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The Jewish Community of Ploiesti

Ploiesti

Also: Ploesti

A city in in Muntenia (Walachia), south central Romania.

The first Jews settled in Ploiesti in the second half of the 17th century. There were so few, however, that they continued to bury their dead at the cemetery at Buzau.

At the end of the same century they purchased ground for a cemetery, far from the city, where tombstones have been found dating back to 1719-40. A second cemetery was confiscated by a landowner to enlarge his estate. A third, established on ground acquired in 1818 by the Jews' guild, was also closed, being too near the city. Consequently, a fourth cemetery was established outside the city. In the early 18th century the synagogue was demolished by order of the ruler, and the Jews had to move two kilometers out of the city. However, their commercial importance was so valued that the cattle market and general market of the city were established in their neighborhood.

The road linking the Jewish quarter with the city became known as the Jews' Street till 1882. At the beginning of the 19th century, Sephardi Jews migrated to Ploiesti from the Balkan states; their neighborhood was called the Spanish Street. in 1830 the Sephardim requested the Chakham Bashi (title of chief rabbi in the Ottoman Empire) to approve the establishment of their own community, but the request was refused. Thus Ploiesti became the only Romanian locality whose kahal (local governing body of a former European Jewish community) combined Ashkenazim and Sephardim in communal activities (although distinctions persisted in regard to separate synagogues and chevra kaddisha). From 280 Jews listed as taxpayers in 1831, the number reached 2,478 in 1899 (5.5% of the total population) and 3,843 (3.3%) in 1930. Five synagogues were eventually established, including one for artisans and another for sephardim. The boys' school, built in 1875, was named after Luca Moise who granted funds for its building and maintenance. A girls' school was built in 1896. Among noted rabbis who served Ploiesti were those of the Brezis family, Judah Aryeh Brezis (1869-1908) and Dr. Joseph Chayyim Brezis (1911-1922). Menahem Safran officiated as rabbi from 1939 to 1956. Rabbi David Friedman, a chasidic tzaddik of the Ruzhin dynasty, lived in Ploiesti until his murder by the Iron Guard in 1940.

The Jews did much to develop the city by organizing the export of agricultural produce, leather, and other goods to Hungary and on to Vienna. From the middle of the 19th century many dealt in oil, developing Ploiesti into a center for that commodity. After the emancipation of the Jews in Romania, Jews officiated as representatives on the city council and for a time a Jew served as vice-mayor.

Immediately after the outbreak of World War II, Ploiesti became a center of German interest because of its oil resources. Units of the German army appeared in the city as early as the autumn of 1940. After Antonescu assumed power (September 1940), Cojocaru, a member of the Iron Guard, was appointed commander of the local police. Immediately upon taking over the post he introduced serious measures against the Jews, i.e., confiscation of their businesses and wide-scale arrests of merchants and community leaders. On the night of November 27/28, 1940, 11 of the Jewish prisoners were executed in a nearby forest. Among those killed was Rabbi David Friedman. During the same period members of the Iron Guard destroyed three synagogues and the Luca Moise school; they burned the torah scroll taken from the synagogues and transferred the furniture to churches, while the school equipment was taken to Romanian educational institutions.

A number of Jews were sent to the Tirgu-Jiu concentration camp. After the outbreak of war with the USSR (June 1941), all the Jewish men from ages 18 to 60 were arrested and sent to the Teis concentration camp. Youth from the ages of 13 to 18 remained in Ploiesti and were mobilized into different forms of forced labor. In January 1942 men over the age of 50 were released from Teis and returned to the city. The rest were scattered throughout various cities in Romania but were forbidden to leave their new locations.

Later on they were sent to do forced labor in various places in Bessarabia and Moldavia. After the war, practically all of Ploiesti's Jews returned to the city.

In 1947 the Jewish population numbered about 3,000, decreasing to 2,000 in 1950. By 1969 about 120 Jewish families remained. They had one synagogue.

The synagogue of Ploiesti, built in 1901, was reopened in 2017 following a extensive renovations executed with the help of an American sponsor, who was born in Ploiesti. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Chief Rabbi Menahem Hacahen and Rabbi Slomo Sorin Rosen, Aurel Vainer, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, as well as presidents of the Jewish communities of Brasov, Piatra Neamt and Focsani as well as the mayor of Ploiesti.  That year there were less than 100 Jews living in Ploiesti.  

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
151429
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
Folklorist

Born in Ploiesti, he taught Romanian language and literature at the University of Bucharest and Latin at a high school. He won prizes from the Romanian Academy and was regarded as the country's leading philologist but was refused Romanian citizenship even after he became a Christian. Saineanu wrote for Jewish papers under a pseudonym, writing on Romanian Jewish history and Yiddish philology. In 1895 he published a four-volume Romanian dictionary which went through 84 editions. In 1901he moved to Paris where he taught Romanian folklore at the Sorbonne. Among the books he wrote in France were studies on French etymology, French slang and Rabelais.

Eugen Goldenberg (1912-1959), Zionist leader, born in Ploiesti, Romania, the only child of a Jewish family that immigrated to Romania from Austria. After he completed high school in Ploiesti, he and his family moved to Bucharest in 1931, where he studied law at the University of Bucharest. Goldenberg served in the Romanian army between 1934 and 1935, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. During the Holocaust, he worked as a forced laborer between 1942 and 1944.

Goldenberg served as the vice-chair of the Art institute in Bucharest until 1950, and was appointed as the head of the company Tehnochimia (Technochemistry). Beginning in September 1951 he served as the president of the chemical company Coprochim. 

Goldenberg became an active Zionist while he was still young. Among his numerous activities, he bought land in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. However, after the communist government came to power in Romania at the end of the 1940s, Zionist activities were forbidden and anyone who continued to be active in the Zionist movement was in danger. 

On October 5, 1957, Goldenberg was arrested by the communist authorities and charged with being a Zionist and an “enemy of the state.” During the years of his imprisonment he was not granted a trial, nor was he sentenced to jail. Rather, he was given over to repeated interrogations, and subjected to physical and psychological torture. His wife Marta’s efforts to secure his release included turning to Rabbi Moses Rosen, who served during that same period as the Chief Rabbi of Romania. All of her efforts, however, failed. On September 3, 1959 the family received word that Goldenberg had died in prison. His body was not returned to his family, nor were they given details about where he was buried.

His family immigrated to Israel in 1960, where they changed their name to Harpaz. Years later, when Marta was visiting Bucharest, she was informed that Goldenberg was buried in Bucharest’s Jewish cemetery. 

In 2008 Goldenberg’s family received his file, which had been preserved in the archives of the Securitate, the Romanian secret police during the communist era. The file revealed years of surveillance by the Securitate of Goldenberg’s Zionist activities. The file indicated that Goldenberg was one of the leaders of the Zionist movement Mishmar, and a member of the organization Mizrachi and the Maritime Palestine League. In Israel Goldenberg was recognized as an Assir Zion ("Prisoner of Zion").

Goldenberg’s two sons had successful careers in Israel. The older son, Alex Harpaz, who was 13 years old when his father died, is an architect, and his son Danny Harpaz, who is three years younger than his brother, served in the IDF as a lieutenant-colonel, and since then has served as the head of a number of Israeli companies.

Members of He-Halutz sitting in the field
Ploesti, Romania, 1919.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Bequest of the late David Vinitsky, Israel)
Folklorist

Born in Ploiesti, he taught Romanian language and literature at the University of Bucharest and Latin at a high school. He won prizes from the Romanian Academy and was regarded as the country's leading philologist but was refused Romanian citizenship even after he became a Christian. Saineanu wrote for Jewish papers under a pseudonym, writing on Romanian Jewish history and Yiddish philology. In 1895 he published a four-volume Romanian dictionary which went through 84 editions. In 1901he moved to Paris where he taught Romanian folklore at the Sorbonne. Among the books he wrote in France were studies on French etymology, French slang and Rabelais.

Eugen Goldenberg (1912-1959), Zionist leader, born in Ploiesti, Romania, the only child of a Jewish family that immigrated to Romania from Austria. After he completed high school in Ploiesti, he and his family moved to Bucharest in 1931, where he studied law at the University of Bucharest. Goldenberg served in the Romanian army between 1934 and 1935, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. During the Holocaust, he worked as a forced laborer between 1942 and 1944.

Goldenberg served as the vice-chair of the Art institute in Bucharest until 1950, and was appointed as the head of the company Tehnochimia (Technochemistry). Beginning in September 1951 he served as the president of the chemical company Coprochim. 

Goldenberg became an active Zionist while he was still young. Among his numerous activities, he bought land in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. However, after the communist government came to power in Romania at the end of the 1940s, Zionist activities were forbidden and anyone who continued to be active in the Zionist movement was in danger. 

On October 5, 1957, Goldenberg was arrested by the communist authorities and charged with being a Zionist and an “enemy of the state.” During the years of his imprisonment he was not granted a trial, nor was he sentenced to jail. Rather, he was given over to repeated interrogations, and subjected to physical and psychological torture. His wife Marta’s efforts to secure his release included turning to Rabbi Moses Rosen, who served during that same period as the Chief Rabbi of Romania. All of her efforts, however, failed. On September 3, 1959 the family received word that Goldenberg had died in prison. His body was not returned to his family, nor were they given details about where he was buried.

His family immigrated to Israel in 1960, where they changed their name to Harpaz. Years later, when Marta was visiting Bucharest, she was informed that Goldenberg was buried in Bucharest’s Jewish cemetery. 

In 2008 Goldenberg’s family received his file, which had been preserved in the archives of the Securitate, the Romanian secret police during the communist era. The file revealed years of surveillance by the Securitate of Goldenberg’s Zionist activities. The file indicated that Goldenberg was one of the leaders of the Zionist movement Mishmar, and a member of the organization Mizrachi and the Maritime Palestine League. In Israel Goldenberg was recognized as an Assir Zion ("Prisoner of Zion").

Goldenberg’s two sons had successful careers in Israel. The older son, Alex Harpaz, who was 13 years old when his father died, is an architect, and his son Danny Harpaz, who is three years younger than his brother, served in the IDF as a lieutenant-colonel, and since then has served as the head of a number of Israeli companies.

Eliad, Harry (b.1927), author and director, born in Craiova, Romania. He attended the Cornetti Conservatorium in Craiova before moving to Ploiesti, Romania, where he was stage director and managing director of the local theater from 1953 to 1988. After 1988 he became managing director of the Jewish State Theater in Bucharest, Romania. Eliad is a vice-president of the Avram Goldfaden Cultural Foundation and a member of management of the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Romania. He is author of numerous musical shows, lead over 30 international tours of the Jewish theater, and a lecturer in the history of the history of the theater.

