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Industry and commerce

In 2010, Editura Muzeului Ţarii Crişurilor published the book "Contribution to a

history of industry in Oradea between 1848-1948", written by Dr. Ronald

Hochhauser, engineer and museum curator.


Professor Dr. Ioan Godea, in the preface to the book states: "... the work offered

by the author is ... of very exceptional documentary value ... rich bibliography,

annexes, topographical references bilingual (Romanian-Hungarian), maps, plans

and urban sketches, photos, postcards of the time and an analysis of previous

studies, together this comprises a work of exceptional scientific value. "


The information provided in this book is also extremely valuable to the mission

of Tikvah. In this part, we want to show a selection of the significant

contributions that Jewish entrepeneurs of Oradea made to economic

development.


We asked the author to allow us to reproduce parts of his text and images

from the book. With great generosity he agreed and we express here

our gratitude for this privilege.


We selected those parts of the book where (hopefully without error) we

identified Jewish figures. We have therefore "cut and pasted" from many

chapters and in order not to create confusion we have not identified the sources

for texts and pictures, all of which are documented in the book.


A review of this complete book can be found on the Oradea Mea website.

 

SELECTED EXCERPTS:

The development of the modern city of Oradea and its economic, social and (implicitly)

cultural fulfilment has been achieved through projects implemented by the local 

administration. Amongst the long series of responsibilities that weighed on the shoulders of the

city council representatives, the most important turned out to be the industry of Oradea – the

basis of the development of the city and its surrounding areas.


The successful fulfilment of economic goals – through supporting all aspects of

industry – largely depended on city incomes which, in general, were insufficient even

for the coverage of ordinary public expenses. To meet the responsibility of contributing to

industrial activity, the city administration relied on the ability of its richer citizens (merchants and

industrialists, the majority of whom were Jews), to contribute significantly to the city

treasury by investing considerable amounts of money and through paying substantial

income taxes on their business profits.

III. FIELDS OF ACTIVITY AND THE REPRESENTATIVES OF MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY IN ORADEA

"La Roche and Darvas" forest exploitation

This was an enterprise that was able to compete with some of the major European industrial enterprises in the same line of business due to its stable foundation. Withstanding various economic hardhships, it became an important economic factor of Bihor County throughout its existence.

The enterprise was popular and recognised for generously sponsoring cultural and humanitarian activities in the city of Oradea.

"Jakab Weinberger" rolling mill

The Mill was set up by Jakab Weinberger in 1884, on land situated on the Pecze river. A few months after it started to function, the owner entered into a partnership with Mór Aufricht, with whom he went on to develop the business, under the new name of “Emilia” rolling mill.

A contemporary view of the “Emilia” roller mill.

moara-cu-valturi-Emilia

The "Adria" rolling mill, Adolf Moskovits and Sons

The Mill was set up in 1890, on a 3,000 square metre area, situated on Vámház Street.

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The architectural ensemble of the “Adria” rolling mill, owners Adolf Moskovits and Sons. Its buildings were almost entirely destroyed by a fire that occurred in 1922.

“Léderer and Kálmán” steam mill

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General view of the Alcohol factory and the “Léderer and Kálmán” mill architectural ensemble.

"Mór Moskovits and Son" alcohol factory

The “Mór Moskovits and Son" alcohol factory was one of those factories which performed continuously in the City of Oradea from its inception in the second half of the 19th century.

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Image 1. The “Mór Moskovits and Son” architectural ensemble can be seen in the background of this picture. The original wrought iron access gate kept to the art principles of 1900s design (see Image 2).

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Image 2. Entrance to the former alcohol factory (true copy of the original). This is all that is left after the demolition of the factory in 2007. Its state of conservation is satisfactory but as cultural property with historical value, it is worthy of preservation.

"Léderer and Kálmán" alcohol factory

Founded in 1857, the “Léderer and Kálmán” alcohol factory  was one of the oldest enterprises in the City of Oradea and had a notable role in its development.

"Adolf Moskovits and Sons" alcohol and yeast factory

The alcohol and yeast factory was founded by Adolf Moskovits as an individual enterprise and was registered in 1876.

relicva-fabrica-de-spirt

Remains of the “Adolf Moskovits and Sons” alcohol and yeast factory architectural ensemble. It has not been properly preserved. Even so, it has high historical value and is regarded as an industrial monument.

"Regner & Weisz" cotton weaving mill

The factory was established on 1st January 1928 as a general partnership.

"Electra" string, lace and ribbon factory

It was founded in the interwar period – circa 1928 – by Lipót Incze, constructor engineer, a business man from Oradea.

… in his will dated on 2nd November 1943, Lipót Incze bequeathed his enterprise together with all its assets and liabilities to its 42 workers, technicians and clerks, who then served it with boundless diligence.

The text of the will was published in the 19th February 1944 issue of the Nagyvárad newspaper, alongside a commentary recording this noble gesture: “All the other events which occurred yesterday in the city have become insignificant in comparison to the published will of Lipót Incze. For one day, the people of Oradea forgot about daily problems, touched by the content of this generous will, unique in its own way. We do not recall a similar event; we cannot offer an immediate example of a similar case, in which someone endows his own valuable factory exclusively to his most industrious workers, as a sign of faithful and honest collaboration. Certainly, the relatives of Lipót Incze noted his gifts with consent and consideration. His son, engineer László Incze, indicated that his intention to hand the factory over to its new owners was a sign of homage paid to his father”.

The ceremony of handing over the factory took place in a touching atmosphere. In his speech, the son of Lipót Incze expressed the following: “…I hand to you the “Electra” string, lace and ribbon factory. Nurture it, lead it with the same love and social thoughtfulness as my father. May his noble soul be your guide and help in overcoming obstacles of everyday life. May God be with you and may His kindness guide you in your endeavours.”

Under the new political regime, the factory was moved to Dimitrie Cantemir street, replacing the former “Flora” hat and cloche factory and was renamed Drum Nou (New Road) in 1952.

"Heller and Deutsch" hat factory

This was a leading enterprise in the local industry of Oradea which, due to the diligence of its two owners, became known throughout Transylvania. Its high quality products were regularly promoted in the local newspapers through slogans like: ”Rain or snow will not damage my hat because I bought it from Heller and Deutsch”.

"József Leichner" furrier factory

The history of this factory began in 1926.

