The Jewish press here draws attention to the fact that to-day, 50 years ago the ritual murder affair of Tisza-Eszlar, in Hungary, one of the greatest ritual murder affairs of modern times, started.
About three years ago, in April 1929, the affair was recalled by the death in Amsterdam, in circumstances of great poverty, of Moritz Scharf, who, as a child of 12, had given evidence against his own father and 14 other Jews, on the basis of which they were accused of ritual murder.
A 14 year old Christian servant girl, Esther Solymosi, employed by Andreas Huri, of Tisza-Eszlar, was sent on an errand, and she did not return. It was a day or two before Passover and the rumour was started that the Jews had killed the girl to use her blood for Passover. The mother made a formal accusation before the local judge that the. Jews had killed her daughter. The county court sent a notary, Bary, to act as examining judge at Tisza-Eszlar. After having placed the suspected Jews under the surveillance of the police, Bary began his enquiry with Samuel, the five year old son of the synagogue beadle, Joseph Scharf. The babble of this child, from whom by means of money presents and pieces of sugar, some women and girls had elicited the statement that his father had called Esther into his house and pinioned her and that the slaughterer. (Shochet) had cut off her head, was the point of issue in all the proceedings. He himself and his brother Moritz, he said, had received the blood in a plate. The father and Moritz, and the other suspected Jews, denied any knowledge of the disappearance of the girl. They were, however, arrested. Moritz’insisted that he had never known anything about the missing girl, not even from hearsay. He was then given in charge of the Commissary of Safety, Reczy, who took him to his country house, where the court clerk, Peczely, received orders to watch over the boy’s safety. Peczely, a brutish man, who had served twelve years in jail for murder, connived with Reczy to make Moritz the instrument of a blood accusation. Intimidated by cruelty and threats, the boy confessed that after Sabbath morning service, his father had called Esther to his house under pretext of requiring her to remove the candlesticks. She had been led to the vestibule of the synagogue and felled, and two slaughterers, Buxbaum and Braun, had held her while another slaughterer, Schwartz, incised her neck and emptied the blood into a pot. He had observed all this, he said, through the keyhole of the synagogue door.
KOSSUTH INTERVENES DECLARING RITUAL MURDER SUSPICION A DISGRACE TO HUNGARY UNWORTHY OF MODERN CIVILISATION: MORITZ SCHARF’S GLARING CONTRADICTIONS LEAD TO ACQUITTAL OF PRISONERS: HE RETURNS TO HIS PARENTS AND REDEEMS HIS PAST
Kossuth, the great Hungarian patriot, then living in exile at Turin, raised his powerful voice to castigate the action of the authorities. The suspicion of ritual murder, he said, was a disgrace to Hungary. To represent as a racial crime, or as a ritual crime, a murder which at the worst was an individual one, was unworthy of modern civilisation. There were exciting scenes in Parliament, and the Attorney-General resigned his post. The trial took place on June 17th., 1883. The testimony of Moritz Scharf was the only basis of the accusation. The glaring contradictions of the boy, despite the
careful training he had received, and the falsity of his accusations as exposed by a local inspection of the alleged scene of the murder made by the court, resulted in the unanimous acquittal of the accused.
The youthful accuser, whom the manoeuvres of the antisemites had alienated from his faith and his co-religionists and whose filial feelings they had suppressed, returned to his parents who gladly received him. Moritz fully redeemed his past. He supported his father until his death in 1905.
The verdict of acquittal and the deliverance of the prisoners, most of whom had languished for fifteen months in prison were the signal for uprisings in Budapest, Pressburg and other parts of Hungary. The spectators who thronged the court house during the sessions insulted the prisoners, threatened the witnesses and lawyers for the defence and exhibited intense passion, prejudice and hatred.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.