Sabbatarians were the only proselyte religious community that had an official institutional form in nineteenth-century Europe. This study aims to present the history and gradual disintegration of the Sabbatarian community and their acceptance of a common fate with Transylvanian Jewry during the Second World War. This is realized by, first, outlining the historical context of the formation of Sabbatarianism; second, by describing the social and political circumstances of Transylvanian Jews in the first half of the twentieth century; and third, by giving a detailed presentation of the 1944 deportations and other related events.
East European Politics and
Societies and Cultures
Volume XX Number X
Month 201X 1 –20
© 2017 SAGE Publications
hosted at
Back to the Origins
The Tragic History of the Szekler
Gábor Győrffy
Zoltán Tibori-Szabó
Júlia-Réka Vallasek
Babes -Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania
Sabbatarians were the only proselyte religious community that had an official institu-
tional form in nineteenth-century Europe. This study aims to present the history and
gradual disintegration of the Sabbatarian community and their acceptance of a common
fate with Transylvanian Jewry during the Second World War. This is realized by, first,
outlining the historical context of the formation of Sabbatarianism; second, by describ-
ing the social and political circumstances of Transylvanian Jews in the first half of the
twentieth century; and third, by giving a detailed presentation of the 1944 deportations
and other related events.
Keywords: Anti-Trinitarianism; Holocaust; Hungary; Protestantism; Sabbatarianism;
Between 15 May and 7 June 1944, forty-five trains transported 131,639 deportees
from the territory of Northern Transylvania to the Nazi death camps, among
them a handful of Szekler peasants deported because of their attachment to the
Israelite faith. The religious community of Szekler Sabbatarians appeared in late
sixteenth-century Transylvania when a group of Unitarian believers arrived at a
radical interpretation of the call to return to the Biblical roots of the faith and
adopted a specific form of Judaism.
Sabbatarianism emerged from the traditions of anti-Trinitarianism and nonadoran-
tism in sixteenth-century East-Central Europe, notably in Italy, Poland, and
Transylvania, rejecting Christian dogmas, especially concerning the divinity, mis-
sion, and worship of Jesus. However Jesus still remained important for them, and
they held him above the other prophets, including Moses. By contrast to the Jews, the
early Sabbatarians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and read his teachings from the
Gospel in connection with the Old Testament. They also rejected all Jewish texts,
customs, and laws not described in the Pentateuch. By contrast to Christians, they
believed that the mission of Jesus was not to overturn but rather to maintain the Old
Law, and that God had not sent Jesus to establish a New Covenant or a new religion.
Sabbatarians were people of non-Jewish origin and Christian tradition that tended in
740626EEPXXX10.1177/0888325417740626East European Politics and SocietiesGyőrffy et al. / Back to the Origins
2 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
various ways towards Judaism. Sabbatarianism changed and was practiced differ-
ently over time and across space.
Religious Context of Transylvania in the Sixteenth Century
Until the beginning of the sixteenth century, Transylvania was part of the
Hungarian Kingdom. It became a separate political entity only after the victory of
Suleiman I over the Hungarian army at Mohács, in 1526. Ottoman forces occupied
Buda in 1541 and the kingdom was divided into three parts. This left Transylvania
under Ottoman suzerainty, yet it existed as a separate country and an independent
principality until 1687, when it was incorporated into the Habsburg Empire.
Transylvania was populated by three nationalities: Hungarians (including Szeklers—
living in the Eastern parts), Germans (Saxons), and Romanians.1
This period also saw the initial phases of the Reformation in Transylvania, a pro-
cess enhanced by the support of various ruling Princes. Sixteenth-century
Transylvania thus witnessed the development of a swift and progressive-minded reli-
gious regeneration, ranging from various stages of Catholic reform to extreme forms
of Unitarianism. Reformation arrived relatively early in the region: Johannes
Honterus, a native of Brassó (Braşov/Kronstadt), returned to Transylvania from his
studies in Vienna, Krakow, and Basel in 1532 with extensive knowledge of the teach-
ings professed by Luther’s Swiss followers. However, Protestant forms of worship
received an institutional framework only later, between 1540 and 1550. “The
Lutheran teachings found their optimal entry point in Transylvania among the urban
Saxon population, a trend that was promoted by the fact that most of the early path-
breakers of the Reformation were Germans.”2
By the 1550s, the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian and German popula-
tion in Transylvania had converted to Protestantism, including the Prince, John
Sigismund Szapolyai. Only a few noble families and certain parts of the country in
the East (the Szeklerland, mostly Csík/Ciuc County) remained Catholic. Soon after,
most of the Hungarians and the Prince himself adhered to the Calvinist line (the
Germans remaining loyal to the Lutheran faith), and the 1564 Diet of Torda (Turda/
Thorenburg) declared Calvinism (referred to simply as the “Reformed faith”) as one
of the “accepted” religions. The decree stated clearly: “All royal cities, market towns,
and villages shall have the right to follow any religion, to keep a preacher according
to their faith, and to dismiss the ones of contrary beliefs.” This meant that local com-
munities could decide which church to belong to, and those inhabitants who were
opposed to the decision could move to a different location.3
In 1544, Kaspar Helth (Gáspár Heltai), an enthusiastic follower of Luther, became
one of the city pastors in Kolozsvár (Cluj/Klausenburg) and through his writings and
activity managed to lead most of the inhabitants of the city to accept Protestantism.
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 3
The Lutheran Church in Transylvania was formed in 1554, with one of its first bish-
ops being Franz Hertel (famous under the name of Ferenc Dávid, founder of the
Unitarian Church of Transylvania).4 In 1559 he converted to Calvinism, and preached
the new dogmas with the same conviction as he had done with the Lutheran faith.
Later, while serving as Prince John Sigismund’s court preacher, he met Giorgio
Biandrata (György Blandrata). Biandrata had just arrived in Transylvania from
Poland, where he elaborated Anti-Trinitarianist views against the dogmas of
Calvinism and, together with other Italian preachers, created Polish Unitarianism.
Nonetheless, because he was persecuted by both Polish Lutherans and Calvinists,
Biandrata accepted the invitation of John Sigismund and was appointed the Prince’s
personal physician and counselor in 1563. Within a few years, Ferenc Dávid became
a follower of Biandrata’s religious views, and went on to establish in 1566 the
Unitarian Church in Transylvania and to convince the Prince to convert to
Unitarianism as well.5 The Unitarian doctrine established by Dávid proceeded on the
way opened by Reformation, while its anti-Trinitarianism (rejecting the Christian
doctrine of Trinity, emphasizing the unity of God, and considering Jesus to be a
human prophet) was the first step toward a new interpretation of the Bible, restoring
the authority of the Old Testament.
