“Chimishlia”
Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Romania, Volume 2
(Cimişlia, Moldova)

46°31' / 28°47'

Translation of “Chimishlia” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Romania

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1980


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania, Volume II,
pages 393-394, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1980


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[Pages 393-394]

Chimishlia

Translated by Ala Gamulka

Romanian – Cimişlia

A village in the Tighina district. It was founded in 1620 by Moldovan (Romanian) peasants.

Jewish Population

Year Number
of
Jews
%
of the
population
1827 3
families
 
1930 925 14.2

 

Three families settled here in 1827. The Jewish community only began to develop at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. By then, there were about 200 families. They earned their living from commerce, mainly small merchants and craftsmen or laborers. The number of poor families was always relatively high among the residents. Every economic crisis, every tremor, severely hit the Jewish population. For example, in 1900 the drought presented great problems for the local Jews. Over 100 families that had earned their living by doing day work in the granaries were left without bread. Starvation returned in the 1930s when all of Bessarabia was affected by drought. In 1935 a society called “Bread for the Poor” was founded in order to supply bread and meat to the poor. They collected 40 000 Lei for that purpose.

Chimishlia also served as a center for the Committee of Hunger of all of southern Bessarabia. It was founded in 1938.

The Community and its Institutions

The community was formally organized in June 1934. Its constitution was sent for approval to the Ministry of Religion in Bucharest. We know very little about its institutions. In 1935 the most important institution was founded – the Fund for Charitable Work. It approved loans, interest free, to small merchants and craftsmen. In 1936 the Fund awarded 547 loans. This Fund was side by side with the Savings and Loan Bank. There was also a public library that closed from time to time and reopened in 1936. It is also known that among the Jewish institutions there had been a small branch of Zeirei Zion since 1920.

As in all other villages and towns in Bessarabia, the Jewish community of Chimishlia suffered from anti-Semitic propaganda and propagandists. In 1930 several anti-Semitic propagandist – local and outsiders – tried to incite the peasants against the Jews. They blamed the Jews for the decrease in the price of wheat. Among the inciters were a teacher from Iasi, Prof. David, the Priest Arnauto, Matantash and three students from Iasi University, They were all arrested and they were sent back home by the authorities. The authorities did it more to prevent a riot by the peasants who were under the influence of the Communists than to avoid attacks on the Jews. Chimishlia was close to the border with the Soviet Union.


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