.
Dobrogeanu-Gherea, Constantin (1855-1920), Literary critic, sociologist and Marxist theorist, born as Solomon Katz in Slavianka, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire). He became involved in revolutionary politics while studying at the University of Kharkov (now Kharkiv, in Ukraine). Wanted by the Russian police, he moved to Romania settling in Iasi (Jassy) in 1875, but was kidnapped, taken back to Russia and imprisoned for a year. He made his way back to Romania, was baptized and took a Romanian name. He obtained the restaurant concession at Ploiesti railway station and this became a meeting place for writers and for refugee socialists.

Gherea-Dobrogeanu was a noted Romanian literary critic and was also one of the leading popularizers of Marxism in Romania. He was among the founders of the Romanian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (1893).

Lory Wallfisch (1920-2011), music professor, pianist and harpsichordist, born in Ploiesti, Romania. She attended the St. Andrei High School and then she studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Bucharest. In 1944, she married renowned violinist Ernst Wallfisch (1920-1979). With the help of Yehudi Menuchin, Ernst and Lory Wallfisch immigrated to the USA.

Along with her husband, the formed the Wallfisch Duo and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, North Africa, and Israel. As a soloist she performed with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, The Camerata Lysy at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Argentina, The Baltimore Symphony, The Houston Symphony, and all the major orchestras of Romania. She appeared on television in the United States and Europe. She participated in international festivals in Edinburgh, York, Venice, Besançon, Gstaad, Prades.

In 1964 Wallfisch joined the Smith College in Northampton, MA, where she often lectured on the Romanian composer George Enescu (1881-1955), with whom she was personally acquainted. She was one of the founding members of the George Enescu Society of the United States in 1981. In the 1990s, together with the pianists Julian Musafia and Mihail Horia, she gave the first performances since the composer’s death of the then unpublished Sinfonia Concertante for two pianos and string orchestra by the Romanian pianist and composer Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950). She has served on the jury of several international piano competitions and as of 2002, her birth city of Ploesti declared a Lory Wallfisch Day and initiated the Lory Wallfisch International Piano Competition. Wallfisch died in Northampton, MA.

Nilu Aronovici (b. 1930), agronomist and community leader born in Botosani, Romania. He attended the Jewish high school in Iasi, Romania, and then the high school in Ploiesti, Romania. He graduated from the Faculty of Horticulture - the viticulture and vinification department - of the Agronomic Institute in Bucharest. He attended postgraduate specialization schools in Romania as well as in Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Israel. Aronovici served as the scientific secretary of the Research Institute for Viticulture and Vinification at Valea Calugareasca – Prahova, Romania. He is a founding member of Oficiul National al Viei si Vinului (O.N.V.V.) (“National Office of Vine and Wine”) in Romania. Aronovici is the author of numerous scientific papers published in periodicals and professional magazines.

After 1996, Aronovici served as President of the Department of Social and Medical Assistance of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania (FCER). He was awarded the “Gheorghe Ionescu-Șișești” Meritul Agricol Diploma in 2009.  

Harry Eliad (1927-2012), theater actor, director and community leader, born in Craiova, Romania. He attended the Jewish High School and then the Fratii Buzesti High School and then the Cornetti Conservatory in Craiova. He started his theater career at the National Theater in Craiova in 1949. Between 1953-1988 he was actor and director of the Ploiesti Theater, and then from 1988 until his death he was director and manager of the Jewish State Theater (TES) in Bucharest. At the TES he was author of musical performances and director of 29 international tours of this theater. Eliad published numerous articles and studies on the art of acting and directing. He served as the first vice-president of the Avram Goldfaden Cultural Foundation and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER). In 2002, Eliad was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit with the rank of Knight.

Barbu Nemțeanu (born Benjamin Deutsch) (1887-1919), poet and translator, born in Galati, Romania. Orphaned by his father as a child, he held various small positions, such as office practitioner, reporter, clerk, in order to support his family. He spent his early years in Galati, then moved for sometime to Ploiesti, and finally to Bucharest.

As a publicist he collaborated to a large number of publications, including: Înainte (“Forward”, 1904-1905), Viața nouă (“New Life”, 1907-1908), Convorbiri critice (“Critical Conversations”, 1907), Viața literară și artistică (“Literary and artistic life”, 1908), Floarea albastră (“The Blue Flower “, 1912), Flacăra (“Flame”, 1912, 1915-196), Viitorul social (“The social future”, 1913), Universul literar (“The Literary Universe”, 1913), Lumina (“Light”, 1918), Facla (1918), Renașterea (“The Renaissance”, 1918), Scena (“Stage”, 1918), Rampa (1919).

In 1908 he published the socialist magazine Pagini libere, a literary-scientific weekly n which he published original works and translations.

His first work was Poezii alese ("Selected Poetry", 1910), his other works include a volume of poems Stropi de soare (“Sun drops”, 1915) and a much appreciated Romanian translation of Hebrew Songs by Heinrich Heine (1919).  His other translations include both poetry and prose by Charles Baudelaire, Ivan Turgeniev, Ephraim Lessing, Nikolaus Lenau, Oscar Wilde and others.

During his career he used a large number of pen names, among them B. Askenazi, Ion Corbu, Ion Crângu, Vasile Crângu, Luca Zimbru, Cireșeanu, Barbu Exoticu, Germanicus Galitiensis, and Tedesco.

Nemteanu suffered from tuberculosis. With the financial support of his readers and friends, in 1913 he traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland, for treatment. In Lausanne he learned Fench and started writing poetry in that language. He returned to Romania in 1916 and spent most of his last years in several tuberculosis sanatoriums. He died in Bucharest.

Albert Poch (1930-2013), cartoonist and graphic artist, born in Babadag, Romania. During the Holocaust, on July 9, 1941, he was expelled from his home and deported from his native town at the orders of the Fascist government of Romanis. After the war he graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest where he was a student of Jules Perahim. Author of graphic works, illustrations and book covers, posters, caricatures. He was the artistic editor and cartoonist at Urzica – a humor and satire magazine, from 1951 until 1984, when he was fired. After the fall of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989, Poch served as president of the caricature section of the Union of Visual Artists of Romania. In 2002 he organized a large exhibition of cartoonists from the post-communist period. Poch created, among other things, covers of books published by Hasefer publishing house of the Jewish Community of Romania.

In 2011 he was evacuated from his home on Știrbei Vodă Street in Bucharest following legal proceedings that decided that the house should be returned to the descendants of Constantin Cotty Stoicescu who served as Minister of Justice of the Romanian Fascist government of Marshal Ion Antonescu.

His works were exhibited at international cartoon salons in Romania and other countries - Italy, France, Yugoslavia, Canada, Poland, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, etc.

Poch was the laureate of the Union of Journalists Award for the poster with the theme “Against water pollution” (Bucharest, 1965). He was awarded the Grand Prize at the Cartoon Salon in Ploiesti in 1969, and numerous awards at various saloons outside Romania, including at Bordighera, Italy, in 1967, Skoplje, Yugoslavia, in 1984, and Krakow, Poland, in 1970. The artist's works are displayed in museums in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, and Switzerland.

Romania

România

A country in eastern Europe, member of the European Union (EU)

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 9,000 out of 19,500,000.  Before the Holocaust Romania was home to the second largest Jewish community in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world, after USSR, USA, and Poland. Main Jewish organization:

Federaţia Comunităţilor Evreieşti Din România - Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania
Str. Sf. Vineri nr. 9-11 sector 3, Bucuresti, Romania
Phone: 021-315.50.90
Fax: 021-313.10.28
Email: secretariat@fcer.ro
Website: www.jewishfed.ro

קאמפינה 

Campina

עיר בצפון חבל ואלאכיה (מונטניה), מחוז פראהובה, על נהר פראהובה, דרום רומניה. אזור פראהובה, בו שוכנת העיר, הוא אזור עשיר בנפט וניצולו החל בסוף המאה ה- 19. העיר המרכזית באזור, פלויישט (Ploesti), נמצאת במרחק 36 ק"מ דרום מזרח מקאמפינה.

ראשיתו של היישוב היהודי חופף את ראשית קידוחי הנפט במקום ובסוף המאה ה- 19 (1899) חיו בעיר 261 יהודים, שמספרם עלה עד 1910 ל- 412. במרכז העיר הוקם בית זיקוק גדול, ובין המומחים לקידוחים שהוזמנו והגיעו לעיר מישובים אחרים נמנו גם מהנדסים יהודים.

התהוות היישוב היהודי חייב התפתחות מוסדות קהילתיים. ב-1897 רכשה הקהילה שטח בית עלמין, וב-1902 נבנה בית כנסת. בתחום הסעד התארגנה חברה לתמיכה בעניים אבל, תופעה יוצאת דופן, לא נמצאו נזקקים בקרב היישוב היהודי. החברה לא התפרקה אלא הגישה את עזרתה לעניים הנוצרים. במקום גם פעל בית ספר מעורב של קהילה, וב-1910 למדו בו 63 תלמידים. באותה שנה למדו בבית הספר הממלכתי 37 תלמידים יהודים. סכסוכים בין החילוניים והדתיים מנעו את המשך קיומו של בית הספר הקהילתי. הראשון שכהן כרב הקהילה ומילא תפקיד זה עד 1909 היה ר' הירש שכטר.

בין המועסקים היהודים בתעשיית הנפט, פקידים ומהנדסים, חלקם התגוררו בכפרים ובעיירות הסביבה, אבל השתייכו לקהילת קאמפינה וקיבלו את שירותיה הקהילתיים. בעקבות חוק הדתות מ- 1929, שהכירה בדת היהודית כדת הסטורית, הוכרה הקהילה ב-1932 כגוף משפטי.
מלבד היהודים הקשורים לתעשיית הנפט, היו כמובן גם העוסקים במקצועות היהודיים המסורתיים, מסחר ומלאכה. על פי נתונים מ-1910, שנה בה מספר היהודים הגיע לשיא (419), הייתה חלוקת מקורות הפרנסה היהודיים כדלקמן; 68 סוחרים, 18 בעלי מלאכה (11 פחחים, 5 חייטים, 2 נגרים), 28 בעלי מקצועות שונים.

הייתה פעילות ציונית בעיירה. בין שתי מלחמות העולם התארגן סניף ציוני ע"ש "נחום סוקולוב". הנשים הפעילות בסניף "ויצו" אירגנו שעורים לעברית. ב- 1930 מנו היהודים 319 נפשות (1.5% מכלל התושבים), ב- 1941, השנה בה נכנסה רומניה למלחמת העולם השנייה, ירד מספרם ל- 184 (0.8% מכלל התושבים).


