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Maxy, Maximilian Herman

Maxy, Maximilian Herman (1895-1971), painter and illustrator, born in Braila, Romania, generally known as M.H. Maxy. His family moved to Bucharest, Romania, where Maxy attended the School of Fine Arts between 1913-1916. He was drafted to the Romanian army and saw action during WW1. His impressions from the front served as subject to paintings that he showed along with other Romanian artists in Iasi, Romania, in 1918. Maxy completed his studies in Berlin between 192-1923 and in 1925 exhibited with the 'November Group'. In the 1930s he exhibited in Rome, Paris, the Hague, and Brussels. Maxy returned to Romania in 1929 and was an active member of the Contimporanul group until 1938. He also designed sets and costumes for the Polish Yiddish theater company. From 1939 he started to work for the Jewish theater Baraseum in Bucharest, and in 1941, following the introduction of the anti-Jewish legislation in Romania, he became its director. In 1949 Maxy became director of the National Art Museum of the Socialist Romanian Republic. His style was strongly influenced by the Constructivist and the Cubist movements.
Date of birth:
1895
Date of death:
1971
Place of birth:
Braila
Place of death:
Bucharest
Personality type:
Painter
ID Number:
179399
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Maria Constantin (Schwefelberg) (1926-2012), painter and book illustrator, born in Bucharest, Romania. She is the daughter of Arnold Schwefelberg (1896-1979), a jurist and a community leader of the Jews of Romania and the sister of Veronica Porumbacu (1921-1977), a poet, writer and translator. She attended the Free Academy of Painting led by M.H. Maxy, between 1924-1944, and simultaneously studied at the Faculty of Modern Philology of the University of Bucharest. She continued her art studies with M.H. Maxy and Alexandru Ciucurencu, until 1950. Her works were displayed for the first time at the Official Autumn Salon in 1946.

After 1948 she participated in numerous state exhibitions, municipal and national salons, with drawings, monotypes, watercolor, colored inks and gouache. She also participates in group exhibitions outside Romania, including in Moscow (1949, 1950), Prague and Budapest (1950), Sofia (1953), Warsaw (1956), Havana and Prague (1964), Rome, Cleveland and Merinignac (1971), Palermo and Boston (1973), and Havana (1974). In 2002 she participated in the exhibition "Seniors of Contemporary Romanian Painting", opened at the Apollo Gallery in Bucharest.

Personal exhibitions include Magazinul Fondului Plastic (1953), Galeria de Artă Magheru (1957, 1963, 1967), Teatrul de Comedie (1969), Galeria Simeza (1970, 1974, 1975), Galeria Orizont (1978, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1998). Constantin’s works were exhibited abroad at Zygos Gallery in Athens, Greece (1981), in Tel Aviv, Israel (1981), at Dobrudscheahaus Galleery in Heilbron, Germany (1986), and at the Town Hall of Gundelsheim, Germany (1986). A retrospective exhibition was displayed at Galeria Simeza in Bucharest (2013).

Constantin illustrated over 30 volumes of children's literature and poetry. She created the graphics of poetry volumes by Veronica Porumbacu, Ion Caraion, and Daniela Crăsnaru. Her works are displayed in museums and private collections in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, USA and Australia.

She was awarded the Prize of the International Youth Festival and the Cultural Merit Order.

Braila

Turkish: Ibraila

Port on the river Danube, south- eastern Romania.

Braila was within the Ottoman Empire from 1544 to 1828, in which year 21 Jewish families were living there. Despite difficulties with the authorities the Jewish population grew after the annexation of Braila to Walachia and its development as an important commercial port. The number of Jews increased from 1,095 in 1860 to 9,830 (17.3% of the total population) in 1899. The majority were occupied in commerce and crafts; in 1889, 24.4% of the shops in the town belonged to Jews, and in 1899, 24.2% of the artisans were Jews. The first Reform synagogue to be established in old Romania was opened in Braila in 1862. This led to a division of the community until a unified central administration was reestablished in 1905. According to the 1930 census there were 7,134 Jews living in Braila (10.4% of the total population). Communal institutions then included a kindergarten, two elementary schools (for boys and girls), and a secondary school for boys, a clinic, and a night shelter.

In 1941 there were 5,119 Jews in Braila. During the iron guard regime (September 1940 - January 1941), the police confiscated Jewish property, 521 buildings and 107 shops, and arrested Jewish youth in the street. Jewish merchants were compelled to admit iron guard commisars into their shops and eventually to turn their shops over to the Legionaires. The community was very active in extending aid to Jewish refugees who fled from Poland, to a group of Jews from Jassy who were working as forced laborers in a nearby village, and to Jews who reached Braila from other towns in the district. The Jewish community clinic dispensed medical help to thousands. After the war (1947), 5,950 Jews lived in Braila, among who were former deportees to Transnistria. This dropped to 3,500 by 1950. In 1969 there was still a Jewish community in Braila, although the majority of the surviving Jews had settled in Israel.

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.

Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.

