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Encyclopedia > Mukachevo

Mukacheve (Мукачеве, Ruthenian: Мукачів (Mukachiv), Russian: Мукачево (Mukachevo), Hungarian: Munkács, Slovak and Czech: Mukačevo, German: Munkatsch, Yiddish: Munkacz) is a city in Zakarpattya region of southwestern Ukraine. Population in 1989 was 85,000 and is now 77,300 (2004).

Earlier it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary (11th century - 1918 and 1938-1944) and of Czechoslovakia (1918-1938 and 1944-1945).

The city is now a rail terminus and highway junction, and has Beer, Wine, Tobacco, Food, Textile, Timber and Furniture industries.

Today Mukacheve has mainly Ukrainian and Ruthenian inhabitants, a small community of Hungarians, and a small Jewish Community.



For early history (Great Moravia, Kievan Rus) see Carpathian Ruthenia.

  • 9th to 11th centuries: Mukacheve was part of the Kievan Rus state.
  • 1018: Mukacheve was taken by the Hungarians and became the center of power of Hungarian Kings.
  • 1397: The town and its surrounding was granted by king Sigismund of Luxemburg to the Ruthenian prince Theodor Koriatovich, who settled many Ruthenians in the territory.
  • 1445: The town became a free royal town.
  • 15th century: Became a prominent craft & trade center for the region.
  • 16th century: Became part of the Transylvanian duchy.
  • 1604-1711: Anti-Habsburg revolts in this territory and present-day Slovakia.
  • 1685-1688: Beginning of the anti-Habsburg Revolt of Imre Thököly.
  • Early 18th century: Beginning of the revolt of Ferenc II. Rákóczi.
  • 18th century: Came under Austrian control and was made a key fortess of the Autro-Hungarian empire.
  • 1726: The castle and the town, before 1711 owned by the Rákóczi family, was given by the Habsburgs to the Schönborn family, who were responsible for an expansion of the town. They also settled many Germans in the territory, thereby causing an economic boom of the region.
  • 1796-1897: The Mukacheve castle, until then a strong fortress, became a prison.
  • 1821-1823: The Greek national hero Alexander Ypsilanti was imprisonned at the Mukacheve castle.
  • 1919: After the American Rusyns had agreed with Tomas Masaryk to incorporate Carpathian Ruthenia into Czechoslovakia, along with whole Carpathian Ruthenia was occupied by Czechoslovak troops.
  • June 4, 1920: The city officially became a part of Czechoslovakia by the Treaty of Trianon.
  • November 1938: Under German-Hungarian occupation. By the Vienna Award (Vienna Arbitration), the town, along with the remaining southern Carpathian Ruthenia, became part of Hungary again.
  • 1944: The deportation of the Jewish population to concentration camps. Mukacheve was the only one in Hungary with Jewish majority until 1944, when all the Jews were deported to Auschwitz by the Eichmann Commando. The Hungarian Jewish community was the last deported in Europe.
  • End of 1944: The Soviet Army arrived to Carpathian Ruthenia (at that time part of Czechoslovakia again) and the territory became part of the Soviet Union by a treaty between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union of 1945. High numbers of Hungarians and Ruthenians were deported to Siberia and mostly never returned.
  • 1945: Ceded to the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine)
  • 2002: Mukacheve has been the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese comprising Transcarpathia.

Jewish Community

There are documents in the Beregovo (Beregszas) State Archives which indicate that Jews lived in Munkacs and the surrounding villages as early as the second half of the seventeenth century. The Jewish community of Munkacs was an amalgam of Galician & Hungarian Hasidic Jewry, assimilationists, and Zionists . There was also no lack of (non-hasidic) Orthodox Jews.

It was a community of paradoxes: the most outspoken voice of religious anti-Zionism was the Rebbe of Munkacs, Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro (who led the community from 1913 until his death in 1937). He had succeeded his father, Rabbi Zvi Hersh, who had earlier inherited the mantle of leadership from his father Rabbi Shlomo Shapiro. In this bastion of anti-Zionism, all forms of Zionism flowered. The Hebrew Gymnasium was founded in Munkacs five years after the first Hebrew speaking elementary school in Czechoslovakia was established there in 1920. It soon became the most prestigious Hebrew high school east of Warsaw. Zionist activism along with Chasidic pietism contributed to a community percolating with excitement, intrigue and at times internecine conflict.

Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro the Rabbi of Munkacs and the past Munkactcher Rebbe

There was friction and acrimony between the Munkatcher and Belzer hasidim. However, along with the dominant Munkatcher hasidic community there co-existed smaller yet vibrant hasidic groups who were followers of the Rebbes of Spinka, Zidichov, and Vizhnitz. By the time of the Holocaust there were nearly 30 synagogues in town, many of which were shtibelech (Hasidic synagogues). By 1851 Munkacs supported a large Yeshiva, thereby demonstrating the community’s commitment to Jewish learning and piety. In the spring of 1944 when there were nearly 15,000 Jewish residents of the town. This ended on May 30, 1944 when the city was pronounced Judenrein (free of Jews after ghettoization and a series of deportations to Auschwitz).

Today, what remains of the Jewish community of Mukachevo is fewer than 300 Jews including eight Jewish men and less than twenty Jewish women who were born there before World War II; their average age being over eighty.

Architectural landmarks

  • Castle (14th century). The castle of Mukacheve/Munkács played an important role during the anti-Habsburg revolts in this territory and present-day Slovakia (1604 - 1711), especially at the beginning of the anti-Habsburg Revolt of Imre Thököly (1685-1688), as well as at the beginning of the revolt of Ferenc II. Rákóczi (early 18th century). The Mukacheve castle, until then a strong fortress, became a prison from the end of the 18th century to 1897. The Greek national hero Alexander Ypsilanti was imprisonned here from 1821 to 1823.
  • Monastery (14th century)
  • Wooden church built in the Ukrainian architectural style (18th century)

External links

  • Mapquest map of Mukacheve (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?searchtype=address&formtype=search&countryid=UA&addtohistory=&country=UA&city=Mukachevo)

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