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Marius Mircu

Marius Mircu (born Israel Marcus) (1909-2008), journalist, writer, and historian, born in Bacau, Romania. He attended high school in Bacău and Law School of the University of Bucharest graduating in 1936. He started his journalistic career at Gazeta. During the years of the Fascist regime in Romania, Mircu served as president of the Association of Young Jewish Writers and Artists in Romania. He joined the Communist party while it was still a small illegal organization and continued to work in the party apparatus until it he was marginalized. 

After the Holocaust, he was the first journalist to write about the persecution of the Jews of Romania, particularly about the Pogrom of Dorohoi in July 1940, The Pogrom of Iasi in June 1941, and the ghettos and the concentration camps in Transnistria. Mircu was in charge of the archive-documentation department of the Jewish Community of Bucharest and then of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER) from 1942 to 1987 and was the first director of the Museum of Jewish History from 1982 to 1987.

He immigrated to Israel in 1987 and continued his journalistic activity at Kol Israel (Israeli radio) as presenter of a series of over 200 episodes focused on the history of the Jewish press in Romania as well as a prolific contributor to the Romanian-language press in Israel.

Mircu wrote more than forty books including 24 de ore în jurul lumii (“24 hours around the world”, 1932), Văzduhul ne cheamă (“The Air Calls Us”, 1934), N-am descoperit America! (“I didn't discover America!”, 1937), Amintirile unei student (“Memories of a student”, 1940), Pogromurile din Bucovina și Dorohoi (“The pogroms in Bucovina and Dorohoi”’, 1945), Peste cincizeci de ani (“In Fifty Year Time”, 1967), Croitorul din Back (“The Tailor of Back”, 1979), M-am născut reporter (“I was born a reporter”, 1987), Din nou șapte momente - din istoria evreilor în România: Oameni de omenie, în vremuri de neomenie (“Again seven moments - from the history of the Jews in Romania: People of humanity, in times of inhumanity”, 1987), Treizeci și șase de stâlpi ai lumii (“Thirty-six Pillars of the World”, 1994).

Mircu was awarded the Prize for Children’s Literature in 1951 and the Sion Special Prize for his entire literary and publishing activity in 2002.

Date of birth:
1909
Date of death:
2008
ID Number:
20676450
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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MARCUS

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from a Gentile or vernacular personal name.

Many Jewish personal and family names have their origin in the Roman name Marcus. Marcus, which in Latin means "belonging to Mars" (the Roman god of war), became widespread among Jews following the Roman conquest of the Near East, particularly in the talmudic period (the first five centuries of the Common Era). A very early example is that of Markah. According to Jewish legend, it has the same numerical value as the Hebrew Moshe (in English, Moses), which no other human being was allowed to bear. But actually, it is an Aramaized form of the Latin name Marcus. Markah was the name of a well-known 4th century Samaritan poet, venerated as the "fountain of wisdom", who wrote in Aramaic. According to one expert, this name, as exemplified by some of its variants, could also come from the Hebrew Mar Kushi ("dark gentleman/Mr. Black"). In the Diaspora, Marcus and its different forms were frequently used as 'kinnui'm ("secular names") for the Hebrew Moses, Mordechai, Manasse and Menachem, later becoming the basis for family names. The abbreviated French variant Marc is documented in the 13th century in Paris (France); the original Marcus in 16th century Morocco. The 17th century records Marculis in Prague (Bohemia), Markwitz in both Poland and Germany, and the Italian diminutive Marcello. In Eastern Europe, the root syllable was combined with Slavic patronymic suffixes (indicating descent in the male line) "-ov"/"-itz"/"-ich"/"-ici" and others; in Germany it formed variants such as Markhoff (which could be a Germanized Russian patronymic); Markwald and Markheim (belonging to the toponymic category of family names appearing to derive from place names); in France it became Marcel and in Romania Marcu. Other variations, which do not always correspond to the countries in which they are found, range from Marks/Marx to Marcous/Markusz; Marcus Marcus/Markus is also an acronym (a name created from the initial letters of a Hebrew phrase, and which refers to a relative, lineage or occupation) of the Hebrew 'Morenu Rabbenu Kadosh Ve Zakkai', that is "our holy teacher and Rabbi Zakkai". In Eastern Europe, the root syllable was combined with Slavic patronymic suffixes (indicating descent in the male line) -ov/itz/ich/ici and others; in Germany it formed variants such as Markhoff (which could be a Germanized Russian patronymic); Markwald and Markheim (belonging to the category of family names appearing to derive from place names); in France it became Marcel and in Romania Marcu. Other variations, which do not always correspond to the countries in which they are found, range from Marks/Marx to Marcous/Markusz.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Marcus include the German inventor, Siegfried Marcus (1831-1898); the German scholar, writer on kabbalah and hassidism, Aaron Marcus (1843-1916); and David Daniel Marcus (1902-1948), U.S. soldier and commander of the Jewish troops on the Jerusalem front in the Israel War of Independence.

