Jewish Surname Changes in Hungary (19th–20th Century)
The paper presents Jewish surname changes as a part of the phenomenon of surname changes in Hungary, as well as a part of the history of Jewish communities in a surrounding majority. It is based on social historical studies and current onomastic research, and applies different sources (as Jewish jokes, original petitions or propagandistic statements of their time) to investigate the social, historical, political and ideological background, and the characteristics of surname changes of the Jews. It gives a summary on the origin of Jewish surnames, analyzes the role of these surnames as symbols of Jewish origin, and the different reasons that made the surname changes so typical for the Jews. It presents the assimilation process of persons and their personal names in general, and the history of Jewish surname changes in Hungarian history. The characteristic features of the surnames chosen and their typical motivations are also analyzed here, also in comparison with those of the non-Jewish society.