The development of religious tolerance in Transylvania was determined by a
complex historical trajectory. Its main function in the sixteenth century was to help
stabilize the socio-political and religious status quo, and to shape the independent
political identity of the Principality against the influences of the Islamic world and
the Counter-Reformation. More specifically, religious tolerance emerged gradually
to manage the peaceful coexistence of Catholicism and the various Protestant faiths
in the country.6 As early as 1557 the Lutheran religion was declared equal in status
with Catholicism, and in 1564 Lutheranism and Calvinism were officially recog-
nized as accepted denominations. The consensus among historians of religion holds
that the first legal document to guarantee freedom of worship was the 1689 Toleration
Act, adopted by the Parliament of England. Yet this referred only to Christian reli-
gions and excluded Unitarians. On the other hand, in 1568 the Diet of Transylvania
declared for the first time in Europe that all four religions—the Catholic, Lutheran,
Calvinist, and Unitarian faiths—were equal in status and could be practiced freely.7
Nonetheless, the Unitarian Church attracted suspicion from all other established reli-
gions, Roman Catholic and Protestant, with both camps deeming it heretical.8
During the 1560s the Reformation reached the staunchly Catholic Szeklerland
and started to spread amid the population. Although some areas remained loyal to the
old faith, the rest converted to Calvinism, and then to Unitarianism.9 In the last third
of the sixteenth century, however, a more radical reformist Christian sect gained
ground in the region, namely, the Sabbatarian religion, which—following the lead of
András Eőssy and Simon Péchi—was based on rejecting the idea that the New
Testament was divinely inspired.10
4 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
The Birth of Sabbatarianism
During the Reformation, Europe saw the establishment of several smaller reli-
gious sects that shared a common desire to reinstate into Christian life the Jewish
laws and rituals prohibited by the Church. As early as 1530, there were Sabbatarian
communities in the Czech lands that celebrated the Sabbath, and that later appeared
also in Silesia, Poland, and Russia. There were similar communities around 1545 in
England among the Quakers.11
Although initially there was an attempt to link Transylvanian Sabbatarianism to
the Czech, Polish, and Russian versions of the religion, research in the nineteenth
century (by József Lugossy) proved that it was formed as an inner development of
religious life in Transylvania, without any correspondence with other similar move-
ments in Europe.12 This autochthonous development can be explained in the context
of the events that followed Ferenc Dávid’s death in 1579. His Unitarian followers did
not stop where their mentor had left off, but arrived at the conclusion that several
tenets that were originally part of the Christian faith were missing from the Bible.
They primarily referred to numerous commandments in the Book of Moses that were
either replaced or deleted by the Church. As such, Transylvanian Sabbatarianism was
essentially born as the logical continuation of the teachings of Ferenc Dávid.13
The Sabbatarian religious community was founded by András Eőssy around 1588.
András Eőssy of Szent-Erzsébet was a wealthy Szekler nobleman who was among
the first to convert to Unitarianism in 1567, following the example of the Prince,
John Sigismund. His in-depth study of religious writings led him to develop the prin-
ciples of Sabbatarianism. In his own reflections, he adhered to the teachings of
Ferenc Dávid, and found that they represented the right direction but were not yet
complete.14 According to Sámuel Kohn’s 1889 book describing Sabbatarianism, it
was Eőssy who established the basic principles and dogmas of the faith, but the
elaboration of a religious framework was carried out by his later followers. Besides
arranging the re-edition and copying of old documents that supported his claims, Eőssy
also wrote various religious-themed dissertations, prayers, sermons, and hymns. Around
1600, they were compiled into “the old hymn-book of the Sabbatarians,” probably by
Eőssy himself. This book is the most important source for our knowledge of the doc-
trines of the sect.15
Nonetheless, later sources have shown that the origins of Sabbatarianism can be
traced back to the works of the German thinker Matthias Vehe-Glirius, who sought
protection from religious persecution in the 1570s in Transylvania, and whose writings
Eőssy translated into Hungarian.16 Glirius developed a consistently anti-Trinitarianist
theological theory that was different from all other Protestant views. It claimed that
Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but his mission on Earth was a failure and thus no
New Covenant was established between the Lord and Man. Consequently, the laws
of Moses still apply and the fate of humanity depends on respecting them until the
second coming of the Messiah.17
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 5
Antonio Possevino, a diplomat of the Vatican, reported on the impact of Glirius’s
work and the appearance of the Sabbatarian sect in Kolozsvár (Cluj/Klausenburg) by
1584. However, Sabbatarianism spread mostly in the Central and Eastern parts of
Transylvania, namely in the Szeklerland, in the region of the Küküllő Rivers
(Târnava/Kokel), reaching the towns of Székelykeresztúr (Cristuru Secuiesc/
Szeklerkreuz) and Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş/Neumarkt).18 Another proof of the
existence of the cult can be found in the decree of the Diet of Gyulafehérvár (Alba
Iulia/Karlsburg) in 1595, which outlawed the Sabbatarians; however, this decree was
never seriously enforced.19 One of the adherents of the religion was Simon Péchi,
who was also one of the very early students of Hebraism in Europe. Péchi went to the
Unitarian school in Kolozsvár and then became a schoolmaster in Székelyszenterzsébet
(Eliseni). Here he met Eőssy, who took him to the Prince’s court and then sent him
on an extended study tour around Europe. As the later history of Sabbatarianism
showed, the discovery, the financial support, and the subsequent adoption of Péchi in
1598 turned out to be one of the most significant and final contributions by Eőssy to
the religion.20 Staying true to the vision that guided the establishment of the faith,
Eőssy directed this talented young man—who mastered the Hebrew language at
Western universities—to learn from Jewish communities in order to adopt their
teachings and religious practices within the new religion of Sabbatarianism.21
This particular religious system was a little bit of both Christian and Jewish religion,
a kind of Jewish-Christian faith, an example of religious syncretism. Consequently, it
received some attention in the West European centers of the Reformation, but it man-
aged to grow into a larger movement only within Transylvania. This is because the
Principality had to maneuver on a peculiarly constrained political path, in the shadow
of the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, and could provide a relatively free environ-
ment for many persecuted religious views.22
Simon Péchi and the Spread of Sabbatarianism
Péchi returned to Transylvania in 1599 and became the secretary of Prince
Sigismund Báthory. In the next year, following Báthory’s abdication, he accompa-
nied the Prince to Poland, but in 1604 he was already back in Transylvania and took
part in the revolt of István Bocskai against the Habsburgs. As Prince, Bocskai spoke
approvingly of the loyalty showed by Péchi.23 In the upcoming years, he played a
significant role in Transylvanian political affairs, and was appointed chancellor in
1621 by Prince Gábor Bethlen. In this capacity, after the outbreak of the Thirty
Years’ War, Péchi also conducted negotiations with the Emperor Ferdinand II.
However, for reasons not clearly explained, his career was suddenly interrupted
when shortly afterwards the Prince issued an order of arrest, saying that Péchi “did
not represent him sufficiently well during the treaty talks with the Emperor’s diplo-
mats.” The sentence was carried out without a trial and Péchi was imprisoned for
nearly four years.24
6 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
During the years of his political career, Péchi could engage with matters related to
Sabbatarianism only in secret because, as a key member of the country’s leadership,
he was not able to openly declare his affiliation to a community that had been out-
lawed. Nonetheless, Sabbatarianism was becoming increasingly popular at the end
of the sixteenth century, and so in 1595 Sigismund Báthory re-enacted a law for the
suppression of Sabbatarians.25 The voyvode Michael, who usurped the princely dig-
nity of Transylvania, ordered the confiscation of their possessions in 1600. The 1618
Diet of Gyulafehérvár adopted a similar decree against religious “innovations,”
namely, “Judaism and similar blasphemies,”26 and the Diet of 1622 reiterated the
previous ban on Sabbatarianism. Yet, as in the preceding periods, such decrees were
not enforced in practice.27 The official schism between the Unitarians and the
Sabbatarians occurred when the 1618 Unitarian Synod in Erdőszentgyörgy
(Sângeorgiu de Pădure/Sankt Georgen auf der Heide) decided to exclude all “here-
tics” from their church.28
Péchi did not have the power to stop the adoption of anti-Sabbatarian laws; all he
could attempt to do was to obstruct and to defer the implementation of such legislation.
