Zala County, Hungary

Zala County, Hungary is close to the Croatian border and was a key trading route in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Jews settled in the area in the 18th century but relations with other inhabitants remained tense. In the years after the First World War a number of Jews were lynched by gangs and arrested for security reasons.

In the 1930s, the Croatian fascist Ustasha ran a training camp in Belezna. After the Discrimination Laws were passed in 1938 many Jews suffered persecution. In 1941, young Jewish men in the area were conscripted into labour battalions. In May 1944 the Jews of Zala county were rounded up into ghettos and in July deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in occupied Poland.

After the war about 100 survivors returned. They tried to re-establish the community in the administrative capital of Zalagerszeg but the overwhelming majority left to start a new life elsewhere.

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