During 1944, when the members of the Leichner family were deported, the enterprise went bankrupt. The owner of the company never returned from the death camp at Auschwitz, the factory management was later taken over by his son, György Leichner.

….

With nationalisation, the name of the company was changed to “1 May”.

"Farkas Moskovits and Partner" shoe and boot factory

On 10th February 1924, the name of the enterprise was changed to “Derby boot factory.

"Carmen" boot factory

This factory, representative of Oradea throughout its years of activity, was set up on 1st January 1923, in a modest setting, as a general partnership. Having a manufacturing nature, it operated in a rented space on Alecsandri Street no. 42, having Jenő Steiner, Miksa Hillinger and Adolf Katsher as its main shareholders, all of them successful experts in this field.

After nationalisation its name was changed to “Solidaritatea” footwear factory.

"Sonnenfeld" printers (1856-1948)

The”Sonnenfeld” typography was founded in 1856, at the initiative of Simon Sonnenfeld, and had a long-established tradition in the city. Gradually, it underwent a modernisation process and ended up as one of the outstanding printers in Transylvania.

"Ármin Laszky" typography (1874-1919)

This typography was established in 1874, being registered as a sole proprietorship on 13th March 1876.

"József Láng" typography (1890-1919)

This typography was established in 1890 by József Láng, by taking over the”Ottó Hügel” typography.

"Aurora" ether factory

This joint-stock company was established on 27th August 1905 by the ”Adolf Moskovits and sons” alcohol factory in order to process its derived products.

"Vesta" chemical and pharmaceutical enterprise

The ”Vesta” chemical and pharmaceutical enterprise was set up on 3rd April 1920 at the initiative of pharmacist-chemist dr. Ármin Messinger.

"Farkas Rippner" hairpin and comb factory

The hairpin and comb factory was set up in 1914.

"Celluloid" brush factory

It was founded in compliance with the regulations set in the general establishment assembly of 27th August 1924. On 25th January 1927, the industrialist Farkas Rippner was among the members of the board of directors, himself the founder of the above-mentioned Clip and comb factory.

"Isomit" comb and bakelite factory

This factory was established on 1st April 1936 as a general partnership, initially having between 20 and 40 workers. Its line of business was the manufacturing of combs and other household objects out of artificial resin.

The factory owners were Eugen Birnfeld and Iuliu Weis who emigrated to Palestine because of the pressure hanging over the Jews during the Second World War.

It was situated on Millerand Street, no. 12.

"Vulcan" brick and tile factory

It was established on 23rd July 1906 as a joint-stock company. Among the members of the board of directors notably were Jakab Weinberger, owner of the ”Emilia” rolling mill, Emil Adorjan and Ede Kurländer, lawyers, and Sándor Ullmann, businessman.

Although we do not have enough information on this brickyard, we consider it is important to mention it, because it was the one who produced the bricks – a total of 4 million – for the building of the Vulturul Negru Palace, a large, Secession style architectural monument building, representative of Transylvania, which Professor Ioan Godea would later describe: ”...it represented a centre of the social and cultural life of the city and one of the masterpieces of architects Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab”.

The "Melocco" Romanian Establishments

The predecessor of the ”Melocco” Romanian Establishments began its activity in 1890, being a branch of the ”Péter Melocco” Cement and construction factory in Budapest.

It was located on Szöllős Street no. 16 (according to the current numbering, no. 22-24). Cement, reinforced concrete, paving slabs, sewage tubes, as well as other construction items were manufactured in this factory.

On 17th June 1922, the Oradea branch turned into a joint stock company, named the "Melocco" Romanian Establishments, having as an additional object of activity to those enlisted above, the selling of building materials. In 1923, the enterprise was taken over by the Czitter family, which kept its previous name.

The production unit represented the core around which the cement-asbestos and cement-ware enterprise was founded in 1952.

The “Izsó Rosenberg” factory of industrial cement asphalt and pitch merchandise.

Various patterns of cement and marble plaques used for interior slabs:

marmura-1marmura-2

marmura-3marmura-4

The first limestone and sand brick factory of Oradea

The rapid growth of the civil engineering sector of Oradea – such as the building works of the Weiszlovits, Darvassy, Sonnenfeld and Apollo Palaces, of the  Fodor, Markovits-Mathéser and Róth houses, as well as of the Gendarmes School – gradually forced the establishment of a new brick factory, because the production of the existing ones could not meet public needs.

The patented “Aerolith” factory

This joint-stock company was established on 10th January 1912. The purpose was to obtain the manufacturing right over the production and use, in construction, of the ”building stone” patented by Jenő Ris, engineer in Budapest; moreover, it sought its processing out of concrete or other plastic materials, as well as the production, commercialisation and use, in the civil engineering sector, of the “Aerolith” artificial stone. The Board of Directors included other members, such as: Imre Darvas, owner of ”La Roche and Darvas” forestry enterprise, Miklós Moskovits, owner of “Moskovits and Son ” alcohol factory and József Kőszeghy, chief engineer of Oradea.

”Grünwald and Partners” metal and tin ware factory

… in 1922 when, together with his brothers, Hermann Grünwald, a renowned jewellery maker and Mór Grünwald, the licensee of the baths located in the Kossuth Garden in Satu Mare, established the ”Grünwald and Partners” metal and tin ware factory, called ”The Grünwald Brothers” as of 1924. 

suport-pahar

Image 2. Glass holder/tap/pint of beer promoting the Dreher-Haggenmacher beer brand. Product of the “The Grünwald brothers” metal and tin ware factory, Oradea.

The remarkable boom recorded in heavy industry, especially after 1870, coincided with the development of commerce. These two economic fields influenced and created the banking system of Oradea. The mutual ties between them all made for a distinctive modern economic and cultural life.

Ever since the Middle Ages, Oradea has been a significant commercial city. It gained this attribute also due to its advantageous geographical position, being situated at the crossroads of certain important commercial roads. Therefore, besides local and regional commerce, an important role in the then and later economic life of the city was held by commercial transportation.

The industrialisation process launched after the 1848-1849 revolution within the absolutist Empire, followed by a general urbanisation process, led the way to a new category of manufacturers and consumers - the industrial, commercial and financial bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and the factory proletariat, on the other. These categories of people gradually renounced the type of existence that was ensured exclusively by small-scale rural production. In order to guarantee the daily requirements, they resorted to the advanced, provision type of operation, serviced by the new category of tradesmen. The two categories of commerce, rural production – commercialised at fairs – and that of the new tradesmen – developed especially in enclosed, specially set up venues – have continued to coexist to the present day.

