About this newspaper
Egyenlőség (Equality) was a Magyar (i.e. Hungarian) language weekly launched on 5 November 1882 by Mór Bogdányi. It was edited from 1884 by Miksa Szabolcsi (1857-1915) and acquired by him in 1886. Two decades afterwards (1915) he will be succeeded by his son Lajos. Although Jewish periodicals in the Magyar language had first made their appearance in Hungary during the sharp Jewish religious wars between the Orthodox and the Neologue (reformer) parties in the 1860s, once the religious schism was settled in the early 1870s, the Magyar Jewish press disappeared until the appearance of Egyenlőség (in 1882).
It began publication in midst of the Tiszaeszlár ritual murder trial in response to the wave of antisemitism that swept Hungary and quickly became the most influential and longest lasting Jewish periodical in Hungary, appearing until 1938. By and large Egyenlőség reflected the assimilationist views of Neologue Jews who advocated mild religious reforms, although at times it could be critical of Neologue establishm.
The weekly “A Magyar Zsidók Lapja” (The Journal for Hungarian Jews) was first published on January 12th 1939 by Magyarországi Izraeliták Oraszágos Irodája (Hungarian Israelites central office), and edited by Ernö Ballagi (1939) and Rezsö Rooz (1940-1944). The journal appeared pursuant to the shutting down of the political-cultural weekly of the Hungarian Jewish community, Egyenlöseg (equality), published between 1882-1938, and its shutting down left a hole in Jewish journalism in Hungary.
The purpose of the journal, as stated in the call to the Jews of Hungary, on the cover page of the first issue: to express the voice of the Jewish community in Hungary and to deal with the spiritual issues concerning the community. “Our journal deals with matters of our community, our tradition and our Jewish religion. This is what is written on our foreheads. We will not and we cannot be anything different. Only in matters of religion and tradition! (…) we wish to help, help and help our congregation: the Hungarian Jews.” The editorial board sets the journal out to be “the greatest guide of Judaism” which saved it after the destruction of the temple “in these rough times we wish to be the ‘Yavneh’ of the Jewish Hungarian community. We will be its school, seminar, its mouth, song and its comforter and relaxation giver”. Indeed. Among other humanitarian activities, the journal had taken an important role in being the one inspiring the Jewish-Hungarian community to come to the aid of its young men who were drafted to platoons that were sent to perform forced labor and were held in extremely hard conditions. The journal preached to a modest conduct of the Jewish individual, especially of the rich ones, as when their behavior was inappropriate and antagonizing for the non-Jewish community, it reflected poorly on all the community.
After the German occupation, during the holocaust, the journal was forced, it seems, to continue and stick to the same agenda- deal with day to day Jewish lives, that were governed by the anti-Jewish laws on behalf of the Hungarian government, such as: the obligation to concentrate the Jewish population in marked houses and the obligation to ware the yellow patch- without the ability to deal with the political situation of the Hungarian Jews who were deprived of all rights. After the German occupation and the rise of the fascist government headed by Szálasi, the journal was shut down. The last issue was published on October 12th 1944.
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