The old Munk House in Nitra

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The house stood on a side street in Parucza, the Jewish Quarter of Nitra. It was home for four successive generations of the Munk family. Meir Avraham Munk’s father,  Beer and his 10 siblings were born and raised here. The area designated for Sukkot, marked by ‘b’ on the drawing, was designed in the 1830s for Beer and his family.

Meir Avraham Munk in his memoirs wrote the following:

“It was open because of the door, window, broken handle and lock, and there was freezing cold inside due to  the snow.. … The stove was built of thick earthenware and reached the ceiling. All the trees In the forest would have been too little to warm it up. …About the furnishing:: bed, chair, table and lamp… 2-3 chairs only, so most of the children had to eat standing up. At night, two or three of us slept there, in the same bed with our parents.. I, being the tallest, slept on a short trunk, shrunken like a frog.”

Beer Munk (1800–1852), in contrast to his male siblings, was not educated. He eked out a miserable livelihood as a peddler. He was on the move from Mondays to Friday with his textile ware weighing 65-70 kg, and would return home only for Shabbes.  As he had no capital to invest, he received the goods on credit for 3-6 months grace period, and received sales commission. He often sold his ware on credit to the village people. Upon his death, his son Jakab, collected the outstanding amounts for a full year. The majority of the Jewish merchants in the early 19th century were peddlers. As this family also demonstrates, the members of the next generation typically became shopkeepers, retailers or wholesalers.