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

Paris

Capital of France

In 582, the date of the first documentary evidence of the presence of Jews in Paris, there was already a community with a synagogue. In 614 or 615, the sixth council of Paris decided that Jews who held public office, and their families, must convert to Christianity. From the 12th century on there was a Jewish quarter. According to one of the sources of Joseph ha- Kohen's Emek ha-Bakha, Paris Jews owned about half the land in Paris and the vicinity. They employed many Christian servants and the objects they took in pledge included even church vessels.

Far more portentous was the blood libel which arose against the Jews of Blois in 1171. In 1182, Jews were expelled. The crown confiscated the houses of the Jews as well as the synagogue and the king gave 24 of them to the drapers of Paris and 18 to the furriers. When the Jews were permitted to return to the kingdom of France in 1198 they settled in Paris, in and around the present rue Ferdinand Duval, which became the Jewish quarter once again in the modern era.

The famous disputation on the Talmud was held in Paris in 1240. The Jewish delegation was led by Jehiel b. Joseph of Paris. After the condemnation of the Talmud, 24 cart-loads of Jewish books were burned in public in the Place de Greve, now the Place de l'Hotel de Ville. A Jewish moneylender called Jonathan was accused of desecrating the host in 1290. It is said that this was the main cause of the expulsion of 1306.

Tax rolls of the Jews of Paris of 1292 and 1296 give a good picture of their economic and social status. One striking fact is that a great many of them originated from the provinces. In spite of the prohibition on the settlement of Jews expelled from England, a number of recent arrivals from that country are listed. As in many other places, the profession of physician figures most prominently among the professions noted. The majority of the rest of the Jews engaged in moneylending and commerce. During the same period the composition of the Jewish community, which numbered at least 100 heads of families, changed to a large extent through migration and the number also declined to a marked degree. One of the most illustrious Jewish scholars of medieval France, Judah b. Isaac, known as Sir Leon of Paris, headed the yeshiva of Paris in the early years of the 13th century. He was succeeded by Jehiel b. Joseph, the Jewish leader at the 1240 disputation. After the wholesale destruction of
Jewish books on this occasion until the expulsion of 1306, the yeshivah of Paris produced no more scholars of note.

In 1315, a small number of Jews returned and were expelled again in 1322. The new community was formed in Paris in 1359. Although the Jews were under the protection of the provost of Paris, this was to no avail against the murderous attacks and looting in 1380 and 1382 perpetrated by a populace in revolt against the tax burden. King Charles VI relieved the Jews of responsibility for the valuable pledges which had been stolen from them on this occasion and granted them other financial concessions, but the community was unable to recover. In 1394, the community was struck by the Denis de Machaut affair. Machaut, a Jewish convert to Christianity, had disappeared and the Jews were accused of having murdered him or, at the very least, of having imprisoned him until he agreed to return to Judaism. Seven Jewish notables were condemned to death, but their sentence was commuted to a heavy fine allied to imprisonment until Machaut reappeared. This affair was a prelude to the "definitive" expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394.

From the beginning of the 18th century the Jews of Metz applied to the authorities for permission to enter Paris on their business pursuits; gradually the periods of their stay in the capital increased and were prolonged. At the same time, the city saw the arrival of Jews from Bordeaux (the "Portuguese") and from Avignon. From 1721 to 1772 a police inspector was given special charge over the Jews.
After the discontinuation of the office, the trustee of the Jews from 1777 was Jacob Rodrigues Pereire, a Jew from Bordeaux, who had charge over a group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, while the German Jews (from Metz, Alsace, and Loraine) were led by Moses Eliezer Liefman Calmer, and those from Avignon by Israel Salom. The German Jews lived in the poor quarters of Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis, and those from Bordeaux, Bayonne, and Avignon inhabited the more luxurious quarters of Saint Germaine and Saint André.

Large numbers of the Jews eked out a miserable living in peddling. The more well-to-do were moneylenders, military purveyors and traders in jewels. There were also some craftsmen among them. Inns preparing kosher food existed from 1721; these also served as prayer rooms. The first publicly acknowledged synagogue was opened in rue de Brisemiche in 1788. The number of Jews of Paris just before the revolution was probably no greater than 500. On Aug. 26, 1789 they presented the constituent assembly with a petition asking for the rights of citizens. Full citizenship rights were granted to the Spanish, Portuguese, and Avignon Jews on Jan. 28, 1790.

After the freedom of movement brought about by emancipation, a large influx of Jews arrived in Paris, numbering 2,908 in 1809. When the Jewish population of Paris had reached between 6,000 and 7,000 persons, the Consistory began to build the first great synagogue. The Consistory established its first primary school in 1819.