Many types of stores were opened on both sides of the Crişul Repede River, on the main arteries and in the main squares of the city: Fő street, Sas street, Zöldfa street, Szent László market, the so-called Piaţă mică (Small square) and, a bit later, the Nagyvásártér square, the so-called Piaţă mare (Large square). These shops were generally rented by businessmen. The highest rent, up to 6 times more, compared to the one paid for commercial premises situated on Fő street, was claimed for the stores located on Zöldfa street. This is explained by the fact that this was the artery, of the so-called market, which linked the two fairs in town - the Small square and the Large square - which was crossed by a branch of the inter-urban railway. This is how the merchandise provisioning for stores on that street was achieved. It is also notable that there was a long-standing and well-preserved tradition, that the rural inhabitants would not cross the Crişul Repede River to shop on the right side of the river. It remained an appendage of the city’s rich population.

The progress of commerce in Oradea to a ”flourishing, enviable level”, as recorded by the then city archivist Lajos Lakos, was exclusively owed to Jewish tradesmen settled in this area.                                     

"József Popper junior” spice, delicacy, wine, citrus fruits and mineral water storehouse and shop

The spice shop was opened in 1887 in a modest setting. The high quality of commercialised products and the polite service provided by the personnel of the small shop brought to it fame in the city. Consequently, the owner later raised the status of the shop to the level of a grocery shop, establishing a storehouse nearby that was located at the intersection of Fő and Sztaroveszky streets. From the point of view of technical facilities and display of merchandise, the shop reached the level of similar ones in Budapest. For example, the store was equipped with coffee roasting electrical equipment which was very popular with housewives.

The company dealt with the commercialisation of mineral waters  - ”Borsec” - considered the ”Queen of mineral waters” -, ”Vita” and ”Matild” - originating from Bodoc -, as well as of various types of home-bred and French champagnes, table wines, dessert wines, Martell brandy, different types of rums and liqueurs. Moreover, it displayed the products of the ”József Manner and Partner” chocolate factory, the Kitz and Meller” floor varnish, as well as hunting ammunition. The “József Popper junior” enterprise was also celebrating the prestige of being the supplier of the Public hospital of the Bihor county and of several Romanian institutions such as the Jiga Foundation.

"Károly Ignác Deutsch” china and glass store

This was established in 1877 when Deutsch took over the store, but it had been previously functioning under the ownership of József Sonnenfeld. From the era of peace and welfare before the First World War, the commercial activity performed by this enterprise went beyond the range of a provincial store, especially after its management was taken over by Dénes Ödön Deutsch, the owner`s son. In the line of business of glass and chinaware commercialisation, the store became one of the most important emporia throughout the Monarchy. Apart from these goods, it sold a series of other goods at the suggested retail price such as high quality electrical light bulbs and chandeliers of various shapes and sizes. Moreover, the enterprise would offer electrical installation services to customers.

In 1909, Deutsch`s enterprise went into business with the Glass factory in the Padurea Neagra (Black Forest), establishing an anonymous company with capital stock amounting to 700.000 crowns. Large and small canning jars covered with “Viktória” lids which ensured hermetic closure were numbered among the products typically manufactured in the glass factory and commercialised in the Oradea enterprise store. When the factory was sold in 1917, the capital stock value dropped to 245.000 crowns – as a result of repayment of withdrawn shares.

In 1920, the company was taken over by a consortium which maintained its reputation. Therefore, over the next period of development, the shop simultaneously acted as a warehouse for the glass factories in Hungary and main stockroom of the Ceramic factory in Hollóháza (nowadays a town in Hungary), of the Porcelain factory in Schlaggenwald and Chodaui (nowadays both towns in the Czech Republic), as well as of the “Brünner brothers” joint stock company. The rise of the business had even held on during the financial crisis in the fourth decade of the 19th century.

Following the national economic relaunch, the store offered a large range of glass and porcelain products, houseware, “Urs” and “Wellner” and silver chrome cutlery. Moreover, it included a generous range of gifts. Out of courtesy for their potential customers, the owners arranged a permanent exhibition in which products assigned for commercialisation were tastefully displayed.

The “Jenő Deutsch” drapery

One owner of a drapery store stood out among the young generation of merchants in the city during the interwar period. He was Jenő Deutsch who, due to his professional knowledge acquired in Vienna, Komarno (today in the Czech Republic),Budapest and Győr (today in Hungary), managed to preserve the commercial renown of the city of Oradea, given the developing economy extending to large parts of the Romanian Kingdom.


Shortly after the end of the World War I, he established his first cloth and fabric store – the displayed merchandise having been procured from the great European capitals of those times - which, between 1918 and 1934, functioned in the Black Eagle Palace. Following that date, the store was moved on Avram Iancu street no. 429. Due to the ingenuity with which he ran his business, the drapery became, according to the press of those times, the greatest one in Ardeal, being known outside Romanian borders. The quality of the commercialised products met the standards of the most demanding competition of those times. Therefore, in 1938, the range offered by the store included a broad variety of latest fashion fabrics, products of some renowned factories: the “Scherg” cloth factory and the “Tellmann” cloth factory, both from Braşov; the “Azuga” cloth factorythe coat fabrics “Gündisch & Simonis” from Cisnădie. Also, the company staff would manufacture special “De-De” branded cloths made of English weaves according to their own designs.


Aside from raising the professionalism of the trade, Jenő Deutsch actively participated in numerous charities.

The ”Andriska and Rosenbaum” mechanical workshop and garage – the first ”Ford” agency in Oradea

The period of the First World War, but also the one that followed, witnessed a rapid technical and technological development. Among others, highly safe military and passenger planes were built, the radio was invented and more silent vehicles appeared to replace the existing puffing and noisy automobiles. In this area of production, the automotive factories throughout Europe could not meet the demand. Consequently, two large automotive factories, “Ford” and “Chevrolet”, manufactured thousands of cars in Europe. Because of their competitive price they prospered compared with the more expensive cars manufactured in Europe.

The two competing American factories were looking for representatives in various countries in order to locate their own products.