In his public activity and his official letters, he behaved as a good Christian should, yet
simultaneously he also tackled questions of Sabbatarian theology to which he had been
dedicated since his youth. This is demonstrated by the religious hymns he wrote during
the years of his political functions.29 Moreover, he is credited with supporting the spread
of Sabbatarianism (around 1620, there were twenty thousand Szekler converts) and the
stronger emphasis on Jewish characteristics within the religion.30 The believers practiced
their Jewish religion in secret for the next 230 years, pretending to be Catholic or
Unitarian, until their conversion to Judaism was allowed from 1868 to 1874.
During Péchi’s years of imprisonment, Prince Gábor Bethlen brought a number of
Sephardic Jews to settle in Kolozsvár, who then had a decisive influence on the fur-
ther development of Sabbatarian religious life. The Prince granted the newly settled
Jews freedom of worship and freedom of trade with the Ottoman lands. Besides
adopting the Spanish rite, the Sabbatarians also borrowed extensively from the reli-
gious literature of the Sephardic Jews.31
In the period between his release in 1624 and the Prince’s death in 1629, Péchi
retreated to Székelyszenterzsébet and dedicated his efforts to inconspicuous activi-
ties on behalf of Sabbatarianism. He followed the path envisioned by Eőssy and
gradually moved away from the conventional tenets of Christianity. He collected an
extensive library, which contained the various translations of and commentaries to
the Bible and the Talmud, and the most important works of Jewish exegesis and
moral philosophy. It was a productive period for him: he wrote a book, A szent atyák-
ból kiszedegetett tanulmányok (Studies Extracted from the Teachings of the Holy
Fathers), in which he gave a presentation of Jewish writings on morality, he trans-
lated and annotated the Psalms, Jewish handbooks on prayers and rituals, and even
saw to it that his writings were copied by scribes and distributed.32
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 7
After the death of Prince Gábor Bethlen, Péchi could engage in developing and
popularizing the principles of Sabbatarianism more freely. Just a few months after
the passing of the Prince, he went to Kolozsvár to study the books of the Sephardic
Jews. Here, he was quickly denounced as the well-known leader of Sabbatarianism
who was working towards the propagation of a “harmful sect” and the recruitment of
“apostles” for their religion. The heads of the Protestant churches submitted an offi-
cial complaint in 1631 to the new Prince, György Rákóczi I, condemning the new
religion that “spreads like the plague.” They accused Péchi of being the propagator
of this secret sect increasingly resembling the Jewish faith, so much so that the
Sabbatarians were seen not only being similar to Jews, but as practicing Judaism
outright. In a similar way, the population of Transylvania considered the Sabbatarians
to be Jews.
The Sabbatarians perceived the Jews as “the People of God” and themselves as
converted pagans. They accepted only the Pentateuch (The Five Books of Moses) out
of the Jewish law, rejecting religious provisions or practices not mentioned in the
Books of Moses. They held only the feasts ordered by Moses, rejecting other Jewish
feasts or feast-days. At the same time, Christian practices and feasts were completely
The celebration or observance of the Sabbath became the most important marker
of their religious and communal identity, allowing them to practice a kind of
Jewishness or non-Christian-ness without actually being Jewish. Their name in
Hungarian, “szombatosok,” coming from the Hungarian word “szombat” meaning both
“Saturday” and “Sabbath,” was of outmost importance for their self-identification. Péchi
did indeed immerse himself in the further development and organization of the reli-
gious framework, and continued writing Sabbatarian songs and hymns, and books
summing up Jewish religious laws or practices. According to Kohn, during this time,
Székelyszenterzsébet became the “Jerusalem” of Sabbatarianism and Péchi’s estate
the temple of a religion that was “completely tainted by the Jewish faith.”
Sabbatarianism spread almost as strongly in the neighboring Maros County (espe-
cially in the town of Marosvásárhely), but Kolozsvár was also considered to be one
of the strongholds of the religion.34
The Trial of Dés (1638)
After Péchi’s re-emergence and his public activities in favor of the religion,
Sabbatarianism could expand and stabilize for a while without facing any serious
obstacles. This golden age was not even perturbed by the Diet of 1635 that explicitly
decreed that all those who refused to officially renounce the Sabbatarian faith before
Christmas 1636 would be sentenced to death and have their property forfeited. The
law, however, was not enforced even after the deadline had passed.35
8 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
Prince Rákóczi did not act against the religion in a significant way until 1638
when he orchestrated a trial targeting the Sabbatarians—more out of political inter-
ests than religious considerations. The trial was set in the larger context of a political
and military conflict that had started when in 1633 Mózes Székely, the magistrate of
Udvarhely County and a Sabbatarian himself, fled to Ottoman territory. He was
accompanied by several political companions and allied himself with the Turkish
forces in order to defeat the ruling Prince. His fellow Sabbatarians harbored hopes
that if the conflict went his way, they would receive a Prince belonging to their com-
munity. Additionally, given that Mózes Székely was Simon Péchi’s nephew, it is not
entirely inconceivable that Péchi himself had a part in the conspiracy.36
The war against the Ottoman forces ended in 1637 when Rákóczi defeated the army
of the Pasha of Buda. Not long after, the Prince started to prepare measures against the
Sabbatarians. The 1638 Diet did not address the topic directly, but it summoned the rep-
resentatives of the four major religions in Transylvania to convene on July 1, in the town
of Dés (Dej/Desch), and to discuss the case of the Sabbatarians. The Prince also sum-
moned all Sabbatarians to demonstrate that they had officially renounced their faith and
converted to accepted religions, as requested by the 1635 Diet. The interrogation and
collection of confessions from Sabbatarians was under way in Kolozsvár, Marosvásárhely,
and smaller towns in the Szeklerland even before the trial.37 At the meeting in Dés all
those who had been identified as belonging to the Sabbatarian sect during the interroga-
tions were sentenced to death and loss of property. The death sentence, however, was
carried out only in the case of one—incidentally, non-Sabbatarian—person accused of
blasphemy, yet hundreds were imprisoned.38 If the defendants were willing to convert to
any of the accepted religions, their prison sentence was annulled; however, the forfeiture
of property was carried out in the case of all Sabbatarians. Péchi was interrogated on his
estate in Szenterzsébet and was released only in May 1639, after he agreed to covert to
History of Sabbatarianism after the Dés Trial
After the death of Prince Rákóczi, most of those who were forced to convert
returned to Sabbatarianism and the cult started to spread once again, yet the trial had
delivered a serious blow to the religion. The history of Sabbatarianism became a
story of repression and continuous persecution. In 1652 Prince György Rákóczi II
issued another harsh decree against the sect, and in 1670 Mihály Apafi sent a com-
mittee into the Sabbatarian villages to collect incriminating confessions from the
members of the community. The consequence of these repeated actions against the
religion was that in the following decades Sabbatarians were rarely mentioned in
historical records.40
In 1717, in the aftermath of the peace treaty of Szatmár (Satu Mare/Sathmar),
which ended the uprising of Ferenc Rákóczi II against the Habsburg Monarchy, the
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 9
persecution of Sabbatarians took on a new form under Habsburg rule. The authority
of the Catholic Church increased in Transylvania, and governing officials appointed
by the Vienna court forcefully condemned the Sabbatarians. The respective decree
was issued in 1722; therefore, the Sabbatarians were registered and lawsuits were
brought against them. The verdict regarding confiscation of possessions was applied
three years later, in 1725. Because of continuous persecution and waves of migra-
tions, the number of believers dropped significantly. Many among those who lost
their property in the forfeiture fled to the Ottoman Empire. According to registers
kept by the parish of Bözödújfalu, others adopted the Catholic religion, though
remaining Sabbatarians in faith. The parish priest of Bözödújfalu could not prevent
them from practicing Jewish rituals, and therefore Jesuits were in 1729 sent to con-
vert them. By the middle of the eighteenth century, larger Sabbatarian communities
could be found only in two villages, Bözödújfalu and Ernye.41
Even the Edict of Tolerance issued by Emperor Joseph II in 1781 brought no rec-
ognition of this religious movement, which was persecuted in the following centu-
ries. For example, the local Catholic priest forced the Sabbatarians of Bözödújfalu in
1827 to work on Saturdays and attend the Catholic mass on Sundays. In 1829, thirty-
nine Sabbatarians in Bözödújfalu and eight in Ernye were accused and put on trial.
