremely beautiful area, an almost wilderness setting.

The hilly, mountainous woodland with its hills was perfect for a game of a ‘war’ with numbers fixed on our hats. We threw ourselves into this game with great passion. The numbers “shouted off” by the warriors in their hiding places were resounding. The number of survivors grew thinner and thinner and the number of “corpses” gradually increased, and at the end the winners returned to the camp site with a triumphant battle cry. I’m not boasting, but the game I remember was won by our patrol – the Seagulls.

Síkfőkút today,

The night watch was an exciting moment of the camping experience. The sound of the horn woke the boys at midnight. They woke up from their sleep, dressed as quickly as possible and lined up around the troop flag at the command of their patrol leader. The commander informed us that our posted observers had reported that an enemy formation was preparing to attack our camp.

The patrols surrounded the camp and waited for the enemy. However, after about half an hour on watch, the commander called off the alert because the observers reported that the enemy, having learned of our vigilance, had abandoned the attack. It was disappointing not to be able to fight and defend our camp, but comforting not to have to spend more than an hour of the night without sleep.

Among my experiences was an unpleasant one, namely the following:

There was a very beautiful meadow below our camp, which was often used as a football pitch. We used to play football matches there in free time. During one of these games, I got into a big fight with one of the assistant officers, whom I called an idiot in the heat of the game. Naturally, I got the short end of the stick. The affair turned into an interrogation and detention. The most painful thing for me, however, was that during the previous days of the camp I had been hoping to compete for the proud title of “best camper”, but this “malheur” put an end to that beautiful hope.

On one occasion, a small part of the campers went on a trip from Síkfőkőkút to Eger. Eger is situated between the Mátra and the Bükk mountains and is the capital of Heves county. It is very rich in monuments and historical sights. We visited the ruins of the fortress, famous for the heroic battle of Captain István Dobó against the Turks. We also visited the minaret from whose balcony the muezzin called the Turks to prayer in the name of Allah. The high tower offers a beautiful view of the city.

The view of Eger, 1940,

We saw the house of Géza Gárdonyi, the great writer of Eger, where he wrote his famous work “The Stars of Eger”, and we visited his grave. In addition, we also passed by several other historical sights and monuments. We returned to the camp tired, but with very nice experiences.

As the years went by, the Révai yearbook became thinner and thinner, and the reports in it about the scouts became shorter and shorter. This was particularly true of the report of the Jewish scout troop, which in 1937-38 was only a few lines long and contained hardly any meaningful information. From the following year onwards, any search for the report is futile; even about the Turul scout troop only a few lines could be included in these wartime yearbooks…).

In the 1937-38 school year, the troop participated in all the federal rallies and this year again it collected donations in kind for 2 carts and 152,90 Pengo in cash. In the spring and fall – every year, including this year – several day trips were organized to excursion sites near Győr.

László Szende remembered these trips in this way:

In addition to the big summer camps, we organised short trips in spring and autumn.

Our favourite and most frequent excursion target was Kiskút by the Iparcsatorna (an Industry Canal built for the factories around). This was mainly a patrol trip, but there were also troop trips, which were usually organised in conjunction with the summer outing of Révai in June. One of the favourite programmes at the camp show was ‘Mufti, the Wonder Spider’. Mufti, member of our troop, had the special ability to recite every text from the National Anthem to Toldi backwards and forwards. We had great fun with the improvised backwards recitation of texts invented by our mates from other patrols, that he was doing as if he were reading from a book. That’s why we called him “Mufti, the Wonder Spider”. Another friend of ours was a “counting wonder” who did similar tricks with numbers as Mufti did with words. He divided and multiplied everything and anything. It was a great experience for us.

The Industry Canal in Győr, 2017, Photo: dr. Honvári János,

Another of our favourite excursion spots was „Püspök erdő” (the “Bishop’s Forest”), up the banks of the Moson Danube, which was the scene of exciting number wars and obstacle races.

Püspökerdő beyond the Moson Danube, 2018,

Several times during our scouting period, we visited Kismegyer, the scene of the Battle of Napoleon. Here we saw the monument erected to commemorate the battle.

