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Norberto Hofling

Norberto Höfling (1924-2005), footballer and coach, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine (then Cernauti / Czernowitz, in Romania). He started his career after the end of WW2 playing for Carmen Bucharest, then one of the best teams in Romania, and Ciocanul Bucharest, formerly known as Maccabi Bucharest, a Jewish team founded in 1919, banned during the Holocaust and founded again with its new name in 1946. Höfling also played in the Romanian national team during 1945-1946. He left Romania in 1948 and played for MTK Budapest, and then for the Italian clubs SS Lazio, Pro patria Calcio and Vicenza Calcio.

In 1957 Höfling started his second career as a coach with Club Brugge in Belgium, followed six years later by the Dutch club Fayenoord Rotterdam. Later during the 1060s and the 1970s he was a coach for the Belgian clubs R.W.D Molenbek, R.S.C. Anderlecht, Club Brugge, A.S. Oostende, and KAA Gent. After retiring from the world of soccer, he set up a shoe store in Bruges.

Höfling died in Bruges, Belgium.

Date of birth:
1924
Date of death:
2005
ID Number:
20873304
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Chernivtsi

In Ukrainian: Чернівці / Chernivtsi; in Russian: Chernovtsy; In Romanian: Cernauti, In German and in Jewish sources: Czernowitz צ'רנוביץ
A city in Ukraine. Between the two World Wars in Romania.

Chernovtsy, then Cernauti, was the capital of Bukovina. The area was under Austrian rule in the years 1775-1918.

Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews are mentioned in Chernovtsy from 1408. Later the Chernovtsy community assumed a distinctly Ashkenazi character, with Yiddish as the spoken language. The second half of the 17th century brought Jewish immigrants and culture from Poland. The Russian-Turkish wars (1766-74) caused severe hardship and the Jews had to leave Chernovtsy for a time. After the area came under Austrian rule in 1775 the Austrian military regime immediately began a policy of discrimination with the avowed aim of "clearing" Bukovina of Jews.

Nevertheless, a number of Jews from Galicia immigrated to Bukovina in this period, and many settled in Chernovtsy. Despite the restrictions still in force the Jews there acquired real property and engaged in large-scale commercial transactions. In 1812, during the Napoleonic wars, Jewish goods and property were plundered by the Russian army.

Tension arose within the community between the Chasidim and Maskilim at the beginning of the 19th century, and later intensified. Cultural life developed after 1848, along with trends toward assimilation and the penetration of Haskalah attitudes to wider circles. The foundation of a university there in 1875 attracted Jewish students throughout Bukovina and had a stimulating and diversifying influence on the social and cultural life of the community.

From the end of the 19th century student organizations played an important part in the Zionist movement in Chernovtsy.

In 1872 the community split into independent orthodox and reform sections. A reform temple opened in 1877 was destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. Zionism made headway in the city despite opposition from the assimilationist and orthodox elements. Jews also took an active part in public affairs. As early as 1897 one of the Jewish leaders, Benno Straucher, was returned to the Austrian parliament as representative for Czernowitz (1897-1914).

During World War I, when the city passed from hand to hand between the Russians and the Austrians, the community suffered great hardship, and many left the city. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 the soldiers of the Romanian army who entered Chernovtsy behaved brutally toward the Jews and started a wave of persecution. After incorporation of the city into Romania and with the institution of the civil government, the situation of the Jews improved. One of the prominent personalities of Chernovtsy Jewry in general was the Zionist leader Meir Ebner, editor of a German-language newspaper there. Other outstanding personalities who represented the Jews in the Romanian parliament were the historian Manfred Reifer, and the socialist leader Jacob Pistiner. The community numbered 43,701 in 1919 (47.4% of the total population). Hebrew works were printed in Chernovtsy for over a century, from 1835 to 1939, and nearly 340 items were issued by nine publishers and printers. Of these the most important was the house of Eckhardt where, with the help of Jewish experts, there were printed a complete Babylonian Talmud, a bible with standard commentaries, the Mishnah with commentaries, and other important rabbinic Kabbalistic-Chasidic works.

The Holocaust Period
In 1941 the Jewish population numbered 50,000, due to the influx of Jews from the smaller towns and villages in Bukovina.

On the night of June 30, 1941, the Soviet army vacated Chernovtsy and gangs broke into Jewish homes, looting and burning them. On July 5, the first units of the German and Romanian armies entered the town, accompanied by Einsatzkommando 10B, which was a section of Einsatzgruppe D. This unit fulfilled its task of inciting the Romanians against the Jews; on the pretext that the Jews were plotting against the government, they murdered the Jewish Intelligentsia, among them the chief rabbi of Bukovina, Abraham Mark, the chief cantor, and leaders of the community.

On July 30, when the anti-Jewish measures introduced by Antonescu's government went into effect, hostages were taken and Jews were compelled to do forced labor and to wear the yellow badge. The authorities permitted Jews to be seen on hunted down in the streets and houses. On October 11 the Jews were concentrated in a ghetto, their property was confiscated, and deportations to Transnistria began. On October 14, 1941, the chairman of the union of Jewish communities, Wilhelm Filderman, obtained a cessation of deportations, but the decision was carried out only a month later, and by November 15, 1941, about 30,000 Jews had been deported. The mayor of Chernovtsy, Traian Popovici, also attempted to stop deportations, issuing about 4,000 certificates of exemption from deportation, but the officials of the municipality, the police and the gendarmerie extorted enormous sums of money in return for these exemptions. Many Jews were deported even after they paid the ransom. After a short break, deportations were resumed and about 4,000 Jews were deported in three waves between June 17 and 27, 1942. Some of the deportees were taken to camps east of the Bug river (an area occupied by the Germans) where children up to the age of 15, old people, invalids, women, and those unfit for work were systematically murdered. About 60% of the deportees from Chernovtsy to Transnistria perished there. Most survivors who returned did not resettle in Chernovtsy, which had in the meantime been annexed to the Ukrainian republic in the Soviet Union, but went to Romania and from there to Eretz Israel.

