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[Pages 44 - 52]

The Jewish Community of Bacau Throughout the Years

B. Jewish Community of Bacau

Bucharest, 1995

Ornamentation on funeral stone

Ministry of war

Given to soldier Baranceanu born on February 23, 1887 in Bacau, address 10 May Street No. 13 Bacau in recognization of his efforts as a fighter in Romania's wars from 1913 and 1916-1919. Signed by the staff director. Military awards

Doctor H. Aroneanu 1881-1920
Died as a martyr in trying to accomplish the workers' claims. Dec. 2

1. Historic Evolution of the Jewish Community

During the years of the feudal system, the Jews in Moldova were organized in the “Jewish Guild”, which ensured them a religious autonomy, but also corresponded to the interests of the princely Treasury and those of the local authorities. Indeed, the guild had the obligation to gather the tributes and taxes that the Jews owed and transfer them to the “account” of the Treasury or of the local authorities; they had to inform the Jews about the decisions made by the reign or by the regional sub-prefects and to make sure they respected these decisions. At a local level, the community chiefs, who were elected by the Jewish population and confirmed by the Reign, fulfilled these tasks. In 1828, the Chief-Rabbi of Moldova, Hahambasa Saim, Iehosua Naftulovici, received the right from the Ruler to name the chiefs of all the Jewish communities in Moldova.

At Bacau, the first chief who was historically certified was Leiba, who got permission from the townsmen of Bacau to build a house.

According to A. D. Birnberg's narration, after many decades, the old men of the town remembered that, in 1809, there were “Motel's father”, who was called “old Aron” and “Iona Beer's father”. In 1830, Herscu san Meier and Marcu san Lupu, who traded in corn, were community chiefs.

Although, after the Treaty of Adrianopol, the Organic Regulation provided the elimination of the ethnical and religious guilds, the Jewish guild was maintained for a while, as the Treasury could not collect the tributes directly from the Jewish population. The guild continued to collect sums of money by means of the “taxes on ritual slaughtering of cattle and poultry” (gabela). From the cash collected for the ritual slaughtering, the guild paid the tribute of the Jewish population. But, out of this amount, they also had to make payment to the worship servers (Rabbi, Hahami), the expenses for religious education (Talmud Tora), for social assistance, etc. Therefore, taxing was a problem for the community leaders, and often times a difficult problem to solve.

In his monograph, A. D. Birnberg showed that, in the first decades of the 19th century, wealthy Jews named the leaders of the community in Bacau. During the reign of Ionita Sandu, a certain Aron san Motel named who ever he wanted to lead the community.

The community chiefs had problems with tax collection, as we can see in a document from 18321. In 1834/1836, Volf (the Wolf) Rosenberg was the community chief. (A document from the Archives of 1835178 mentions the wife of “the Wolf, Chief of Bacau”). This chief had conflicts with the “Sudit” Jews (a category of the inhabitants under foreign jurisdiction), who did not want to take part in the expenses and the taxes paid by the “Raiele” Jews, that is the Jews who were “obedient to the land”. A complaint of the Sudit Jews, dated January 12th, 1834, shows that Volf Rosenberg, Chief of the Raiele Jews, oppressed them2. The Sudits claimed that, after the entry of the Russian army, they paid four times the taxes paid by the Raiele Jews. “Volf, the Chief, having made an understanding with the Prefecture, encouraged the Raiele to hold taxes for all the Jews, that is 8 coins for the slaughtering of a poultry and for three pounds of meat. If they did not obey, “they were not given meat”. Claiming that they “starved” because they were not given meat, the Sudits asked for “the Sword Bearer Sion to leave them alone and to be given meat, and not to be obliged to pay taxes”. Signed: Marcu Pauker, Nisan Pauker, Ilie Cofler, Pinhas san Lupu, Yeiling Barladeanu, Yeiling san Cune, Itic Leiba, Avram Vechsler, Smil Kindler, Iosif Burman, Iontu Cofler, Marcu Zingher, and Moise Leiba.

Taxes were levied every year - another source of conflicts. In 1845, the Jewish community of Bacau made a complaint that the tenant of the taxes hadn't paid the taxes of the community to the Treasury, as provided in the leasing contract of the taxes4.