Memorial in Kismegyeri in the 1950s,

The team also made boat trips north and south on the Moson Danube, as well as on the Rába and other rivers in the area.

Once (we have not been able to find out which year) a major undertaking was undertaken: it was our participation in the North-East Hungary Cycling Tour.

Months in advance, preparations were underway. The girls embroidered flags on the bikes and the parents – especially the mothers – were worried sick about their touring sons. The route was Budapest-Eger-Miskolc-Debrecen and back, with lots of fun and some not so fun.

The trip started with excitement, because one of our mates had such an unfortunate fall in the horseshoe bend in Gödöllő that he was injured and his bike was badly damaged. But we helped to fix everything and continued on our way.

We arrived at the camp of the Jewish team in Miskolc late on Friday evening (which was already part of Sabbath), so we were stigmatized by the camp rabbi as “blaspheming God”.

Well, in the end everything went very well and nicely. Lillafüred and later the Nagyerdő in Debrecen, but also many other beautiful places we saw on the way, were a great experience for the participants. It is true that we had originally planned the tour to be even longer, but we did not have enough time and energy for more.

The mothers were the happiest that we shortened the trip, still an unforgettable experience.

As the Jewish question in Hungary became more acute, the Scouts withdrew from the more “fashionable” campsites of the previous years (Balaton, Sopron, Kőszeg, Eger) to “modest” camping facilities. This meant summer camping on the estates of Jewish landowners or landlords in the Győr area, who, understanding the changing times, were willing to provide the troop with a campsite.

Thus, in the summer of 1938, the group was given a campsite on their property in Fúd near Nagyszentjános by the Vajda brothers, who were farmers there.

I have a photograph of the gate of this camp in the background with the inscription “479th Szőgyi László Scout Troop Győr” that I received from László Szende with the following lines of recollections:

I had been courting the little girl at the front of the picture for only a year; she has been my wife since 1946 for 53 years. When she came to visit me in the camp, neither of us had expected our lives to take such a turn. Unfortunately, this turn of life has been full of sad events. The deportation of our parents, family members, many of our fellow scouts and ourselves. After our return home, severely shattered but fortunately alive, we did what we were wisest to do: we got married.

It is interesting that our brother scout, Pali Grüngold – later Gábor – who is in the background of the picture, my best friend and my assistant patrol leader in the Seagulls, and the little girl he loved, were in a similar situation and acted in the same way as we did. Another of our teammates – the aforementioned Dönci Erdély – followed the same path. I think we were good examples of the perseverance and persistence of the Scouts. Examples that are rare in life.

I remember one nicer “story” from the puszta of Fúd: we had a fellow scout, Pollák, whom, who knows why, everyone liked to poke and prod. One day, we thought he was in the tent and someone shouted “let’s punch Pollák!” That’s all we needed, we rushed into the tent: pulling and pulling until the tent collapsed. We waited to see Pollák’s terrified face as he climbed out.

But our face became terrified, because on climbing out it turned out that someone had mixed up the person entering the tent who was not Pollák, but our extremely strict assistant officer: Uncle Gyuri Klausz. The trouble broke out, of course, followed by an order for questioning, and severe reprisals. Well, that too is one of the fond memories of the camp. In later years, when we met Gyuri Klausz, who had become a good friend, we would recollect old times and have a good time.

Sadly, neither Gyuri nor Pali Pollák are alive anymore.

As Hungary became more and more entangled in the fascist world, the Jewish troops’ options had narrowed to the point where they could only camp on one of the nearby Jewish estates. The last camp of the group was held in the summer of 1939, at Hodálypuszta near Ménfőcsanak. János Krausz, a tenant farmer on the estate, was kind enough to approve the camp.

The following letter is addressed to István Vértes, a former scout member of the troop, who understood the times, sensed the coming storm and was the first, or at least among the first, to emigrate to Israel.

Hodálypuszta Camp, 29 June 1939


Dear Brother Scout,

We think of you with great affection in our Hodálypuszta Grand Camp where we have just held our cosy campfire in memory of you, in your honour. At the beautiful melody of Hatika Oath, every brother scout remembered you.