In the 1950's the government closed five of the six synagogues and all of the Torah scrolls were placed in a museum. One of the synagogues was made into a sports center and another into a movie theater. The other synagogues became workshops and warehouses. One small synagogue still remains for 50-60 worshippers. In 1970, the Jewish population in Chernovtsy numbered 70,000.

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.

Rotterdam


City in W. Netherlands.

 

21st Century

The path to the entrance of a former Jewish institution was renovated in 2001.

 

History

After first trying to attract Marranos from Antwerp in 1604, the city of Rotterdam issued a charter in 1610 which promised various privileges, including complete religious freedom. However, this charter was abolished by the municipality two years later and a large number of those Portuguese who had settled meanwhile left for Amsterdam. Nevertheless, a small group remained, opening a synagogue and buying a plot of land to serve as a cemetery. An important reinforcement to the community came in 1647, when the wealthy de Pinto family arrived in Rotterdam and returned to Judaism.

That same year the municipality accorded the Jews the same rights as those obtained in Amsterdam. In Abraham de Pinto's house a synagogue and a yeshivah - the Jesiba de los Pintos - were opened; head of the yeshivah was Josiah Pardo, who also served as chief rabbi of the community (1648-69). In 1669 the yeshivah was transferred to Amsterdam.

From then on it was the de la Penha family, mostly merchants and shipowners, who played the major role in the community, which continued to exist until 1736. An Ashkenazi community was founded in 1660, at first fostered by the Portuguese community. Its first chief rabbi was Judah Loeb from Vilna (c. 1674-c. 1700). The Ashkenazim were in a difficult economic position; as they were not admitted to the guilds, they were mostly petty traders or dealers in old clothes, or they engaged in one of the few permitted crafts. In addition, they were allowed to sell their merchandise in the market until 1 p.m. only. Nevertheless, their number grew steadily. In 1725 a beautiful synagogue was built, which was destroyed during the German bombing of the city in 1940.

Emancipation in 1796 brought important changes, particularly because it put an end to the absolute power of the parnasim in the community. A grave conflict in the community over the powers of the parnasim was settled by the chief rabbi, Levi Hijman from Breslau (1781--1809), who enjoyed great renown as a scholar and was the author of Penei Aryeh.

In the 19th century the community flourished, owing to the growth of Rotterdam's port. The number of Jews increased from 2,104 in 1809 to more than 13,000 in 1940. In addition to several synagogues in different quarters of the city, a second great synagogue, built in 1891, was consecrated in 1939. The economic position of the Jews improved, particularly toward the end of the 19th century, to such an extent that the number of welfare cases decreased from 1,700 in 1873 to 1,600 in 1901 despite the growth of the community. The most important chief rabbis of Rotterdam were Joseph Isaacssohn (1850-71), who settled a conflict between Reform and Orthodox, and Bernhard Loebel Ritter (1885-1928), a leading scholar and a determined opponent of Zionism. In spite of innumerable endeavors to stimulate Jewish life in Rotterdam through a weekly journal, a literary club, and more than 20 other organizations,
assimilation had a serious impact. However, the community extended important help and assistance to refugees from Germany after 1933.

 

The Holocaust Period

In 1940 there were some 13,000 Jews living in Rotterdam (2% of the city's population); 60% of them were engaged in commerce and 20% in industry. With the invasion of Holland, the German bombers destroyed the center including two synagogues and the bet midrash, which contained valuable manuscripts. On September 1, 1941, all Jewish children were expelled from the public schools, and three Jewish elementary schools, a high school, and a school of higher learning were established. Large-scale deportations to the Westerbork concentration camp and from there to Poland began in late July 1942.

 

Postwar

After the war some 800 Jews returned to Rotterdam from concentration camps and hideouts. In 1969 about 1,300 of the 800,000 inhabitants of Rotterdam were Jews. Of these some 800 were members of the Jewish congregation.

Most prewar Jewish institutions, such as the home for the aged, the orphanage, and the hospital, were not reopened; but the central Jewish home for the aged, which until 1942 existed in Gouda, to the northeast of Rotterdam, was reopened in 1950. After services had been held on temporary premises for nine years, a new modern synagogue, with adjoining classrooms, secretariat, and a modern communal center subsidized by the government reconstruction fund for wartime damage, was inaugurated in 1954. The small square in front of it was officially named A. D. N. Davids Square in 1967 after the late chief rabbi, who perished in a concentration camp. Rabbi L. Vorst was communal rabbi from 1931. He was appointed chief rabbi of Rotterdam and district after the war, retiring in 1971. He was succeeded by Rabbi D. Kahn.

Rome

The capital of Italy.

The Jewish community of Rome is probably the oldest in the world, with a continuous existence from classical times down to the present day. The first record of Jews in Rome is in 161 b.c.e., when Jason b. Eleazar and Eupolemus b. Johanan are said to have gone there as envoys from Judah Maccabee. The Roman Jews are said to have been conspicuous in the mourning for Julius Caesar in 44 b.c.e. on the death of Herod in 4 b.c.e. 8,000 native Roman Jews are reported to have escorted the Jewish delegates from Judea who came to request the senate to abolish the Herodian monarchy. Two synagogues were seemingly founded by "freedmen" who had been slaves of Augustus (d. 14 c.e.) and Agrippa (d. 12 b.c.e.) respectively and bore their names. There was also from an early date a Samaritan synagogue in Rome which continued to exist for centuries. Although the position of the Roman Jews must have been adversely affected by the great Roman-Jewish wars in Judea in 66-73 and 132-135, the prisoners of war brought back as slaves ultimately gave a great impetus to the Jewish population.