By the middle of the nineteenth century only the former village still had Sabbatarians:
thirty-eight families, 150 persons, which meant one-quarter of the inhabitants.42
Until the official emancipation of Jews in Austria-Hungary in December 1867, the
Sabbatarians were compelled to practice their faith in secret, which meant that they
had to belong formally to one of the Christian Churches (Catholic, Reformed, or
Unitarian). The passing of the bill in favor of emancipation by the Hungarian
Parliament was interpreted by the Sabbatarian religious community as a government
act that guaranteed freedom of worship for them as well. However, the Hungarian
Justice Ministry announced that this was a mistaken interpretation of the law and that
emancipation of Hungary’s Jews did not apply to them. It was this—unfortunately,
mistaken—assumption that prompted the exit of 111 individuals from the three tra-
ditional churches in 1868 (44 Catholic, 43 Reformed, and 24 Unitarian).43
These attempts at conversion to the Jewish faith were not received well by the
church officials and the leadership of Udvarhely County and, consequently, their
legality was not recognized. In more than one case, Sabbatarians were repeatedly
pressured to renounce their intentions of openly practicing their religion. Finally,
based on the Emancipation Law of 1867, the Hungarian minister of religious affairs,
József Eötvös, allowed the Sabbatarians to convert to Judaism. For the community,
this act opened up the path toward the formation of an independent religious institu-
tion, and the Israelite–Proselyte Religious Congregation of Bözödújfalu was created
(later to adhere to the Orthodox Jewish practice). It is noteworthy that this was
the only proselyte religious community that had an official institutional form in
nineteenth-century Europe.44 From then on, the fate of the community is closely inter-
twined with that of the Jews in Transylvania, including in the period of the Holocaust.45
10 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
The mass conversion had the effect of creating two communities in the village:
one Jewish and other Sabbatarian. Nevertheless, in spite of the creation of an Israelite
institution, the Sabbatarian cult did not disappear entirely from Bözödújfalu. At the
end of the nineteenth century, there were still five families who followed the faith:
the seventeen Sabbatarians included József Sallós, the mayor of the village.46
The history of Sabbatarians was unknown to the world Jewish community before
the end of the nineteenth century. Moses Gaster, a Romanian-born Jewish-British
scholar, was the first who publicized in Romania and worldwide the history of
Transylvanian Sabbatarians, and wrote a study on this subject in the Jewish year-
book of Bucharest. He also delivered a lecture in England in 1889 about the
Sabbatarians of Bözödújfalu.47
Jews in Transylvania During the First Half of
the Twentieth Century
In order to present the more recent history of Szekler Sabbatarians, it is important
to describe the social and political circumstances of the Transylvanian Jews in the
first half of the twentieth century. The settlement of Jews in the Szeklerland took
place mostly in the second half of the nineteenth century. While the census of 1785
showed only one Jewish inhabitant for Csík County and ten for Udvarhely County,
according to the census of 1850 the Jewish population of the two counties was
around one hundred persons.48
The most significant phase of settlement happened after the Hungarian Revolution
of 1848 and the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (the Ausgleich), especially in
the northern regions of the Szekler counties. Most of the settlers were economic
migrants from Moldavia, Bukovina, and Galicia, drawn by the development of a suc-
cessful lumber industry in the Eastern Carpathians. Consequently, most of them were
craftsmen, but many were involved in trade as well. At the turn of the century, because
of railroad construction and the growth of urbanization, the settlement process
increased. Despite the willingness of the Jewish communities to assimilate (according
to the census of 1910, the majority of the Israelite inhabitants of Csík County declared
Hungarian as their mother tongue) the strongly traditional and closed Szekler society
was unaccommodating, and in some cases even hostile, toward them.
After the First World War and the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, Transylvania became
part of Romania and the Jewish population—which overwhelmingly identified with
the Hungarian language and culture—suddenly found itself in a double-minority
situation. The Romanian authorities called for their integration within the majority
nation, but the majority of Transylvanian Jews opted to belong to the Hungarian
minority. The shared experience of the new administration and of their minority posi-
tion could not fully dissolve the reserved nature of Szekler society; nevertheless, it
helped bring the two communities closer together. The anti-Semitic activities of the
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 11
fascist Legionary Movement (founded in 1927) and the strongly discriminatory laws
against the Jewish population (adopted in 1938, under King Carol II) did not alarm
truly the Jews in the Szeklerland since the local Hungarian population was explicitly
hostile towards the measures of the Romanian state. In this respect, their conduct
mirrored that of the Christian Hungarian Community towards the Romanian authori-
ties, because the linguistic and social assimilation of the Jews in Szeklerland (par-
ticularly those of the bourgeoisie) was already achieved by that point.
In the interwar period, the Jewish population of Transylvania lived in a paradoxi-
cal situation: While their historical and cultural heritage and their mother tongue tied
them to Hungary, the social, political, and economic circumstances, which deter-
mined their existence, were rooted in Romania. As Randolph L. Braham writes: “The
Jews of Transylvania were victims of the historical milieu in which they lived.
Romanians resented them because of their proclivity to Hungarian culture and by
implication Hungarian revisionism and irredentism. Hungarians, especially Right
radicals, accused them of being ‘renegades’ in the service of the Left.”49
The contestation of the Versailles Peace Treaty was a central feature of Hungarian
revisionist politics during the Horthy regime, repeatedly expressed through claims for the
detached territories. Within the discourse of revisionist propaganda, the re-annexation of
Transylvania was treated as the most significant symbolic goal. Because of the arbitration
worked out by Ribbentrop and Ciano on 30 August 1940, known as the Second Vienna
Award, the territory of Transylvania was cut in half and the northern part re-annexed to
Hungary. The territory that came under Hungarian rule was 43,000 square kilometers in
size, had a population of 2.5 million, included important cities such as Nagyvárad
(Oradea/Großwardein), Kolozsvár, Marosvásárhely, Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc/
Szeklerburg), and Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc/Oderhellen). Nonetheless, half
a million Hungarians remained in the southern territory, and the new borders cut regional
transportation in half, seriously impeding commerce and travel.
The Hungarian population in Transylvania received the decision with enthusiasm,
and flowers and triumphal decorations accompanied the entrance of the Hungarian
army. At the same time, a spontaneous population exchange started: Hungarian
inhabitants of the southern regions fled north, and the Romanian population from
the north moved south. This was soon to be stopped by both the Hungarian and the
Romanian governments as neither of them wanted to weaken their claim to
the neighbouring territories. At first, the Jewish population of Szeklerland shared the
euphoria of the Hungarians regarding the annexation. However, their celebrations
were cut short by the new administration’s steps to introduce the various anti-Jewish
laws that were already enforced in Hungary. In the counties of Csík, Maros-Torda,
and Udvarhely forty-two citizens were placed under investigation, and as a result a
number of Jewish families were deemed unwanted and then deported through
Kőrösmező (Yashinia) to Galicia by the autumn of 1940.
