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Schonfeld Family Home Page

Updated September 5, 2000

The Schonfeld family ancestral town is Medzilaborce. Medzilaborce, in the years prior to World War I was a commercial outpost in the northeastern section of the mythical polity called the Kingdom of Hungary, and which comprised the largest part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today Medzilaborce in its atrophied state no longer holds the pivotal point as a distribution center for timber, coal, and food products originating or processed in the region and which at that time transported these products by rail through the mountain ranges, foothills, and plains of Hungary until they arrived in the capital cities of Budapest, Bratislava (once Poszony aka Pressburg), and Vienna. Today Medzilaborce functions as the adminstrative center for 32 smaller surrounding villages, which incidentally includes the village of Mikova, which later became well known as birthplace of Andy Warhol's mother. Medzilaborce hoping to capitalize on that name recognition built the first Andy Warhol museum perhaps more than twenty years ago; so that as one drives into town from the south one is greeted by the incongruous sight of a modern building guarded by replicas of Campbell's soup cans in recognition one of Mr. Warhol's famous painitngs. The second site one encounters upon entering Medzilaborce is a 17th century onion domed Ruthenian church on the hill immediately adjacent to the museum.
Prior to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the lands comprising northern Zemplen country belonged to the estates of Count Andrassy and Csaky. As was true of nearly all the Magnates, Count Andrassy hired administrators to run the economy on their estates. More often that not they choice Jews for this purpose. These Jews were also known as Schutzjuden (protected Jews) and therefore circumvented the ban on Jews living in Hungary that was insituted by Empress Maria Theresia during her reign.

In the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia there was the large town of Brody. A number of highly regarded Rabbis lived there including Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Schonfeld who according (To be continued)
Louis Schonfeld

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