MyHeritage DNA Study Reveals Hungary Has World's Second Largest Percentage of Population with Jewish (Ashkenazi) Ethnicity #hungary
Jan Meisels Allen
A new study MyHeritage DNA did with Dr. Daniel Staetsky, a statistician and
demographer uncovered the number of people descended >from Jewish ancestors
in Hungary is higher than other demographers have previously estimated.
The first study of its kind revealed that the country with the highest
proportion of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity after Israel was Hungary. It was
previously thought it was the United States. The study showed: After Israel,
the top countries in terms of significant Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity were
Hungary and Russia, followed by Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine, and then
the USA. The analysis was a cohort of 1.8 million anonymized DNA tests
taken by MyHeritage customers worldwide. The study included 100 countries.
A much lower percentage of people in Hungary, who self-identify as being
Jews, is substantially lower compared with the DNA test-takers, even after
adjusting for a degree of selectivity of MyHeritage users (most educated and
well to do classes since commercial genetic testing which is more likely to
be used by those cohorts.) It is also assumed that more Hungarian Jews
assimilated into the local population before the Holocaust, more Hungarians
survived the Holocaust than Jews in Poland, and more Jews remained in
Hungary than in Poland following the Holocaust.
Jews have a long history in Hungary dating back to at least the early 13th
century. By the early 20th century Jews constituted 5 % of Hungary?s total
population and Jews comprised 23% of Budapest. (These are not MyHeritage?s
numbers.) By 1941, over 17% of Budapest?s Jews were Roman Catholic converts,
following coordinated pressure across Europe that began with the Spanish
Inquisition in the late 15th century. Over 560,000 Hungarian Jews were
murdered in Holocaust.
The MyHeritage study also revealed Russia having many more people with
Jewish ethnicity than demographers expected.
To read more including the percentages of population with Ashkenazi Jewish
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
As a person with Hungarian Jewish ancestry, I would like to weigh in with an anecdotal story to support these findings.
My father's father as it eventually turned out was fully Jewish. He was born in what is now Serbia, but was Hungary until 1920 .
In 1914 in Budapest he married an ethnic Hungarian who was Catholic. In 1917 they had a child, and a marriage record was produced presumably in connection with registering the child
The document is very interesting.It includes the religion of both spouses. My grandmother was very straightforwardly identified as RK which are the Hungarian initials for Roman Catholic. For my grandfather his original religion had been blacked out, leaving one letter visible, a z, then in a different hand, he too was marked RK. The document also included a promise that any children of the marriage would be raised Catholic, a promise made only when one of the spouses was not Catholic. In other words he was Jewish in 1914, but by 1917 presumably had converted and was now Catholic.
He had two brothers both of whom also converted.Â Â One of the brothers married a Jewish woman and she too converted.They also had a sister who married a Jew and as far as I can tell she and her husband did not convert.Â
My father and his brother were indeed raised Roman Catholic and trained never to reveal their Jewish ancestry.
I only know because my grandmother slipped up one time in front of my mother and referred to her husband as Jewish.
So of this family of three brothers and a sister, who had two Christian spouses and two Jewish spouses, four of the six Jews converted to Christianity. This would be in the period >from about 1915 to about 1925.