In the following period the Jewish population of Szeklerland was subjected to the
same policies as the Hungarian Jews (all men between the ages of eighteen and fifty
12 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
were sent to labor service), and after the occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany on
19 March 1944, they were similarly targeted by the “the Final Solution to the Jewish
Question” (Endlösung). Persons identified as Jews by the authorities were excluded
from trade unions and fired from state institutions, they were forced to wear the yel-
low Star of David and were forbidden to travel, while their food rations were reduced
and their property (merchandise, machines, tools, radios) was confiscated by the
Hungarian state.
Decree No. 6163/1944, which ordered the ghettoization of the Jews, was signed
by László Baky, the state secretary for Jewish affairs in the Sztójay government, on
7 April, and the implementation of the order was decided on April 26, in
Szatmárnémeti. Northern Transylvania belonged to the so-called “II. Ghettoization
and Deportation Zone,” and the territory of Szeklerland was under the command of
the Xth Gendarmerie District. The details of the deportations were finalized during a
secret meeting on 28 April, in Marosvásárhely. In less than a week, the Jewish popu-
lation was transported into ghettos that soon became overcrowded, had insufficient
water and food supplies, and where a lack of hygiene caused the spread of diseases.
The deportations from the ghettos started on 15 May, and by 7 June a total of 131,639
deportees—among them a handful of Szekler Sabbatarians—were taken in forty-five
trains from the territory of Northern Transylvania to the Nazi death camps.
These measures were applied to the small Sabbatarian community living in
Transylvania as well. It is hard to define the exact number of Sabbatarians who suf-
fered and perished alongside the Transylvanian Jews because over the centuries the
two communities had intermixed. However, a letter sent by the Association of
Hungarian Sabbatarian Families addressed to an unknown member of the Hungarian
Parliament from 1939 asking for the exemption of Sabbatarians from the anti-Semitic
laws mentions about 100–150 persons in Hungary and about 450–500 in Transylvania.50
László Harsányi estimates that “a few hundred Sabbatarians were murdered in
Those who managed to escape actively sympathized with the persecuted Jews. In
his lengthy article in Haaretz, Shay Fogelman observes “many testimonies from
Hungary and Romania mention them as offering food and shelter to Jews on the
run.”52 It also mentions “dozens of cases in which Sabbatarians refused to serve in
the army or take part in anti-Jewish actions,”53 and therefore were sent to labor camps
as punishment. As the war drew to a close, the few who had survived the brutal con-
ditions there were force-marched to Dachau and Buchenwald.
Sabbatarians of Bözöd and Bözödújfalu
after the Second Vienna Award
The villages of Bözöd and Bözödújfalu had a significant number of Jewish inhab-
itants, and there were several intermarriages with the local Sabbatarians who identi-
fied as Israelites. The mixed demographic situation of the two villages constituted a
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 13
specific case for the newly arrived Hungarian authorities in 1940. Theoretically, the
non-Jewish inhabitants—that is, the Szekler Sabbatarians—could not be subjected
to the anti-Jewish laws that enforced racial discrimination in Hungary. However,
who would fall within the excluded category according to the laws, and who would
not, was still open to decision. In 1941, a state deputy arrived in Bözödújfalu and
tried to convince the locals who identified as Israelites to convert to any of the
Christian religions (primarily to Catholicism or Unitarianism). This event was
reported by the renowned Hungarian writer, Zsigmond Móricz, in an article pub-
lished by Kelet Népe, one of the major Hungarian journals. According to the article,
the deputy threatened the Sabbatarians, saying that unless they converted as
demanded they would lose their homes, their lands, and their pensions; or as Móricz
reported, “the deputy announced to the villagers that those who do not convert have
no place in the Hungarian homeland and will be banished from it.”54 As a result of
these threats some Sabbatarian inhabitants agreed to convert.
The interest of Zsigmond Móricz in the everyday life of the Sabbatarian commu-
nity was stimulated by a young Transylvanian writer, György Bözödi, who had also
accompanied him on some of his Transylvanian visits and six years earlier had pub-
lished a book about his home village (Bözöd/Bezid) and the Sabbatarian community.
He considered that the resemblance between the tormented history of the Jews and
that of the seventeenth-century inhabitants of Transylvania made the Sabbatarian
community into “Spiritual Jews.”
Turks and Tatars raided, people suffered under German Rule, and fraternal feuds.
They expected redemption and looked for it in the Bible. There they read about the
fate of the Jewish nation, as if God had given them a mirror to see their own faces in
it. They thought that their own fate was looking back at them in the books of the
Prophets filled with suffering, slavery and decay. It wasn’t their face, but the face of
a relative, a brother found in the time of great danger. Is it a wonder that they grew
to love each other, that they never left each other, but kept on together in the middle
of ordeals, and they preferred to give their life than to give up the peace of their
The official position of the Hungarian Ministry of Justice was worked out by
Alajos Degré, the ministerial commissioner responsible for “matters concerned with
the issuing of certificates for the descent of the so-called Sabbatarians and their off-
spring” between May 1941 and October 1944.56 Their case proved to be quite prob-
lematic from a bureaucratic point of view since the non-Jewish ancestry of the
Sabbatarians was very difficult to prove within the procedure specified by the law.
There were only a few helpful records from the registry office, further aggravated by
the fact that in the past Sabbatarians often used pseudonyms because of continuous
persecution and took on Jewish names when they converted to Judaism. As such, the
creation of a certificate of ancestry for the Sabbatarians required access to special
historical archives and “a comprehensive knowledge of laws and legal history, which
could not be expected from the average civil servant.”57
14 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
The Sabbatarian villagers of Bözödújfalu sent a collective petition to the Ministry
of Justice in 1942 requesting the release of a certificate that would confirm their
Sabbatarian and non-Jewish ancestry. They furthermore asked the Ministry to send
one of its representatives to the village since they had no financial means to assem-
ble and send the necessary documentation.58 Before submitting the petition, the
villagers contacted Alajos Degré to ask for his assistance with the procedure. He in
turn proposed to the Ministry that—instead of producing costly certificates—the
collection of local testimonies would be more suitable. In May 1942, Degré traveled
to Bözödújfalu where he examined the local registry records and took the testimo-
nies of the petitioners regarding their family background and lineage. His activity in
the village was witnessed firsthand by the fifteen-year-old András Kovács, who as
a writer and journalist later wrote extensively about the history of the Sabbatarians:
We would dutifully supply him with our ancestors in the form of papers so that he could
measure them up and, based on the results, give each of us our percentage: this is how much
we’re worth, this is who we are. He then wrote all of this up in an official document which
declared that we are not to be considered Jews. . . . However, we are forbidden to marry
anyone who is fully or partially Jewish. At fifteen, I was not planning on marrying anyone,
regardless of the percentage, but it was truly shocking to see how—in planning for my future
marriage—the evil regime expressed a rather hopeful view regarding its own lifespan.59
Nonetheless, in May 1944, when the transportation of the Jews into the ghettos began
in Northern Transylvania, the local authorities selected the deportees based on their origi-
nal religion (i.e., the one they had before converting to one of the Christian religions) and
ignored Degré’s official certificate on the Sabbatarians. Thus, the Szekler Sabbatarian vil-
lagers of Bözödújfalu were rounded up with the local Jews, and then taken in carriages to
the Marosvásárhely ghetto at the brick factory of the city. Although the village was located
just a few kilometers north of the Hungarian–Romanian border, none of the villagers
attempted to escape to Romanian territory, which at the time was a safer zone. Even under
such circumstances, the Jews of Szeklerland and the Sabbatarians who shared their fate
were still more trustful toward the Hungarian authorities than the Romanian ones—which
proves just how ill-informed they were at the time. On the one hand, they had no under-
standing of the situation beyond the border, and on the other, they had no idea of the even-
tual outcome of the ghettoization procedure. In the ghetto, the Jews from Marosvásárhely
refused to acknowledge that the Sabbatarians could belong to the Jewish community,
while the Sabbatarians did not see the Jews they encountered here as true Israelites since
many of them did not keep a kosher kitchen, did not wear a hat, or celebrate the Sabbath.60
Intervention of István László Ráduly on Behalf of the
The fate of the Sabbatarians from Bözödújfalu was altered by the intervention
of the local Catholic priest. István László Ráduly began his service in the village
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 15
in 1942 and was surprised to find that the Sabbatarian villagers were subjected to
discriminatory anti-Jewish laws. When he reported this to his superiors as an
administrative mistake in need of resolution, he was warned not to oppose the
strict racial laws and not to draw the unwanted attention of the authorities upon
As the local commander of the Levente cadet movement, in May 1944 István
László Ráduly was in charge of taking stock of the property and estates left behind
by the deported villagers from Bözödújfalu. During the inventory, he came across a
scholarly work on the history of Sabbatarians, written by Sámuel Kohn, a rabbi
from Budapest. With the historical information gathered from the book, he launched
his attempt to bring out at least some of the villagers from the ghetto. Since in the
case of many Sabbatarians it was impossible to prove a 75 percent Christian ances-
try owing to mixed marriages, Ráduly produced several counterfeit birth certificates
for them.