The 30,000 or so Jews who lived in Paris in 1869 constituted about 40% of the Jewish population of France. The great majority originated from Metz, Alsace, Lorraine, and Germany, and there were already a few hundreds from Poland. Apart from a very few wealthy capitalists, the great majority of the Jews belonged to the middle economic level. The liberal professions also attracted numerous Jews; the community included an increasing number of professors, lawyers, and physicians. After 1881 the Jewish population increased with the influx of refugees from Poland, Russia, and the Slav provinces of Austria and Romania. At the same time, there was a marked increase in the anti-Semitic movement. The Dreyfus affair, from 1894, split the intellectuals of Paris into "Dreyfusards" and "anti-Dreyfusards" who frequently clashed on the streets, especially in the Latin Quarter. With the law separating church and state in 1905, the Jewish consistories lost their official status, becoming no more than private religious associations. The growing numbers of Jewish immigrants to Paris resented the heavy hand of a Consistory, which was largely under the control of Jews from Alsace and Lorraine, now a minority group. These immigrants formed the greater part of the 13,000 "foreign" Jews who enlisted in World War 1. Especially after 1918, Jews began to arrive from north Africa, Turkey, and the Balkans, and in greatly increased numbers from eastern Europe. Thus in 1939 there were around 150,000 Jews in Paris (over half the total in France). The Jews lived all over the city but there were large concentrations of them in the north and east. More than 150 landmanschaften composed of immigrants from eastern Europe and many charitable societies united large numbers of Jews, while at this period the Paris Consistory (which retained the name with its changed function) had no more than 6,000 members.

Only one of the 19th-century Jewish primary schools was still in existence in 1939, but a few years earlier the system of Jewish education which was strictly private in nature acquired a secondary school and a properly supervised religious education, for which the Consistory was responsible. Many great Jewish scholars were born and lived in Paris in the modern period. They included the Nobel Prize winners Rene Cassin and A. Lwoff. On June 14, 1940, the Wehrmacht entered Paris, which was proclaimed an open city. Most Parisians left, including the Jews. However, the population returned in the following weeks. A sizable number of well-known Jews fled to England and the USA. (Andre Maurois), while some, e.g. Rene Cassin and Gaston Palewski, joined General de Gaulle's free French movement in London. Parisian Jews were active from the very beginning in resistance movements. The march to the etoile on Nov. 11, 1940, of high school and university students, the first major public manifestation of resistance, included among its organizers Francis Cohen, Suzanne Dijan, and Bernard Kirschen.

The first roundups of Parisian Jews of foreign nationality took place in 1941; about 5,000 "foreign" Jews were deported on May 14, about 8,000 "foreigners" in August, and about 100 "intellectuals" on December 13. On July 16, 1942, 12,884 Jews were rounded up in Paris (including about 4,000 children). The Parisian Jews represented over half the 85,000 Jews deported from France to extermination camps in the east. During the night of Oct. 2-3, 1941, seven Parisian synagogues were attacked.

Several scores of Jews fell in the Paris insurrection in August, 1944. Many streets in Paris and the outlying suburbs bear the names of Jewish heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust period and the memorial to the unknown Jewish martyr, a part of the Centre de documentation juive contemporaire, was erected in in 1956 in the heart of Paris.

Between 1955 and 1965, the Jewish community experienced a demographic transformation with the arrival of more than 300,000 Sephardi Jews from North Africa. These Jewish immigrants came primarily from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. At the time, Morocco and Tunisia were French protectorates unlike Algeria which was directly governed by France. Since their arrival, the Sephardi Jews of North Africa have remained the majority (60%) of French Jewry.

In 1968 Paris and its suburbs contained about 60% of the Jewish population of France. In 1968 it was estimated at between 300,000 and 350,000 (about 5% of the total population). In 1950, two-thirds of the Jews were concentrated in about a dozen of the poorer or commercial districts in the east of the city. The social and economic advancement of the second generation of east European immigrants, the influx of north Africans, and the gradual implementation of the urban renewal program caused a considerable change in the once Jewish districts and the dispersal of the Jews throughout other districts of Paris.

Between 1957 and 1966 the number of Jewish communities in the Paris region rose from 44 to 148. The Paris Consistory, traditionally presided over by a member of the Rothschild family, officially provides for all religious needs. Approximately 20 synagogues and meeting places for prayer observing Ashkenazi or Sephardi rites are affiliated with the Consistory, which also provides for the religious needs of new communities in the suburbs. This responsibility is shared by traditional orthodox elements, who, together with the reform and other independent groups, maintain another 30 or so synagogues. The orientation and information office of the Fonds social juif unifie had advised or assisted over 100,000 refugees from north Africa. It works in close cooperation with government services and social welfare and educational institutions of the community. Paris was one of the very few cities in the diaspora with a full-fledged Israel-type school, conducted by Israeli teachers according to an Israeli curriculum.

The Six-Day War (1967), which drew thousands of Jews into debates and
Pro-Israel demonstrations, was an opportunity for many of them to reassess their personal attitude toward the Jewish people. During the "students' revolution" of 1968 in nearby Nanterre and in the Sorbonne, young Jews played an outstanding role in the leadership of left-wing activists and often identified with Arab anti-Israel propaganda extolling the Palestinian organizations. Eventually, however, when the "revolutionary" wave subsided, it appeared that the bulk of Jewish students in Paris, including many supporters of various new left groups, remained loyal to Israel and strongly opposed Arab terrorism.

As of 2015, France was home to the third largest Jewish population in the world. It was also the largest in all of Europe. More than half the Jews in France live in the Paris metropolitan area. According to the World Jewish Congress, an estimated 350,000 Jews live in the city of Paris and its many districts. By 2014, Paris had become the largest Jewish city outside of Israel and the United States. Comprising 6% of the city’s total population (2.2 million), the Jews of Paris are a sizeable minority.