תקופת השואה

למלחמת העולם השנייה לא קדמו במקום רדיפות אנטישמיות, אבל הייתה תעמולה אנטישמית. ארגון "ליגה לתרבות" שהוקם בהשראתו של ההסטוריון הרומני האנטישמי ניקולאי יורגה (N. Iorga) ייסד סניף בקאמפינה שעסק בהסתה אנטישמיות.
בספטמבר 1940 עלה לשלטון ברומניה הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. הוא הכליל בממשלתו את חברי "משמר הברזל" (מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה). ב- 22 ביוני 1941 הצטרפה רומניה לגרמניה בהתקפה נגד ברית המועצות ונכנסה למלחמת העולם השנייה. כעבור שלושה שבועות, ב- 15 ביולי הופצץ האזור העשיר בנפט, בתוכו נכללה גם קאמפינה, על ידי חיל האוויר הרוסי. התוצאה המיידית הייתה גירוש היהודים מן העיר. בשלב ראשון גורשו רק הגברים וזמן קצר אחריהם גורשו גם הנשים והילדים. הגברים נשלחו תחילה למחנה ריכוז וכעבור כמה חדשים, בדצמבר שוחררו והורשו לעבור לערים לפי בחירתם, פרט לעיר המוצא, קאמפינה, לעיר הבירה, בוקארשט ולעיר המרכזית באזור, פלוישט. ימים מועטים אחרי גירוש הגברים, גורשו גם הנשים והילדים. לפני יציאתן הן חוייבו לשלם מיסים עבור כל השנה ולמסור למשטרה את הדירות והחנויות על כל תכולתן. הנשים והילדים גורשו לפלויישט. אחרי יציאתם נשדדו חנויות ודירות היהודים למרות שנמסרו למשטרה.

אחרי כניעת רומניה ב-1944 חזרו רוב הפליטים היהודים לעיר וב-1947 מנו התושבים היהודים בקאמפינה 140 נפש.

Bucharest

Romanian: Bucuresti

Capital of Romania

The historic Jewish district of Bucharest used to be centered around the Choral Temple, and spread from Piata Unirii east towards Dristor. However, most of the Jewish buildings that stood there were destroyed during the 1980s in order to make way for the Bulevardul Unirii. As of 2015, there remain a handful of points of Jewish interest in Bucharest, serving the community of approximately 3,500. The Choral Temple, the Yeshua Tova Synagogue, and the Great Polish Synagogue, continue to hold services; the latter also hosts the city's Holocaust Museum. The Beit Hamidrash Synagogue, which dates back to the late 18th century, is abandoned and decaying, though the structure itself is still (barely) standing. Another abandoned synagogue whose building still stands is the Hevra Amuna (Temple of Faith).

The Jewish History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie a Evreilor din Romania) is located in what was once a synagogue called the Holy Union Temple. The synagogue building itself was constructed in 1836; it began serving as a Jewish history museum in 1978. Mozes Rosen, the chief rabbi of Romania from 1964 until his death in 1994, founded the museum and provided a number of items for its collection.

The State Jewish Theater, which is located in Bucharest, is the oldest uninterrupted Yiddish-language theater in the world. The theater features plays by Jewish playwrights, plays about Jewish topics, and Yiddish plays that run simultaneous Romanian translations through headphones. The theater is located next to the Lauder-Reut Jewish school, which has over 400 students enrolled in its kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools.

HISTORY

The Jewish community of Bucharest was formed both by Sephardic Jews who arrived from the south, chiefly from the Otooman Empire, and later by Ashkenazi Jews arriving from the north. A responsum by the rabbi of Solonika during the 16th century that mentions a Sephardic community is the first documented evidence confirming the presence of Jews in Budapest. The Jewish community began to grow and prosper; some were even the creditors of the ruling princes. This economic success, however, eventually came at a steep price (pun intended); when Prince Michael the Brave revolved against the Turks in November 1593, he ordered that his creditors be killed, among whom were a number of Jews.

Ahskenazi Jews began arriving and establishing their own community towards the middle of the 17th century, drawn there after fleeing the Khmielnitski Massacres taking place in Ukraine. Their numbers grew, and eventually the Ashkenazi community became larger than the Sephardic community. For tax purposes, the Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities were organized into a single community by the state, and were forced to pay a fixed tax to the treasury. Meanwhile, the general population, afraid of economic competition, was intensely hostile towards the Jews. In 1793 residents of the suburb Razvan petitioned Prince Alexander Moruzi to expel the Jews who had recently settled in the area and to demolish the synagogue that they had built. Though the prince ordered that the synagogue be closed, he did not remove the Jews from Razvan and, in fact, issued a decree confirming his protection of them. In 1801 there were anti-Jewish riots following blood libel accusations, and 128 Jews were killed or wounded.

In 1819 Prince Alexandru Sutu officially acknowledged both the Sephardic ("Spanish") and Ashkenazi ("Polish") communities, allowing them to operate as separate entities. This continued until 1949 when the Communist regime once again forced the two communities to join together. By 1832 there were 10 Ashkenazi and one Sephardi synagogues in Bucharest. The Great Synagogue, which was Ashkenazi, was dedicated on Rosh Hashanah, 1847.

In spite of the impressive Great Synagogue, the Ashkenazi community of Bucharest had to deal with a number of fissures and tensions during the 19th century. There were tensions between those were born in Romania, and those who immigrated to Bucharest, who were not under the same system of taxation as the native Romanians. This led the immigrants within the Jewish community, who were considered "foreign subjects" to refuse to pay the tax levied on kosher meat. This was a problem, as this tax constituted the sole income of the community council. The authorities, who were drawn into the conflict, at first upheld the traditional rights of the Jewish communal organization. However, following repeated complaints from both sides, as well as constitutional changes that took place in Romania in 1832, the community was given a new constitution that greatly curtailed its autonomy. Instead of operating autonomously, it fell under the direct authority and close supervision of the municipality. Eventually, in 1851, the Prussian and Austrian subjects (about 300 families) were officially permitted to found a separate community.

The increasing influence of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), also led to tensions within the Ashkenazi community. It is important to note that this conflict also reflected the economics of the community; those in favor of the Haskalah and who wanted the community to undertake more progressive reforms tended to be from the upper classes, while those who were more traditional tended to be further down the socioeconomic ladder. At that time, the Bucharest Ashkenazi community was torn by strife between the Orthodox and progressive factions. The controversy began to center around a school with a modern curriculum that opened in 1852, as well as the proposal in 1857, led by Ya'akov Lobel, to build a Choral Temple, that would incorporate modern ideas and principles into its services. The appointment of Rabbi Meir Leib Malbim in 1858 as the chief rabbi did not help quell the disputes. Malbim was a fierce and uncompromising opponent of the Reform movement, and he quickly made enemies among Bucharest's Jewish elite. The conflicts between Malbim and those who were in favor of the Reform Movement came to a head in 1862, when Malbim was arrested. He was freed only after Sir Moses Montefiore intervened, and on the condition that he leave Romania. The Choral Synagogue was completed in 1867, and became the center for the modernists of the community.

Among the most prominent spiritual and religious leaders of the community before World War I were Antoine Levy and Moritz (Meir) Beck, who were rabbis of the Choir Temple Congregation from 1867 to 1869 and 1873 to 1923, respectively. Other outstanding figures within the Choir Temple community were Iuliu Barasch and Yitzchak Leib Weinberg. Yitzchak Esiik Taubes was the rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation from 1894 until 1921. The most prominent lay leader was Adolf Stern. Moscu Asher led the Sephardic community, and Rabbi Hayim Bejarano was a noted scholar and poet. Later, the lawyer and politician Wilhelm Filderman would become the president of the Union of Romanian Jews, and Rabbi Jacob Isaac Niemirower would be the country's first chief rabbi. Filderman, in fact, would in 1941 work successfully to annul the decree forcing Jews to wear an identifying badge.

Between the two World Wars the Bucharest community grew in both numbers and importance. The Jewish population of the city, which had become the capital of Greater Romania and attracted immigrants from all parts of the country, increased from 44,000 in 1912 to 74,480 (12% of the total population) in 1930 and 95,072 in 1940. Most Jews worked as artisans, merchants, clerks, and bankers. Others were active in professions such as medicine and law. Several ironworks and foundries were established by the end of the 19th century. Major Jewish business leaders at that time included Leon Abramovici, Sigmund Prager, and Adolph Solomon.

There were a number of Jewish schools in Bucharest, particularly at the turn of the 20th century. Among the most influential was the abovementioned school established in 1852 by Yisrael Pick and Naftali Popper. These founders sought to imbue their school with the Haskalah principles that they believed in, and the school became extremely influential on Jewish education in Romania. There were also vocational institutions serving Jewish workers, including the Ciocanul (Hammer) school which trained Jewish craft workers.

Communal institutions included over 40 synagogues, two cemeteries, 19 schools, a library and museum, two hospitals, a clinic, two homes for the elderly, and two orphanages. There was also a B'nai B'rith, as long as a number of social and cultural organizations serving the community. A number of newspapers also served the community; the first Jewish newspaper, "Israelitul roman," was founded in 1855 and written in Romanian and French. Other publications included "Fraternitatea," "Revista Israelita," "Egalitatea," and "Curierul Israelit." Yiddish and Hebrew language publications included "Et LeDaber," "HaYoetz," and the Zionist newspapers "Mantuirea" and "Hasmonaea." A Yiddish theater was established in the late 1870s, and reached its peak during the interwar period. This theater would later be banned under Ion Antonescu.

Anti-Semitism continued to be a problem for the Jews of Bucharest. In 1866 the visit of Adolph Cremieux, a French lawyer who advocated for the political emancipation of the Jews, resulted in Jewish synagogues and shops being vandalized. The rise of prominence of nationalist leader Alexandru C. Cuza spurred the development of a number of anti-Semitic organizations, many of which were centered at Bucharest University.

In September 1940, with the rise of the Antonescu-Iron Guard coalition, Bucharest became one of the new regime's main centers of the anti-Jewish activities. This culminated in a pogrom during the rebellion of the Legionary Movement; 120 Jews were killed, thousands were arrested and tortured, synagogues were desecrated, and Jewish homes, shops, and community buildings were looted and destroyed.

Until the end of the Antonescu regime in August 1944, the Jews of Bucharest were subjected anti-Semitic legislation and persecution. Jews were legally downgraded to second-class citizens. They could no longer access state-funded education or health care, and their property was confiscated. These restrictions had major economic effects on the community: in 1942 only 27.2% of the city's Jewish population of about 100,000 were registered as employed, compared with 54.3% of the non-Jewish population. In September 1942 several hundred Jews were deported to Transnistria, where many eventually perished. Thousands of other Jews, particularly the young, were required to work as forced laborers.