From the second half of the first century c.e. the Roman Jewish community seems to have been firmly established. A delegation of scholars from Eretz Israel in 95-96, led by the patriarch Gamaliel II, found as its religious head the enthusiastic but unlearned Theudas. The total number of Jews in Rome has been estimated as high as 40,000, but was probably nearer 10,000. Besides the beggars and peddlers, there were physicians, actors, and poets, but the majority of the members of the community were shopkeepers and craftsmen (tailors, tentmakers, butchers, limeburners).

With the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperors the position of the Jews changed immediately for the worse. While Judaism remained officially a tolerated religion as before, its actual status deteriorated, and every pressure was brought on the Jews to adopt the now-dominant faith. In 387-388, a Christian mob, after systematically destroying heathen temples, turned its attention to the synagogues and burned one of them to the ground.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the Christian bishop of Rome, the Pope, became the dominant force in the former Imperial city and the immediate neighborhood, with moral authority recognized, to a greater or lesser degree, over the whole of western Christendom. Hence, over a period of some 1,400 years, the history of the Jews in Rome is in great part the reflection of the Papal policies toward the Jews. However, down to the period of the counter-reformation in the 16th century, there was a tendency for the Papal anti-Jewish pronouncements to be applied less strictly in Rome than by zealous rulers and ecclesiastics abroad, while on the other hand the Papal protective policies were on the whole followed more faithfully in Rome itself than elsewhere.

The anti-Jewish legislation of the fourth Lateran Council (1215) inspired by Pope Innocent III does not seem to have been strictly enforced in the Papal capital. There is some evidence that copies of the Talmud were burned here after its condemnation in Paris in 1245. The wearing of the Jewish badge was imposed in 1257 and the city statutes of 1360 ordered male Jews to wear a red tabard, and the women a red petticoat.

The entire tenor of Roman Jewish life suddenly changed for the worse with the counter-reformation. In 1542 a tribunal of the holy office on the Spanish model was set up in Rome and in 1553 Cornelio da Montalcino, a Franciscan friar who had embraced Judaism, was burned alive on the camp Dei Fiori. In 1543 a home for converted Jews (house of catechumens), later to be the scene of many tragic episodes, was established, a good part of the burden of upkeep being imposed on the Jews themselves. On Rosh Hashanah (September 4, 1553) the Talmud with many more Hebrew books was committed to the flames after official condemnation. On July 12, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued his bull, "Cum nimis absurdum", which reenacted remorselessly against the Jews all the restrictive ecclesiastical legislation hitherto only intermittently enforced. This comprised the segregation of the Jews in a special quarter, henceforth called the ghetto; the wearing of the Jewish badge, now specified as a yellow hat in the case of men, a yellow kerchief in the case of women; prohibitions on owning real estate, on being called by any title of respect such as signor, on the employment by Christians of Jewish physicians, and on dealing in corn and other necessities of life; and virtual restriction to dealing in old clothes and second-hand goods. This initiated the ghetto period in Rome, and continued to govern the life of Roman Jewry for more than 300 years. Occasional raids were made as late as the 18th century on the ghetto to ensure that the Jews did not possess any "forbidden" books – that is, in effect, any literature other than the bible, liturgy, and carefully expurgated ritual codes. Each Saturday selected members of the community were compelled to go to a neighboring church to listen to conversionist sermons, running the gauntlet of the insults of the populace. In some reactionary interludes, the yellow Jewish hat had to be worn even inside the ghetto.

On the accession of Pius IX in 1846, the gates and walls of the ghetto were removed, but thereafter the once-kindly Pope turned reactionary and relentlessly enforced anti-Jewish restrictions until the end. During the Roman Republic of 1849, under Mazzini, Jews participated in public life, and three were elected to the short-lived constituent assembly; but within five months the Papal reactionary rule was reestablished to last, without any perceptible liberalization, until the capture of Rome by the forces of united Italy in 1870. On October 13 a royal decree abolished all religious disabilities from which citizens of the new capital had formerly suffered, and the Jews of Rome were henceforth on the same legal footing as their fellow Romans. It was only during the period after World War I, with the remarkable development of Rome itself, that Roman Jewry may be said to have regained the primacy in Italian Jewish life which it had enjoyed in the remote past.

A few days after the Germans captured Rome (Sept. 9-10, 1943), Himmler ordered immediate preparations for the arrest and deportation of all Jews in Rome and the vicinity – over 10,000 persons. H. Kappler, the S.S. commanding officer in Rome, first extorted 50 kg. of gold from the Jewish community, to be paid by September 26 (on 36 hours notice), with a warning that 200 Jews would otherwise be put to death. The gold, which was collected among the Jews without resorting to outside aid, was delivered on time. Nevertheless, on September 29 a special German police force broke into the community offices and looted the ancient archives; and on October 13 looted the excellent and priceless libraries of the community and the rabbinic college. On October 16 a mass huntdown of Rome's Jews was carried out by German forces, who under Kappler and Dannecker's orders made house-to-house searches on every street, and arrested all the Jews – men, women, and children. Some of the population assisted Jews in escaping or hiding, but nevertheless 1,007 Jews were caught and sent to Auschwitz where they were killed (Oct. 23, 1943). From then on, until June 4, 1944, the day of the liberation, the methodic roundup of Jews hiding in the "Aryan" homes of friends or in catholic institutions continued. In this latter period over 1,000 Jews were caught and put to death at Auschwitz. A total of 2,091 Jews (1,067 men, 743 women, and 281 children) were killed in this manner. Another 73 Jews were among the 335 prisoners executed in the fosse Ardeatine, outside Rome, as a retaliatory measure against Italian partisan action against the Nazi occupants in Rome.

The rector of the German church in Rome, Bishop A. Hudal, made futile attempts to defend the Jews. The pope was requested publicly to denounce the hunt for Jews, but he did not respond, although he agreed to the shelter offered to individual Jews in catholic institutions including the Vatican.

