Search
Print
Share
Your Selected Item:
1 \ 3
Removed
Added
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions

The Jewish Community of Botosani

Romanian: Botoșani

Yiddish: באטאשאן, Botoshan

A city in Romania

Botosani is the capital of Botosani County. It is located in the region of Moldavia

 

21ST CENTURY

In 2003 the Jewish population of Botosani was 92.

 

HISTORY

Until the end of the 19th century Botosani had the second largest and most important Jewish community in Moldova. It is possible that the community was established during the 17th century; what is known is that there was a substantial community in Botosani by the early 18th century.

In 1745 merchants in Botosani, including Jews, were granted the right to own their own homes by the gospodar (prince). In 1799 Prince Alexander Ypsilanti bestowed upon the community a privilege granting it the status of an autonomous corporation (the document eventually made its way to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem). The community grew, and by 1803 there were 350 families of Jewish taxpayers.

The community continued to grow during the 19th century, a result of Jewish immigration into the area. By the end of the century, in 1899, there were 16,817 Jews living in Botosani (51.8% of the total population). Through the century the community developed trade connections with Leipzig and Brody, and contributed significantly to the economic development of Botosani. In addition to trade, a growing number of Botosani’s Jews engaged in crafts. This aroused the opposition of the local Christian population, which demanded that the authorities prohibit Jews from these trades. Nonetheless, by 1899 more than 75% of the city’s merchants, and approximately 68% of its artisans, were Jewish.

Though the Jews of Botosani generally lived in peace, there were outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence. Anti-Jewish riots broke out in 1870; later, during the Romanian peasant revolt of 1907 antisemitism would once again flare up. There were also internal divisions within the community; when the Jewish communities of Romania were deprived of their official status at the beginning of the 1860s, sharp internal conflicts within the Botosani community led to its disintegration. Many of the community’s activities ceased, and a number of its organizations shut down.

In spite of the community’s struggles, a number of educational and cultural institutions and activities were started in Botosani during the mid-19th century. In 1866 the Hebrew writer and educator Hillel Kahana founded a secular Jewish school in Botosani, among the first in Romania. Despite opposition from Orthodox circles and several temporary closures, it existed until the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), and was supported in part by the Alliance Israelite Universelle school system. Teachers at the school included the Hebrew writers David Isaiah Slberbusch, Hirsch Lazar Teller, and Israel Teller. At the beginning of 1882 Silberbush and Teller published the first two issues of the Hebrew monthly “Ha-Or” in Botosani.

A number of Jews from Botosani served in the Romanian Army during the Second Balkan War (June 16-July 18, 1913) and World War I (1914-1918). The community was reorganized after the First World War. During the interwar period, community institutions included two elementary schools (one for boys and one for girls), and a vocational school for girls.

The Jewish community of Botosani numbered 11,840 in 1930 (36.6% of the total population).

 

WORLD WAR II (1939-1945)

During the reign of the Iron Guard (September 1940 - January 1941), the 10,900 Jews then-living in Botosani were the victims of economic repression and various other restrictions. Many were kidnapped by the Iron Guard, beaten up, and tortured. Jewish men in Botosani between the ages of 15 and 70 were conscripted for forced labor, even before the country’s forced labor law was enacted in December 1940. Ultimately, 8,000 Jews worked as forced laborers, half of whom were from outside the city.

In addition to the forced labor, Romanian authorities also deported 42 Jews to Transnistria whom they suspected of being communists. Most of them were killed shortly afterward by the SS and Romanian gendarmes. The total number of Botosani Jews deported to Transnistria eventually reached 148, with some accused of anti-government agitation or propagating emigration.

Meanwhile, the Jewish community worked to aid to the needy. After Poland was occupied by the Germans, the community took care of the many refugees who began arriving in the city. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union (June 1941) 11,000 Jews from villages and towns in the area were evacuated to Botosani; they too were helped by the local community. As a result of the influx of refugees, as well as the dismissal of Jewish children from public schools, the number of students attending elementary schools maintained by the community grew from 452 in 1940 to 1,050 in 1943. Two high schools were also established, attended by 350 pupils.

When the Soviet Army approached the city in April 1944, Botosani descended into complete anarchy, with deserters from the German and Romanian Army terrorizing the city’s inhabitants. The Jewish community then took over municipal functions, establishing a civilian guard, and ensuring that the government hospital and home for the aged continued to function. Delegates from the Jewish community handed over control of the city to the Soviet forces on April 7, after they entered the city. Jews were appointed to all public posts, but the Soviet commander warned them not to turn the city into a "Jewish republic.”

 

POSTWAR

After the war evacuees from the surrounding villages and those who returned from Transnistria settled in the city. Because of these returnees, Botosani's Jewish population rose to 19,550 in 1947.

Beginning in 1956, however, many of Botosani’s Jews immigrated, mostly to Israel. By 1969 there were 500 families and four synagogues remaining; the local shochet (kosher butcher) also served as the community's rabbi. In 1992 there were 200 Jews living n Botosani.