The lack of access to education, combined with the growing poverty of the Jewish community, spurred the need for the community to greatly expand their own educational and social welfare activities. In 1943 the Jewish community ran 27 schools and 21 soup kitchens. Bucharest became the center of relief activities for Romanian Jews.

The Jews of Bucharest were saved after Antonescu was deposed on August 23, 1944 and German forces were not able to entering the city. Though Adolf Eichmann had begun making preparations to deport Romania's Jews, the fierce opposition on the part of the Romanian army, coupled with the entry of the Soviet Army on August 30, 1944, prevented any of these plans from being carried out.

After World War II, large numbers of Jewish refugees and concentration camp survivors began arriving in the city; by 1947 the Jewish population had grown to 150,000. The Communist regime, which came to power in 1947, gradually closed all Jewish national, cultural, and social institutions in Bucharest. The welfare institutions were nationalized and the schools were absorbed into the general educational network. A state Yiddish school was opened in 1949, but closed a few years later. A State Yiddish Theater was founded in 1948 and a Yiddish drama school was established in 1957. Two Jewish newspapers, the Romanian "Unirea," followed later by "Viata Novua" and the Yiddish "Ikuf Bleter" were published. Of the 44,202 Jews (3.6% of the total population) registered in the city in the 1956 census, 4,425 of them declared Yiddish to be their mother tongue. In spite of the difficulties in living under a Communist regime, Rabbi Mozes Rosen was able to successfully navigate the opaque policies of the Romanian government, allowing Bucharest to continue to serve as the center of Jewish communal and cultural life.

The rise of Nicolae Ceausescu, who was the dictator of Romania between 1965 and 1989, prompted mass emigrations to Israel. In 1969 it was estimated that there were 50,000 Jews living in Bucharest; by the turn of the 21st century there were only about 4,000.

גאיישט

Găești 

עיירה במחוז דאמבוביצה, חבל מונטניה, רומניה.

היהודים הראשונים התיישבו במקום בסוף המאה ה-19. היחסים עם התושבים הרומנים היו טובים. מפנה לרעה חל בשנת 1912 לאחר שארגון לאומני שהפיץ כרוזים אנטישמיים והסית נגד היהודים את האיכרים שהגיעו לעיירה בימי היריד.

בזמן מלחמת העולם הראשונה העיירה נכבשה ע"י כוחות מעצמות המרכז שרומניה נלחמה נגדם. בזמן הכיבוש שימש כראש העיר מטעם הצבא האוסטרו-הונגרי סגן יוסף לזר, יהודי שנולד בעיר באיה מארה, אז חלק מאוסטריה-הונגריה, בשנת 1891.

הקהילה התארגנה ב-1915 וראש הקהילה כיהן כסגן ראש העיירה. על יסוד חוק הדתות מ- 1929, שהכיר בדת היהודית כדת היסטורית, הוכרה הקהילה רשמית ב-1932 כיישות משפטית. בית כנסת נוסד בשנת 1925 בבית פרטי שהיה בבעלות הקהילה. שטח בית הקברות נרכש ב- 1930. רב הקהילה מילא גם תפקידי שוחט ומלמד. היהודים עסקו במסחר ומעוטם במלאכה.

ההשפעה הציונית הגיעה לעיירה וב-1911 יצא לאור קובץ שירים ציונים ברומנית של תושבת העיירה.

פעילות ציונית מאורגנת הופיעה לראשונה בין שתי מלחמות העולם בשורות תנועת הנוער "השומר הצעיר" אשר ארגנה גם ספריה.

העליה לשלטון של ממשלת גוגה-קוזה בדצמבר 1937 הובילה לחקיקה ויישום של מדיניות אנטישמית רשמית ברומניה. בעקבות שינוי מדיניות זה, התרבו הגילויים האנטישמיים ושמות החללים היהודים נמחקו מאנדרטת  הזכרון לנופלים בימי מלחמת העולם הראשונה.

במפקד האוכלוסין של שנת 1930 נרשמו במקום 137 יהודים שהיוו 2.5%  מכלל התושבים.

 

תקופת השואה

בספטמבר 1940 הוקמה ברומניה ממשלה בראשותו של הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. ממשלה זאת כללה את מפלגת "משמר הברזל" - מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה. הממשלה של יון אנטונסקו שינתה את מדיניות החוץ של רומניה וצירפה את המדינה אל הברית בין גרמניה הנאצית ואיטליה הפשיסטית. הממשלה הזאת הגבירה את רדיפת היהודים והנהגה משטר של טרור נגדם.

מנהיגי המפלגה הפאשיסטית "משמר הברזל" במקום תבעו מהיהודים להפסיק את כל עסקיהם עם הנוצרים. בנובמבר 1940 הוחרמו בכח כל סחורות היהודים ורק מעטים הצליחו, תמורת שוחד רב, להציל חלק מרכושם. בעלי הבתים אולצו בלחץ איומים ועינויים ל"מכור" את נכסיהם. יהודי אחד ניסה, על ידי בריחה לבוקרסט, עיר הבירה, להציל את רכושו. כדי לגלות את מקום מחבואו נאסרו כל יהודי העיירה ובראשם הרב. היהודי הנמלט חזר בו ונכנע לכל תביעות אויביו. אחרי שחרורו, מת הרב בעקבות העינויים.

כיום אין יהודים בגאישט. בית הקברות היהודי, אשר הוקם במאה ה-19, נמצא ברח' קאמפולוי מס' 35. ככל הידוע המצבה העתיקה ביותר היא משנת 1916 והאחרונה משנת 1960.

טארגובישטה

Târgoviște 

איות נוסף: Tîrgovişte

עיר ובירת המחוז דאמבוביצה, בחבל מונטניה, דרום רומניה. בין השנים 1385 - 1559 העיר היתה בירת נסיכות.

עדויות ראשונות על נוכחות יהודים בטארגובישטה רשומים בספר מסעות מאמצע המאה ה-17 ובמצבות משנת 1812 שנמצאו בבית העלמין העתיק. בראשית המאה ה-19 השתקעו בעיר יהודים שנמלטו מהעיר הסמוכה פלוישט בגלל מגפת דבר שפרצה שם.

סכנת גירוש איימה עליהם ב-1821, בימי מרד היוונים נגד התורכים. היוונים תושבי נסיכויות רומניה  הצטרפו למרד ובדרכם לתורכיה פרעו ביהודים. את יהודי טארגובישטה האשימו בסיוע לתורכים ורק בוא התורכים לעיר הסיר את אימת הגירוש מעליהם.

על פי נתונים מ-1882 עסקו רוב היהודים במלאכה ורק בודדים התפרנסו ממסחר. מצב זה השתנה בראשית  המאה ה-20 כאשר המסחר הפך למקור פרנסה עבור רוב היהודים בעיר.

בית עלמין ראשון נוסד בראשית המאה ה-19, כאשר מגפת דבר מנעה העברת הנפטרים לפלוישט, אבל  גידורו בוצע רק לאחר שנרכש מגרש לבית עלמין חדש, במחצית המאה ה-19. מחלוקות פנימיות מנעו במשך המאה ה- 19 גיבוש מוסדות קהילתיים ובהעדר חברה קדישא נאלצו בני המשפחה לדאוג לסידור הקבורה.

ב-1882 נפתחו שתי כתות של בית ספר עממי בו לימדו עברית ורומנית.

רק לקראת סוף המאה ה-19 התארגנה הקהילה והודות לרב חיים שור שהגיע לטארגובישטה ב-1900 במיוחד מבוקרסט פסקו המריבות. בית הכנסת נבנה בין השנים 1905 – 1912 בסגנון האדריכלי הרומני הלאומי טיפוסי לסוף המאה ה-19 ותחילת המאה ה-20.

בימי מלחמת העולם הראשונה יהודי מטארגובישטה בשם הרמאן קורנהאוזר שילם בחייו את נאמנותו לרומניה. בגלל הסיוע שהגיש לשבויי מלחמה רומנים להימלט מהשבי נידון הוא נעצר ע"י ידי הצבא הגרמני ששלט בעיר בדצמבר 1916, נשפט ונידון למוות. הוא הוצא להורג בתליה בכיכר השוק של העיר במרץ 1917. קורנהאוזר היה בן 37 במותו.

ערב מלחמת העולם השנייה היו בטארגובישטה בית ספר ובית כנסת מוחזקים על ידי הקהילה.

במפקד האוכלוסין של שנת 1930 נרשמו בטארגובישטה 551 יהודים אשר היוו 2.2% מכלל התושבים.

 

תקופת השואה

העליה לשלטון של ממשלת גוגה-קוזה בדצמבר 1937 הובילה לחקיקה ויישום של מדיניות אנטישמית רשמית ברומניה

בספטמבר 1940 הוקמה ברומניה ממשלה בראשותו של הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. ממשלה זאת כללה את מפלגת "משמר הברזל" - מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה. הממשלה של יון אנטונסקו שינתה את מדיניות החוץ של רומניה וצירפה את המדינה אל הברית בין גרמניה הנאצית ואיטליה הפשיסטית. הממשלה הזאת הגבירה את רדיפת היהודים והנהגה משטר של טרור נגדם.

עלית הגורמים הקיצוניים לשולטון בעיר נתנה סימניה ביחס אל היהודים. בנובמבר 1940 החלה ועדה מקומית בספירת המלאי בחנויות היהודים וב-5 בדצמבר נטבעו הסוחרים היהודים ל"מכור" את רכושם (סחורות ובתים) תמורת 20%-10% מערכו. חתימות הסוחרים הושגו בעינויים קשים. ערעור שהוגש על ידי איחוד הקהילות מבוקרסט הגביר את כעס האחראים לשוד ובתגובה הם כפו על היהודים ניקוי הרחובות ואסרו יציאתם מהעיר. בכל זאת הצליחו כ-75% מיהודי העיר להמלט מהמקום בימי המלחמה ואחרי המלחמה לא חזרו אליה.

בכפר טאיש הסמוך לטארגובישטה הוקם מחנה מעצר שבו הוחזקו גברים יהודים בגילים שבין 16 עד 60 מהערים פלויאשט, קאמפינה וסינאיה.

בראשית שנות האלפיים התגוררו בטארגובישטה פחות מ-10 יהודים. בית הכנסת נמצא ברחוב גריגורה אלכסנדרסקו מס' 37. בניין בית הכנסת שופץ בשנת 2010 ומשמש כאולם קונצרטים של בית הספר למוזיקה.

בית הקברות נמצא ברח' זורילור מס' 30. בפרבר מאטיי ויאבוד.  

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The Jewish Community of Ploiesti

Ploiesti

Also: Ploesti

A city in in Muntenia (Walachia), south central Romania.

The first Jews settled in Ploiesti in the second half of the 17th century. There were so few, however, that they continued to bury their dead at the cemetery at Buzau.