At the end of the war the Jewish population of Rome was 11,000. In the following years the number increased due mainly to the natural increase, and in 1965 reached a total of 12,928 (out of a total of 2,500,000 inhabitants). After the Six-Day War in the Middle East (1967), about 3,000 Jews arrived from Libya. Some of them subsequently migrated to Israel, but the majority were absorbed by the community. The community of Rome is the only one in Italy that shows a demographic increase, with a fertility rate not far below that of the Italian population as a whole, a fairly high marriage rate, and a limited proportion of mixed marriages. On the other hand, the general cultural and social level is inferior to that of the other Italian communities. Apart from the great synagogue of Italian rite, there are two prayer houses of Italian rite, an Ashkenazi synagogue, and two synagogues of Sephardi rite. Among the Jewish institutions there is a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a high school. There are many relief organizations, an orphanage, a Jewish hospital, and a home for invalids. Rome is the seat of the chief rabbinate of the union of the Italian Jewish communities, and of the Italian rabbinical college. In the 1970s the following Jewish journals were published: Israel, Shalom, Karnenu, and Portico d'Ottavia.

In 1997 there were 35,000 Jews in Italy; 15,000 of them – in Rome.

Brussels

Capital of Belgium

A Jewish community had been established in Brussels by the mid-13th century. A beautiful illuminated Pentateuch was written there in 1309 by the scribe Isaac ben Elijah of Ochsenfurt for Chaim, son of the martyr Chaim, attesting to the community's high social and cultural position. As in many Jewish communities throughout Europe, the Jews of Brussels were massacred during the Black Death in 1348-1349. A few subsequently resettled in the city, but a further massacre followed in May of 1370, after an accusation of host desecration. The small Jewish community was expelled from the city, and was not allowed to return until the end of Spanish rule in Belgium in the 18th century. The supposed host desecration that led to the massacre is depicted in a stained glass window in the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral of Brussels.

Marranos would occasionally make their way to Brussels; for example, the Mendes family arrived in Brussels during the 16th century. Additionally, during the 17th century several Marranos, including Daniel Levi (Miguel) de Barrios, served in the Spanish Army in Brussels. Some of these Marranos later settled in Amsterdam, where they were able to practice Judaism openly.

After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Belgium came under Austrian rule and Jews began, once again, to settle in Brussels. Expulsion decrees were issued in 1716 and 1756, but were averted by gifts to the crown. In 1757 the Jewish community of Brussels consisted of 21 men, 19 women, and 26 children, many of whom had moved from Holland. In 1783 Philip Nathan, who received the right of citizenship of Brussels, asked the authorities to assign a site for a new Jewish cemetery.

With the annexation of Belgium in 1794 by France, Jews were able to settle freely in Brussels. At the beginning of the 18th century the Brussels community recognized the authority of the Metz rabbinate over them. The Napoleonic Edict of March 17, 1808 included Brussels in the consistory (state controlled Jewish communal body) of Crefeld. Later, when Belgium united with Holland, Brussels became the head of the 14th religious district of Holland. Belgium achieved independence in 1830, and the constitution of 1831 accorded religious freedom to all of its citizens. Brussels became the center of the Belgian consistories, and Eliakim Carmoly was appointed to be the chief rabbi of Belgium in 1832.

The community, consisting primarily of Jews from Holland and Germany, saw a population increase when Jews began arriving from Poland and Russia after 1880, either to settle or as a stop on their way to the US. There was another wave of Jewish immigration from Germany after 1933. Before World War II, the Jewish community in Brussels was approximately 30,000, second in size only to Antwerp.

THE HOLOCAUST

The Nazis occupied Belgium in May, 1940. A Nazi ordinance led to the creation of the Association de Juifs en Belgique (AJB) in Brussels; under the pretext of providing social relief to the Jews of Brussels, the AJB was widely denounced by the Jewish resistance as a means for the Nazis to exert control over the Jewish community. Beginning in August, 1942, the Nazis began transporting Belgian Jews to the labor camp of Mechlin (Malines), and from there they were sent mainly to Auschwitz. Approximately 40,000 Belgian Jews were killed during the war.

After the war, between 1945-1950, the Jewish population of Brussels was about as large as it had been before World War II (approximately 27,000), due to the thousands of refugees arriving from Eastern and Central Europe en route to other locations. Afterwards immigration to Belgium decreased, and, in fact, there was a wave of emigration from Brussels to the US, Canada, Australia, and Israel.

The Jewish community's reconstruction after World War II was hampered by Belgium's economic instability and the process of rehabilitating war victims. Furthermore, as the majority of Jews in Brussels were foreigners, it was difficult for them to attain work permits. In 1946 an average of 4,500 people per month required relief or some form of aid from Jewish agencies (only a few hundred were still in need in 1970). Priority was given to the creation of institutions for social assistance and public services, such as L'Aide aux Israelites Victimes de la Guerre (later renamed Service Social Juif), L'Heureux Sejour, an old-age home, and the Caisse de Pret de Credit, in order to cope with the needs of the postwar Jewish community. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany also provided substantial support to the Jewish community of Brussels. A central fundraising agency unifying 15 institutions, La Centrale D'Oeuvres Sociales Juives, was created in 1952.

Brussels had two elementary Jewish day schools: the Ecole Israelite, and the Zionist Ganenou. There was also the Athenee Maimonide High School, which was run by the same board as the Ecole Israelite. All three schools were recognized and subsidized by the state. There were also Sunday schools, a Yiddish school, and various opportunities to learn Hebrew. Three ideologically different community centers also provided educational and leisure activities. There were three Ashkenazi and one Sephardi legally recognized religious committees, as well as several groups that organized their own religious services.

