Kolozsvár / Klausenburg / Cluj
major city in Transylvania and an important industrial, cultural and
educational center in Romania. The city hovered between Austro-Hungary,
Romania and Hungary, assuming its various names. Originally settled by
Saxons who came to Siebenbűrgen by invitation of the ruler, later known as
Transylvania. Today it is part of Romania again with its Latin-Roman
origin name, hyphenated as Cluj-Napoca. Between the wars it became
Hungarian, named Kolozsvár .
industries, such as the Dermata leather processing plants and shoe factory
belonged to local Jews. Laci Devecseri another son of Kolozsvár and his
father were the premier engineering and construction company responsible
for all the major government and business buildings in the city. In 1941,
Devecseri built two identical residential apartment houses, which included
the latest technologies of the day. When the Germans entered Kolozsvár,
they immediately confiscated the houses, evicted the mostly Jewish
residents and turned the buildings into SS headquarters.
local brick factory on the other side of town was turned into the
Kolozsvár ghetto. The factory’s railroad siding enabled the swift
expedition of the imprisoned directly to Auschwitz. Eighteen thousand
people were kept out in the open, forced through a gauntlet of Hungarian
gendarmes who tried to extract, through torture any hidden valuables the
Jews may have on their persons, ‘So that the Hungarian property should not
fall into the hands of the Germans.’ Wisliceny visited Kolozsvár numerous
times during the height of the deportations from the provinces.
the Chassidic ‘Ungarn’ rabbinical tradition, Klausenburg-Sanz was an
important Chassidic court headed by the Klausenburger Rabbi Halberstam.
His court was rabidly anti-Zionist, objecting to settling Palestine.
Despite warnings by the Zionists to hide or escape towards the east, as
some have done, the warning was ignored because it came from the Zionists
resulting in the annihilation of the entire court and followers. Against
ransom payment, the rabbi was spared and ended up in a DP camp in Germany,
having lost his entire family. He transferred to New York’s Borough Park,
where he reunited with some of his followers, reestablished his court and
started a new family. Upon the Rabbi’s death in 1994, two of his sons
inherited the mantle of Grand Rabbis, one heading the court in
Borough-Park, the other in Kiryat-Sanz, near Netanya, Israel.
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