The leaders of the community had to face material difficulties, as well as other problems. In 1836, the Jews asked for permission to “rebuild two synagogues made of wood which are in ruins”. Based on this request, the Prefecture of Bacau analyzed the documents, according to which these two synagogues had been built, controlling the distance they at which they find themselves from the church. Here is what the report of the prefecture claimed: “...the holy Christian church has been built for 140 years, and there is no other proof than two documents from 1790 and another one from 1794, of some citizens, showing that they gave to a certain Iancu, Jewish commander, and to a certain Leibu, a piece of land next to the Jewish school, without being clear neither in copy nor at the Prefecture what the distance is between these places and the school in order to make any notice”5. After this report, there was an order to move the synagogues. As a consequence, the Jews submitted, on July 13th, 1836, the following complaint: “We, the Jewish people from the town of Bacau, following with honor the order of the Big Chancellery and Ministry of Foreign Affairs from July 3rd, 1836, no. 109, where we are ordered that, having been given by the townsmen the place three years ago, we had built the school at the cost of 1500 ROL, we cannot afford to move it, and first of all the school has been built on that location since the beginning of the town”6. The following people signed in Hebrew letters: Iosef from Bacau, Smuel Kendler, Todros, son of Pinhas, Abraham Iunger, Iehuda Toref (that is sealer, engraver - n.n.), Moise Ithac from Bacau, Moise Leib, son of Iosef, Mordehai Hendler. Subsequently, on September 23rd, 1836, “the community of the town of Bacau” agreed to the rebuilding of a synagogue; actually, the approval came from a further authority, from the Department of Inner Affairs, on the condition that the new synagogue should be rebuilt “in the same yard”7.

In 1837, the leaders of the Jews in Bacau had difficult financial problems again8 and in September 1839, the Jews from Bacau were on trial with the Sword Bearer Telman Lazar, for the “demolition of their school”, that is of their old synagogue9.

On June 7th, 1845, Leibu Buium made a contract with the leaders of the Jewish people from Bacau for the lease of a “Jewish public bath”, an institution of urgent necessity from the ritual point of view, and which ensured a certain income to the community10. In 1855, the Jews in Bacau obtained from the Treasury a barren piece of land so they built themselves a synagogue on it: they paid annual long lease11.

In that period, the administration of the cemetery, the ritual of the burial, as well as certain community problems were handled by the sacred fraternity (”Hevra Kedosa”), which had been founded since the end of the previous century. There were several philanthropic associations (”Ghemilat Hasadim”, created in 1836), aiming to find solutions for different financial and community problems, or to support the religious education (”Talmud Tora” Association, founded in 1837).

The last chief of the Jews from Bacau who is historically certified was Lupu Burah. But Iancu from the Ward also seems to have been a chief, as he is introduced in Gr. Grigorovici's Monograph as the President of the Jewish community in 1848. He is the one who initiated the creation of a Jewish hospital; therefore, he was mentioned in the report of the Schuler hospital from 1940.

However, the middle of the 19th century is the moment when the documents of the Archives no longer talk about the “Chiefs of the community”, but about the “Community”, about the “Guardians of the Community” or about the “Community Committee”. Here is what A. D. Birnberg said in his monograph: “Under the reign of Prince Cuza, the old 'Jewish community' was recognized as a 'community' with a legal status”. During the decade 1850-1860, when decisive events took place in the Romanian Principalities, events that marked the transition of the Romanian society towards a modern state, the new administrative organization and the new fiscal laws caused changes in the functions and activities of the Jewish authorities. As they no longer had the obligation to collect and deposit the sums owed by the Jewish population as taxes, or the obligation to keep the record of the registrar's office, the community authorities had the opportunity to focus more on the organization of the inner life of the community, on the problems of worshipping, of education, of social assistance. The administrative authorities no longer had the right to interfere in the organization of the inner life of the Community, which thus received more autonomy. In 1851, the Community of Bacau had the benefit of a “spatial seal”, given to the Jewish leaders12, and on March 15th, 1857, by the address no. 899, the Ministry of Cults granted “the Jewish cult” its patronage and legalized its statute13. In order to be able to handle its expenses, the Community leadership still resorted to the salt tax, which they used to lease; thus, in 1860, we see Moise Vaisam on trial with Moise Copelovici, his associate in holding the tax14. But the Community leadership did not have the means to impose on the community members its decisions related to the salt tax, the organization and the use of the income of different institutions (synagogues, cemetery, etc.). All these issues would be sources of dissatisfaction and conflicts.