Henry Ford (1863-1947), a notable figure of industrial life during the first half of the 20th century, appointed Kálmán Andriska and Simon Rosenbaum as his automotive company representatives in Oradea. The first handled the technical aspects and the second managed the commercial side of the business. Upon request, customers were trained, at no cost, in the management of their motor vehicle. Under the management of these two individuals, the workshop developed rapidly, achieving fame across the entire country. Outside the responsibilities related to the agent/ selling role, electric soldering, cylinder boring and turnery work were performed in the skillfully managed workshop. Moreover, cogwheels were manufactured and all sorts of tractor repairs carried out. The auto service, which sold gasoline and motor oils, was located on Delavrancea street no. 15.

Impact on the life of Oradea population   

Progress achieved by the factory system  of industry and by the new type of commerce, influenced greatly the lifestyle and way of thinking of the city`s inhabitants.

Shortly after having implemented the “dual state” structure, the major events in the city, alongside weekly fairs, were represented by the various public dance parties and musical evenings. The situation changed after 1890 due to the developing infrastructure and to the population growth. The existence within it of certain socially demanding categories, with refined taste, directly influenced the phenomenon. These groups organised the spending of their leisure time at preset hours and in compliance with a code of good manners. The activities that were predominantly agreed upon were: mutual visits at home, dinner invitations, chamber concerts, attending balls and other charity gatherings. This range was further complemented by participation in the social and cultural activities organised by various associations and, after 1900, in theatre, cabaret and cinema shows. Performances were usually followed by going to restaurants, tea rooms or cafés – mostly to those located in Bémer Square. In these places – especially cafés –, the middle-class elite (the so-called dzsentri – read gentri) would discuss, read local and foreign newspapers, find out the news and scandal and would inform each other.

The increasing demands of the population were also reflected in the arrangement of living spaces. The civic type of furniture became widespread, the interest towards French and English furniture made out of special leather increased; meanwhile, the offerings of some notable furniture factories, such as that of Kálmán Rimanóczy Senior, in Oradea, but especially that of the factories in Arad, was also notable. The floors of hallways, of kitchens and of bathrooms were made of cement boards and mosaic marble, produced at the “Izsó Rosenberg” cement, concrete construction, sewage and asphalt industry factory, and those of rooms were made of varnished parquet. In order to provide a pleasant appearance to their homes, people installed artwork and family photos on the interior walls, using as auxiliary phone appliances, bells and chandeliers, usually bought from the “Károly Ignác Deutsch” porcelain and glass store. Houses were heated with iron stoves (mostly produced at Reşiţa) and tile stoves, generously decorated with eclectic and later on secession motifs and with fuel procured at the Vapour alcohol factory.

The obvious social life changes also influenced the way people used to dress.  Clothes were no longer purchased directly from Paris, Vienna, Budapest, but through profile stores in the city. Shop windows had a tasteful display arrangement inspired by similar shops in the West. Out of the multitude and variety of items offered by these shops we mention: fashionable tailcoats, tuxedos and jackets made of the finest English and Scottish fabrics, furs, leather coats, gloves and other leather items, ladies and gentlemen hats. Fashionable ladies’ dresses sold in these shops were adorned with ribbons and lacery. Costumes and bath gowns also became popular.

The modern lifestyle also imposed participation in Maial, in the summer rustic parties organized at Városliget and Rhédey Garden, in trips to Băile Episcopale and to Băile Felix, with the purpose of taking treatment and recreation baths or simply to walk in the forests nearby. The vivacity was also maintained by the resort restaurants which ensured specific food menus, fine beverages and music played by fiddlers throughout the entire day. These outings eventually led to the development of local tourism. Part of leisure time activities within city life was also attending public baths, of which the most renowned one was the steam bath, property of architect and businessman of Oradea, Kálmán Rimanóczy Senior. Given the large number of Jewish people in the city, the development of baths must have been based on the existence of their ritual baths.

Another aspect related to lifestyle was covered by sports competitions. At first, equestrian competitions held near the horse fair and mostly on the horseback riding field located in the current Petőfi Park, initially used by the army, were the most noteworthy, along with fencing, walking, cycling and lawn tennis. Skating was a fashionable pastime activity during winter. Later on, athletics came in the public eye. The city gradually took hold of a more recent sport of the 20th century, football.

With the evolution of living standards, the focus of city officials also targeted the improvement of health and public safety services. While progress in the health sector was slow, public safety recorded favourable outcomes.

THE ACTIVITY OF CERTAIN INDUSTRIALISTS AND MERCHANTS IN ORADEA

The impetus of the economic life of Oradea was also owed to a group of local investors, rich, influential people engaged in the running of the city. Being around 60 people, they drove the socio-economic, financial, architectural and cultural development of the city by investing considerable amounts and through paying substantial income taxes on their profits. Their names were periodically published in the then press, alongside the amount of taxes paid to the treasury of the city, as indicated, for example, by the Municipal Tax Office, published in the Tiszántúl newspaper of 30th August 1914. Out of the 110 people shown in the statistics, the following are particularly notable: Lajos Weinberger, the owner of the “Emilia” rolling mill, Adolf Moskovits, the owner of the “Adria” joint-stock company for industry and agriculture, Károly Andrényi, owner of the Ironware warehouse, Emil Weiszlovits, owner of the “Parc” Hotel, Károly Ignác Deutsch, glassware and porcelain merchant, Izsó Rosenberg, construction material manufacturer, Vilmos Rendes, architect, and József Popper Junior, owner of a spice, delicacy, wine, citrus fruits and mineral water grocery shop and wholesale storehouse.

Several common features characterised the industrialists and merchants of Oradea. Most of them were Jews, followed by those of Hungarian ethnicity and, to a lower degree, by those belonging to Romanian families. They were all good prospectors of the then commercial life, knowledgeable about developing, locally, the trade branches missing on the market. Although some of them came from other parts and settled in Oradea, they shortly became ardent citizens, bringing their contribution to its prosperity. They developed their own businesses and protected their own interests, without harming others of the community. They also participated in other fields of activity of the city life: the confessional, the intellectual, and last but not least, the charitable. They actively participated in the sports life of the city, which was then beginning to take shape. Moreover, they were loyal servants of political regimes, even if sometimes these contradicted their own beliefs.