In 1966, Belgian Jews and American expat Jews living in Belgium created the progressive L'Union Israelite Liberale de Belgique. The Centre National des Hautes Etudes Juives, created by the Free University of Brussels and subsidized by the state, promoted research and studies on contemporary Jewry, and played an active role in the cultural renewal of the community.
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Norberto Hofling

Norberto Höfling (1924-2005), footballer and coach, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine (then Cernauti / Czernowitz, in Romania). He started his career after the end of WW2 playing for Carmen Bucharest, then one of the best teams in Romania, and Ciocanul Bucharest, formerly known as Maccabi Bucharest, a Jewish team founded in 1919, banned during the Holocaust and founded again with its new name in 1946. Höfling also played in the Romanian national team during 1945-1946. He left Romania in 1948 and played for MTK Budapest, and then for the Italian clubs SS Lazio, Pro patria Calcio and Vicenza Calcio.

In 1957 Höfling started his second career as a coach with Club Brugge in Belgium, followed six years later by the Dutch club Fayenoord Rotterdam. Later during the 1060s and the 1970s he was a coach for the Belgian clubs R.W.D Molenbek, R.S.C. Anderlecht, Club Brugge, A.S. Oostende, and KAA Gent. After retiring from the world of soccer, he set up a shoe store in Bruges.

Höfling died in Bruges, Belgium.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Brussels
Rome
Rotterdam
Bucharest
Chernivtsi
Brussels

Capital of Belgium

A Jewish community had been established in Brussels by the mid-13th century. A beautiful illuminated Pentateuch was written there in 1309 by the scribe Isaac ben Elijah of Ochsenfurt for Chaim, son of the martyr Chaim, attesting to the community's high social and cultural position. As in many Jewish communities throughout Europe, the Jews of Brussels were massacred during the Black Death in 1348-1349. A few subsequently resettled in the city, but a further massacre followed in May of 1370, after an accusation of host desecration. The small Jewish community was expelled from the city, and was not allowed to return until the end of Spanish rule in Belgium in the 18th century. The supposed host desecration that led to the massacre is depicted in a stained glass window in the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral of Brussels.

Marranos would occasionally make their way to Brussels; for example, the Mendes family arrived in Brussels during the 16th century. Additionally, during the 17th century several Marranos, including Daniel Levi (Miguel) de Barrios, served in the Spanish Army in Brussels. Some of these Marranos later settled in Amsterdam, where they were able to practice Judaism openly.

After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Belgium came under Austrian rule and Jews began, once again, to settle in Brussels. Expulsion decrees were issued in 1716 and 1756, but were averted by gifts to the crown. In 1757 the Jewish community of Brussels consisted of 21 men, 19 women, and 26 children, many of whom had moved from Holland. In 1783 Philip Nathan, who received the right of citizenship of Brussels, asked the authorities to assign a site for a new Jewish cemetery.

With the annexation of Belgium in 1794 by France, Jews were able to settle freely in Brussels. At the beginning of the 18th century the Brussels community recognized the authority of the Metz rabbinate over them. The Napoleonic Edict of March 17, 1808 included Brussels in the consistory (state controlled Jewish communal body) of Crefeld. Later, when Belgium united with Holland, Brussels became the head of the 14th religious district of Holland. Belgium achieved independence in 1830, and the constitution of 1831 accorded religious freedom to all of its citizens. Brussels became the center of the Belgian consistories, and Eliakim Carmoly was appointed to be the chief rabbi of Belgium in 1832.

The community, consisting primarily of Jews from Holland and Germany, saw a population increase when Jews began arriving from Poland and Russia after 1880, either to settle or as a stop on their way to the US. There was another wave of Jewish immigration from Germany after 1933. Before World War II, the Jewish community in Brussels was approximately 30,000, second in size only to Antwerp.

THE HOLOCAUST

The Nazis occupied Belgium in May, 1940. A Nazi ordinance led to the creation of the Association de Juifs en Belgique (AJB) in Brussels; under the pretext of providing social relief to the Jews of Brussels, the AJB was widely denounced by the Jewish resistance as a means for the Nazis to exert control over the Jewish community. Beginning in August, 1942, the Nazis began transporting Belgian Jews to the labor camp of Mechlin (Malines), and from there they were sent mainly to Auschwitz. Approximately 40,000 Belgian Jews were killed during the war.

After the war, between 1945-1950, the Jewish population of Brussels was about as large as it had been before World War II (approximately 27,000), due to the thousands of refugees arriving from Eastern and Central Europe en route to other locations. Afterwards immigration to Belgium decreased, and, in fact, there was a wave of emigration from Brussels to the US, Canada, Australia, and Israel.

The Jewish community's reconstruction after World War II was hampered by Belgium's economic instability and the process of rehabilitating war victims. Furthermore, as the majority of Jews in Brussels were foreigners, it was difficult for them to attain work permits. In 1946 an average of 4,500 people per month required relief or some form of aid from Jewish agencies (only a few hundred were still in need in 1970). Priority was given to the creation of institutions for social assistance and public services, such as L'Aide aux Israelites Victimes de la Guerre (later renamed Service Social Juif), L'Heureux Sejour, an old-age home, and the Caisse de Pret de Credit, in order to cope with the needs of the postwar Jewish community. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany also provided substantial support to the Jewish community of Brussels. A central fundraising agency unifying 15 institutions, La Centrale D'Oeuvres Sociales Juives, was created in 1952.

Brussels had two elementary Jewish day schools: the Ecole Israelite, and the Zionist Ganenou. There was also the Athenee Maimonide High School, which was run by the same board as the Ecole Israelite. All three schools were recognized and subsidized by the state. There were also Sunday schools, a Yiddish school, and various opportunities to learn Hebrew. Three ideologically different community centers also provided educational and leisure activities. There were three Ashkenazi and one Sephardi legally recognized religious committees, as well as several groups that organized their own religious services.

In 1966, Belgian Jews and American expat Jews living in Belgium created the progressive L'Union Israelite Liberale de Belgique. The Centre National des Hautes Etudes Juives, created by the Free University of Brussels and subsidized by the state, promoted research and studies on contemporary Jewry, and played an active role in the cultural renewal of the community.

