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Avram Axelrad

Avram Adolf Axelrad (pen name Adolf Luca) (1879-1963), poet, publicist, translator and publisher born in Bârlad, Romania. He worked as a teacher, first in Husi, at a Jewish private school led by H. Rosenfeld, and later as a teacher of Romanian language and literature at the Moriah and Ronetti Roman Jewish schools in Bucharest.

He edited journals dealing with the popularization of science and general knowledge: Aurora Ţionistă (“Zionist Aurora”) in Bârlad and then Oameni şi idei (“People and ideas”), Minunile naturii (“The wonders of nature”), and Orizontul (“The Horizon”) in Bucharest. In November 1941 he was included among the Jewish writers whose sale of books was forbidden by the fascist government of Romania.  

Axelrad was a prolific translator of foreign literature into Romanian. His translations include works by Karl Marx, Maxim Gorky, Lev Tolstoy, Denis Diderot, Jean Jacques Russo, Anatole France, Heinrich Heine, Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, Charles Darwin, Miguel de Cervantes, Ludwig Büchner, Georges Clemenceau, Jean Finot, Gaston Bonnier, Georg Brandes, Emile Zola, Ernst Renan, Fr. Nietzsche, Platon, I.I.Mechinikov, and Andrew Carnegie. He also translated parts of the Book of Psalms and Ecclesiastes into Romanian.

His books of poetry include Spre răsărit (“Eastward”, 1900), Lădița cu necazuri (“The Little Box of Misfortunes”, 1919), La râul Babilonului (“At the river of Babylon”, 1945). His poetry deals with the tragedy of Jews forced to emigrate by poverty and misfortunes. At the river of Babylon is a re-edition of the poems included in the The Little Box of Misfortunes, to which he added new poems on the Holocaust of the Jews of Romania. During his lifetime Axelrad was known as the "poet of Jewish suffering."   

Date of birth:
1874
Date of death:
1963
ID Number:
20676439
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:
Related items:
AXELROD, AXLEROD, AXELRAD, AXELDAR, AXELROOD, ACHSELRAD

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. The Jewish surnames in this group come from Jewish personal names found in Europe in the Middle Ages. Some experts believe They are linked to the Greek Alexander, others associate the m with Axel/Achsel, the German for "axle" and "shoulder".

Literally "axle wheel" in German, Axelrad could be a reference to the circular badge Jews were obliged to wear in some parts of medieval Europe. Axelrad is documented as a Jewish name in 1241 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and as a family name in 13th century Koeln/Cologne with the kabbalist Abraham Alexander Axelrad.

Distinguished 20th century bearers of the Jewish family name Axelrad include the American attorney and author Jacob Axelrad. Isaak, Isidor K. and Jules Axelrad perished in German death camps during World War II.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish surname Axelrod include the 17th century Polish preacher Bendet Ben Josef Halevi Axelrod, the Russian social-democratic leader Paul Axelrod (1849-1928), and the 20th century American physiologist and pharmacologist Julius Axelrod.

Barlad

Bârlad, Birlad

A city in Vaslui County, Romania.

The Jewish community there is first attested in 1738 when the Prince of Moldavia, Gregor Ghica, appointed Marco (Mordecai) as leader (Starosty) of the Jews of Barlad according to ancient custom. A row of Jewish stores is mentioned in 1767 and a Jewish street in 1819; 53 Jewish households were recorded in 1803.

In 1838 the Jews were accused of desecrating Christian holy objects, and 23 notables of the community, including three women, were imprisoned. They were released only after payment of a heavy fine. In December 1867, there was an outbreak of violence when the Jews were accused of murdering an anti-Semitic priest.

The community numbered 2,000 in 1859, 5,883 (24% of the total) in 1899, about one-third of the merchants and artisans in the city being Jews, and 3,727 in 1930 (14% of the total), mainly occupied in commerce (many as clerks) and as artisans. There were then in Barlad a Jewish kindergarten and two Jewish schools, for boys and for girls. In 1941 there were 3,063 Jews living in Barlad.

Antonescu's rise to power in September 1940 marked the beginning of their economic repression, including the confiscation of property. All the Jewish men, including professionals, were sent on forced labor; but the latter were released when their Romanian colleagues rallied to their side and threatened to join them on forced labor.