In 1864, the leadership of the Community in Bacau expressed its gratitude to Prince Cuza for his projects of emancipating the Jews. The telegram sent to the Prince was signed by: S. Alterescu, Alter Zilberherz, Mendel Pascal, and David Orenstein.

In the same year, 1864, the Community leadership created a budget which reflected the preoccupations that the Committee had at that time. Initially, the budget included costs of 1153.29 ducats. The Rabbis' wages were of 920 ROL. Of the five chiefs responsible for the ritual cuttings (circumscions), one of them received 48 ROL, another one 62 ROL, and the other three 45 ROL each. A psalm reader was also paid for. The hospital costs, which had four beds, were 168 ROL. Aids for poor children - 37 ROL. 74 ROL were spent to help ill and needy people. For the school (the first modern primary school, created in 1863), the costs were of 270 ROL (the wages of four teachers and a maid, the rent, the winter wood). The budget mentioned the way the necessary amount for all these goals would be obtained: 1205 ROL were to be received from the 12 coin tax; 125 ROL - of bath lease. 222 more ducats had to be collected to build the synagogue “behind the one which was burnt”15. One can notice that the community income did not include amounts coming from burials, and the expenses did not mention sums for the maintenance of the cemetery. We can draw the conclusion that, at that time, a “Hevra Kedosa” (Sacred Society) handled these problems, as it was independent from the community authorities.

In 1866, the Jewish leaders replied to the request of the City Hall: “...their cult includes 6 persons: one Rabbi, 5 chiefs responsible for the ritual cuttings, all of them natives, 14 worshippers; there is no modern synagogue or choral temples in this town, but simple schools (houses of prayer) and one worshipper is designated for every school”. At the same time, it was mentioned that no religious contract had been signed, “but mere guardians, with prior designation from the Committee, as you know, whom the Community with no documents elects”. It was signed: “Jewish Leadership of Bacau”16.

In 1868, when Prefect Leca organized the banishment of the Jews in the villages of the county, the Community authorities addressed the Government, asking for measures to be taken in order to stop the abuses. Noticing that the request was not considered the Community leadership asked Baron Rotschild from Vienna to intervene and stop the arbitrary deeds. The following people signed on behalf of the Committee: Iosef Carl Mano, Loeb Grünberg, Moses Birnberg, C. Balstein, R. Wolf.

Still in 1868, the Committee of the Community from Bacau, together with the ones from Moinesti, Tg. Ocna and Parincea, organized themselves to take action to raise money subscriptions in order to buy guns for the country (the minutes of that meeting is in Jerusalem, at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People).

The 1877-78 War of Independence was the opportunity for the Community leadership to take action and support the battle for independence, by collecting money, food and drugs for the army.

During the post-war period, people of the community manifested their dissatisfaction towards their leaders. In his monograph, A. D. Birnberg considers that the cause of the conflicts within the community was the difference of opinion between the traditional elements and those that were more opened to modernity. But these were mixed with personal pride and with the tendency towards independence of leaders of certain community institutions (Sacra, synagogues, etc.). It can also be the issue of an unwise administration, as the conclusion can be drawn from a complaint submitted to the City Hall of Bacau in 1880. From this complaint we find out that “between 1873 and 1880, the community guardians cashed around 3 thousand ducats every year from taxes, plus the income from the public bath and the cemetery of 500 ducats, and they gave nothing to the hospital. Between 1877-78, they cashed an extra tax in order to pay the Government 1500 ducats. Only 1200 francs were given. They gave no justification whatsoever for the money”. (A request is made for their investigation)17. A reaction to this complaint may have been the publishing by the Committee of an “Account of income and expenses from May 22nd 1878 to March 15th 1880”, with the note that there are “supporting documents”18.

One reason that caused the weakness of the community leaders was the fact that they were not representative enough, as they were elected only by the delegations of the synagogues. According to certain sources, the elective system was changed at a certain moment, but the old formula was effective soon afterwards.

In 1884, the Community leadership took the initiative to draft an inventory of the craftsmen in town (the original inventory is at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People).

In 1888, the Community leadership was reorganized, including among its members David Orenstein, L. Focsaneanu, Flaivis Klein, H. Grünberg and A. D. Birnberg (who became President)19. The Committee took a set of measures to improve the material condition. The Community took the salt tax and leased it to Ch. Bruker, for the amount of 2830 ROL every month, thus ensuring financial means to sustain the worshipping institutions, the social assistance and the education. The tax official was to collect 10 coins for every kilo of meat. A committee was held responsible to control and develop a report related to Talmud Tora, which was attended by many poor children20.