Rome

The capital of Italy.

The Jewish community of Rome is probably the oldest in the world, with a continuous existence from classical times down to the present day. The first record of Jews in Rome is in 161 b.c.e., when Jason b. Eleazar and Eupolemus b. Johanan are said to have gone there as envoys from Judah Maccabee. The Roman Jews are said to have been conspicuous in the mourning for Julius Caesar in 44 b.c.e. on the death of Herod in 4 b.c.e. 8,000 native Roman Jews are reported to have escorted the Jewish delegates from Judea who came to request the senate to abolish the Herodian monarchy. Two synagogues were seemingly founded by "freedmen" who had been slaves of Augustus (d. 14 c.e.) and Agrippa (d. 12 b.c.e.) respectively and bore their names. There was also from an early date a Samaritan synagogue in Rome which continued to exist for centuries. Although the position of the Roman Jews must have been adversely affected by the great Roman-Jewish wars in Judea in 66-73 and 132-135, the prisoners of war brought back as slaves ultimately gave a great impetus to the Jewish population.

From the second half of the first century c.e. the Roman Jewish community seems to have been firmly established. A delegation of scholars from Eretz Israel in 95-96, led by the patriarch Gamaliel II, found as its religious head the enthusiastic but unlearned Theudas. The total number of Jews in Rome has been estimated as high as 40,000, but was probably nearer 10,000. Besides the beggars and peddlers, there were physicians, actors, and poets, but the majority of the members of the community were shopkeepers and craftsmen (tailors, tentmakers, butchers, limeburners).

With the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperors the position of the Jews changed immediately for the worse. While Judaism remained officially a tolerated religion as before, its actual status deteriorated, and every pressure was brought on the Jews to adopt the now-dominant faith. In 387-388, a Christian mob, after systematically destroying heathen temples, turned its attention to the synagogues and burned one of them to the ground.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the Christian bishop of Rome, the Pope, became the dominant force in the former Imperial city and the immediate neighborhood, with moral authority recognized, to a greater or lesser degree, over the whole of western Christendom. Hence, over a period of some 1,400 years, the history of the Jews in Rome is in great part the reflection of the Papal policies toward the Jews. However, down to the period of the counter-reformation in the 16th century, there was a tendency for the Papal anti-Jewish pronouncements to be applied less strictly in Rome than by zealous rulers and ecclesiastics abroad, while on the other hand the Papal protective policies were on the whole followed more faithfully in Rome itself than elsewhere.

The anti-Jewish legislation of the fourth Lateran Council (1215) inspired by Pope Innocent III does not seem to have been strictly enforced in the Papal capital. There is some evidence that copies of the Talmud were burned here after its condemnation in Paris in 1245. The wearing of the Jewish badge was imposed in 1257 and the city statutes of 1360 ordered male Jews to wear a red tabard, and the women a red petticoat.

The entire tenor of Roman Jewish life suddenly changed for the worse with the counter-reformation. In 1542 a tribunal of the holy office on the Spanish model was set up in Rome and in 1553 Cornelio da Montalcino, a Franciscan friar who had embraced Judaism, was burned alive on the camp Dei Fiori. In 1543 a home for converted Jews (house of catechumens), later to be the scene of many tragic episodes, was established, a good part of the burden of upkeep being imposed on the Jews themselves. On Rosh Hashanah (September 4, 1553) the Talmud with many more Hebrew books was committed to the flames after official condemnation. On July 12, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued his bull, "Cum nimis absurdum", which reenacted remorselessly against the Jews all the restrictive ecclesiastical legislation hitherto only intermittently enforced. This comprised the segregation of the Jews in a special quarter, henceforth called the ghetto; the wearing of the Jewish badge, now specified as a yellow hat in the case of men, a yellow kerchief in the case of women; prohibitions on owning real estate, on being called by any title of respect such as signor, on the employment by Christians of Jewish physicians, and on dealing in corn and other necessities of life; and virtual restriction to dealing in old clothes and second-hand goods. This initiated the ghetto period in Rome, and continued to govern the life of Roman Jewry for more than 300 years. Occasional raids were made as late as the 18th century on the ghetto to ensure that the Jews did not possess any "forbidden" books – that is, in effect, any literature other than the bible, liturgy, and carefully expurgated ritual codes. Each Saturday selected members of the community were compelled to go to a neighboring church to listen to conversionist sermons, running the gauntlet of the insults of the populace. In some reactionary interludes, the yellow Jewish hat had to be worn even inside the ghetto.

On the accession of Pius IX in 1846, the gates and walls of the ghetto were removed, but thereafter the once-kindly Pope turned reactionary and relentlessly enforced anti-Jewish restrictions until the end. During the Roman Republic of 1849, under Mazzini, Jews participated in public life, and three were elected to the short-lived constituent assembly; but within five months the Papal reactionary rule was reestablished to last, without any perceptible liberalization, until the capture of Rome by the forces of united Italy in 1870. On October 13 a royal decree abolished all religious disabilities from which citizens of the new capital had formerly suffered, and the Jews of Rome were henceforth on the same legal footing as their fellow Romans. It was only during the period after World War I, with the remarkable development of Rome itself, that Roman Jewry may be said to have regained the primacy in Italian Jewish life which it had enjoyed in the remote past.