Kálmán Weisz – textiles manufacturer

Kálmán Weisz was one of the representatives of the new generation of industrialists who continued the economic activity of their predecessors, after the end of the First World War and the realisation of the Great Unification. He was born in 1899 at Satu Mare where his father was a renowned cloth merchant. He studied in his hometown and in Bratislava.

After the end of the war, eager to progress, he left for Vienna and Berlin where he gained professional knowledge in some of the most renowned textile stores.

In 1921, Weisz opened a cloth store in Satu Mare, becoming the representative of certain renowned foreign textile companies: Heinrich PiskiPoviller et Comp., Mark Ados and Julius Hirschl, until 1925.

When the import of textiles became hindered by the implementation of prohibitive customs duties, he decided to begin their production in the country. In order to achieve his plan, he decided to do this in Oradea which was closer to Budapest, where he ran other businesses. He bought a land on which he built a textile factory fitted with the most modern weaving and braiding machines, named “Regner & Weisz”. The warehouses of the factory were located in Bucharest, as well as in Satu Mare, Timişoara, Arad, Galaţi and Brăila. Due to his professionalism, Weisz also managed to survive the hardships of the Great Depression.

Simon Klein – hat manufacturer

Similarly to Jenő König, Simon Klein was another renowned hat manufacturer. He was the type of merchant who progressed due to his diligence. He was born on 6th February 1892, in Oradea. During his youth he introduced himself to the craft of small-ware trading at the wholesale warehouse of the renowned Silbermann şi Asociatul company in Oradea. Then he left for Budapest, working in the wholesale warehouse of the Ignác Agulár company, which at that time was enjoying worldwide recognition. There he acquired solid professional knowledge. Returning to Oradea, he occupied a leading position within a subsidiary of the Fülöp Wallerstein and Sons company. He was recruited for military service in 1914. During the war he fought on the Russian, Serbian and Italian fronts, being injured on several occasions. He was awarded several decorations and medals for his sacrifice during the war.


After the end of the armed conflict, Klein returned to Oradea and opened a hat and clothes store. In 1919, he founded a ladies hats factory, following the model of the renowned “Siegfried und Orenstein” hat factory in Viennawhere he had learnt the secrets of the trade. The factory in Oradea was fitted with modern production means and its activity was launched by experts brought in from Germany. Around 1922-1923, Klein extended his field of activity and started producing gentlemen’s hats, at the same time opening a women’s fashion store. His products, always matching the latest fashion trends of the great capitals of Paris, London and Rome, were developed in several towns in Transylvania and in Bucharest where he gradually opened subsidiaries. Between 100 and 120 employees would work in the factory and store owned by Simon Klein, even during the great depression.

He was also an active member in the city’s social life, supporting a series of charitable activities.

József Leichner - furrier manufacturer

József Leichner was one of those industrialists from the city of Oradea who gained his reputation both in the Romanian Kingdom and abroad, due to his professionalism and through introducing new quality products on the market. The activity performed in his furrier factory, founded in 1926, made him a pioneer in Romania in this industrial field.


He studied in Vienna and when he finished his studies, he enhanced his professional knowledge in Berlin and Paris. Due to his acquired skills and experience, he reached the conclusion that the fur industry also required a product range suitable for the general masses. Even if the idea was not original, it was notable for the creative adaptation to the field and for its application within the geographical setting. In this respect, he innovated in manufacture of fine lambskin furs. The markets abroad immediately appreciated the value of these products and their manufacture appeared in England, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Continously developing the activity of his factory, József Leichner succeeded in providing jobs for 180 employees. In 1930, he participated in the World Exhibition designed for furrier products, in Leipzig, where he was awarded a diploma for merit. The export of his products was hampered by currency restrictions. In recognition of his outstanding merit, he was elected member of the leadership of the Commercial Hall of Oradea. In 1931, he received the Commercial and Industrial Order decoration, Second Class. One year later, he was awarded the First Class of the same order.


The “József Leichner” furrier factory also had a branch in Bucharest, warehouses in the more important centres in the country, as well as agencies abroad, in Vienna, Leipzig and Paris.

Sámuel Motzen – furrier manufacturer

Furrrier manufactuer and exporter, Sámuel Motzen was one of those people who progressed by his own efforts. Growing up in a poor family, he endeavoured to study abstract science. He came to Oradea in 1905, where he had to face the inherent hardships of starting a career.

His refined business sense helped him observe the requirements of the niche markets in Central European countries. In 1920 he established a profitable enterprise handling the collecting, processing and export of feather goods. After carrying out this activity for a decade, due to the imposition of autocratic policies, export activity witnessed a decline which led him to turn his attention to other areas of industry.

Although the furrier industry in Romania was developed, it did not produce Chevraux leather (goat and kidskin), a high quality French product. Romania used to pay high excise taxes for the import of various types of leather which were not produced in the country. Noting this phenomenon, Motzen set up the “Majestic” leather factory in 1931 which quickly grew to employ 80 people. His factory produced – exclusively for Romania – Chevraux leather and antelope leather.

The technical department of the factory was run by engineer György Krausz, and the commercial one was run by David Deutsch, the owner`s son-in-law. The latter had previously fulfilled several positions within the “Citron et Deutsch” leather factory in Mediaş. His son, Béla Motzen, also worked in the Oradea branch of the factory.

Besides his economic activity, Sámuel Motzen also carried out an extensive social activities. In 1932 he was elected Vice President of the Orthodox Jewish Community of Oradea.

Jenő Steiner – General Manager of the "Carmen" shoe factory

Jenő Steiner succeeded in acquiring leading positions through his own hard work, having started off from the lowest ranks of the trade.

He was born in 1873 in Halastó, of the Vas County (today in Hungary). At the early age of 11 he started working as apprentice for several shoemakers, where he learnt the trade for four years. In Budapest, he developed his professional and cultural knowledge during evening classes organised by trade unions. He improved his skills to such an extent that, in 1891, at the age of 18, he became editor at the speciality magazine Cipész (The Shoemaker).

In 1894 he was based in Cluj, where he worked as a foreman for a leather merchant. In 1895 he started working for the Népszava (Voice of the people) daily paper. He was sentenced to prison after his articles encouraging workers to defend their own interests, were published in this daily paper. Given that the Budapest government persecuted the political activity of the proletariat organised within the Social Democrat Party, with which Steiner also sided, he was expelled from the city in 1898, together with other party leaders.