On March 23rd, 1888, the building from Alex. cel Bun Street, which is still the Community office, was bought from Dimitrie Rosetti-Tetcanu21.

Here is its financial situation, according to the report of the balance for the year 1890, presented by A. D. Birnberg: the income was of 93,295 ROL, coming mainly from the salt tax and real estate rents. In order to increase the income, they organized collections, balls and other actions, which benefited from the collaboration of D. Marcovici, C.Cofler, I. A. Calman, M. Orenstein, M. Balter and others. The expenses were 33,251 ROL. The report mentioned the good performance of the hospital, which now had 14-15 beds and had taken care of 160 patients; the hospital director was Dr. Marcovici, assisted by Dr. Fr. Müller, Ed. Baroni, N. Mancas and C. Fischler. The classes at Talmud Tora had been subsidized with 3897 ROL and 8420 ROL had been given to the poor22.

The new committee, which was elected in 1894, was led by A. Balter, and it included the following people: Is. Z. Giuvaergiu, I. L. Hertanu, Artur Ehrlich (veteran from 1877), Ozias Feldman, Nuta Ernst, Herman Isac, Filip Grünberg, F. Davidescu and Israel Kraus. By their efforts, the hospital building was rebuilt, after a fire, that now included 20 beds, and was still being administered by Dr. Marcovici. The Jewish-Romanian primary school, having M. Braunstein-Mibasan as Principle, included now 400 pupils, and it was supported “in excellent conditions” by a school committee made of Faivis Klein, A. Bittman, Saul Hertanu, I. M. Horovitz and Iosef Balter. At that time, the philanthropist Faivis Klein built, on Vasile Alecsandri Street, a new bath, a construction that cost 100,000 ROL and which he donated to the Community. In 1895, its budget provided an income, 63,736 ROL (out of the salt tax and the rent for two buildings), and expenses the same amount (28,332 ROL for school, 7000 ROL for hospital, 9750 ROL for worshipping, 2400 ROL for wood for the poor, etc.)23. The Community leadership at that time got support in the activity of a community association: “Fraterna”, “Handicraftsmen's Union”, “Aghidas Haboinim” (”Constructors' Association”), “Marpe Lenefes” (”Healers of the Soul”), “The United Brothers”.

In 1897, the Community income was 37,000 ROL, and 6600 ROL was spent for the hospital, 11,000 ROL for the school, 4000 ROL for worshipping, and 10,000 ROL were given to the poor24. The great interest in the hospital is explained by the fact that the Jewish students were received with difficulty in the public schools, and the Jewish patients could not fulfil their ritual prescriptions related to food in the public hospitals.

At the end of the 19th century, the Community faced new problems related to the salt tax. At the beginning of the year 1898, after a sustained action, which involved A. D. Birnberg, D. Orenstein, L. Focsaneanu, Faivis Klein and N. Grünberg, the Committee assumed the tax, in order to fulfil the needs of the school and those for social assistance25. Disputes followed related to the amount of the tax (10 or 20 coins), so that the school, the hospital and the social assistance activities had to suffer from lack of funds. A donation (3200 ROL) from I. Isic was supposed to bring about a certain improvement26. Unfortunately, at that time there was a serious economic crisis, a disastrous one for a great part of the Jewish population, and this fact - as well as the anti-Semitic actions - caused a wave of massive emigrations, sometimes in very difficult conditions - “pedestrian emigrants” also known as the “foosgeyers”..

“Following the example of the youth in other cities, on March 3rd, 1900, the first group of 120 persons was created, which, under the leadership of F. Braunstein, set off for Hamburg, where they embarked towards America. Before leaving Bacau, the 'pedestrians' or the 'travelers', as they called that current of emigration by foot, took a vow in the Synagogue of the Corn Dealers, after which they gave a theatrical production in order to collect the money for the way. The group was dressed in blue uniforms, with white caps. They were also wearing peasant sandals.

On June 13th, another group, including 110 young people, left the town, with the intention to emigrate to Canada. The group was called 'The New Life' and it was led by schoolmaster B. Friedman. On July 7th and July 14th, five other groups left for Roman, Pascani, Burdujeni and, from there, through Poland, to Hamburg.

The total number gathered more than 400 young people, boys and girls, even grown-ups, who left Bacau. They joined other thousands of Jews from other cities, who marked their place in history as members of the “pedestrians' movement”27.