A few days after the Germans captured Rome (Sept. 9-10, 1943), Himmler ordered immediate preparations for the arrest and deportation of all Jews in Rome and the vicinity – over 10,000 persons. H. Kappler, the S.S. commanding officer in Rome, first extorted 50 kg. of gold from the Jewish community, to be paid by September 26 (on 36 hours notice), with a warning that 200 Jews would otherwise be put to death. The gold, which was collected among the Jews without resorting to outside aid, was delivered on time. Nevertheless, on September 29 a special German police force broke into the community offices and looted the ancient archives; and on October 13 looted the excellent and priceless libraries of the community and the rabbinic college. On October 16 a mass huntdown of Rome's Jews was carried out by German forces, who under Kappler and Dannecker's orders made house-to-house searches on every street, and arrested all the Jews – men, women, and children. Some of the population assisted Jews in escaping or hiding, but nevertheless 1,007 Jews were caught and sent to Auschwitz where they were killed (Oct. 23, 1943). From then on, until June 4, 1944, the day of the liberation, the methodic roundup of Jews hiding in the "Aryan" homes of friends or in catholic institutions continued. In this latter period over 1,000 Jews were caught and put to death at Auschwitz. A total of 2,091 Jews (1,067 men, 743 women, and 281 children) were killed in this manner. Another 73 Jews were among the 335 prisoners executed in the fosse Ardeatine, outside Rome, as a retaliatory measure against Italian partisan action against the Nazi occupants in Rome.

The rector of the German church in Rome, Bishop A. Hudal, made futile attempts to defend the Jews. The pope was requested publicly to denounce the hunt for Jews, but he did not respond, although he agreed to the shelter offered to individual Jews in catholic institutions including the Vatican.

At the end of the war the Jewish population of Rome was 11,000. In the following years the number increased due mainly to the natural increase, and in 1965 reached a total of 12,928 (out of a total of 2,500,000 inhabitants). After the Six-Day War in the Middle East (1967), about 3,000 Jews arrived from Libya. Some of them subsequently migrated to Israel, but the majority were absorbed by the community. The community of Rome is the only one in Italy that shows a demographic increase, with a fertility rate not far below that of the Italian population as a whole, a fairly high marriage rate, and a limited proportion of mixed marriages. On the other hand, the general cultural and social level is inferior to that of the other Italian communities. Apart from the great synagogue of Italian rite, there are two prayer houses of Italian rite, an Ashkenazi synagogue, and two synagogues of Sephardi rite. Among the Jewish institutions there is a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a high school. There are many relief organizations, an orphanage, a Jewish hospital, and a home for invalids. Rome is the seat of the chief rabbinate of the union of the Italian Jewish communities, and of the Italian rabbinical college. In the 1970s the following Jewish journals were published: Israel, Shalom, Karnenu, and Portico d'Ottavia.

In 1997 there were 35,000 Jews in Italy; 15,000 of them – in Rome.

Rotterdam


City in W. Netherlands.

 

21st Century

The path to the entrance of a former Jewish institution was renovated in 2001.

 

History

After first trying to attract Marranos from Antwerp in 1604, the city of Rotterdam issued a charter in 1610 which promised various privileges, including complete religious freedom. However, this charter was abolished by the municipality two years later and a large number of those Portuguese who had settled meanwhile left for Amsterdam. Nevertheless, a small group remained, opening a synagogue and buying a plot of land to serve as a cemetery. An important reinforcement to the community came in 1647, when the wealthy de Pinto family arrived in Rotterdam and returned to Judaism.

That same year the municipality accorded the Jews the same rights as those obtained in Amsterdam. In Abraham de Pinto's house a synagogue and a yeshivah - the Jesiba de los Pintos - were opened; head of the yeshivah was Josiah Pardo, who also served as chief rabbi of the community (1648-69). In 1669 the yeshivah was transferred to Amsterdam.

From then on it was the de la Penha family, mostly merchants and shipowners, who played the major role in the community, which continued to exist until 1736. An Ashkenazi community was founded in 1660, at first fostered by the Portuguese community. Its first chief rabbi was Judah Loeb from Vilna (c. 1674-c. 1700). The Ashkenazim were in a difficult economic position; as they were not admitted to the guilds, they were mostly petty traders or dealers in old clothes, or they engaged in one of the few permitted crafts. In addition, they were allowed to sell their merchandise in the market until 1 p.m. only. Nevertheless, their number grew steadily. In 1725 a beautiful synagogue was built, which was destroyed during the German bombing of the city in 1940.

Emancipation in 1796 brought important changes, particularly because it put an end to the absolute power of the parnasim in the community. A grave conflict in the community over the powers of the parnasim was settled by the chief rabbi, Levi Hijman from Breslau (1781--1809), who enjoyed great renown as a scholar and was the author of Penei Aryeh.

In the 19th century the community flourished, owing to the growth of Rotterdam's port. The number of Jews increased from 2,104 in 1809 to more than 13,000 in 1940. In addition to several synagogues in different quarters of the city, a second great synagogue, built in 1891, was consecrated in 1939. The economic position of the Jews improved, particularly toward the end of the 19th century, to such an extent that the number of welfare cases decreased from 1,700 in 1873 to 1,600 in 1901 despite the growth of the community. The most important chief rabbis of Rotterdam were Joseph Isaacssohn (1850-71), who settled a conflict between Reform and Orthodox, and Bernhard Loebel Ritter (1885-1928), a leading scholar and a determined opponent of Zionism. In spite of innumerable endeavors to stimulate Jewish life in Rotterdam through a weekly journal, a literary club, and more than 20 other organizations,
assimilation had a serious impact. However, the community extended important help and assistance to refugees from Germany after 1933.

 

The Holocaust Period

In 1940 there were some 13,000 Jews living in Rotterdam (2% of the city's population); 60% of them were engaged in commerce and 20% in industry. With the invasion of Holland, the German bombers destroyed the center including two synagogues and the bet midrash, which contained valuable manuscripts. On September 1, 1941, all Jewish children were expelled from the public schools, and three Jewish elementary schools, a high school, and a school of higher learning were established. Large-scale deportations to the Westerbork concentration camp and from there to Poland began in late July 1942.

 

Postwar

After the war some 800 Jews returned to Rotterdam from concentration camps and hideouts. In 1969 about 1,300 of the 800,000 inhabitants of Rotterdam were Jews. Of these some 800 were members of the Jewish congregation.