Reaching Vienna, as an expert in his trade he quickly advanced to leading positions. The footwear patterns which he designd soon received attention and he was elected a member of the Vienna Institute of Fashion. His articles, published in renowned speciality magazines of the time, of the Kingdom and abroad, brought him into contact with the shoe manufactuer Tamás Bata of the town of Zlin (today in the Czech Republic). Together, they set up the first “Bata” leather factory, within which Steiner was assigned the task of providing raw materials, predominantly from Transylvania. At the same time he issued the Der Werkmeister (The Factory Foreman) magazine and set up the Association and House of Pensions of Foremen and Employees of the Leather and Footwear Factories.

Some years after the end of the First World War, in 1922, Steiner decided to close his businesses in Vienna and based himself in the city on the Crişul Repede. Noticing that dry goods and the production of children’s footwear were scarce, he set up the ”Carmen” and ”Primus” shoe factories, as well as the special “Esta-Sun” chemical goods factory. These three factories ensured jobs for approximately 800 workers.

The activity carried out by Jenő Steiner showed the value that such an industrialist and businessman can have for a city.

Jenő Weisz – owner of the “We-Ego” footwear factory

Jenő Weisz was born in Debrecen and came from a family of workers. His father`s profession, a shoemaker, compelled him to learn the secrets of this trade. During the period from 1903 to 1910, he acquired the necessary knowledge in his hometown at Béla Glück`s store. In 1910 he came to Oradea to improve his professional skills, working in Spreng brothers` store. In 1913 he joined with Mór Gelbert, and together they opened a gentleman’s footwear and fashion store named “Weisz and Gelbert”. This profitable activity was taken over at the outbreak of the First World War, Weisz having been conscripted and sent to the front where he was seriously wounded.


Returning to Oradea in 1919, with kidney failure, he was registered as an invalid. However, the existence of the Commercial Hall in town helped him pursue commercial activity. Following success recorded in 1924 – at the Commercial Hall Exhibition – with luxury footwear for women, led him to produce them in large quantities. He set up his own factory and fitted it out with modern machinery, producing We-Ego brand footwear, highly appreciated throughout the entire Romanian Kingdom. The factory ensured jobs for 100-120 workers even during the years of economic crisis. Following recession, he went on to produce children’s footwear.
Jenő Weisz was a member of the Commercial Hall and of the Romanian Association of Industrialists.

József Reich – carbonic acid and oxygen industrialist

József Reich was born in Újfehértó (Ratzfert in German, currently a town in the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County in Northeastern Hungary) in 1865. He studied under the guidance of the most renowned rabbis. At the age of 17 he left for Oradea, where his father was a clerk at the Jewish Orthodox community. At the age of 18 he took over the management of a siphon factory located on Clujului Road. At that time, carbonic acid, necessary in the production of siphons, was obtained through a rudimentary procedure, out of sulphuric acid and dolomite.
Eager to better himself, he left for Germany – to Leipzig, Berlin and Breslau – to refine his professional skills, where he acquired knowledge on carbonic acid production through closely examining the most modern methods. Returning to Oradea, he set up the National carbonic acid factory in 1904, the first of its sort in this part of the world. The machinery necessary for the production of the liquid carbonic acid manufacturing was produced by himself – thus succeeding in saving large amounts of money – having only to procure a compressor from Germany. The carbonic acid produced in his factory was used in almost all places in the eastern Romanian Kingdom.
After the end of the war and with the political changes occurred through the union of Transylvania with the Motherland, the production of the factory decreased because of competition with other similar factories. Nevertheless, overcoming difficulties, Reich succeeded in expanding the business through readjustment, producing oxygen, essential in the activity of hospitals.
He was a hard-working participant in the activity carried out by the Jewish Orthodox community of Oradea, being elected its president in 1927. During this time, he set up a ritual slaughterhouse within the community that complied with the highest European standards.

János Rippner – needle and celluloid industrialist

János Rippner came from a poor family. After graduating from elementary school, he worked as apprentice for Mihály Leipnik, who owned one of the largest stores in town. Shortly after joining he was promoted to a sales position within the company, handling the entire eastern part of the dual Kingdom.

In 1909, together with this brother-in-law, he set up “Leitner and Rippner”, a wholesale dry goods store. After two years spent in this field of commerce, he set out to establish a bold and large scale business. He had visited the needle factory in Sachen (Germany) and celluloid factories in France and on his return to Oradea, together with his brother Vilmos, he set up the Hungarian needle and celluloid factory, a joint-stock company with substantial financing from banks in Oradea. Although the new business was positively launched, the needle section was sold in the crisis year 1913. The celluloid operation continued to exist under the ownership of the family.

During the First World War, Rippner participated in the front-line battles in Russia and Romania.

Following the war, in 1919, he settled in Budapest where he established “Rosinger and Rippner” together with his cousin. One year later, this company opened a wholesale storehouse in Vienna, followed by another one in 1921 in Oradea. The storehouse in Oradea remained one of the most important ones in Transylvania for many years.

Farkas Rippner – manager of the hairpin and comb factory

Farkas Rippner was born in 1886 in Oradea. From a modest family background, having graduated from secondary school, he found a job at the Hungarian needle and celluloid factory, a joint-stock company, founded in 1911. Due to his diligence, he was quickly promoted to one of the leading positions within the factory. Before the outbreak of the First World War, Rippner bought the stock of the almost bankrupt company. Despite having insufficient stock and functioning in extremely tough conditions, the factory was eventually restored and turned profitable.


After the end of the war and with the change of historical circumstances, the factory benefited from the advantage of being the only one in Romania in this industrial field. Its products were developed all across the country. During the great economic crisis of the interwar period, the factory maintained jobs for about 200 people.


His son, György Rippner, inherited the business acumen and the diligence of his father, graduating from the Business Academy of Bern, where he obtained his Ph.D. Alongside his father, we was an active participant in the leadership of the factory.

Sándor Wasserstrom – brick industrialist and editor of the “Népünk” (“Our people”) magazine

Sándor Wasserstrom was a leading representative of the Jewry of Oradea, whose contribution to the economic and cultural progress of the city was vital.

He was born on 7th June 1887 in Oradea and, following to the tradition of his ancestors, he began his studies at the Jewish school. His ambition and his desire to acquire secular knowledge led him pursuing his studies at the Premonstratens Order Gymnasium. Then he enrolled at the Academy of Law but, at the age of 22, he interrupted his studies and got married. Then he took over his father’s en détail business, succeeding in turning it into a wholesale one.