Bacau

Town in Moldova, Romania.

A Jewish community is attested there in the 18th century. A chevra kaddisha (burial society) was established in 1774. In 1820 there were 55 Jewish taxpaying heads of families in Bacau. The Jewish population numbered 3,819 in 1859 and 7,902 (48.3% of the total) in 1899. From 1803 to 1859 Isaac of Botosani, who acquired renown as a miracle worker (ba'al mofet), was rabbi there. A Talmud torah was founded in 1828, the Po'alei Tzedek tailors' association in 1832, a Chevrat Gomelei Chasadim (mutual aid society; their minute books are in the Yivo archives) in 1836, and a Chevrat Mishnayot in 1851. When the Jewish autonomous organization lost its official status in Romania at the beginning of the 1860s, communal activity in Bacau also disintegrated.

After 1866 Bacau became one of the centers of anti-Jewish agitation in Romania, and the community suffered frequent persecution. During the last quarter of the 19th century secular education began to spread among the Jews of Bacau and at the end of the 1870s and beginning of the 1880s one-third of the pupils in general schools in Bacau were Jewish.

The main occupations of the Jews in Bacau were commerce and 563 (85.6%) were Jewish, and there were 573 (66.6%) Jewish artisans in 1901. The Jewish population numbered 9,593 (30.8% of the total) in 1930, of whom 50.8% declared Yiddish as their mother tongue. By this time the community had a well- organized communal framework. It maintained a kindergarten, two primary schools (for boys and girls), a hospital, an old age home, an orphanage, and a mikveh (purification bath), as well as 30 synagogues.

With Antonescu's rise to power, the Jews of Bacau were confiscated and a part of the Jewish cemetery was adapted for agriculture. When war against the Soviet Union broke out (June 1941), the Jews from towns and villages in the district were driven from their homes and sent to Bacau, whose Jewish community did its best to help. The community kitchen dispensed 1,000 meals a day, and 1,000 families received financial aid. The men were sent to Transylvania and Bessarabia on forced labor. In the spring of 1944, when the front was drawing near, the Jews were forced to dig defense trenches. Under Soviet occupation in the summer of 1944, all the local officials fled and the Jewish community took over municipal affairs, keeping law and order, burying the non-Jewish dead, running the municipal hospital, and paying the salaries of the municipal employees. Most of the survivors of the holocaust settled in Israel. In 1969 there were 600 families and two synagogues in Bacau.

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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Marius Mircu

Marius Mircu (born Israel Marcus) (1909-2008), journalist, writer, and historian, born in Bacau, Romania. He attended high school in Bacău and Law School of the University of Bucharest graduating in 1936. He started his journalistic career at Gazeta. During the years of the Fascist regime in Romania, Mircu served as president of the Association of Young Jewish Writers and Artists in Romania. He joined the Communist party while it was still a small illegal organization and continued to work in the party apparatus until it he was marginalized. 

After the Holocaust, he was the first journalist to write about the persecution of the Jews of Romania, particularly about the Pogrom of Dorohoi in July 1940, The Pogrom of Iasi in June 1941, and the ghettos and the concentration camps in Transnistria. Mircu was in charge of the archive-documentation department of the Jewish Community of Bucharest and then of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER) from 1942 to 1987 and was the first director of the Museum of Jewish History from 1982 to 1987.

He immigrated to Israel in 1987 and continued his journalistic activity at Kol Israel (Israeli radio) as presenter of a series of over 200 episodes focused on the history of the Jewish press in Romania as well as a prolific contributor to the Romanian-language press in Israel.

Mircu wrote more than forty books including 24 de ore în jurul lumii (“24 hours around the world”, 1932), Văzduhul ne cheamă (“The Air Calls Us”, 1934), N-am descoperit America! (“I didn't discover America!”, 1937), Amintirile unei student (“Memories of a student”, 1940), Pogromurile din Bucovina și Dorohoi (“The pogroms in Bucovina and Dorohoi”’, 1945), Peste cincizeci de ani (“In Fifty Year Time”, 1967), Croitorul din Back (“The Tailor of Back”, 1979), M-am născut reporter (“I was born a reporter”, 1987), Din nou șapte momente - din istoria evreilor în România: Oameni de omenie, în vremuri de neomenie (“Again seven moments - from the history of the Jews in Romania: People of humanity, in times of inhumanity”, 1987), Treizeci și șase de stâlpi ai lumii (“Thirty-six Pillars of the World”, 1994).

Mircu was awarded the Prize for Children’s Literature in 1951 and the Sion Special Prize for his entire literary and publishing activity in 2002.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Tel Aviv
Bucharest
Bacau

Tel Aviv Yaffo

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.

Bacau

Town in Moldova, Romania.