The situation within the Community, at the beginning of the new century, was confusing. Various articles in “The Jewish People” newspaper give the impression that there were actually two distinct committees at that time, each of them having a Rabbi and a part of the Community institutions. Wealthy people, who wanted a quick integration with the Romanian bourgeoisie and who merely considered the social assistance issues from a philanthropic point of view, controlled one of the leaderships. The opposed leadership, which was more popular and more traditionalist, represented the Jews with moderate or small income. They believed that the administration of the income coming from different sources (salt tax, cemetery, synagogue) had to be conducted by the community leadership, that the self-administration of different community institutions had to stop, so that the Community committee can grant the necessary amounts for social assistance, which could no longer depend on the philanthropists' kindness.

One can not underestimate the importance of the philanthropic actions. They gave the community an opportunity to accomplish many of its plans. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, after the death of the well-known wealthy man Faivis Klein, the Community was given a very large donation from his final will and testament, iuncluding a fund for the maintenance of the primary school for boys, and an amount to buy the building of the school, another amount for the maintenance of the primary school for girls, etc. It should that in the same will, there was a provision for a donation of 20,000 ROL towards the City Hall of Bacau, for the establishment for the public an amount was used to build the infectious disease ward within the communal hospital, according to the decision from May 31st, 1906 of the Communal Council). Of similar importance was the ;ast will and testament from 1914 of Marcu Braunstein, for the maintenance of the Jewish hospital28.

In 1909, the Community Committee could nor dispose of the income coming from the salt tax, and it had to obtain larger funds especially from donations; that is why Rabbi Moise Blanc made an appeal to the population to gather around the committee29. He repeated this appeal in 191130. In 1912, there were big difficulties in the social assistance issues, a reason for which Rabbi Betalel Safran conducted a philanthropic society31.

During the First World War, and the years afterwards, the Community leadership had to face new problems, beside the usual ones. We should mention the fact that they knew how to take position towards the political events which interested the Jews in the country and worldwide. In this respect, we mention the satisfaction manifested by telegrams at the coronation of the first monarch of the unified Romania and at the adoption of the new Constitution of the country, which was considered a document that brought the “solution for the Jewish issue in a sense of justice and according to the general interests of the country”32.

In the same respect, we mention the public manifestation organized in order to hail the decision of the League of Nations related to the support given to a national shelter for Jews, in Palestine33. But they also needed solutions for actual problems of great importance. The successive laws of naturalization demanded great efforts from the Community, in order to convince the entire Jewish population in town fill in the legal forms to obtain citizenship. A complex action of convincing was developed, including the activity of spreading posters in the Jewish neighborhoods34. At the same time, there was a need to intensify the actions of supporting the orphanage created for the 30-40 orphans from the war, and for assistance to dress the poor students, who became more numerous after the war. Additionally, the Community leadership had to organize the support given to the Jewish refugees from the Ukraine, passing through Bacau. It was then when they also had to give real answers to the numerous requests for help coming from other places, as it was the Appeal of the Central Committee for the support of the Jewish hungry orphans in Ukraine, and the calls for help coming from other communities, especially from areas that had been haunted by the war. All these, in a very unfriendly environment, maintained by all the anti-Semitic actions which took place in the town and then in the county35; among other issues, these circles asked for the rejection of the Constitution that granted political rights to the Jews.

In the following decade, the activity of the Jewish Community interested not only the Jewish population, but also several political parties, aiming to achieve their own electoral goals, and who wanted that members of their parties (Liberal, Averesacn or National-Peasant) should lead the Community. Actually, the Union of the Romanian Jews also considered that it would be useful for the Jews to be a part of different political parties, acting from within in order to maintain and strengthen democracy. This stimulated the introduction of political methods in the activity of the community leadership. In addition there was the mentality embraced by certain Jewish leaders who considered the community issues from a philanthropic point of view and who saw nothing wrong in the fact that different institutions of the community were independently led by the Community, sometimes by people with the same mentality, driven, not only once, by personal pride and ambitions. This state of affairs was opposed to by those who wanted the Community affairs to be the responsibility of the Community Committee only, whether an issue of worshipping, of confessional or secular education, of social assistance, etc. In this respect, traditional elements within the community took action, representing the middle class and the poor class of the population, as well as Zionist leaders, especially from Zionist religious organizations. The disputes for the leading positions have been largely invoked in testimonies that were published by the community activists Abrahami Lica Gutman and Mayer Eibschitz. From these testimonies, one can see the negative influence that political borrowings had on the Community affairs, as well as the unrest which was reflected in frequent resignations, intermarry commissions and elections36.