In Marosvásárhely, he addressed Major Schröder of the Gestapo, in charge of the
ghettoization procedure, asking to be allowed to certify the members of his congre-
gation who were wrongfully taken into the ghetto. Although the major rejected his
request, the local colonel of the gendarmerie, Lóránd Bocskor (Botskor), granted
him access to the ghetto. After several days of pleading, Ráduly managed to “certify”
a sizeable group of villagers from his “congregation.” Thus, he was able to bring out
approximately seventy Sabbatarians from the ghetto, not only villagers from
Bözödújfalu but from Bözöd and Székelykeresztúr as well. Ten Sabbatarian villag-
ers, however, wished to express their solidarity with their Jewish relatives and so
remained in the ghetto—only to be killed later in Auschwitz. “Other sources show
that there were ninety-four Sabbatarians in the Marosvásárhely ghetto, out of which
thirty-four could not be certified because they were part of families with mixed mar-
riages and some of their ancestors were born in Galicia.”61
The successful action of Ráduly at Marosvásárhely established a precedent thanks
to which even in other villages, like Erdőszentgyörgy, Sabbatarians who could prove
their origins escaped deportation. In order to avoid ghettoization, each villager was
asked to sign a document in which they declared that they were not Jewish—and all
those who refused to do so, either for religious reasons or considerations of con-
science, were taken to the Nazi death camps.
The effective intervention of István László Ráduly was unusual in the context
of the general passivity or active collaboration demonstrated by the Hungarian
population, but it was not unparalleled at the time. Although difficult to prove, it
is likely that Ráduly had heard of the critical attitude of the Transylvanian
Catholic Bishop Áron Márton regarding the policies of the Hungarian govern-
ment. In a sermon at the consecration ceremony on 18 May 1944, just after the
closing of the ghettos, but before the start of the deportations, Bishop Márton
became the first among Hungarian Church leaders to openly criticize the actions
of the government and to call for the revocation of the immoral discriminatory
16 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
Further Implications of Sabbatarian Ancestry
On 16 May 1944, Alajos Degré reported to the Ministry of Justice that the approx-
imately two hundred certificates issued by the Ministry for the exceptional case of the
Sabbatarians had not been recognized by the local authorities. Nevertheless, the result-
ing events were not caused by malevolent arbitrariness; they were simply the overzeal-
ous and well-meaning mistake of the local leadership.62 In spite of the euphemistic
tone of the report, the rather permissive and—given the political circumstances—rela-
tively liberal certificates given by the Ministry were heavily criticized at the time, both
by some of the locals and by the Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie’s Central Detective
Office, which sent a memorandum to the Minister of Internal Office, Miklós Bonczos,
claiming that some of the acts presented by the Sabbatarians might be forged. The
Ministry of Justice however did not change the policy of granting certificates.63
The attitude of some of the locals can be inferred, for example, from a denuncia-
tion submitted by seven villagers (led by the village schoolteacher) from Bözödújfalu.
The authors wanted to provide the Ministry with a “truthful image” of the lives of
their fellow villagers who had just recently returned from the ghetto and referred to
the existing anti-Jewish laws and regulations as “highly important for our homeland
since they aim to exclude the Jews from the midst of our patriotic Hungarian
nation.”64 The denunciation expressed the villagers’ outrage over the fact that the
majority of the deportees had returned from the ghettos and stated the accusation
that—in spite of their certificates—they “were not Sabbatarians, but even bigger
Jews than the Jews themselves.”65
This allegation was based on the argument that “if the persons in question were
indeed Sabbatarians then why do they have Jewish prayer books written in Hebrew, why
do they follow the Jewish Ten Commandments, why do they practice circumcision, why
do they eat the matzah, and wear the prayer shawl. . . . If they were really Sabbatarians
then they would only celebrate the Sabbath, and not every other Jewish holiday.”
Furthermore, the authors stated that the conversion was done only to mislead the author-
ities, so that under the protection of a Sabbatarian certificate they could continue their
“disruptive activities” against the Hungarian nation by preparing the ground for “black
marketeering and communism.”66 Although the denunciation does not accuse him per-
sonally, István László Ráduly is attacked indirectly and described as a “person occupy-
ing a leading position in the village” whose function should be to act as a “vigilant
guardian of the Hungarian nation,” yet instead of “commemorating the bleeding
Hungarian heroes on the last Sunday in May, he was occupied with saving the Jews.”67
Most Recent History of the Sabbatarians in Bözödújfalu
After the Second World War, the trials of those who were charged as war crimi-
nals in Transylvania (once again part of Romania) were organized according to the
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 17
armistice signed on 12 September 1944 in Moscow. The Romanian People’s
Tribunals were set up following Ordinance no. 312 of the Ministry of Justice, issued
on 12 April 1945. The sentences were decidedly severe; however, all of the trials
leading to a death sentence were carried out in absentia; and none of those sentenced
to imprisonment served their full sentence. According to an ordinance issued only
four years later, in 1950, the war criminals who demonstrated good behavior could
be released from prison.
In the early stages of the war trials, the villagers of Bözödújfalu who survived the
ghetto had a chance to repay the gesture of Lóránd Bocskor (Botskor), the gendar-
merie colonel who had allowed them to return to their village and was on trial in
Hungary for his wartime role. On 30 August 1946, the magistrate of Bözödújfalu,
together with the local Communist Party secretary and the representative of the
Magyar Népi Szövetség (Hungarian People’s Alliance), compiled a written declara-
tion that informed the Hungarian authorities about the actions of Colonel Bocskor.
The survivors declared that they owed their lives to Bocskor, who “facilitated the
release of sixty internees from the Marosvásárhely ghetto,” thereby effectively “sav-
ing their lives, their children’s lives, and their property from certain disaster.” Besides
this declaration, initiated by József Kovács, the village priest, István László Ráduly,
also wrote a deposition in which he described Colonel Bocskor’s role in the libera-
tion of the “Jews.”68 Eventually, Colonel Bocskor was acquitted by the Hungarian
People’s Tribunal.
