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Translation of Kaushany-Noyu chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Romania
Translation of Kaushany-Noyu chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 1980
Published in Jerusalem, 1980
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania, Volume II,
pages 394-396, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1980
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
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Translated by Ala Gamulka
A village in southern Bessarabia 27 km from Tighina, the Provincial capital, it was surrounded by vineyards and orchards.
Until the End of World War I
In the 17th and 18th centuries Kaushany served as a center for Tatars from the Buceag area. This was the name of southern Bessarabia since there were many Tatars there. In 1806 the entire village was burnt down and it was completely rebuilt. The Russian authorities built a center for the renewal of southern Bessarabia. The area had suffered greatly during the war of 1812 between the Russians and the Turks. It was totally devastated. This center was later moved to Torutino. A French traveler found 641 Jews there in 1760.
There was an ancient cemetery in Kaushany-Noyu. This fact indicates the existence of a large Jewish community, but all traces of the old settlement were erased by the many riots in Moldova in general and this area in particular over a period of more than 300 years. Ancient cemeteries still existed in the 18th century in several villages in the area.
The new residents of Kaushany-Noyu (as compared to the village of Kaushany in the eastern section which included mostly Romanians) were mainly Romanians and some Ukrainians. They were farmers. The Jews dealt in wine and wheat. In 1899, it is known, 50 Jews turned to the Minister overseeing state properties asking him to be allowed to buy a small piece of land- smaller than that owned by others in the area. They wanted to farm. The request was denied. The law of May 3, 1882 was cited as the reason. This was reported in the newspaper Hamelitz (No. 57) in 1899. This request was made because of rampant poverty among the Jews of Kaushany-Noyu. They had difficulties earning a living whether as tradesmen or merchants.
Some years later, in 1900, there was an article in another Hebrew newspaper saying: In Kaushany-Noyu the Jews are starving. Their cry for help is not heeded. Hatzfira (19 February 1900, #32) describes the efforts to obtain a government permit to use money left in a special fund to help the needy and the hungry. The Jews also suffered from other catastrophes such as fires and floods which destroyed homes and shops. Many Jews remained without a roof and with no money. The economic situation improved a little before WWI. There were no wealthy people here, but at least no one was starving. The Jewish children attended public schools. The curriculum included religious studies and Hebrew language in addition to secular subjects. Tuition was paid only by wealthier parents. The school's budget was met mainly by money from a community fund. It is known that in 1912 a dispute arose about head covering for teachers and students during Hebrew language and Jewish History classes.
Between the Two Wars
The Jewish community decreased after WWI. Only 500 of the 800 families remained. The economic conditions improved. This is reflected in the fact that more money was collected for Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod. In the first few years after the war the Jews still suffered from poverty and even hunger. In 1922 the Romanian Red Cross opened a canteen for poor children. About 80 Jewish children ate lunch there. Most of the children attended Romanian public schools. About 50 children mostly poor- were in the Talmud Torah. The Talmud Torah was funded through the collection efforts of the Women's auxiliary. The newspaper Unzer Tzeit (Our Time) reports on August 9, 1929: Hebrew education is in dire straits. The children are growing up without Torah and without proper manners.
In Kaushany-Noyu there were two libraries: a popular library called Hechalutz founded in 1921 and the Tarbut. Zionist organizations were quite active among the youth. The Maccabi branch stands out among them because it had four sections. In 1935 the authorities did not allow any activities after 8:00 pm. This was very difficult for the young people. The Talmud Torah continued to function until the last minute when the Soviets conquered the town in June 1941. In February 1940, in a canteen for poor students of the Talmud Torah and other schools were given free lunches.
The rabbi of the congregation was until his death- Israel Geller. He was followed by Rabbi Yosef Yatom from the Jewish congregation of Markolesht.
Relations with the local Christian population worsened especially during the short time of the government of Goga-Kuza. A group of Romanian teachers from area villages tried to incite riots. They beat up Jews on the streets and broke windows in Jewish homes. They were stopped by the chief of police named Cantor. He sent a group of police officers to arrest the troublemakers. During the 40-day reign of Goga-Kuza Jews did not dare leave their homes at night.
There were six synagogues in Kaushany-Noyu. The great synagogue, the Zionist synagogue, the old synagogue, the tailors' synagogue, the shoemakers' synagogue and the Kloiz (study house). The congregation asked other congregations in Romania to help refurbish the old synagogue. The leaders were people who cared deeply about the congregation and its needs.
The community institutions were: Hevra Kaddisha (burial society), Mikve (ritual bath), old people's home, Talmud Torah, Heders, etc. There was no Jewish day school in Kaushany-Noyu.
The young people began to organize themselves in various Zionist groups in the late 1920s. There were branches of Maccabi, Beitar and Gordonya. Many young people attended pioneering Hahshara and made Aliyah.
|Kaushan: Hungry children in the canteen|
There were no riots when the Romanian army withdrew. Young Jewish Communists made fun of the retreating Romanian officers. The short Soviet reign in Kaushany-Noyu took several forms. There were persecutions here as there were in other communities in Bessarabia. Zionists and others considered wealthy were exiled to Siberia or to the Urals. One Zionist leader was put on trial and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. We do not have any information about other people. Many died in exile and all the synagogues in town were closed in 1940. At the beginning of the war, residents were given a chance to escape in horse-drawn carriages. The Soviet authorities provided these carriages. Many escaped on foot to the Dniester and from there to Odessa. Their fate was similar to that of other Jews in Odessa. Jews hidden by their Christian friends were handed over by them to the German army as it entered Kaushany-Noyu. The Jews who could not or would not escape and those who hid with their friends were taken to the new cemetery. Several local Ukrainians (Ivan Kushner, Andrei Vartic, and Bugai Basky) pulled gold teeth from the Jews' mouths. They also took gold rings with the fingers. The Jews were then doused with gasoline. A local band played and the Jews were forced to dance. Then they were lit and all burnt to death.
The Jews who were able to escape in the carriages at the beginning of the war wandered for five months trying to distance themselves from the German army. In December they reached Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. They were housed in a large movie house. They were starving and many people died on a daily basis. Every day dead bodies were piled on trucks and thrown into a large open communal grave. The bread distributed to the refugees by the local authorities was of very poor quality. An epidemic ensued and many more people died.
After liberation some families returned to the village. The first three families who arrived in Kaushany-Noyu in 1944 were housed in the state hospital. All the Jewish houses were destroyed and there was not a trace left of the synagogue. The cemeteries were desecrated and the headstones were broken or stolen.
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