There are more than twenty organizations dedicated to serving the Jewish community of Paris. Several offer social services while others combat anti-Semitism. There are those like the Paris Consistory which financially supports many of the city's congregations. One of the largest organizations is the Alliance Israélite Universelle which focuses on self-defense, human rights and Jewish education. The FSJU or Unified Social Jewish Fund assists in the absorption of new immigrants. Other major organizations include the ECJC (European Council of Jewish Communities), EAJCC (European Association of Jewish Communities), ACIP (Association Consitoriale Israelité), CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions), and the UEJF (Jewish Students Union of France).

Being the third largest Jewish city behind New York and Los Angeles, Paris is home to numerous synagogues. By 2013, there were more than eighty three individual congregations. While the majority of these are orthodox, many conservative and liberal congregations can be found across Paris. During the 1980s, the city received an influx of orthodox Jews, primarily as a result of the Lubavitch movement which has since been very active in Paris and throughout France.

Approximately 4% of school-age children in France are enrolled in Jewish day schools. In Paris, there are over thirty private Jewish schools. These include those associated with both the orthodox and liberal movements. Chabad Lubavitch has established many educational programs of its own. The Jewish schools in Paris range from the pre-school to High School level. There are additionally a number of Hebrew schools which enroll students of all ages.

Among countless cultural institutions are museums and memorials which preserve the city's Jewish history. Some celebrate the works of Jewish artists while others commemorate the Holocaust and remember its victims. The Museum of Jewish art displays sketches by Mane-Katz, the paintings of Alphonse Levy and the lithographs of Chagall. At the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDJC), stands the Memorial de la Shoah. Here, visitors can view the center's many Holocaust memorials including the Memorial of the Unknown Jewish Martyrs, the Wall of Names, and the Wall of the Righteous Among the Nations. Located behind the Notre Dame is the Memorial of Deportation, a memorial to the 200,000 Jews who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps. On the wall of a primary school on rue Buffault is a plaque commemorating the 12,000 Parisian Jewish children who died in Auschwitz following their deportation from France between 1942 and 1944.

For decades, Paris has been the center of the intellectual and cultural life of French Jewry. The city offers a number of institutions dedicated to Jewish history and culture. Located at the Alliance Israélite Universalle is the largest Jewish library in all of Europe. At the Bibliothèque Medem is the Paris Library of Yiddish. The Mercaz Rashi is home to the University Center for Jewish Studies, a well known destination for Jewish education. One of the most routinely visited cultural centers in Paris is the Chabad House. As of 2014, it was the largest in the world. The Chabad House caters to thousands of Jewish students from Paris and elsewhere every year.

Located in the city of Paris are certain districts, many of them historic, which are well known for their significant Jewish populations. One in particular is Le Marais “The Marsh”, which had long been an aristocratic district of Paris until much of the city’s nobility began to move. By the end of the 19th century, the district had become an active commercial area. It was at this time that thousands of Ashkenazi Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe began to settle Le Marais, bringing their specialization in clothing with them. Arriving from Romania, Austria, Hungary and Russia, they developed a new community alongside an already established community of Parisian Jews. As Jewish immigration continued into the mid 20th century, this Jewish quarter in the fourth arrondissement of Paris became known as the “Pletzl”, a Yiddish term meaning “little place”. Despite having been targeted by the Nazis during World War II, the area has continued to be a major center of the Paris Jewish community. Since the 1990s, the area has grown. Along the Rue des Rosiers are a number of Jewish restaurants, bookstores, kosher food outlets and synagogues. Another notable area with a sizeable Jewish community is in the city’s 9th district. Known as the Faubourg-Montmarte, it is home to several synagogues, kosher restaurants as well as many offices to a number of Jewish organizations.

With centuries-old Jewish neighborhoods, Paris has its share of important Jewish landmarks. Established in 1874 is the Rothschild Synagogue and while it may not be ancient, its main attraction is its rabbis who are well known for being donned in Napoleonic era apparel. The synagogue on Rue Buffault opened in 1877 and was the first synagogue in Paris to adopt the Spanish/Portuguese rite. Next to the synagogue is a memorial dedicated to the 12,000 children who perished in the Holocaust. The Copernic synagogue is the city’s largest non-orthodox congregation. In 1980 it was the target of an anti-Semitic bombing which led to the death of four people during the celebration of Simchat Torah, the first attack against the Jewish people in France since World War II. In the 1970s, the remains of what many believed to have been a Yeshiva were found under the Rouen Law Courts. Just an hour outside of Paris, this site is presumed to be from the 12th century when Jews comprised nearly 20% of the total population.

Serving many of the medical needs of the Jewish community of Paris are organizations such as the OSE and CASIP. While the Rothschild hospital provides general medical care, the OSE or Society for the Health of the Jewish Population, offers several health centers around the city. CASIP focuses on providing the community social services include children and elderly homes.

Being a community of nearly 400,000 people, the Jews of Paris enjoy a diversity of media outlets centered on Jewish culture. Broadcasted every week are Jewish television programs which include news and a variety of entertainment. On radio are several stations such as Shalom Paris which airs Jewish music, news and programming. Circulating throughout Paris are two weekly Jewish papers and a number of monthly journals. One of the city’s major newspapers is the Actualité Juive. There are also online journals such as the Israel Infos and Tribute Juive.