In 1918, he bought the “József Guttmann” brick factory located in Csillagváros (Stellar town), in the Salca area, which had been there there since 1879. Moreover, he acquired the surrounding land on which, together with the brick production, he set up a model agricultural farm. Then he went on to to split up the land around the factory, creating places for the construction of houses to the extent of approximately 15 streets. By granting certain amenities to the beneficiaries, the partial construction of the Wasserstrom colony became possible. The excavations carried out in the area disclosed numerous archealogical finds of a cultural nature. Some of them can be found in the various collections stored at the Tarii Crisurilor Museum.

An anecdotal curiosity of the Wasserstrom colony was the tree planted by its inhabitants at the spot where a plane crash-landed carrying the future sovereign of Greater Romania, Carol the Second, together with his mistress, Magda Lupescu on their return from Paris.

From a young age, Sándor Wasserstrom wrote and published extensively, especially about the social problems faced by the Jewry. He was an active member of the Mizrachi religious movement, becoming in 1928, the President for the Transylvanian region.

Jenő Grünwald – locksmith

Jenő Grünwald was born on 10th November 1869, in the Botiz village of the current Satu Mare County. After having acquired knowledge in the locksmith trade and following his seven-year apprenticeship achieved according to the provisions of the old craft system, he settled in Oradea where, in 1893, he set up a locksmith workshop. Locks and metal fittings work were carried out in his workshop for most of the important buildings in town, such as the: City Hall Palace, Moskovits Palace, Rimanóczy House, the terrace of the Royal Coffee House, Cadets Academy (today situated in the Tarii Crisurilor Museum), Gendarmes School (today within the University of Oradea).

Due to his diligence and artistic sense, the workshop also became known in other larger cities across the eastern part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, receiving repeated orders. Consequently, his company executed the ironmongery of the County Palace of Aiud, of the Court House Palace of Zalău, of the “Miramare” Hotel of the harbour town Crikvenica (today in Croatia), of the “Pallace” Hotel and several other palaces in Budapest. The name Grünwald is also linked to the first introduction in Oradea of autogen welding which allowed the joining and the dividing of cast pieces, of machine parts, of bronze, copper and aluminium.

After a training stage performed abroad, Grünwald set up an iron/steel rolls factory in 1911, probably unique at the time, which competed with the standards of larger towns. Shortly after its establishment, the factory was inundated with large numbers of orders, initially from limited partners in Satu Mare, Debrecen and Nyíregyháza (today in Hungary).

During the Great War, Grünwald worked in the Hungarian gun factory of Győr, as a clerk in the technical department, as well as engineer of machine tools, obtaining remarkable results.

In 1922, together with his brothers, Mór and Herman Grünwald, he set up a metallurgic factory, and in 1929 he extended his business and started manufacturing wooden rolls. For this type of product, the enterprise became, as of 1920, an agency of the Wooden rolls factory of Esslingen. Even during the economic decline, the owners managed to maintain jobs for about 45-50 people.

In recognition of his outstanding work, in 1930, Jenő Grünwald received a second-class Commercial and Industrial Merit order.

reclama-1

The "Farkas Moskovits and Partner" shoe and boot factory - advertisement

reclama-2

Correspondence paper issued by the “Heller & Deutsch” hat factory

reclame-3

Correspondence paper issued by the “Grünwald Brothers” which included the metal and tin factory, and the iron rolls and “System Esslingen” wood rolls factory.


Street names have changed over time and we list below some of the major streets of Oradea.


      

Nr.

crt.

Perioada

1867-1918

Perioada

1918-1940

Perioada

1940-1944

Perioada

1944-1948

Denumirea actuală

1.

Szent János utca

str. Vlahuţă

Szent János utca

str. Béla Breiner

str. Ady Endre

2.

Zöldfa utca

str. Nicolae Iorga

Hlatky Endre utca

str. Vasile Alecsandri

str. Vasile Alecsandri

3.

Ország út

Vég út

Aradi út

Calea Aradului

Aradi út

Gróf Tisza István út

Calea Aradului

str. Ferenc Rákóczi II

Calea Aradului

4.

Arany János utca

str. Millerand

Arany János utca

str. Arany János

str. Arany János

5.

Nagy Malom utca

Bogár utca

Malom utca

str. Vasile Lucaciu

Malom utca

str. Vasile Lucaciu

str. Avântului

6.

Vécsey Károly utca

str. Mărăşeşti

Vécsey Károly utca

str. Károly Vécsey

str. Bacăului

7.

Felső Kis Német utca

Damjanich János utca

str. Simion Bărnuţiu

Damjanich utca

str. Simion Bărnuţiu

str. Simion Bărnuţiu

8.

Bunyitai liget

Parcul Regele Carol

Parcul Alba Iulia

Bunyitai liget

Parcul Muncitorilor

Parcul I.C. Brătianu

9.

Gillányi sor

str. Astra

Gillányi út

Calea Dimitrie Cantemir

str. Dimitrie Cantemir

10.

Bánya sor

str. Minelor

Gillányi út

str. Dimitrie Cantemir

11.

Terézia utca

str. Panait Cerna

Terézia utca

str. Panait Cerna

str. Panait Cerna

12.

Nagy Fürdő utca

Úri utca

str. Episcop Ciorogariu

str. Adolf Hitler

str. Attila József

str. Episcop Ciorogariu

13.

Kolozsvári út

Széna utca

Calea Victoriei – până la Calea ferată

str. 20 Aprilie – dincolo de Calea ferată

Mátyás Király út

Kolozsvári út

Calea Matei Corvin– până la Calea ferată

Calea 1 Mai– dincolo de Calea ferată

Calea Clujului

14.

Erzsébet utca

str. Miron Costin

Kocsán János utca

str. Miron Costin

str. Miron Costin

15.

Posta sikátor

Posta utca

Szalárdy János utca

str. George Coşbuc

Szalárdy János utca

str. George Coşbuc

str. George Coşbuc

16.

Gyep utca

Nap utca

Vitéz utca

Calea Decebal

Vitéz utca

Calea Decebal

Calea Decebal

17.

Nagyvásártér

Piaţa Mihai Viteazul

Benito Mussolini tér

Piaţa Mihai Viteazul

Piaţa 1 Decembrie

18.

