Hungarianization permit (1936)

The document can be found in the archives of the Zalaegerszeg Jewish Community.

The document can be found in the archives of the Zalaegerszeg Jewish Community.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, Jews changed their German or Slavic family names to Hungarian names in masses. A similar process took place among other religious or ethnic minorities, however the phenomenon was most pronounced among Jews. 57.5 percent (some 55 thousand people) of those who changed their names between 1894 and 1918 were Jews, while Germans accounted for 17 percent and Roman Catholic Slavs (Slovaks) 13.8 percent. Many chose the Hungarian equivalent of their German names and became Fehér from Weiss (white), Köves from Steiner (cca. stonemason), Szép from Schön (beautiful). Others sought names whose initial letters were the same as the one in their original names. This turned Kohns to Kovács’ and Veiszfeld to Vázsonyis. Non-biblical first names also became popular among Jews, such as Lipót (Leopold), Ármin, Miksa, Regina, Lili, and Ida this time around. The bureaucratic antisemitism of the Horthy regime was also apparent in how they handled name change requests. During the early 1930s the regime introduced a monthly quota for Jewish name changes, thereby drastically reducing their numbers. From 1937 onwards, although no legislation was passed to that effect, authorities simply rejected all requests without justification.