Despite all this agitation to establish successive leaderships, they managed to have some results for important community issues. In 1927, after a fire that destroyed many Jewish households, the Community leadership launched an appeal, asking for support from the Jews throughout the entire country; the appeal had an echo. As it had been helped by others, in its turn, the Community from Bacau also helped the needy; for example, to support the Jews from Basarabia, who were starving because of the drought37, as well as the Jews from Borsa and Balaceana, victims of anti-Semites' aggression and of the fires the latter caused38.

No sooner than in 1932, was the Jewish Community acknowledged as a legal person of public rights39. In the same year, the Community published a statute and a regulation for the election of their representatives. In November the same year, there were the elections for the Community leadership. These elections were democratic, meaning that the electors were all the members of the community who were of age, and not just the delegates of the synagogues. Ozias Herscovivi, Dr. L. Tecuceanu, Iosif Feldher, Dr. H. Saler, L. Leneter and others40 were elected. The elected committee tried to improve the leadership's prestige, to bring back all the rightful goods back to the Community patrimony, and they took action to get income from the cemetery, the baths, from subscriptions and donations. On one hand, there is the remarkable introduction of the subscription system for the community members, and on the other hand, the fact that a whole range of philanthropists supported the Community throughout the years by donating goods or buildings. Such donations have been made by: the Schuller brothers, Marcu Braunstein, Benedict and Berta Rehler, Seina and Lupu Ochs, and Aurel Negrescu.

In June 1934, there were new elections for the leading Committee. Dr. Lazar Tecuceanu led the newly elected committee, which seemed to be oriented more towards the preservation of the traditional values. The new leadership had to face difficult financial problems as well. A statement made in 1935 related to the income of the Community showed difficulties to get this income from the cemetery, as well as the allowances for the schools, which were expected from the F. Klein Foundation41.

In the years to come, when, as it is known, there would be an increasing threat against the Jews, the Community leadership reflected very well the confusion in which the population lived. There was a time with successive resignations, suspensions, intermarry commissions, despite the difficult problems that the Community had to face.

In 1939, the committee had Lawyer David Ionas as its President and Herman Kisler and Hascal Istric as Vice-presidents. Then the task of the committee was the sore issue of the legal assistance for the Jews who had their Romanian citizenship withdrawn by application of the racist law promoted by Goga-Cuza Government. We should also mention here the action that took place in 1939 to help the Jewish refugees from Poland, a country which had been invaded by Hitler's army. The Jewish Community from Bacau organized a “Committee to assist the Polish refugees”. Here is - partially - the activity of this Committee, reflected in a document elaborated on October 24th 1939:

“On September 20th, this year, 290 refugees arrived successfuly, stopping in our town, people belonging to different social classes: engineers, doctors, lawyers, manufacturers, traders, clerks, handicraftsmen and of other profession. Their families (wives and children) accompanied some of them.

A special committee was created to assist these people sharing the same religion, we managed to provide them housing and shelter, food, and clothes, and, to a significant number, the necessary cash for every day expenses.

Since the day of their arrival in our town, after a temporary stay of 10-12 days and 20 days, some of them continued their journey to other towns and 28 refugees were directed by the local authorities towards Pucioasa, where a home was established for them.

Currently, there are 147 Polish Jewish refugees in Bacau, according to the nominal list which we submitted at your request. In order to cover the cost for their maintenance, the support committee in Bacau has managed to collect the amount of 121,853 [...]

[...] Our action, under the aegis of the Community, has been conducted by a special committee, which, in the meeting of the 23rd, designated the following persons to continue the actions of supporting the refugees:

President:Dr. H. Perlbergher
Secretary:Mrs. Coca A. Isvoreanu
Financial administration:Mrs. Bianca Dr. Sarf
 Mrs. Coca A. Isvoreanu
 Mr. Jean Singher
 Mr. Iacob Elenboghen
Clothing Commission:Mrs. Rasel Dr. Perlbergher
 Mrs. Sofica Dr. Sabath
 Mrs. Rena Filderman
 Mr. Dr. H. Perlbergher
Quartering Commission:Mrs. Sidonia Simsensohn
 Mrs. Bianca Grinberg
 Mr. Hascal Istric
 Mr. Iacob Elenboghen
Commission for the connection with and assistance with the authorities and information:Mr. Dr. H. Perlbergher
 Mr. Eng. I. Filderman
 Mr. Herman Kisler
Commission for distribution:Mrs. Rasel Dr. Perlbergher
 Mrs. Sofica Dr. Sabath
 Mr. Osias Herscovici
 Mr. I. Elenboghen

The Committee is assisted by a Commission which has been designated by the refugees in the town, whose task is to provide the Committee with data and information”42.