Our Scout regards to you, Commander József Ullmann (+ 17 signatures)

The letter is typical of the situation which, in the late 1930s and the first half of the 1940s, brought tragedy to Jewry, and of course to the Scout movement.

It is probable that the songs sung at the campfire mentioned in the letter were the ones learnt by those who stayed behind from their brother scouts who had emigrated to Israel, and which were often sung in difficult times. Here are two of them (which László Szende recalled, who unfortunately did not tell us the tune):

(Only in Hungarian)

A Jordánon suttog a szél
A Jordán regéket mesél.
És sejtelmes hangját
Oly messzire viszi a szél.
Elviszi messzire, távoli földekre,
A zsidó szívekbe.


A Kineret tó partján
Egy kicsinyke kis sziklán
Ül egy fekete bachur
És magában így beszél:
Tízet szerettem
És kilencet feledtem,
De azt az egyet elfeledni
Nem tudom soha.

Little is known about the years 1939-40. László Szekeres, a scout leader who graduated from the high school in 1939 took his scouts on several excursions even in the spring of 1940. But there was no camp in 1940 anymore.

The impact of the laws on Jews and the parallel state pressure was growing in general as well as on the Hungarian Scout Association. There was the choice: either to dissolve the whole association (all 600 scout troops) or to expel the 2,000 Jewish scouts, who were then grouped in 14 troops. In the interest of the others, the latter was decided upon and, according to the decision of the General Assembly held in December 1940, Jewish Scouting in Hungary was dissolved. This, of course, also meant the end of Scout Troop László Szőgyi No. 479.

But what happened to the scouts?

Many scouts followed Pista Vértes – together with his parents, of course. They emigrated to the most diverse countries of the world, from Israel, through North and South America, to Australia and even other places.

Some – like László Szende, Miklós Erdély and many others – stayed at home and were put into forced labour camps and were later deported. Those who were lucky managed to escape alive, but these were just a few. The majority, however, like their parents, and most of their families, were victims of the concentration camps.

Those who survived started a new life after the war and remembered for the rest of their lives that …

… “once there was a Jewish scout troop in Győr, which helped many boys to have a beautiful childhood, a character-building and an eventful youth.” (Words by László Szende)

Finally, here-below some of scout songs (recollections of László Szende):

(Only in Hungarian)

Megjött már a fecskemadár, fészket rakott nálunk.
Hívogat már a napsugár, nagytáborba vágyunk.
Virág nyílik a hegyoldalon, nincs szebb annál semmi:
Harsog a kürtszó, cserkész pajtás, táborba kell menni.


Este van, este, szép csendes este, ragyognak ránk a csillagok.
Nem zúg a szellő a sátrak mellett, jó anyám csak Rád gondolok.
Aggódó, könnyes két szemedre, mosolygó szép tekintetedre.
Te jársz eszembe jó anyám, téged szeretlek igazán.


Száraz tónak nedves partján döglött béka kuruttyol.
Hallgatja egy süket ember, ki a vízben lubickol.
Sej, haj, denevér, bennünk van a kutyavér.
Sej, haj, denevér, bennünk van a kutyavér.


I have finished writing and I am sad to say that this collection of memories is shorter than I would have liked. The sources I have found have really been very limited and there are hardly any witnesses to remember 50 years later. Here, I would like to thank the generous accounts of two former scouts who were still alive when the data collection began. Without them this story could not have been written.

The question may arise: why did I, as a Catholic by religion, write the history of the Jewish scout troop in Győr?

I was a scout only after the war – for less than two years – and in 1990, as a teacher at the Révai High School, I reorganised the school’s Turul Scout Troop No. 42. In these two capacities, I come across the László Szőgyi Scout Troop. It caught my interest, because from my pre-war childhood years I remember with fondness the Jews who lived in our town: our doctor, our dentist, as well as my father’s friends, business partners and employees. I felt that, even though this story is not dedicated to them, I owed this piece of writing also to their memory.

It was a great pleasure for me to be able to commemorate the László Szőgyi Scout Troop in Győr.

László Székely
Scout Officer
Győr, 2001