On the outbreak of war against the Soviet Union in June 1941 all the Jews from the villages and towns in the district were expelled and sent to Barlad. Sources of livelihood were scarce, and the community had to take care of the unemployed; 200 families were subsidized in 1940 and by 1943 their number had grown to 600. The community also opened its own secondary school for the Jewish children who had been dismissed from the public secondary schools. Four men who had been deported to Transnistria eventually returned to Barlad.

In 1969, 100 Jewish families lived in Barlad. There was one synagogue.

Huși

A city in Vaslui County, Romania. It was the capital of the disbanded Fălciu County in the historical region of Moldavia, Romania.

The first Jews settled there in the last quarter of the 17th century. The oldest tombstone preserved in the Jewish cemetery dates from 1747. The minute book of the hevra kaddisha (burial society) was opened in 1775. In 1794 the synagogue was rebuilt. In 1806 the bishop obtained authorization to settle another group of Jews in the locality. David Almogen (1823-1897) from Galicia, who settled in Husi in 1866, became municipal physician and wrote popular works on medicine. A first attempt was made to organize the community in 1882, and in 1910 the formerly independent hevra kaddisha, with its revenues, was included in the communal framework. The B'nai B'rith established a primary school in 1876, but this could not be maintained because of opposition from orthodox circles who founded a Talmud torah in 1877. In 1897 the cultural association was founded, which established a school, attended by 268 pupils, also supported by the community. The orthodox, however, converted the school into a Talmud torah in 1901. In 1889 the Jewish merchants formed 70% of the total merchants in the town.

The Jewish population numbered 261 (5.2% of the total) in 1831, 2,395 in 1831, 2,395 in 1859, 4,057 (26.2%) in 1899, and 2,514 (10.4%) in 1930. In 1882 there was a blood libel, and in 1884 restrictive measures against the Jewish merchants were instituted. The situation was aggravated when the Romanian brotherhood organization was founded after 1900 with the express aim of boycotting Jewish traders. In 1911 Ion Zelinsky-Codreanu, the father of Corneliu Zelea-Coodreanu, founder of the Iron Guard, became a teacher in the secondary school, which remained a focus of anti-semitism between the two world wars. In 1927 a cooperative bank was organized with the aid of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, having 400 members.

The community was not destroyed during World War II. The Jewish population numbered 2,750 in 1947. A synagogue existed in 1969 with approximately 60 Jewish families.

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.
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Avram Axelrad

Avram Adolf Axelrad (pen name Adolf Luca) (1879-1963), poet, publicist, translator and publisher born in Bârlad, Romania. He worked as a teacher, first in Husi, at a Jewish private school led by H. Rosenfeld, and later as a teacher of Romanian language and literature at the Moriah and Ronetti Roman Jewish schools in Bucharest.

He edited journals dealing with the popularization of science and general knowledge: Aurora Ţionistă (“Zionist Aurora”) in Bârlad and then Oameni şi idei (“People and ideas”), Minunile naturii (“The wonders of nature”), and Orizontul (“The Horizon”) in Bucharest. In November 1941 he was included among the Jewish writers whose sale of books was forbidden by the fascist government of Romania.  

Axelrad was a prolific translator of foreign literature into Romanian. His translations include works by Karl Marx, Maxim Gorky, Lev Tolstoy, Denis Diderot, Jean Jacques Russo, Anatole France, Heinrich Heine, Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, Charles Darwin, Miguel de Cervantes, Ludwig Büchner, Georges Clemenceau, Jean Finot, Gaston Bonnier, Georg Brandes, Emile Zola, Ernst Renan, Fr. Nietzsche, Platon, I.I.Mechinikov, and Andrew Carnegie. He also translated parts of the Book of Psalms and Ecclesiastes into Romanian.

His books of poetry include Spre răsărit (“Eastward”, 1900), Lădița cu necazuri (“The Little Box of Misfortunes”, 1919), La râul Babilonului (“At the river of Babylon”, 1945). His poetry deals with the tragedy of Jews forced to emigrate by poverty and misfortunes. At the river of Babylon is a re-edition of the poems included in the The Little Box of Misfortunes, to which he added new poems on the Holocaust of the Jews of Romania. During his lifetime Axelrad was known as the "poet of Jewish suffering."   

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Bucharest
Husi
Barlad
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.

Huși

A city in Vaslui County, Romania. It was the capital of the disbanded Fălciu County in the historical region of Moldavia, Romania.