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Maxy, Maximilian Herman
Maxy, Maximilian Herman (1895-1971), painter and illustrator, born in Braila, Romania, generally known as M.H. Maxy. His family moved to Bucharest, Romania, where Maxy attended the School of Fine Arts between 1913-1916. He was drafted to the Romanian army and saw action during WW1. His impressions from the front served as subject to paintings that he showed along with other Romanian artists in Iasi, Romania, in 1918. Maxy completed his studies in Berlin between 192-1923 and in 1925 exhibited with the 'November Group'. In the 1930s he exhibited in Rome, Paris, the Hague, and Brussels. Maxy returned to Romania in 1929 and was an active member of the Contimporanul group until 1938. He also designed sets and costumes for the Polish Yiddish theater company. From 1939 he started to work for the Jewish theater Baraseum in Bucharest, and in 1941, following the introduction of the anti-Jewish legislation in Romania, he became its director. In 1949 Maxy became director of the National Art Museum of the Socialist Romanian Republic. His style was strongly influenced by the Constructivist and the Cubist movements.
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Paris
Romania
Berlin
Bucharest
Braila

Paris

Capital of France

In 582, the date of the first documentary evidence of the presence of Jews in Paris, there was already a community with a synagogue. In 614 or 615, the sixth council of Paris decided that Jews who held public office, and their families, must convert to Christianity. From the 12th century on there was a Jewish quarter. According to one of the sources of Joseph ha- Kohen's Emek ha-Bakha, Paris Jews owned about half the land in Paris and the vicinity. They employed many Christian servants and the objects they took in pledge included even church vessels.

Far more portentous was the blood libel which arose against the Jews of Blois in 1171. In 1182, Jews were expelled. The crown confiscated the houses of the Jews as well as the synagogue and the king gave 24 of them to the drapers of Paris and 18 to the furriers. When the Jews were permitted to return to the kingdom of France in 1198 they settled in Paris, in and around the present rue Ferdinand Duval, which became the Jewish quarter once again in the modern era.

The famous disputation on the Talmud was held in Paris in 1240. The Jewish delegation was led by Jehiel b. Joseph of Paris. After the condemnation of the Talmud, 24 cart-loads of Jewish books were burned in public in the Place de Greve, now the Place de l'Hotel de Ville. A Jewish moneylender called Jonathan was accused of desecrating the host in 1290. It is said that this was the main cause of the expulsion of 1306.

Tax rolls of the Jews of Paris of 1292 and 1296 give a good picture of their economic and social status. One striking fact is that a great many of them originated from the provinces. In spite of the prohibition on the settlement of Jews expelled from England, a number of recent arrivals from that country are listed. As in many other places, the profession of physician figures most prominently among the professions noted. The majority of the rest of the Jews engaged in moneylending and commerce. During the same period the composition of the Jewish community, which numbered at least 100 heads of families, changed to a large extent through migration and the number also declined to a marked degree. One of the most illustrious Jewish scholars of medieval France, Judah b. Isaac, known as Sir Leon of Paris, headed the yeshiva of Paris in the early years of the 13th century. He was succeeded by Jehiel b. Joseph, the Jewish leader at the 1240 disputation. After the wholesale destruction of
Jewish books on this occasion until the expulsion of 1306, the yeshivah of Paris produced no more scholars of note.

In 1315, a small number of Jews returned and were expelled again in 1322. The new community was formed in Paris in 1359. Although the Jews were under the protection of the provost of Paris, this was to no avail against the murderous attacks and looting in 1380 and 1382 perpetrated by a populace in revolt against the tax burden. King Charles VI relieved the Jews of responsibility for the valuable pledges which had been stolen from them on this occasion and granted them other financial concessions, but the community was unable to recover. In 1394, the community was struck by the Denis de Machaut affair. Machaut, a Jewish convert to Christianity, had disappeared and the Jews were accused of having murdered him or, at the very least, of having imprisoned him until he agreed to return to Judaism. Seven Jewish notables were condemned to death, but their sentence was commuted to a heavy fine allied to imprisonment until Machaut reappeared. This affair was a prelude to the "definitive" expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394.

From the beginning of the 18th century the Jews of Metz applied to the authorities for permission to enter Paris on their business pursuits; gradually the periods of their stay in the capital increased and were prolonged. At the same time, the city saw the arrival of Jews from Bordeaux (the "Portuguese") and from Avignon. From 1721 to 1772 a police inspector was given special charge over the Jews.
After the discontinuation of the office, the trustee of the Jews from 1777 was Jacob Rodrigues Pereire, a Jew from Bordeaux, who had charge over a group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, while the German Jews (from Metz, Alsace, and Loraine) were led by Moses Eliezer Liefman Calmer, and those from Avignon by Israel Salom. The German Jews lived in the poor quarters of Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis, and those from Bordeaux, Bayonne, and Avignon inhabited the more luxurious quarters of Saint Germaine and Saint André.