Back in 1935, György Bözödi had proudly stated in his book that “Bözödújfalu is
the Jerusalem of the Szekler Jews. The only difference is that an enemy never ruined
this Jerusalem, and it is the only community where the ancient religion remained
unchanged.”69 However, his metaphorical description proved to be wrong a few
decades later, as not long after their escape from the ghetto and the end of the war the
Sabbatarian community of Bözödújfalu gradually disintegrated. Some members
immigrated to Israel between 1960 and 1968, while others found their livelihoods in
other parts of the country. According to the 1947 census commissioned by the World
Jewish Congress, there were no Jewish inhabitants left in Bözödújfalu, yet in 1975
there were still five Unitarian families who claimed to be the descendants of the
Sabbatarians, and some of them even celebrated the Sabbath.
The fate of the village was determined in the end by the Romanian Communist
state: as part of the attempt by the Ceauşescu regime to “systematize” (and also dis-
rupt) rural Transylvania, the village was filled with water and transformed into a
reservoir. Construction of a dam in neighboring Erdőszentgyörgy had already started
in 1975, the villagers were then relocated in 1985, and the area was flooded in 1988.
Both churches and several of the public buildings were submerged and the village
practically disappeared—just like the Szekler Sabbatarian community that had once
lived there.
It is customary to treat the victims of the Holocaust as martyrs, although in the
circumstances in which they were rounded up, transported and murdered, they were
18 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
deprived of any possibility of altering their fate. This essay has presented how all the
members of the small Szekler-Sabbatarian community suffered persecution along-
side the Transylvanian Jews, By now it is clear that those persecutions led to the final
disappearance of this small community. Those few who, because of religious consid-
erations, deliberately tied their fate to the Jewish people despite all the dangers of
doing so, might be considered a true example of heroic martyrdom, one which for the
most part passed unnoticed by the generations to come.
1. R. K. Nyárádi, Erdély népesedéstörténete [The demographic history of Transylvania] (Budapest:
Központi Statisztikai Hivatal Levéltára, 2003), 216–17; B. Köpeczi, ed., Erdély története [History of
Transylvania] (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986), 410–15.
2. I. Lázár, Transylvania: A Short History (Budapest: Corvina, 1997), 117.
3. K. Benda, “Az 1568. évi tordai országgyűlés és az erdélyi vallásszabadság [The Diet of 1568 in
Torda and freedom of worship in Transylvania],” Erdélyi Múzeum 56, no. 3/4 (1994), http://epa.oszk.
hu/00900/00979/00008/01benda.htm (accessed 15 September 2015).
4. Köpeczi, Erdély története, 472; S. Kohn, A szombatosok: történetük, dogmatikájuk és irodalmuk,
különös tekintettel Péchi Simon főkanczellár életére és munkáira [The Sabbatarians: Their history, dog-
mas, and literature, with a special focus on the life and works of Chancellor Simon Péchi] (Budapest:
Athenaeum, 1889), 16.
5. W. Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” The Jewish Quarterly Review 2, no. 4 (1890): 471;
J. Szinnyei, Magyar írók élete és munkái [The lives and works of Hungarian writers] (Budapest:
Hornyánszky, 1891–1914), http://mek.oszk.hu/03600/03630/html/b/b01980.htm (accessed 15 September
6. K. B. Gudor, “Confessional tolerance and intolerance in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century
Transylvania,” Transylvanian Review 21 (2012): 261.
7. Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 471.
8. E. A. Pope, “Protestantism in Romania,” in Protestantism and Politics in Eastern Europe and
Russia: The Communist and Postcommunist Eras, ed. Sabrina Petra Ramet (Durham, NC: Duke
University Press, 1992), 160.
9. Köpeczi, Erdély története, 503–4.
10. Ibid., 504–17.
11. Kohn, A szombatosok, 26.
12. Ibid., 27.
13. Ibid., 29–31.
14. Kohn, A szombatosok, 43–44; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 472.
15. Kohn, A szombatosok, 47; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 473.
16. A. Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában [Searching for the Transylvanian Sabbatarians]
(Csíkszereda: Pallas-Akadémia, 1999), 78; see also R. Dán, Az erdélyi szombatosok és Péchi Simon
[Transylvanian Sabbatarians and Simon Péchi] (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1987); R. Dán, “Eőssi
András és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise” [András Eőssi and the Genesis of Transylvanian
Sabbatarianism], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 78, no. 5 (1974): 572–77.
17. Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 79.
18. Ibid., 82.
19. Dán, “Eőssi András és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise,” 576.
20. Kohn, A szombatosok, 47; Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 82–83.
Győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 19
21. Dán, “Eőssi András és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise,” 576.
22. Kovács, 82.
23. Kohn, A szombatosok: történetük, dogmatikájuk és irodalmuk, 162–67.
24. Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 97; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 479.
25. T. Borsos, Vásárhelytől a Fényes Portáig. Emlékiratok és levelek [From Vásárhely to the Sublime
Porte. Memoirs and letters] (Bucharest: Kriterion, 1972), 42.
26. S. Szilágyi, ed., Erdélyi Országgyűlési Emlékek [Records of the Transylvanian Diet] (Budapest,
1877–1881), VII, 92–97.
27. A. P. Szabó, “A dési per történeti háttere [The historical background of the Dés Trial],”
Egyháztörténeti Szemle no. 4 (2003): 29–56; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 476.
28. Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 478.
29. Kohn, A szombatosok: történetük, dogmatikájuk és irodalmuk, 181–82.
30. Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 478.
31. Kohn, A szombatosok: történetük, dogmatikájuk és irodalmuk, 190–93; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians
of Hungary,” 479–80.
32. Kohn, A szombatosok: történetük, dogmatikájuk és irodalmuk, 193–95.
33. Ibid., 86–97.
34. Ibid., 200–14.
35. Ibid., 207.
36. Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 100–1.
37. Kohn, A szombatosok, 208–10.
38. A. Kovács, Mondjatok káddist egy székely faluért [Say a Kaddish for a Szekler Village].
(Csíkszereda: Pallas-Akadémia, 1997), 12; Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 481.
39. Kohn, A szombatosok, 211–13; Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 111.
40. Kohn, A szombatosok, 317–21; Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 113–14.
41. Kohn, A szombatosok, 322–26.
42. Bacher, “The Sabbatharians of Hungary,” 484; Kohn, A szombatosok, 325–26.
43. A. Gidó and J. Pál, “Kiapadó búvópatak: Szombatosok az unitárius egyházban 1944 után”
[Waning Underground Streams: Sabbatarians in the Unitarian Church after 1944], Keresztény Magvető 4
(2009): 387.
44. Ibid.
45. Kovács, Mondjatok káddist egy székely faluért, 127; Kohn, A szombatosok, 364–68.
46. I. G. Rotaru, “Soarta sabatarienilor transilvăneni care nu au trecut în anul 1866 la credinţa iudaică”
[The Fate of Transylvanian Sabbatarians Who Did Not Convert to Judaism in 1866], Studia Universitatis
Babes-Bolyai—Theologia Orthodoxa 59, no. 2 (2014): 120–21.
47. A. Miskolczy, “Moses Gaster lázadása” [Moses Gaster’s Rebellion], Múlt és Jövő, no. 1 (2000):
127–29; Kovács, Mondjatok káddist egy székely faluért, 127–28.
48. R. L. Braham and Z. Tibori-Szabó, eds., Az észak-erdélyi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája [The
geographical encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Northern Transylvania] (Budapest: Park Könyvkiadó,
Kolozsvár: Koinónia, 2008), 98, 426.
49. R. L. Braham, Genocide and Retribution: The Holocaust in Hungarian-ruled Northern
Transylvania (Boston: Kluwer-Nijhoff, 1983).