At the end of the same century they purchased ground for a cemetery, far from the city, where tombstones have been found dating back to 1719-40. A second cemetery was confiscated by a landowner to enlarge his estate. A third, established on ground acquired in 1818 by the Jews' guild, was also closed, being too near the city. Consequently, a fourth cemetery was established outside the city. In the early 18th century the synagogue was demolished by order of the ruler, and the Jews had to move two kilometers out of the city. However, their commercial importance was so valued that the cattle market and general market of the city were established in their neighborhood.

The road linking the Jewish quarter with the city became known as the Jews' Street till 1882. At the beginning of the 19th century, Sephardi Jews migrated to Ploiesti from the Balkan states; their neighborhood was called the Spanish Street. in 1830 the Sephardim requested the Chakham Bashi (title of chief rabbi in the Ottoman Empire) to approve the establishment of their own community, but the request was refused. Thus Ploiesti became the only Romanian locality whose kahal (local governing body of a former European Jewish community) combined Ashkenazim and Sephardim in communal activities (although distinctions persisted in regard to separate synagogues and chevra kaddisha). From 280 Jews listed as taxpayers in 1831, the number reached 2,478 in 1899 (5.5% of the total population) and 3,843 (3.3%) in 1930. Five synagogues were eventually established, including one for artisans and another for sephardim. The boys' school, built in 1875, was named after Luca Moise who granted funds for its building and maintenance. A girls' school was built in 1896. Among noted rabbis who served Ploiesti were those of the Brezis family, Judah Aryeh Brezis (1869-1908) and Dr. Joseph Chayyim Brezis (1911-1922). Menahem Safran officiated as rabbi from 1939 to 1956. Rabbi David Friedman, a chasidic tzaddik of the Ruzhin dynasty, lived in Ploiesti until his murder by the Iron Guard in 1940.

The Jews did much to develop the city by organizing the export of agricultural produce, leather, and other goods to Hungary and on to Vienna. From the middle of the 19th century many dealt in oil, developing Ploiesti into a center for that commodity. After the emancipation of the Jews in Romania, Jews officiated as representatives on the city council and for a time a Jew served as vice-mayor.

Immediately after the outbreak of World War II, Ploiesti became a center of German interest because of its oil resources. Units of the German army appeared in the city as early as the autumn of 1940. After Antonescu assumed power (September 1940), Cojocaru, a member of the Iron Guard, was appointed commander of the local police. Immediately upon taking over the post he introduced serious measures against the Jews, i.e., confiscation of their businesses and wide-scale arrests of merchants and community leaders. On the night of November 27/28, 1940, 11 of the Jewish prisoners were executed in a nearby forest. Among those killed was Rabbi David Friedman. During the same period members of the Iron Guard destroyed three synagogues and the Luca Moise school; they burned the torah scroll taken from the synagogues and transferred the furniture to churches, while the school equipment was taken to Romanian educational institutions.

A number of Jews were sent to the Tirgu-Jiu concentration camp. After the outbreak of war with the USSR (June 1941), all the Jewish men from ages 18 to 60 were arrested and sent to the Teis concentration camp. Youth from the ages of 13 to 18 remained in Ploiesti and were mobilized into different forms of forced labor. In January 1942 men over the age of 50 were released from Teis and returned to the city. The rest were scattered throughout various cities in Romania but were forbidden to leave their new locations.

Later on they were sent to do forced labor in various places in Bessarabia and Moldavia. After the war, practically all of Ploiesti's Jews returned to the city.

In 1947 the Jewish population numbered about 3,000, decreasing to 2,000 in 1950. By 1969 about 120 Jewish families remained. They had one synagogue.

The synagogue of Ploiesti, built in 1901, was reopened in 2017 following a extensive renovations executed with the help of an American sponsor, who was born in Ploiesti. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Chief Rabbi Menahem Hacahen and Rabbi Slomo Sorin Rosen, Aurel Vainer, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, as well as presidents of the Jewish communities of Brasov, Piatra Neamt and Focsani as well as the mayor of Ploiesti.  That year there were less than 100 Jews living in Ploiesti.  

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Targoviste 
Gaesti 
Bucharest
Campina
Romania

טארגובישטה

Târgoviște 

איות נוסף: Tîrgovişte

עיר ובירת המחוז דאמבוביצה, בחבל מונטניה, דרום רומניה. בין השנים 1385 - 1559 העיר היתה בירת נסיכות.

עדויות ראשונות על נוכחות יהודים בטארגובישטה רשומים בספר מסעות מאמצע המאה ה-17 ובמצבות משנת 1812 שנמצאו בבית העלמין העתיק. בראשית המאה ה-19 השתקעו בעיר יהודים שנמלטו מהעיר הסמוכה פלוישט בגלל מגפת דבר שפרצה שם.

סכנת גירוש איימה עליהם ב-1821, בימי מרד היוונים נגד התורכים. היוונים תושבי נסיכויות רומניה  הצטרפו למרד ובדרכם לתורכיה פרעו ביהודים. את יהודי טארגובישטה האשימו בסיוע לתורכים ורק בוא התורכים לעיר הסיר את אימת הגירוש מעליהם.

על פי נתונים מ-1882 עסקו רוב היהודים במלאכה ורק בודדים התפרנסו ממסחר. מצב זה השתנה בראשית  המאה ה-20 כאשר המסחר הפך למקור פרנסה עבור רוב היהודים בעיר.

בית עלמין ראשון נוסד בראשית המאה ה-19, כאשר מגפת דבר מנעה העברת הנפטרים לפלוישט, אבל  גידורו בוצע רק לאחר שנרכש מגרש לבית עלמין חדש, במחצית המאה ה-19. מחלוקות פנימיות מנעו במשך המאה ה- 19 גיבוש מוסדות קהילתיים ובהעדר חברה קדישא נאלצו בני המשפחה לדאוג לסידור הקבורה.

ב-1882 נפתחו שתי כתות של בית ספר עממי בו לימדו עברית ורומנית.

רק לקראת סוף המאה ה-19 התארגנה הקהילה והודות לרב חיים שור שהגיע לטארגובישטה ב-1900 במיוחד מבוקרסט פסקו המריבות. בית הכנסת נבנה בין השנים 1905 – 1912 בסגנון האדריכלי הרומני הלאומי טיפוסי לסוף המאה ה-19 ותחילת המאה ה-20.

בימי מלחמת העולם הראשונה יהודי מטארגובישטה בשם הרמאן קורנהאוזר שילם בחייו את נאמנותו לרומניה. בגלל הסיוע שהגיש לשבויי מלחמה רומנים להימלט מהשבי נידון הוא נעצר ע"י ידי הצבא הגרמני ששלט בעיר בדצמבר 1916, נשפט ונידון למוות. הוא הוצא להורג בתליה בכיכר השוק של העיר במרץ 1917. קורנהאוזר היה בן 37 במותו.

ערב מלחמת העולם השנייה היו בטארגובישטה בית ספר ובית כנסת מוחזקים על ידי הקהילה.

במפקד האוכלוסין של שנת 1930 נרשמו בטארגובישטה 551 יהודים אשר היוו 2.2% מכלל התושבים.

 

תקופת השואה

העליה לשלטון של ממשלת גוגה-קוזה בדצמבר 1937 הובילה לחקיקה ויישום של מדיניות אנטישמית רשמית ברומניה

בספטמבר 1940 הוקמה ברומניה ממשלה בראשותו של הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. ממשלה זאת כללה את מפלגת "משמר הברזל" - מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה. הממשלה של יון אנטונסקו שינתה את מדיניות החוץ של רומניה וצירפה את המדינה אל הברית בין גרמניה הנאצית ואיטליה הפשיסטית. הממשלה הזאת הגבירה את רדיפת היהודים והנהגה משטר של טרור נגדם.

עלית הגורמים הקיצוניים לשולטון בעיר נתנה סימניה ביחס אל היהודים. בנובמבר 1940 החלה ועדה מקומית בספירת המלאי בחנויות היהודים וב-5 בדצמבר נטבעו הסוחרים היהודים ל"מכור" את רכושם (סחורות ובתים) תמורת 20%-10% מערכו. חתימות הסוחרים הושגו בעינויים קשים. ערעור שהוגש על ידי איחוד הקהילות מבוקרסט הגביר את כעס האחראים לשוד ובתגובה הם כפו על היהודים ניקוי הרחובות ואסרו יציאתם מהעיר. בכל זאת הצליחו כ-75% מיהודי העיר להמלט מהמקום בימי המלחמה ואחרי המלחמה לא חזרו אליה.

בכפר טאיש הסמוך לטארגובישטה הוקם מחנה מעצר שבו הוחזקו גברים יהודים בגילים שבין 16 עד 60 מהערים פלויאשט, קאמפינה וסינאיה.

בראשית שנות האלפיים התגוררו בטארגובישטה פחות מ-10 יהודים. בית הכנסת נמצא ברחוב גריגורה אלכסנדרסקו מס' 37. בניין בית הכנסת שופץ בשנת 2010 ומשמש כאולם קונצרטים של בית הספר למוזיקה.

בית הקברות נמצא ברח' זורילור מס' 30. בפרבר מאטיי ויאבוד.  

גאיישט

Găești 

עיירה במחוז דאמבוביצה, חבל מונטניה, רומניה.

היהודים הראשונים התיישבו במקום בסוף המאה ה-19. היחסים עם התושבים הרומנים היו טובים. מפנה לרעה חל בשנת 1912 לאחר שארגון לאומני שהפיץ כרוזים אנטישמיים והסית נגד היהודים את האיכרים שהגיעו לעיירה בימי היריד.

בזמן מלחמת העולם הראשונה העיירה נכבשה ע"י כוחות מעצמות המרכז שרומניה נלחמה נגדם. בזמן הכיבוש שימש כראש העיר מטעם הצבא האוסטרו-הונגרי סגן יוסף לזר, יהודי שנולד בעיר באיה מארה, אז חלק מאוסטריה-הונגריה, בשנת 1891.

הקהילה התארגנה ב-1915 וראש הקהילה כיהן כסגן ראש העיירה. על יסוד חוק הדתות מ- 1929, שהכיר בדת היהודית כדת היסטורית, הוכרה הקהילה רשמית ב-1932 כיישות משפטית. בית כנסת נוסד בשנת 1925 בבית פרטי שהיה בבעלות הקהילה. שטח בית הקברות נרכש ב- 1930. רב הקהילה מילא גם תפקידי שוחט ומלמד. היהודים עסקו במסחר ומעוטם במלאכה.

ההשפעה הציונית הגיעה לעיירה וב-1911 יצא לאור קובץ שירים ציונים ברומנית של תושבת העיירה.