A Jewish community is attested there in the 18th century. A chevra kaddisha (burial society) was established in 1774. In 1820 there were 55 Jewish taxpaying heads of families in Bacau. The Jewish population numbered 3,819 in 1859 and 7,902 (48.3% of the total) in 1899. From 1803 to 1859 Isaac of Botosani, who acquired renown as a miracle worker (ba'al mofet), was rabbi there. A Talmud torah was founded in 1828, the Po'alei Tzedek tailors' association in 1832, a Chevrat Gomelei Chasadim (mutual aid society; their minute books are in the Yivo archives) in 1836, and a Chevrat Mishnayot in 1851. When the Jewish autonomous organization lost its official status in Romania at the beginning of the 1860s, communal activity in Bacau also disintegrated.

After 1866 Bacau became one of the centers of anti-Jewish agitation in Romania, and the community suffered frequent persecution. During the last quarter of the 19th century secular education began to spread among the Jews of Bacau and at the end of the 1870s and beginning of the 1880s one-third of the pupils in general schools in Bacau were Jewish.

The main occupations of the Jews in Bacau were commerce and 563 (85.6%) were Jewish, and there were 573 (66.6%) Jewish artisans in 1901. The Jewish population numbered 9,593 (30.8% of the total) in 1930, of whom 50.8% declared Yiddish as their mother tongue. By this time the community had a well- organized communal framework. It maintained a kindergarten, two primary schools (for boys and girls), a hospital, an old age home, an orphanage, and a mikveh (purification bath), as well as 30 synagogues.

With Antonescu's rise to power, the Jews of Bacau were confiscated and a part of the Jewish cemetery was adapted for agriculture. When war against the Soviet Union broke out (June 1941), the Jews from towns and villages in the district were driven from their homes and sent to Bacau, whose Jewish community did its best to help. The community kitchen dispensed 1,000 meals a day, and 1,000 families received financial aid. The men were sent to Transylvania and Bessarabia on forced labor. In the spring of 1944, when the front was drawing near, the Jews were forced to dig defense trenches. Under Soviet occupation in the summer of 1944, all the local officials fled and the Jewish community took over municipal affairs, keeping law and order, burying the non-Jewish dead, running the municipal hospital, and paying the salaries of the municipal employees. Most of the survivors of the holocaust settled in Israel. In 1969 there were 600 families and two synagogues in Bacau.

MARCUS
MARCUS

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from a Gentile or vernacular personal name.

Many Jewish personal and family names have their origin in the Roman name Marcus. Marcus, which in Latin means "belonging to Mars" (the Roman god of war), became widespread among Jews following the Roman conquest of the Near East, particularly in the talmudic period (the first five centuries of the Common Era). A very early example is that of Markah. According to Jewish legend, it has the same numerical value as the Hebrew Moshe (in English, Moses), which no other human being was allowed to bear. But actually, it is an Aramaized form of the Latin name Marcus. Markah was the name of a well-known 4th century Samaritan poet, venerated as the "fountain of wisdom", who wrote in Aramaic. According to one expert, this name, as exemplified by some of its variants, could also come from the Hebrew Mar Kushi ("dark gentleman/Mr. Black"). In the Diaspora, Marcus and its different forms were frequently used as 'kinnui'm ("secular names") for the Hebrew Moses, Mordechai, Manasse and Menachem, later becoming the basis for family names. The abbreviated French variant Marc is documented in the 13th century in Paris (France); the original Marcus in 16th century Morocco. The 17th century records Marculis in Prague (Bohemia), Markwitz in both Poland and Germany, and the Italian diminutive Marcello. In Eastern Europe, the root syllable was combined with Slavic patronymic suffixes (indicating descent in the male line) "-ov"/"-itz"/"-ich"/"-ici" and others; in Germany it formed variants such as Markhoff (which could be a Germanized Russian patronymic); Markwald and Markheim (belonging to the toponymic category of family names appearing to derive from place names); in France it became Marcel and in Romania Marcu. Other variations, which do not always correspond to the countries in which they are found, range from Marks/Marx to Marcous/Markusz; Marcus Marcus/Markus is also an acronym (a name created from the initial letters of a Hebrew phrase, and which refers to a relative, lineage or occupation) of the Hebrew 'Morenu Rabbenu Kadosh Ve Zakkai', that is "our holy teacher and Rabbi Zakkai". In Eastern Europe, the root syllable was combined with Slavic patronymic suffixes (indicating descent in the male line) -ov/itz/ich/ici and others; in Germany it formed variants such as Markhoff (which could be a Germanized Russian patronymic); Markwald and Markheim (belonging to the category of family names appearing to derive from place names); in France it became Marcel and in Romania Marcu. Other variations, which do not always correspond to the countries in which they are found, range from Marks/Marx to Marcous/Markusz.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Marcus include the German inventor, Siegfried Marcus (1831-1898); the German scholar, writer on kabbalah and hassidism, Aaron Marcus (1843-1916); and David Daniel Marcus (1902-1948), U.S. soldier and commander of the Jewish troops on the Jerusalem front in the Israel War of Independence.