50. A. Gidó, “Öt forrás az erdélyi szombatosság XIX és XX századi történetéhez [Five documents to
the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of the Transylvanian Sabbatarians],” in Areopolisz
Történelmi és Társadalmi Tanulmányok V. [Areopolis, Studies in History and Society], ed. Hermann
Gusztáv Mihály et al. (Székelyudvarhely, 2006), 177.
51. S. Fogelman, “Discovering Europe’s non-Jews who kept the faith,” Haaretz, 28 September 2011,
faith-1.387208 (accessed 15 March 2016).
52. Ibid.
53. Ibid.
20 East European Politics and Societies and Cultures
54. Zs. Móricz, “A szombatosok közt” [Among the Sabbatarians], Kelet Népe, 1 July 1941.
55. Gy. Bözödi, Székely emberek, zsidó istenek. Jegyzetek a székely szombatosokról [Szekler people,
Jewish Gods. About the Szekler Sabbatarians] (Kolozsvár [Cluj]: Minerva Rt., 1935).
56. L. Németh, “Degré Alajos miniszteri biztosi tevékenysége a székely szombatosok ügyében,
1941–1944” [Ministerial Commissioner Alajos Degré and his efforts on behalf of Transylvanian
Sabbatarians, 1941–1944], in Magyar–zsidó viszony a 20. századi Erdélyben [Hungarian–Jewish relations
in twentieth-century Transylvania], ed. Gidó Attila, http://adatbank.transindex.ro/inchtm.php?kod=235#_
ftnref25 (accessed 15 September 2015).
57. Ibid.
58. National Archives of Hungary, MOL IM K 579 88. cs. 28 096/1942, 552–56.
59. A. Kovács, Vallomás a székely szombatosok perében [Testimony in the trial of the Szekler
Sabbatarians] (Budapest: Magvető Könyvkiadó, 1983), 417–18.
60. Braham and Tibori-Szabó, Az észak-erdélyi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája, 435.
61. Ibid.
62. L. Németh, “Degré Alajos miniszteri biztosi tevékenysége a székely szombatosok ügyében,
63. Ibid.
64. National Archives of Hungary, MOL IM K 579 90. cs. 40 500; 1944, 870–72.
65. Ibid.
66. Ibid.
67. Ibid.
68. Braham and Tibori-Szabó, Az észak-erdélyi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája, 435.
69. Bözödi, Székely emberek, zsidó istenek. Jegyzetek a székely szombatosokról, 25.
Gábor Győrffy (PhD) is a lecturer of the College of Political, Administrative and Communication
Sciences of the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania. He received his PhD in 2007, defending a
thesis titled Censorship and Propaganda in Communist Romania. Restriction of the Public Sphere of
Hungarian Minority. His research interests include history of the press, with focus on the Transylvanian
printing press. He is also a member of the Romanian Association of Press Historians and deputy editor of
scientific journal Me.dok (Media–History–Communication).
Zoltán Tibori-Szabó (PhD) is an associate professor of the College of Political, Administrative and
Communication Sciences of the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania. He is also director of the
Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of the same college, and co-editor with Professor Randolph
L. Braham (City University of New York, USA) of The Geographic Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in
Hungary / A magyarországi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája (English version: Northwestern University
Press, Evanston, Ill., 2013; Hungarian version: Park Kiadó, Budapest, 2007), as well as of the volume Az
észak-erdélyi holokauszt földrajzi enciklopédiája [The Geographic Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in
Northern Transylvania] (in Hungarian: Park Kiadó–Koinónia, Budapest–Kolozsvár, 2008).
Júlia-Réka Vallasek (PhD) is an associate professor of the College of Political, Administrative and
Communication Sciences of the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj, Romania. She received her PhD from
the University of Debrecen (Hungary) in 2003, defending a thesis titled Hungarian Literature in
Transylvania during the second World War. Her research interests include history of the press, construc-
tion of identity and alterity, and working of memory mechanism in 20th century culture.
Full-text available
As the above title indicates, because of the publication schedule of Hungarian Cultural Studies this bibliography straddles 2018-2019, covering the period since the publication in Fall of 2018 of last year’s bibliography in this journal. Each year’s bibliography may also be supplemented by earlier items, which were retrieved only recently. Although this bibliography series can only concentrate on English-language items, occasional items of particular interest in other languages may be included. For a more extensive bibliography of Hungarian Studies from about 2000 to 2010, for which this is a continuing update, see Louise O. Vasvári, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, and Carlo Salzani. “Bibliography for Work in Hungarian Studies as Comparative Central European Studies.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture (Library) (2011): http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweblibrary/hungarianstudiesbibliography.
Erdély népesedéstörténete [The demographic history of Transylvania
  • R K Nyárádi
R. K. Nyárádi, Erdély népesedéstörténete [The demographic history of Transylvania] (Budapest: Központi Statisztikai Hivatal Levéltára, 2003), 216-17;
az 1568. évi tordai országgyűlés és az erdélyi vallásszabadság [The Diet of 1568 in Torda and freedom of worship in Transylvania
  • K Benda
K. Benda, "az 1568. évi tordai országgyűlés és az erdélyi vallásszabadság [The Diet of 1568 in Torda and freedom of worship in Transylvania]," Erdélyi Múzeum 56, no. 3/4 (1994), http://epa.oszk. hu/00900/00979/00008/01benda.htm (accessed 15 September 2015).
The Sabbatharians of Hungary
  • Bacher
Bacher, "The Sabbatharians of Hungary," 471.
Magyar írók élete és munkái [The lives and works of Hungarian writers
  • J Szinnyei
J. Szinnyei, Magyar írók élete és munkái [The lives and works of Hungarian writers] (Budapest: Hornyánszky, 1891-1914), http://mek.oszk.hu/03600/03630/html/b/b01980.htm (accessed 15 September 2015).
Confessional tolerance and intolerance in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Transylvania
  • K B Gudor
K. B. gudor, "Confessional tolerance and intolerance in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Transylvania," Transylvanian Review 21 (2012): 261.
The Sabbatharians of Hungary
  • A Kohn
  • Szombatosok
Kohn, A szombatosok, 43-44; Bacher, "The Sabbatharians of Hungary," 472.
Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 79. 18. Ibid., 82. 19. Dán, "eőssi andrás és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise," 576. 20. Kohn, A szombatosok, 47; Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában
  • R Dán
R. Dán, "eőssi andrás és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise" [andrás eőssi and the genesis of Transylvanian Sabbatarianism], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 78, no. 5 (1974): 572-77. 17. Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 79. 18. Ibid., 82. 19. Dán, "eőssi andrás és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise," 576. 20. Kohn, A szombatosok, 47; Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 82-83. győrffy et al. / Back to the Origins 19
eőssi andrás és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise
  • R Dán
R. Dán, "eőssi andrás és az erdélyi szombatosság genezise" [andrás eőssi and the genesis of Transylvanian Sabbatarianism], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 78, no. 5 (1974): 572-77.
Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 79. 18. Ibid
  • Kovács
Kovács, Az erdélyi szombatosság nyomában, 79. 18. Ibid., 82.
Kiapadó búvópatak: Szombatosok az unitárius egyházban 1944 után
  • Kohn
  • J Gidó
  • Pál
Kohn, A szombatosok, 325-26. 43. a. gidó and J. Pál, "Kiapadó búvópatak: Szombatosok az unitárius egyházban 1944 után" [Waning Underground Streams: Sabbatarians in the Unitarian Church after 1944], Keresztény Magvető 4 (2009): 387. 44. Ibid. 45. Kovács, Mondjatok káddist egy székely faluért, 127; Kohn, A szombatosok, 364-68.