Large numbers of the Jews eked out a miserable living in peddling. The more well-to-do were moneylenders, military purveyors and traders in jewels. There were also some craftsmen among them. Inns preparing kosher food existed from 1721; these also served as prayer rooms. The first publicly acknowledged synagogue was opened in rue de Brisemiche in 1788. The number of Jews of Paris just before the revolution was probably no greater than 500. On Aug. 26, 1789 they presented the constituent assembly with a petition asking for the rights of citizens. Full citizenship rights were granted to the Spanish, Portuguese, and Avignon Jews on Jan. 28, 1790.

After the freedom of movement brought about by emancipation, a large influx of Jews arrived in Paris, numbering 2,908 in 1809. When the Jewish population of Paris had reached between 6,000 and 7,000 persons, the Consistory began to build the first great synagogue. The Consistory established its first primary school in 1819.

The 30,000 or so Jews who lived in Paris in 1869 constituted about 40% of the Jewish population of France. The great majority originated from Metz, Alsace, Lorraine, and Germany, and there were already a few hundreds from Poland. Apart from a very few wealthy capitalists, the great majority of the Jews belonged to the middle economic level. The liberal professions also attracted numerous Jews; the community included an increasing number of professors, lawyers, and physicians. After 1881 the Jewish population increased with the influx of refugees from Poland, Russia, and the Slav provinces of Austria and Romania. At the same time, there was a marked increase in the anti-Semitic movement. The Dreyfus affair, from 1894, split the intellectuals of Paris into "Dreyfusards" and "anti-Dreyfusards" who frequently clashed on the streets, especially in the Latin Quarter. With the law separating church and state in 1905, the Jewish consistories lost their official status, becoming no more than private religious associations. The growing numbers of Jewish immigrants to Paris resented the heavy hand of a Consistory, which was largely under the control of Jews from Alsace and Lorraine, now a minority group. These immigrants formed the greater part of the 13,000 "foreign" Jews who enlisted in World War 1. Especially after 1918, Jews began to arrive from north Africa, Turkey, and the Balkans, and in greatly increased numbers from eastern Europe. Thus in 1939 there were around 150,000 Jews in Paris (over half the total in France). The Jews lived all over the city but there were large concentrations of them in the north and east. More than 150 landmanschaften composed of immigrants from eastern Europe and many charitable societies united large numbers of Jews, while at this period the Paris Consistory (which retained the name with its changed function) had no more than 6,000 members.

Only one of the 19th-century Jewish primary schools was still in existence in 1939, but a few years earlier the system of Jewish education which was strictly private in nature acquired a secondary school and a properly supervised religious education, for which the Consistory was responsible. Many great Jewish scholars were born and lived in Paris in the modern period. They included the Nobel Prize winners Rene Cassin and A. Lwoff. On June 14, 1940, the Wehrmacht entered Paris, which was proclaimed an open city. Most Parisians left, including the Jews. However, the population returned in the following weeks. A sizable number of well-known Jews fled to England and the USA. (Andre Maurois), while some, e.g. Rene Cassin and Gaston Palewski, joined General de Gaulle's free French movement in London. Parisian Jews were active from the very beginning in resistance movements. The march to the etoile on Nov. 11, 1940, of high school and university students, the first major public manifestation of resistance, included among its organizers Francis Cohen, Suzanne Dijan, and Bernard Kirschen.

The first roundups of Parisian Jews of foreign nationality took place in 1941; about 5,000 "foreign" Jews were deported on May 14, about 8,000 "foreigners" in August, and about 100 "intellectuals" on December 13. On July 16, 1942, 12,884 Jews were rounded up in Paris (including about 4,000 children). The Parisian Jews represented over half the 85,000 Jews deported from France to extermination camps in the east. During the night of Oct. 2-3, 1941, seven Parisian synagogues were attacked.

Several scores of Jews fell in the Paris insurrection in August, 1944. Many streets in Paris and the outlying suburbs bear the names of Jewish heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust period and the memorial to the unknown Jewish martyr, a part of the Centre de documentation juive contemporaire, was erected in in 1956 in the heart of Paris.

Between 1955 and 1965, the Jewish community experienced a demographic transformation with the arrival of more than 300,000 Sephardi Jews from North Africa. These Jewish immigrants came primarily from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. At the time, Morocco and Tunisia were French protectorates unlike Algeria which was directly governed by France. Since their arrival, the Sephardi Jews of North Africa have remained the majority (60%) of French Jewry.

In 1968 Paris and its suburbs contained about 60% of the Jewish population of France. In 1968 it was estimated at between 300,000 and 350,000 (about 5% of the total population). In 1950, two-thirds of the Jews were concentrated in about a dozen of the poorer or commercial districts in the east of the city. The social and economic advancement of the second generation of east European immigrants, the influx of north Africans, and the gradual implementation of the urban renewal program caused a considerable change in the once Jewish districts and the dispersal of the Jews throughout other districts of Paris.

Between 1957 and 1966 the number of Jewish communities in the Paris region rose from 44 to 148. The Paris Consistory, traditionally presided over by a member of the Rothschild family, officially provides for all religious needs. Approximately 20 synagogues and meeting places for prayer observing Ashkenazi or Sephardi rites are affiliated with the Consistory, which also provides for the religious needs of new communities in the suburbs. This responsibility is shared by traditional orthodox elements, who, together with the reform and other independent groups, maintain another 30 or so synagogues. The orientation and information office of the Fonds social juif unifie had advised or assisted over 100,000 refugees from north Africa. It works in close cooperation with government services and social welfare and educational institutions of the community. Paris was one of the very few cities in the diaspora with a full-fledged Israel-type school, conducted by Israeli teachers according to an Israeli curriculum.