Sütő utca

Vár utca

Báthory utca

str. Horia

Báthori István utca

str. Constantin Dobrogeanu Gherea

str. Constantin Dobrogeanu Gherea

19.

Apolló utca

Nagy Pereces utca

Szaniszló utca

str. I.C. Brătianu

Szaniszló utca

str. I.C. Brătianu

str. Mihai Eminescu

20.

Ritoók Zsigmond utca

str. Delavrancea

Ritoók Zsigmond utca

str. József Hübschenberger

str. George Enescu

21.

Bémer tér

Piaţa Regina Maria

Bémer tér

Horty Miklós tér

Piaţa Stalin

Piaţa Regele Ferdinand

22.

Kertész utca

str. Bolintineanu

Ráday Gedeon utca

str. Kertész

str. Grădinarilor

23.

Vár utca

Vár tér

Sánc utca

str. Griviţei

Sánc utca

str. Griviţei

str. Griviţei

24.

Téglagyár utca

str. Fabriciei de cărămidă

Téglagyár utca

str. Guttenberg

str. Johann Guttenberg

25.

Templom utca

Nagy Tükör utca

str. Bisericii

str. Episcop E. Beniamin

Templom utca

str. Béla Somogyi

str. Cardinal Iuliu Hossu

26.

Kert utca

Mezey Mihály utca

str. General Moşoiu

Mezey Mihály utca

str. Avram Iancu

str. Avram Iancu

27.

Sas utca - înainte de 1904

Kossuth Lajos utca - după 1904

str. Avram Iancu

Kossuth Lajos utca

str. Lajos Kossuth

str. Independenţei

28.

Nilgesz telep

Colonia Nilgesz

Nilgesz telep

-

Cartierul Nicolae Iorga

29.

Őssi telep

-

-

Colonia Ioşia

Cartierul Ioşia

30.

Őssi tér

Piaţa Ioşia

Gróf Majláth Gusztáv utca

str. Ştefan Octavian Iosif

str. Ştefan Octavian Iosif

31.

Köfaragó utca - înainte de 1904

Lukács György utca - după 1904

str. Nicolae Jiga

Lukács György utca

str. Nicolae Jiga

str. Nicolae Jiga

32.

Pecze sor

dr. Várady Zsigmond utca

Szarvas sor

str. Nicu Filipescu

dr. Várady Zsigmond utca

str. Mihail Kogălniceanu

str. Mihail Kogălniceanu

33.

Nagysándor József utca

str. Iosif Vulcan

Nagysándor József utca

str. József Nagysándor

str. Aurel Lazăr

34.

Olaszi utca

Sztaroveszky utca

str. Sztaroveszky

Piaţa Iaşilor

str. Episcop Radu

Sztaroveszky utca

str. Episcop Ciorogariu

str. General Magheru

35.

Nagy Magyar utca

Beöthy Ödön utca

str. Dimitrie Cantemir

Beöthy Ödön utca

str. Petru Groza

Str. Iuliu Maniu

36.

Széles utca

str. General Holban

str. Mihail Sorbul

Mikszáth Kálmán utca

str. Karl Marx

str. Menumorut

37.

Apácza utca

Szilágyi Dezső utca

str. Prinţul Carol

str. Regele Ferdinand

Szilágyi Dezső utca

str. Sindicatelor

str. Moscovei

Határ utca

Nagy híd utca

Gyár utca

str. Fabricelor

Gyár utca

str. Tito

str. Eftimie Murgu

Szöllős telep

-

Szöllős telep

Colonia Seleuş

Cartierul Nufărul

38.

-

-

Oncsa telep

Cartierul Oncea

39.

Kis kút utca

Vízvezeték utca

str. Ferenc Berkovits

str. dr. Ioan Ciordaş

Berkovits Ferenc utca

str. Ioan Ciordaş junior

str. Olteniei

40.

Közép utca

Pável utca

str. Episcopul Pavel

Pável utca

str. Episcop Pavel

str. Episcop Pavel

41.

Hideg utca

Hidegser utca

Kórház utca

str. Louis Pasteur

Vörösmarty Mihály utca

str. Louis Pasteur

str. Louis Pasteur

42.

Új sor

Schlauch tér

Parcul Carmen Sylva

Schlauch Bíbornok tér

Piaţa Sándor Petőfi

Parcul Sándor Petőfi

43.

Nagy Teleki utca - înainte de 1904

Gróf Teleki Pál utca - după 1904

str. Alex(cs)andri

Gróf Teleki Pál utca

str. Visinszki

str. Primăriei

44.

Fő utca

Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand

Rákóczi út

Horthy Miklós út

str. Republicii

str. Republicii

45.

Országút

Rákóczi út

Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand

Rákóczi út

Horthy Miklós út

str. Republicii

str. Republicii

46.

Nagy Szőllősi utca

Körös tér

Szöllős utca

str. Ştefan Octavian Iosif

Szöllős utca

str. Ervin Szabó

str. Seleuşului

47.

Füzes utca

str. Praga

Apáca utca

str. Louis Barthou

str. Sovata

48.

Rózsa utca

str. Aurel Vlaicu

-

-

str. Sucevei

49.

Vámház utca

str. Aurel Vlaicu

Szeptember 6. utca

str. Evreilor deportaţi martiri

str. Sucevei

50.

Templom tér

Piaţa Veneţia

Szent István tér

Piaţa Imre Szacsvay

Piaţa Tineretului

51.

Szent László tér

Piaţa Unirii

Szent László tér

Piaţa Malinovszki

Piaţa Unirii

52.

Őssi út

Calea Ioşia

-

-

str.Tudor Vladimirescu

53.

Nagy Körös utca

Körös utca

Str. Take Ionescu

Gróf Csáky István

str. Tudor Vladimirescu

str.Tudor Vladimirescu

54.

Rimanóczy Kálmán utca

str. Kálmán Rimanóczy

Rimanóczy Kálmán utca

str. Kálmán Rimanóczy

str. Iosif Vulcan


We are reproducing below the introductory pages of a 1927 
directory of

professions, trades and businesses in Oradea. Over time we will be reproducing

the full catalogue in alphabetical order to allow people to appreciate the

extent of Jewish presence in Oradea; to carry out research; or to help

track relatives.


We are grateful to the Library of Congress in the USA for permission to provide 

this resource.