The first Jews settled there in the last quarter of the 17th century. The oldest tombstone preserved in the Jewish cemetery dates from 1747. The minute book of the hevra kaddisha (burial society) was opened in 1775. In 1794 the synagogue was rebuilt. In 1806 the bishop obtained authorization to settle another group of Jews in the locality. David Almogen (1823-1897) from Galicia, who settled in Husi in 1866, became municipal physician and wrote popular works on medicine. A first attempt was made to organize the community in 1882, and in 1910 the formerly independent hevra kaddisha, with its revenues, was included in the communal framework. The B'nai B'rith established a primary school in 1876, but this could not be maintained because of opposition from orthodox circles who founded a Talmud torah in 1877. In 1897 the cultural association was founded, which established a school, attended by 268 pupils, also supported by the community. The orthodox, however, converted the school into a Talmud torah in 1901. In 1889 the Jewish merchants formed 70% of the total merchants in the town.

The Jewish population numbered 261 (5.2% of the total) in 1831, 2,395 in 1831, 2,395 in 1859, 4,057 (26.2%) in 1899, and 2,514 (10.4%) in 1930. In 1882 there was a blood libel, and in 1884 restrictive measures against the Jewish merchants were instituted. The situation was aggravated when the Romanian brotherhood organization was founded after 1900 with the express aim of boycotting Jewish traders. In 1911 Ion Zelinsky-Codreanu, the father of Corneliu Zelea-Coodreanu, founder of the Iron Guard, became a teacher in the secondary school, which remained a focus of anti-semitism between the two world wars. In 1927 a cooperative bank was organized with the aid of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, having 400 members.

The community was not destroyed during World War II. The Jewish population numbered 2,750 in 1947. A synagogue existed in 1969 with approximately 60 Jewish families.

Barlad

Bârlad, Birlad

A city in Vaslui County, Romania.

The Jewish community there is first attested in 1738 when the Prince of Moldavia, Gregor Ghica, appointed Marco (Mordecai) as leader (Starosty) of the Jews of Barlad according to ancient custom. A row of Jewish stores is mentioned in 1767 and a Jewish street in 1819; 53 Jewish households were recorded in 1803.

In 1838 the Jews were accused of desecrating Christian holy objects, and 23 notables of the community, including three women, were imprisoned. They were released only after payment of a heavy fine. In December 1867, there was an outbreak of violence when the Jews were accused of murdering an anti-Semitic priest.

The community numbered 2,000 in 1859, 5,883 (24% of the total) in 1899, about one-third of the merchants and artisans in the city being Jews, and 3,727 in 1930 (14% of the total), mainly occupied in commerce (many as clerks) and as artisans. There were then in Barlad a Jewish kindergarten and two Jewish schools, for boys and for girls. In 1941 there were 3,063 Jews living in Barlad.

Antonescu's rise to power in September 1940 marked the beginning of their economic repression, including the confiscation of property. All the Jewish men, including professionals, were sent on forced labor; but the latter were released when their Romanian colleagues rallied to their side and threatened to join them on forced labor.

On the outbreak of war against the Soviet Union in June 1941 all the Jews from the villages and towns in the district were expelled and sent to Barlad. Sources of livelihood were scarce, and the community had to take care of the unemployed; 200 families were subsidized in 1940 and by 1943 their number had grown to 600. The community also opened its own secondary school for the Jewish children who had been dismissed from the public secondary schools. Four men who had been deported to Transnistria eventually returned to Barlad.

In 1969, 100 Jewish families lived in Barlad. There was one synagogue.

AXELROD
AXELROD, AXLEROD, AXELRAD, AXELDAR, AXELROOD, ACHSELRAD

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. The Jewish surnames in this group come from Jewish personal names found in Europe in the Middle Ages. Some experts believe They are linked to the Greek Alexander, others associate the m with Axel/Achsel, the German for "axle" and "shoulder".

Literally "axle wheel" in German, Axelrad could be a reference to the circular badge Jews were obliged to wear in some parts of medieval Europe. Axelrad is documented as a Jewish name in 1241 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and as a family name in 13th century Koeln/Cologne with the kabbalist Abraham Alexander Axelrad.

Distinguished 20th century bearers of the Jewish family name Axelrad include the American attorney and author Jacob Axelrad. Isaak, Isidor K. and Jules Axelrad perished in German death camps during World War II.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish surname Axelrod include the 17th century Polish preacher Bendet Ben Josef Halevi Axelrod, the Russian social-democratic leader Paul Axelrod (1849-1928), and the 20th century American physiologist and pharmacologist Julius Axelrod.