The Six-Day War (1967), which drew thousands of Jews into debates and
Pro-Israel demonstrations, was an opportunity for many of them to reassess their personal attitude toward the Jewish people. During the "students' revolution" of 1968 in nearby Nanterre and in the Sorbonne, young Jews played an outstanding role in the leadership of left-wing activists and often identified with Arab anti-Israel propaganda extolling the Palestinian organizations. Eventually, however, when the "revolutionary" wave subsided, it appeared that the bulk of Jewish students in Paris, including many supporters of various new left groups, remained loyal to Israel and strongly opposed Arab terrorism.

As of 2015, France was home to the third largest Jewish population in the world. It was also the largest in all of Europe. More than half the Jews in France live in the Paris metropolitan area. According to the World Jewish Congress, an estimated 350,000 Jews live in the city of Paris and its many districts. By 2014, Paris had become the largest Jewish city outside of Israel and the United States. Comprising 6% of the city’s total population (2.2 million), the Jews of Paris are a sizeable minority.

There are more than twenty organizations dedicated to serving the Jewish community of Paris. Several offer social services while others combat anti-Semitism. There are those like the Paris Consistory which financially supports many of the city's congregations. One of the largest organizations is the Alliance Israélite Universelle which focuses on self-defense, human rights and Jewish education. The FSJU or Unified Social Jewish Fund assists in the absorption of new immigrants. Other major organizations include the ECJC (European Council of Jewish Communities), EAJCC (European Association of Jewish Communities), ACIP (Association Consitoriale Israelité), CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions), and the UEJF (Jewish Students Union of France).

Being the third largest Jewish city behind New York and Los Angeles, Paris is home to numerous synagogues. By 2013, there were more than eighty three individual congregations. While the majority of these are orthodox, many conservative and liberal congregations can be found across Paris. During the 1980s, the city received an influx of orthodox Jews, primarily as a result of the Lubavitch movement which has since been very active in Paris and throughout France.

Approximately 4% of school-age children in France are enrolled in Jewish day schools. In Paris, there are over thirty private Jewish schools. These include those associated with both the orthodox and liberal movements. Chabad Lubavitch has established many educational programs of its own. The Jewish schools in Paris range from the pre-school to High School level. There are additionally a number of Hebrew schools which enroll students of all ages.

Among countless cultural institutions are museums and memorials which preserve the city's Jewish history. Some celebrate the works of Jewish artists while others commemorate the Holocaust and remember its victims. The Museum of Jewish art displays sketches by Mane-Katz, the paintings of Alphonse Levy and the lithographs of Chagall. At the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDJC), stands the Memorial de la Shoah. Here, visitors can view the center's many Holocaust memorials including the Memorial of the Unknown Jewish Martyrs, the Wall of Names, and the Wall of the Righteous Among the Nations. Located behind the Notre Dame is the Memorial of Deportation, a memorial to the 200,000 Jews who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps. On the wall of a primary school on rue Buffault is a plaque commemorating the 12,000 Parisian Jewish children who died in Auschwitz following their deportation from France between 1942 and 1944.

For decades, Paris has been the center of the intellectual and cultural life of French Jewry. The city offers a number of institutions dedicated to Jewish history and culture. Located at the Alliance Israélite Universalle is the largest Jewish library in all of Europe. At the Bibliothèque Medem is the Paris Library of Yiddish. The Mercaz Rashi is home to the University Center for Jewish Studies, a well known destination for Jewish education. One of the most routinely visited cultural centers in Paris is the Chabad House. As of 2014, it was the largest in the world. The Chabad House caters to thousands of Jewish students from Paris and elsewhere every year.

Located in the city of Paris are certain districts, many of them historic, which are well known for their significant Jewish populations. One in particular is Le Marais “The Marsh”, which had long been an aristocratic district of Paris until much of the city’s nobility began to move. By the end of the 19th century, the district had become an active commercial area. It was at this time that thousands of Ashkenazi Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe began to settle Le Marais, bringing their specialization in clothing with them. Arriving from Romania, Austria, Hungary and Russia, they developed a new community alongside an already established community of Parisian Jews. As Jewish immigration continued into the mid 20th century, this Jewish quarter in the fourth arrondissement of Paris became known as the “Pletzl”, a Yiddish term meaning “little place”. Despite having been targeted by the Nazis during World War II, the area has continued to be a major center of the Paris Jewish community. Since the 1990s, the area has grown. Along the Rue des Rosiers are a number of Jewish restaurants, bookstores, kosher food outlets and synagogues. Another notable area with a sizeable Jewish community is in the city’s 9th district. Known as the Faubourg-Montmarte, it is home to several synagogues, kosher restaurants as well as many offices to a number of Jewish organizations.