פעילות ציונית מאורגנת הופיעה לראשונה בין שתי מלחמות העולם בשורות תנועת הנוער "השומר הצעיר" אשר ארגנה גם ספריה.

העליה לשלטון של ממשלת גוגה-קוזה בדצמבר 1937 הובילה לחקיקה ויישום של מדיניות אנטישמית רשמית ברומניה. בעקבות שינוי מדיניות זה, התרבו הגילויים האנטישמיים ושמות החללים היהודים נמחקו מאנדרטת  הזכרון לנופלים בימי מלחמת העולם הראשונה.

במפקד האוכלוסין של שנת 1930 נרשמו במקום 137 יהודים שהיוו 2.5%  מכלל התושבים.

 

תקופת השואה

בספטמבר 1940 הוקמה ברומניה ממשלה בראשותו של הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. ממשלה זאת כללה את מפלגת "משמר הברזל" - מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה. הממשלה של יון אנטונסקו שינתה את מדיניות החוץ של רומניה וצירפה את המדינה אל הברית בין גרמניה הנאצית ואיטליה הפשיסטית. הממשלה הזאת הגבירה את רדיפת היהודים והנהגה משטר של טרור נגדם.

מנהיגי המפלגה הפאשיסטית "משמר הברזל" במקום תבעו מהיהודים להפסיק את כל עסקיהם עם הנוצרים. בנובמבר 1940 הוחרמו בכח כל סחורות היהודים ורק מעטים הצליחו, תמורת שוחד רב, להציל חלק מרכושם. בעלי הבתים אולצו בלחץ איומים ועינויים ל"מכור" את נכסיהם. יהודי אחד ניסה, על ידי בריחה לבוקרסט, עיר הבירה, להציל את רכושו. כדי לגלות את מקום מחבואו נאסרו כל יהודי העיירה ובראשם הרב. היהודי הנמלט חזר בו ונכנע לכל תביעות אויביו. אחרי שחרורו, מת הרב בעקבות העינויים.

כיום אין יהודים בגאישט. בית הקברות היהודי, אשר הוקם במאה ה-19, נמצא ברח' קאמפולוי מס' 35. ככל הידוע המצבה העתיקה ביותר היא משנת 1916 והאחרונה משנת 1960.

Bucharest

Romanian: Bucuresti

Capital of Romania

The historic Jewish district of Bucharest used to be centered around the Choral Temple, and spread from Piata Unirii east towards Dristor. However, most of the Jewish buildings that stood there were destroyed during the 1980s in order to make way for the Bulevardul Unirii. As of 2015, there remain a handful of points of Jewish interest in Bucharest, serving the community of approximately 3,500. The Choral Temple, the Yeshua Tova Synagogue, and the Great Polish Synagogue, continue to hold services; the latter also hosts the city's Holocaust Museum. The Beit Hamidrash Synagogue, which dates back to the late 18th century, is abandoned and decaying, though the structure itself is still (barely) standing. Another abandoned synagogue whose building still stands is the Hevra Amuna (Temple of Faith).

The Jewish History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie a Evreilor din Romania) is located in what was once a synagogue called the Holy Union Temple. The synagogue building itself was constructed in 1836; it began serving as a Jewish history museum in 1978. Mozes Rosen, the chief rabbi of Romania from 1964 until his death in 1994, founded the museum and provided a number of items for its collection.

The State Jewish Theater, which is located in Bucharest, is the oldest uninterrupted Yiddish-language theater in the world. The theater features plays by Jewish playwrights, plays about Jewish topics, and Yiddish plays that run simultaneous Romanian translations through headphones. The theater is located next to the Lauder-Reut Jewish school, which has over 400 students enrolled in its kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools.

HISTORY

The Jewish community of Bucharest was formed both by Sephardic Jews who arrived from the south, chiefly from the Otooman Empire, and later by Ashkenazi Jews arriving from the north. A responsum by the rabbi of Solonika during the 16th century that mentions a Sephardic community is the first documented evidence confirming the presence of Jews in Budapest. The Jewish community began to grow and prosper; some were even the creditors of the ruling princes. This economic success, however, eventually came at a steep price (pun intended); when Prince Michael the Brave revolved against the Turks in November 1593, he ordered that his creditors be killed, among whom were a number of Jews.

Ahskenazi Jews began arriving and establishing their own community towards the middle of the 17th century, drawn there after fleeing the Khmielnitski Massacres taking place in Ukraine. Their numbers grew, and eventually the Ashkenazi community became larger than the Sephardic community. For tax purposes, the Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities were organized into a single community by the state, and were forced to pay a fixed tax to the treasury. Meanwhile, the general population, afraid of economic competition, was intensely hostile towards the Jews. In 1793 residents of the suburb Razvan petitioned Prince Alexander Moruzi to expel the Jews who had recently settled in the area and to demolish the synagogue that they had built. Though the prince ordered that the synagogue be closed, he did not remove the Jews from Razvan and, in fact, issued a decree confirming his protection of them. In 1801 there were anti-Jewish riots following blood libel accusations, and 128 Jews were killed or wounded.

In 1819 Prince Alexandru Sutu officially acknowledged both the Sephardic ("Spanish") and Ashkenazi ("Polish") communities, allowing them to operate as separate entities. This continued until 1949 when the Communist regime once again forced the two communities to join together. By 1832 there were 10 Ashkenazi and one Sephardi synagogues in Bucharest. The Great Synagogue, which was Ashkenazi, was dedicated on Rosh Hashanah, 1847.

In spite of the impressive Great Synagogue, the Ashkenazi community of Bucharest had to deal with a number of fissures and tensions during the 19th century. There were tensions between those were born in Romania, and those who immigrated to Bucharest, who were not under the same system of taxation as the native Romanians. This led the immigrants within the Jewish community, who were considered "foreign subjects" to refuse to pay the tax levied on kosher meat. This was a problem, as this tax constituted the sole income of the community council. The authorities, who were drawn into the conflict, at first upheld the traditional rights of the Jewish communal organization. However, following repeated complaints from both sides, as well as constitutional changes that took place in Romania in 1832, the community was given a new constitution that greatly curtailed its autonomy. Instead of operating autonomously, it fell under the direct authority and close supervision of the municipality. Eventually, in 1851, the Prussian and Austrian subjects (about 300 families) were officially permitted to found a separate community.

The increasing influence of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), also led to tensions within the Ashkenazi community. It is important to note that this conflict also reflected the economics of the community; those in favor of the Haskalah and who wanted the community to undertake more progressive reforms tended to be from the upper classes, while those who were more traditional tended to be further down the socioeconomic ladder. At that time, the Bucharest Ashkenazi community was torn by strife between the Orthodox and progressive factions. The controversy began to center around a school with a modern curriculum that opened in 1852, as well as the proposal in 1857, led by Ya'akov Lobel, to build a Choral Temple, that would incorporate modern ideas and principles into its services. The appointment of Rabbi Meir Leib Malbim in 1858 as the chief rabbi did not help quell the disputes. Malbim was a fierce and uncompromising opponent of the Reform movement, and he quickly made enemies among Bucharest's Jewish elite. The conflicts between Malbim and those who were in favor of the Reform Movement came to a head in 1862, when Malbim was arrested. He was freed only after Sir Moses Montefiore intervened, and on the condition that he leave Romania. The Choral Synagogue was completed in 1867, and became the center for the modernists of the community.

Among the most prominent spiritual and religious leaders of the community before World War I were Antoine Levy and Moritz (Meir) Beck, who were rabbis of the Choir Temple Congregation from 1867 to 1869 and 1873 to 1923, respectively. Other outstanding figures within the Choir Temple community were Iuliu Barasch and Yitzchak Leib Weinberg. Yitzchak Esiik Taubes was the rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation from 1894 until 1921. The most prominent lay leader was Adolf Stern. Moscu Asher led the Sephardic community, and Rabbi Hayim Bejarano was a noted scholar and poet. Later, the lawyer and politician Wilhelm Filderman would become the president of the Union of Romanian Jews, and Rabbi Jacob Isaac Niemirower would be the country's first chief rabbi. Filderman, in fact, would in 1941 work successfully to annul the decree forcing Jews to wear an identifying badge.

Between the two World Wars the Bucharest community grew in both numbers and importance. The Jewish population of the city, which had become the capital of Greater Romania and attracted immigrants from all parts of the country, increased from 44,000 in 1912 to 74,480 (12% of the total population) in 1930 and 95,072 in 1940. Most Jews worked as artisans, merchants, clerks, and bankers. Others were active in professions such as medicine and law. Several ironworks and foundries were established by the end of the 19th century. Major Jewish business leaders at that time included Leon Abramovici, Sigmund Prager, and Adolph Solomon.

There were a number of Jewish schools in Bucharest, particularly at the turn of the 20th century. Among the most influential was the abovementioned school established in 1852 by Yisrael Pick and Naftali Popper. These founders sought to imbue their school with the Haskalah principles that they believed in, and the school became extremely influential on Jewish education in Romania. There were also vocational institutions serving Jewish workers, including the Ciocanul (Hammer) school which trained Jewish craft workers.

Communal institutions included over 40 synagogues, two cemeteries, 19 schools, a library and museum, two hospitals, a clinic, two homes for the elderly, and two orphanages. There was also a B'nai B'rith, as long as a number of social and cultural organizations serving the community. A number of newspapers also served the community; the first Jewish newspaper, "Israelitul roman," was founded in 1855 and written in Romanian and French. Other publications included "Fraternitatea," "Revista Israelita," "Egalitatea," and "Curierul Israelit." Yiddish and Hebrew language publications included "Et LeDaber," "HaYoetz," and the Zionist newspapers "Mantuirea" and "Hasmonaea." A Yiddish theater was established in the late 1870s, and reached its peak during the interwar period. This theater would later be banned under Ion Antonescu.

Anti-Semitism continued to be a problem for the Jews of Bucharest. In 1866 the visit of Adolph Cremieux, a French lawyer who advocated for the political emancipation of the Jews, resulted in Jewish synagogues and shops being vandalized. The rise of prominence of nationalist leader Alexandru C. Cuza spurred the development of a number of anti-Semitic organizations, many of which were centered at Bucharest University.

In September 1940, with the rise of the Antonescu-Iron Guard coalition, Bucharest became one of the new regime's main centers of the anti-Jewish activities. This culminated in a pogrom during the rebellion of the Legionary Movement; 120 Jews were killed, thousands were arrested and tortured, synagogues were desecrated, and Jewish homes, shops, and community buildings were looted and destroyed.