Most prewar Jewish institutions, such as the home for the aged, the orphanage, and the hospital, were not reopened; but the central Jewish home for the aged, which until 1942 existed in Gouda, to the northeast of Rotterdam, was reopened in 1950. After services had been held on temporary premises for nine years, a new modern synagogue, with adjoining classrooms, secretariat, and a modern communal center subsidized by the government reconstruction fund for wartime damage, was inaugurated in 1954. The small square in front of it was officially named A. D. N. Davids Square in 1967 after the late chief rabbi, who perished in a concentration camp. Rabbi L. Vorst was communal rabbi from 1931. He was appointed chief rabbi of Rotterdam and district after the war, retiring in 1971. He was succeeded by Rabbi D. Kahn.

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.

Chernivtsi

In Ukrainian: Чернівці / Chernivtsi; in Russian: Chernovtsy; In Romanian: Cernauti, In German and in Jewish sources: Czernowitz צ'רנוביץ
A city in Ukraine. Between the two World Wars in Romania.

Chernovtsy, then Cernauti, was the capital of Bukovina. The area was under Austrian rule in the years 1775-1918.

Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews are mentioned in Chernovtsy from 1408. Later the Chernovtsy community assumed a distinctly Ashkenazi character, with Yiddish as the spoken language. The second half of the 17th century brought Jewish immigrants and culture from Poland. The Russian-Turkish wars (1766-74) caused severe hardship and the Jews had to leave Chernovtsy for a time. After the area came under Austrian rule in 1775 the Austrian military regime immediately began a policy of discrimination with the avowed aim of "clearing" Bukovina of Jews.

Nevertheless, a number of Jews from Galicia immigrated to Bukovina in this period, and many settled in Chernovtsy. Despite the restrictions still in force the Jews there acquired real property and engaged in large-scale commercial transactions. In 1812, during the Napoleonic wars, Jewish goods and property were plundered by the Russian army.

Tension arose within the community between the Chasidim and Maskilim at the beginning of the 19th century, and later intensified. Cultural life developed after 1848, along with trends toward assimilation and the penetration of Haskalah attitudes to wider circles. The foundation of a university there in 1875 attracted Jewish students throughout Bukovina and had a stimulating and diversifying influence on the social and cultural life of the community.

From the end of the 19th century student organizations played an important part in the Zionist movement in Chernovtsy.

In 1872 the community split into independent orthodox and reform sections. A reform temple opened in 1877 was destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. Zionism made headway in the city despite opposition from the assimilationist and orthodox elements. Jews also took an active part in public affairs. As early as 1897 one of the Jewish leaders, Benno Straucher, was returned to the Austrian parliament as representative for Czernowitz (1897-1914).

During World War I, when the city passed from hand to hand between the Russians and the Austrians, the community suffered great hardship, and many left the city. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 the soldiers of the Romanian army who entered Chernovtsy behaved brutally toward the Jews and started a wave of persecution. After incorporation of the city into Romania and with the institution of the civil government, the situation of the Jews improved. One of the prominent personalities of Chernovtsy Jewry in general was the Zionist leader Meir Ebner, editor of a German-language newspaper there. Other outstanding personalities who represented the Jews in the Romanian parliament were the historian Manfred Reifer, and the socialist leader Jacob Pistiner. The community numbered 43,701 in 1919 (47.4% of the total population). Hebrew works were printed in Chernovtsy for over a century, from 1835 to 1939, and nearly 340 items were issued by nine publishers and printers. Of these the most important was the house of Eckhardt where, with the help of Jewish experts, there were printed a complete Babylonian Talmud, a bible with standard commentaries, the Mishnah with commentaries, and other important rabbinic Kabbalistic-Chasidic works.

The Holocaust Period
In 1941 the Jewish population numbered 50,000, due to the influx of Jews from the smaller towns and villages in Bukovina.

On the night of June 30, 1941, the Soviet army vacated Chernovtsy and gangs broke into Jewish homes, looting and burning them. On July 5, the first units of the German and Romanian armies entered the town, accompanied by Einsatzkommando 10B, which was a section of Einsatzgruppe D. This unit fulfilled its task of inciting the Romanians against the Jews; on the pretext that the Jews were plotting against the government, they murdered the Jewish Intelligentsia, among them the chief rabbi of Bukovina, Abraham Mark, the chief cantor, and leaders of the community.

On July 30, when the anti-Jewish measures introduced by Antonescu's government went into effect, hostages were taken and Jews were compelled to do forced labor and to wear the yellow badge. The authorities permitted Jews to be seen on hunted down in the streets and houses. On October 11 the Jews were concentrated in a ghetto, their property was confiscated, and deportations to Transnistria began. On October 14, 1941, the chairman of the union of Jewish communities, Wilhelm Filderman, obtained a cessation of deportations, but the decision was carried out only a month later, and by November 15, 1941, about 30,000 Jews had been deported. The mayor of Chernovtsy, Traian Popovici, also attempted to stop deportations, issuing about 4,000 certificates of exemption from deportation, but the officials of the municipality, the police and the gendarmerie extorted enormous sums of money in return for these exemptions. Many Jews were deported even after they paid the ransom. After a short break, deportations were resumed and about 4,000 Jews were deported in three waves between June 17 and 27, 1942. Some of the deportees were taken to camps east of the Bug river (an area occupied by the Germans) where children up to the age of 15, old people, invalids, women, and those unfit for work were systematically murdered. About 60% of the deportees from Chernovtsy to Transnistria perished there. Most survivors who returned did not resettle in Chernovtsy, which had in the meantime been annexed to the Ukrainian republic in the Soviet Union, but went to Romania and from there to Eretz Israel.

In the 1950's the government closed five of the six synagogues and all of the Torah scrolls were placed in a museum. One of the synagogues was made into a sports center and another into a movie theater. The other synagogues became workshops and warehouses. One small synagogue still remains for 50-60 worshippers. In 1970, the Jewish population in Chernovtsy numbered 70,000.