With centuries-old Jewish neighborhoods, Paris has its share of important Jewish landmarks. Established in 1874 is the Rothschild Synagogue and while it may not be ancient, its main attraction is its rabbis who are well known for being donned in Napoleonic era apparel. The synagogue on Rue Buffault opened in 1877 and was the first synagogue in Paris to adopt the Spanish/Portuguese rite. Next to the synagogue is a memorial dedicated to the 12,000 children who perished in the Holocaust. The Copernic synagogue is the city’s largest non-orthodox congregation. In 1980 it was the target of an anti-Semitic bombing which led to the death of four people during the celebration of Simchat Torah, the first attack against the Jewish people in France since World War II. In the 1970s, the remains of what many believed to have been a Yeshiva were found under the Rouen Law Courts. Just an hour outside of Paris, this site is presumed to be from the 12th century when Jews comprised nearly 20% of the total population.

Serving many of the medical needs of the Jewish community of Paris are organizations such as the OSE and CASIP. While the Rothschild hospital provides general medical care, the OSE or Society for the Health of the Jewish Population, offers several health centers around the city. CASIP focuses on providing the community social services include children and elderly homes.

Being a community of nearly 400,000 people, the Jews of Paris enjoy a diversity of media outlets centered on Jewish culture. Broadcasted every week are Jewish television programs which include news and a variety of entertainment. On radio are several stations such as Shalom Paris which airs Jewish music, news and programming. Circulating throughout Paris are two weekly Jewish papers and a number of monthly journals. One of the city’s major newspapers is the Actualité Juive. There are also online journals such as the Israel Infos and Tribute Juive.

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

Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.
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.

Braila

Turkish: Ibraila

Port on the river Danube, south- eastern Romania.

Braila was within the Ottoman Empire from 1544 to 1828, in which year 21 Jewish families were living there. Despite difficulties with the authorities the Jewish population grew after the annexation of Braila to Walachia and its development as an important commercial port. The number of Jews increased from 1,095 in 1860 to 9,830 (17.3% of the total population) in 1899. The majority were occupied in commerce and crafts; in 1889, 24.4% of the shops in the town belonged to Jews, and in 1899, 24.2% of the artisans were Jews. The first Reform synagogue to be established in old Romania was opened in Braila in 1862. This led to a division of the community until a unified central administration was reestablished in 1905. According to the 1930 census there were 7,134 Jews living in Braila (10.4% of the total population). Communal institutions then included a kindergarten, two elementary schools (for boys and girls), and a secondary school for boys, a clinic, and a night shelter.

In 1941 there were 5,119 Jews in Braila. During the iron guard regime (September 1940 - January 1941), the police confiscated Jewish property, 521 buildings and 107 shops, and arrested Jewish youth in the street. Jewish merchants were compelled to admit iron guard commisars into their shops and eventually to turn their shops over to the Legionaires. The community was very active in extending aid to Jewish refugees who fled from Poland, to a group of Jews from Jassy who were working as forced laborers in a nearby village, and to Jews who reached Braila from other towns in the district. The Jewish community clinic dispensed medical help to thousands. After the war (1947), 5,950 Jews lived in Braila, among who were former deportees to Transnistria. This dropped to 3,500 by 1950. In 1969 there was still a Jewish community in Braila, although the majority of the surviving Jews had settled in Israel.

Maria Constantin

Maria Constantin (Schwefelberg) (1926-2012), painter and book illustrator, born in Bucharest, Romania. She is the daughter of Arnold Schwefelberg (1896-1979), a jurist and a community leader of the Jews of Romania and the sister of Veronica Porumbacu (1921-1977), a poet, writer and translator. She attended the Free Academy of Painting led by M.H. Maxy, between 1924-1944, and simultaneously studied at the Faculty of Modern Philology of the University of Bucharest. She continued her art studies with M.H. Maxy and Alexandru Ciucurencu, until 1950. Her works were displayed for the first time at the Official Autumn Salon in 1946.

After 1948 she participated in numerous state exhibitions, municipal and national salons, with drawings, monotypes, watercolor, colored inks and gouache. She also participates in group exhibitions outside Romania, including in Moscow (1949, 1950), Prague and Budapest (1950), Sofia (1953), Warsaw (1956), Havana and Prague (1964), Rome, Cleveland and Merinignac (1971), Palermo and Boston (1973), and Havana (1974). In 2002 she participated in the exhibition "Seniors of Contemporary Romanian Painting", opened at the Apollo Gallery in Bucharest.

Personal exhibitions include Magazinul Fondului Plastic (1953), Galeria de Artă Magheru (1957, 1963, 1967), Teatrul de Comedie (1969), Galeria Simeza (1970, 1974, 1975), Galeria Orizont (1978, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1998). Constantin’s works were exhibited abroad at Zygos Gallery in Athens, Greece (1981), in Tel Aviv, Israel (1981), at Dobrudscheahaus Galleery in Heilbron, Germany (1986), and at the Town Hall of Gundelsheim, Germany (1986). A retrospective exhibition was displayed at Galeria Simeza in Bucharest (2013).

Constantin illustrated over 30 volumes of children's literature and poetry. She created the graphics of poetry volumes by Veronica Porumbacu, Ion Caraion, and Daniela Crăsnaru. Her works are displayed in museums and private collections in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, USA and Australia.

She was awarded the Prize of the International Youth Festival and the Cultural Merit Order.