Until the end of the Antonescu regime in August 1944, the Jews of Bucharest were subjected anti-Semitic legislation and persecution. Jews were legally downgraded to second-class citizens. They could no longer access state-funded education or health care, and their property was confiscated. These restrictions had major economic effects on the community: in 1942 only 27.2% of the city's Jewish population of about 100,000 were registered as employed, compared with 54.3% of the non-Jewish population. In September 1942 several hundred Jews were deported to Transnistria, where many eventually perished. Thousands of other Jews, particularly the young, were required to work as forced laborers.

The lack of access to education, combined with the growing poverty of the Jewish community, spurred the need for the community to greatly expand their own educational and social welfare activities. In 1943 the Jewish community ran 27 schools and 21 soup kitchens. Bucharest became the center of relief activities for Romanian Jews.

The Jews of Bucharest were saved after Antonescu was deposed on August 23, 1944 and German forces were not able to entering the city. Though Adolf Eichmann had begun making preparations to deport Romania's Jews, the fierce opposition on the part of the Romanian army, coupled with the entry of the Soviet Army on August 30, 1944, prevented any of these plans from being carried out.

After World War II, large numbers of Jewish refugees and concentration camp survivors began arriving in the city; by 1947 the Jewish population had grown to 150,000. The Communist regime, which came to power in 1947, gradually closed all Jewish national, cultural, and social institutions in Bucharest. The welfare institutions were nationalized and the schools were absorbed into the general educational network. A state Yiddish school was opened in 1949, but closed a few years later. A State Yiddish Theater was founded in 1948 and a Yiddish drama school was established in 1957. Two Jewish newspapers, the Romanian "Unirea," followed later by "Viata Novua" and the Yiddish "Ikuf Bleter" were published. Of the 44,202 Jews (3.6% of the total population) registered in the city in the 1956 census, 4,425 of them declared Yiddish to be their mother tongue. In spite of the difficulties in living under a Communist regime, Rabbi Mozes Rosen was able to successfully navigate the opaque policies of the Romanian government, allowing Bucharest to continue to serve as the center of Jewish communal and cultural life.

The rise of Nicolae Ceausescu, who was the dictator of Romania between 1965 and 1989, prompted mass emigrations to Israel. In 1969 it was estimated that there were 50,000 Jews living in Bucharest; by the turn of the 21st century there were only about 4,000.

קאמפינה 

Campina

עיר בצפון חבל ואלאכיה (מונטניה), מחוז פראהובה, על נהר פראהובה, דרום רומניה. אזור פראהובה, בו שוכנת העיר, הוא אזור עשיר בנפט וניצולו החל בסוף המאה ה- 19. העיר המרכזית באזור, פלויישט (Ploesti), נמצאת במרחק 36 ק"מ דרום מזרח מקאמפינה.

ראשיתו של היישוב היהודי חופף את ראשית קידוחי הנפט במקום ובסוף המאה ה- 19 (1899) חיו בעיר 261 יהודים, שמספרם עלה עד 1910 ל- 412. במרכז העיר הוקם בית זיקוק גדול, ובין המומחים לקידוחים שהוזמנו והגיעו לעיר מישובים אחרים נמנו גם מהנדסים יהודים.

התהוות היישוב היהודי חייב התפתחות מוסדות קהילתיים. ב-1897 רכשה הקהילה שטח בית עלמין, וב-1902 נבנה בית כנסת. בתחום הסעד התארגנה חברה לתמיכה בעניים אבל, תופעה יוצאת דופן, לא נמצאו נזקקים בקרב היישוב היהודי. החברה לא התפרקה אלא הגישה את עזרתה לעניים הנוצרים. במקום גם פעל בית ספר מעורב של קהילה, וב-1910 למדו בו 63 תלמידים. באותה שנה למדו בבית הספר הממלכתי 37 תלמידים יהודים. סכסוכים בין החילוניים והדתיים מנעו את המשך קיומו של בית הספר הקהילתי. הראשון שכהן כרב הקהילה ומילא תפקיד זה עד 1909 היה ר' הירש שכטר.

בין המועסקים היהודים בתעשיית הנפט, פקידים ומהנדסים, חלקם התגוררו בכפרים ובעיירות הסביבה, אבל השתייכו לקהילת קאמפינה וקיבלו את שירותיה הקהילתיים. בעקבות חוק הדתות מ- 1929, שהכירה בדת היהודית כדת הסטורית, הוכרה הקהילה ב-1932 כגוף משפטי.
מלבד היהודים הקשורים לתעשיית הנפט, היו כמובן גם העוסקים במקצועות היהודיים המסורתיים, מסחר ומלאכה. על פי נתונים מ-1910, שנה בה מספר היהודים הגיע לשיא (419), הייתה חלוקת מקורות הפרנסה היהודיים כדלקמן; 68 סוחרים, 18 בעלי מלאכה (11 פחחים, 5 חייטים, 2 נגרים), 28 בעלי מקצועות שונים.

הייתה פעילות ציונית בעיירה. בין שתי מלחמות העולם התארגן סניף ציוני ע"ש "נחום סוקולוב". הנשים הפעילות בסניף "ויצו" אירגנו שעורים לעברית. ב- 1930 מנו היהודים 319 נפשות (1.5% מכלל התושבים), ב- 1941, השנה בה נכנסה רומניה למלחמת העולם השנייה, ירד מספרם ל- 184 (0.8% מכלל התושבים).


תקופת השואה

למלחמת העולם השנייה לא קדמו במקום רדיפות אנטישמיות, אבל הייתה תעמולה אנטישמית. ארגון "ליגה לתרבות" שהוקם בהשראתו של ההסטוריון הרומני האנטישמי ניקולאי יורגה (N. Iorga) ייסד סניף בקאמפינה שעסק בהסתה אנטישמיות.
בספטמבר 1940 עלה לשלטון ברומניה הגנרל יון אנטונסקו. הוא הכליל בממשלתו את חברי "משמר הברזל" (מפלגה לאומנית שדגלה באנטישמיות אלימה). ב- 22 ביוני 1941 הצטרפה רומניה לגרמניה בהתקפה נגד ברית המועצות ונכנסה למלחמת העולם השנייה. כעבור שלושה שבועות, ב- 15 ביולי הופצץ האזור העשיר בנפט, בתוכו נכללה גם קאמפינה, על ידי חיל האוויר הרוסי. התוצאה המיידית הייתה גירוש היהודים מן העיר. בשלב ראשון גורשו רק הגברים וזמן קצר אחריהם גורשו גם הנשים והילדים. הגברים נשלחו תחילה למחנה ריכוז וכעבור כמה חדשים, בדצמבר שוחררו והורשו לעבור לערים לפי בחירתם, פרט לעיר המוצא, קאמפינה, לעיר הבירה, בוקארשט ולעיר המרכזית באזור, פלוישט. ימים מועטים אחרי גירוש הגברים, גורשו גם הנשים והילדים. לפני יציאתן הן חוייבו לשלם מיסים עבור כל השנה ולמסור למשטרה את הדירות והחנויות על כל תכולתן. הנשים והילדים גורשו לפלויישט. אחרי יציאתם נשדדו חנויות ודירות היהודים למרות שנמסרו למשטרה.

אחרי כניעת רומניה ב-1944 חזרו רוב הפליטים היהודים לעיר וב-1947 מנו התושבים היהודים בקאמפינה 140 נפש.

Romania

România

A country in eastern Europe, member of the European Union (EU)

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 9,000 out of 19,500,000.  Before the Holocaust Romania was home to the second largest Jewish community in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world, after USSR, USA, and Poland. Main Jewish organization:

Federaţia Comunităţilor Evreieşti Din România - Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania
Str. Sf. Vineri nr. 9-11 sector 3, Bucuresti, Romania
Phone: 021-315.50.90
Fax: 021-313.10.28
Email: secretariat@fcer.ro
Website: www.jewishfed.ro

Albert Poch
Barbu Nemteanu
Harry Eliad
Nilu Aronovici
Lory Wallfisch
Dobrogeanu-Gherea, Constantin
Eliad, Harry
Eugen Goldenberg
Saineanu Schein, Lazar

Albert Poch (1930-2013), cartoonist and graphic artist, born in Babadag, Romania. During the Holocaust, on July 9, 1941, he was expelled from his home and deported from his native town at the orders of the Fascist government of Romanis. After the war he graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest where he was a student of Jules Perahim. Author of graphic works, illustrations and book covers, posters, caricatures. He was the artistic editor and cartoonist at Urzica – a humor and satire magazine, from 1951 until 1984, when he was fired. After the fall of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989, Poch served as president of the caricature section of the Union of Visual Artists of Romania. In 2002 he organized a large exhibition of cartoonists from the post-communist period. Poch created, among other things, covers of books published by Hasefer publishing house of the Jewish Community of Romania.

In 2011 he was evacuated from his home on Știrbei Vodă Street in Bucharest following legal proceedings that decided that the house should be returned to the descendants of Constantin Cotty Stoicescu who served as Minister of Justice of the Romanian Fascist government of Marshal Ion Antonescu.

His works were exhibited at international cartoon salons in Romania and other countries - Italy, France, Yugoslavia, Canada, Poland, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, etc.

Poch was the laureate of the Union of Journalists Award for the poster with the theme “Against water pollution” (Bucharest, 1965). He was awarded the Grand Prize at the Cartoon Salon in Ploiesti in 1969, and numerous awards at various saloons outside Romania, including at Bordighera, Italy, in 1967, Skoplje, Yugoslavia, in 1984, and Krakow, Poland, in 1970. The artist's works are displayed in museums in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, and Switzerland.

Barbu Nemțeanu (born Benjamin Deutsch) (1887-1919), poet and translator, born in Galati, Romania. Orphaned by his father as a child, he held various small positions, such as office practitioner, reporter, clerk, in order to support his family. He spent his early years in Galati, then moved for sometime to Ploiesti, and finally to Bucharest.

As a publicist he collaborated to a large number of publications, including: Înainte (“Forward”, 1904-1905), Viața nouă (“New Life”, 1907-1908), Convorbiri critice (“Critical Conversations”, 1907), Viața literară și artistică (“Literary and artistic life”, 1908), Floarea albastră (“The Blue Flower “, 1912), Flacăra (“Flame”, 1912, 1915-196), Viitorul social (“The social future”, 1913), Universul literar (“The Literary Universe”, 1913), Lumina (“Light”, 1918), Facla (1918), Renașterea (“The Renaissance”, 1918), Scena (“Stage”, 1918), Rampa (1919).

In 1908 he published the socialist magazine Pagini libere, a literary-scientific weekly n which he published original works and translations.

His first work was Poezii alese ("Selected Poetry", 1910), his other works include a volume of poems Stropi de soare (“Sun drops”, 1915) and a much appreciated Romanian translation of Hebrew Songs by Heinrich Heine (1919).  His other translations include both poetry and prose by Charles Baudelaire, Ivan Turgeniev, Ephraim Lessing, Nikolaus Lenau, Oscar Wilde and others.