 

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
135643
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
our Open Databases
Jewish Genealogy
Family Names
Jewish Communities
Visual Documentation
Jewish Music Center
Place
אA
אA
אA
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
The Jewish Community of Botosani

Romanian: Botoșani

Yiddish: באטאשאן, Botoshan

A city in Romania

Botosani is the capital of Botosani County. It is located in the region of Moldavia

 

21ST CENTURY

In 2003 the Jewish population of Botosani was 92.

 

HISTORY

Until the end of the 19th century Botosani had the second largest and most important Jewish community in Moldova. It is possible that the community was established during the 17th century; what is known is that there was a substantial community in Botosani by the early 18th century.

In 1745 merchants in Botosani, including Jews, were granted the right to own their own homes by the gospodar (prince). In 1799 Prince Alexander Ypsilanti bestowed upon the community a privilege granting it the status of an autonomous corporation (the document eventually made its way to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem). The community grew, and by 1803 there were 350 families of Jewish taxpayers.

The community continued to grow during the 19th century, a result of Jewish immigration into the area. By the end of the century, in 1899, there were 16,817 Jews living in Botosani (51.8% of the total population). Through the century the community developed trade connections with Leipzig and Brody, and contributed significantly to the economic development of Botosani. In addition to trade, a growing number of Botosani’s Jews engaged in crafts. This aroused the opposition of the local Christian population, which demanded that the authorities prohibit Jews from these trades. Nonetheless, by 1899 more than 75% of the city’s merchants, and approximately 68% of its artisans, were Jewish.

Though the Jews of Botosani generally lived in peace, there were outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence. Anti-Jewish riots broke out in 1870; later, during the Romanian peasant revolt of 1907 antisemitism would once again flare up. There were also internal divisions within the community; when the Jewish communities of Romania were deprived of their official status at the beginning of the 1860s, sharp internal conflicts within the Botosani community led to its disintegration. Many of the community’s activities ceased, and a number of its organizations shut down.

In spite of the community’s struggles, a number of educational and cultural institutions and activities were started in Botosani during the mid-19th century. In 1866 the Hebrew writer and educator Hillel Kahana founded a secular Jewish school in Botosani, among the first in Romania. Despite opposition from Orthodox circles and several temporary closures, it existed until the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), and was supported in part by the Alliance Israelite Universelle school system. Teachers at the school included the Hebrew writers David Isaiah Slberbusch, Hirsch Lazar Teller, and Israel Teller. At the beginning of 1882 Silberbush and Teller published the first two issues of the Hebrew monthly “Ha-Or” in Botosani.

A number of Jews from Botosani served in the Romanian Army during the Second Balkan War (June 16-July 18, 1913) and World War I (1914-1918). The community was reorganized after the First World War. During the interwar period, community institutions included two elementary schools (one for boys and one for girls), and a vocational school for girls.

The Jewish community of Botosani numbered 11,840 in 1930 (36.6% of the total population).

 

WORLD WAR II (1939-1945)

During the reign of the Iron Guard (September 1940 - January 1941), the 10,900 Jews then-living in Botosani were the victims of economic repression and various other restrictions. Many were kidnapped by the Iron Guard, beaten up, and tortured. Jewish men in Botosani between the ages of 15 and 70 were conscripted for forced labor, even before the country’s forced labor law was enacted in December 1940. Ultimately, 8,000 Jews worked as forced laborers, half of whom were from outside the city.

In addition to the forced labor, Romanian authorities also deported 42 Jews to Transnistria whom they suspected of being communists. Most of them were killed shortly afterward by the SS and Romanian gendarmes. The total number of Botosani Jews deported to Transnistria eventually reached 148, with some accused of anti-government agitation or propagating emigration.

Meanwhile, the Jewish community worked to aid to the needy. After Poland was occupied by the Germans, the community took care of the many refugees who began arriving in the city. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union (June 1941) 11,000 Jews from villages and towns in the area were evacuated to Botosani; they too were helped by the local community. As a result of the influx of refugees, as well as the dismissal of Jewish children from public schools, the number of students attending elementary schools maintained by the community grew from 452 in 1940 to 1,050 in 1943. Two high schools were also established, attended by 350 pupils.

When the Soviet Army approached the city in April 1944, Botosani descended into complete anarchy, with deserters from the German and Romanian Army terrorizing the city’s inhabitants. The Jewish community then took over municipal functions, establishing a civilian guard, and ensuring that the government hospital and home for the aged continued to function. Delegates from the Jewish community handed over control of the city to the Soviet forces on April 7, after they entered the city. Jews were appointed to all public posts, but the Soviet commander warned them not to turn the city into a "Jewish republic.”

 

POSTWAR

After the war evacuees from the surrounding villages and those who returned from Transnistria settled in the city. Because of these returnees, Botosani's Jewish population rose to 19,550 in 1947.

Beginning in 1956, however, many of Botosani’s Jews immigrated, mostly to Israel. By 1969 there were 500 families and four synagogues remaining; the local shochet (kosher butcher) also served as the community's rabbi. In 1992 there were 200 Jews living n Botosani.

 

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People