During his career he used a large number of pen names, among them B. Askenazi, Ion Corbu, Ion Crângu, Vasile Crângu, Luca Zimbru, Cireșeanu, Barbu Exoticu, Germanicus Galitiensis, and Tedesco.

Nemteanu suffered from tuberculosis. With the financial support of his readers and friends, in 1913 he traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland, for treatment. In Lausanne he learned Fench and started writing poetry in that language. He returned to Romania in 1916 and spent most of his last years in several tuberculosis sanatoriums. He died in Bucharest.

Harry Eliad (1927-2012), theater actor, director and community leader, born in Craiova, Romania. He attended the Jewish High School and then the Fratii Buzesti High School and then the Cornetti Conservatory in Craiova. He started his theater career at the National Theater in Craiova in 1949. Between 1953-1988 he was actor and director of the Ploiesti Theater, and then from 1988 until his death he was director and manager of the Jewish State Theater (TES) in Bucharest. At the TES he was author of musical performances and director of 29 international tours of this theater. Eliad published numerous articles and studies on the art of acting and directing. He served as the first vice-president of the Avram Goldfaden Cultural Foundation and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER). In 2002, Eliad was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit with the rank of Knight.

Nilu Aronovici (b. 1930), agronomist and community leader born in Botosani, Romania. He attended the Jewish high school in Iasi, Romania, and then the high school in Ploiesti, Romania. He graduated from the Faculty of Horticulture - the viticulture and vinification department - of the Agronomic Institute in Bucharest. He attended postgraduate specialization schools in Romania as well as in Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Israel. Aronovici served as the scientific secretary of the Research Institute for Viticulture and Vinification at Valea Calugareasca – Prahova, Romania. He is a founding member of Oficiul National al Viei si Vinului (O.N.V.V.) (“National Office of Vine and Wine”) in Romania. Aronovici is the author of numerous scientific papers published in periodicals and professional magazines.

After 1996, Aronovici served as President of the Department of Social and Medical Assistance of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania (FCER). He was awarded the “Gheorghe Ionescu-Șișești” Meritul Agricol Diploma in 2009.  

Lory Wallfisch (1920-2011), music professor, pianist and harpsichordist, born in Ploiesti, Romania. She attended the St. Andrei High School and then she studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Bucharest. In 1944, she married renowned violinist Ernst Wallfisch (1920-1979). With the help of Yehudi Menuchin, Ernst and Lory Wallfisch immigrated to the USA.

Along with her husband, the formed the Wallfisch Duo and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, North Africa, and Israel. As a soloist she performed with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, The Camerata Lysy at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Argentina, The Baltimore Symphony, The Houston Symphony, and all the major orchestras of Romania. She appeared on television in the United States and Europe. She participated in international festivals in Edinburgh, York, Venice, Besançon, Gstaad, Prades.

In 1964 Wallfisch joined the Smith College in Northampton, MA, where she often lectured on the Romanian composer George Enescu (1881-1955), with whom she was personally acquainted. She was one of the founding members of the George Enescu Society of the United States in 1981. In the 1990s, together with the pianists Julian Musafia and Mihail Horia, she gave the first performances since the composer’s death of the then unpublished Sinfonia Concertante for two pianos and string orchestra by the Romanian pianist and composer Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950). She has served on the jury of several international piano competitions and as of 2002, her birth city of Ploesti declared a Lory Wallfisch Day and initiated the Lory Wallfisch International Piano Competition. Wallfisch died in Northampton, MA.

Dobrogeanu-Gherea, Constantin (1855-1920), Literary critic, sociologist and Marxist theorist, born as Solomon Katz in Slavianka, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire). He became involved in revolutionary politics while studying at the University of Kharkov (now Kharkiv, in Ukraine). Wanted by the Russian police, he moved to Romania settling in Iasi (Jassy) in 1875, but was kidnapped, taken back to Russia and imprisoned for a year. He made his way back to Romania, was baptized and took a Romanian name. He obtained the restaurant concession at Ploiesti railway station and this became a meeting place for writers and for refugee socialists.

Gherea-Dobrogeanu was a noted Romanian literary critic and was also one of the leading popularizers of Marxism in Romania. He was among the founders of the Romanian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (1893).
Eliad, Harry (b.1927), author and director, born in Craiova, Romania. He attended the Cornetti Conservatorium in Craiova before moving to Ploiesti, Romania, where he was stage director and managing director of the local theater from 1953 to 1988. After 1988 he became managing director of the Jewish State Theater in Bucharest, Romania. Eliad is a vice-president of the Avram Goldfaden Cultural Foundation and a member of management of the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Romania. He is author of numerous musical shows, lead over 30 international tours of the Jewish theater, and a lecturer in the history of the history of the theater.

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Eugen Goldenberg (1912-1959), Zionist leader, born in Ploiesti, Romania, the only child of a Jewish family that immigrated to Romania from Austria. After he completed high school in Ploiesti, he and his family moved to Bucharest in 1931, where he studied law at the University of Bucharest. Goldenberg served in the Romanian army between 1934 and 1935, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. During the Holocaust, he worked as a forced laborer between 1942 and 1944.

Goldenberg served as the vice-chair of the Art institute in Bucharest until 1950, and was appointed as the head of the company Tehnochimia (Technochemistry). Beginning in September 1951 he served as the president of the chemical company Coprochim. 

Goldenberg became an active Zionist while he was still young. Among his numerous activities, he bought land in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. However, after the communist government came to power in Romania at the end of the 1940s, Zionist activities were forbidden and anyone who continued to be active in the Zionist movement was in danger. 

On October 5, 1957, Goldenberg was arrested by the communist authorities and charged with being a Zionist and an “enemy of the state.” During the years of his imprisonment he was not granted a trial, nor was he sentenced to jail. Rather, he was given over to repeated interrogations, and subjected to physical and psychological torture. His wife Marta’s efforts to secure his release included turning to Rabbi Moses Rosen, who served during that same period as the Chief Rabbi of Romania. All of her efforts, however, failed. On September 3, 1959 the family received word that Goldenberg had died in prison. His body was not returned to his family, nor were they given details about where he was buried.

His family immigrated to Israel in 1960, where they changed their name to Harpaz. Years later, when Marta was visiting Bucharest, she was informed that Goldenberg was buried in Bucharest’s Jewish cemetery. 

In 2008 Goldenberg’s family received his file, which had been preserved in the archives of the Securitate, the Romanian secret police during the communist era. The file revealed years of surveillance by the Securitate of Goldenberg’s Zionist activities. The file indicated that Goldenberg was one of the leaders of the Zionist movement Mishmar, and a member of the organization Mizrachi and the Maritime Palestine League. In Israel Goldenberg was recognized as an Assir Zion ("Prisoner of Zion").

Goldenberg’s two sons had successful careers in Israel. The older son, Alex Harpaz, who was 13 years old when his father died, is an architect, and his son Danny Harpaz, who is three years younger than his brother, served in the IDF as a lieutenant-colonel, and since then has served as the head of a number of Israeli companies.

Folklorist

Born in Ploiesti, he taught Romanian language and literature at the University of Bucharest and Latin at a high school. He won prizes from the Romanian Academy and was regarded as the country's leading philologist but was refused Romanian citizenship even after he became a Christian. Saineanu wrote for Jewish papers under a pseudonym, writing on Romanian Jewish history and Yiddish philology. In 1895 he published a four-volume Romanian dictionary which went through 84 editions. In 1901he moved to Paris where he taught Romanian folklore at the Sorbonne. Among the books he wrote in France were studies on French etymology, French slang and Rabelais.
Members of He-Halutz sitting in the Field, Ploesti, Romania, 1919
Members of He-Halutz sitting in the field
Ploesti, Romania, 1919.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Bequest of the late David Vinitsky, Israel)
Eugen Goldenberg
Saineanu Schein, Lazar

Eugen Goldenberg (1912-1959), Zionist leader, born in Ploiesti, Romania, the only child of a Jewish family that immigrated to Romania from Austria. After he completed high school in Ploiesti, he and his family moved to Bucharest in 1931, where he studied law at the University of Bucharest. Goldenberg served in the Romanian army between 1934 and 1935, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. During the Holocaust, he worked as a forced laborer between 1942 and 1944.

Goldenberg served as the vice-chair of the Art institute in Bucharest until 1950, and was appointed as the head of the company Tehnochimia (Technochemistry). Beginning in September 1951 he served as the president of the chemical company Coprochim. 

Goldenberg became an active Zionist while he was still young. Among his numerous activities, he bought land in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. However, after the communist government came to power in Romania at the end of the 1940s, Zionist activities were forbidden and anyone who continued to be active in the Zionist movement was in danger. 

On October 5, 1957, Goldenberg was arrested by the communist authorities and charged with being a Zionist and an “enemy of the state.” During the years of his imprisonment he was not granted a trial, nor was he sentenced to jail. Rather, he was given over to repeated interrogations, and subjected to physical and psychological torture. His wife Marta’s efforts to secure his release included turning to Rabbi Moses Rosen, who served during that same period as the Chief Rabbi of Romania. All of her efforts, however, failed. On September 3, 1959 the family received word that Goldenberg had died in prison. His body was not returned to his family, nor were they given details about where he was buried.

His family immigrated to Israel in 1960, where they changed their name to Harpaz. Years later, when Marta was visiting Bucharest, she was informed that Goldenberg was buried in Bucharest’s Jewish cemetery. 

In 2008 Goldenberg’s family received his file, which had been preserved in the archives of the Securitate, the Romanian secret police during the communist era. The file revealed years of surveillance by the Securitate of Goldenberg’s Zionist activities. The file indicated that Goldenberg was one of the leaders of the Zionist movement Mishmar, and a member of the organization Mizrachi and the Maritime Palestine League. In Israel Goldenberg was recognized as an Assir Zion ("Prisoner of Zion").

Goldenberg’s two sons had successful careers in Israel. The older son, Alex Harpaz, who was 13 years old when his father died, is an architect, and his son Danny Harpaz, who is three years younger than his brother, served in the IDF as a lieutenant-colonel, and since then has served as the head of a number of Israeli companies.

Folklorist

Born in Ploiesti, he taught Romanian language and literature at the University of Bucharest and Latin at a high school. He won prizes from the Romanian Academy and was regarded as the country's leading philologist but was refused Romanian citizenship even after he became a Christian. Saineanu wrote for Jewish papers under a pseudonym, writing on Romanian Jewish history and Yiddish philology. In 1895 he published a four-volume Romanian dictionary which went through 84 editions. In 1901he moved to Paris where he taught Romanian folklore at the Sorbonne. Among the books he wrote in France were studies on French etymology, French slang and Rabelais.