During the war, the leading Committee of the Community was still conducted by Lawyer Ionas. But, when Antonescu's dictatorship prohibited the activity of the Jewish communities and created the Central of the Jews, as a body which could apply its orders, the authorities no longer considered the elected leadership of the Community, usually addressing to the county office of the Central, led by the manufacturer Misu Grad.

After the fall of Antonescu's dictatorship, in 1944, when the community activity became legal again, the Jewish population had to face - beside the general problems of the entire population of the country - a set of problems caused by the consequences of the racist legislation, related to reintegration, and to bringing the Community back to life. But soon afterwards, the Community activity had to face the influence of the Jewish Democratic Committee, which - on the line of the administrative atheism promoted by the Communist Party - actually aimed to abolish any form of organization owned by the Jewish population and especially of the religious institutions. In these circumstances, despite the obstacles, there was an increasingly strong wave of people who were leaving for Israel, as the number of members of the Jewish Community got smaller and smaller.

Only after the self-dissolution of the Jewish Democratic Committee and when the activities of the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, led by Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen, became more obvious, did the leadership of the local community get bigger opportunities of action. But the work of those who took turns as leaders (M. Schaler, D. Vataru, M. Tenker, M. Hausfater, I. Wenger, A. Gutman, A. Aizerman, I. Brill and M. Cojocaru) who tried to organize the community activity in different fields, had to face the problems brought about by the new, permanently changing circumstances - that is: the massive leaving for Israel and the increasingly judicious use of the aids given by “Joint”. Due to the work of the community leaders and their collaborators, there were remarkable achievements in the social assistance work (aids for the assisted, ritual restaurant, consulting room), in the activity of the synagogues, in the traditional education (classes of Talmud Tora), in maintenance of the cemeteries and in the cultural activity. There were five cycles of conferences, choir, organization of traditional feasts, especially Hanuka, library, and recently the organization of the Museum “History of the Jewish Community in Bacau”, 1703 - 1944, for which important contributions came from L. Iosif, C. Marcusohn, B. Bercovici and S. Mendel.

These activities continue to take place, although there are only a few hundred Jews left in Bacau, most of them old people. They still feel connected to the Jewish tradition and they want this tradition to be continued by the few young people who can still be found in the town, some of them trying to connect their destiny to the one of their ancestors' country, Eretz Israel.


Footnotes

  1. State Archives of Iasi, Prefecture of Bacau, Tr. 84, op. 1009, file 252. Return

  2. “Bulletin”, official paper, 1835, p. 435. Return

  3. State Archives of Iasi, Tr. 1764, op. 2013, no. 265, p. 314.

  4. Idem, Inv., State Secretariat of Moldova, 1866, no. 1300. Return

  5. Idem, Tr. 361, op. 392, no. 114, p.30. Return

  6. Idem, Tr. 361, op. 392, no. 167, penultimate page not numbered Return

  7. Idem, Tr. 361, op. 392, file 104, p. 11 Return

  8. Idem, Prefecture of Bacau, file 95/1837 Return

  9. Idem, Tr. 940-0, p. 1082, file 159 Return

  10. Idem, Tr. 1318, op. XIII, 1491, file 154 Return

  11. State Archives of Bacau, Neamt Monastery, file 611, no. 104, package 11/1855. Return

  12. Idem, Jewish Community, package 3, file 36, p.13. Return

  13. State Archives of Iasi, personal fond. Svart-Kara, Box 4, no. 2. Return

  14. Idem, Law Court of Bacau, Tr. 1636, file 24. Return

  15. State Archives of Bacau, City Hall of Bacau, no. 51, 1864, p. 34. Return

  16. Idem, file 24/5, 1886, p.24. Return

  17. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 45/1880, p. 1, 4. Return

  18. The original is at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem, R. M./77. Return

  19. Jewish Magazine, year II, issue 4, February 15, 1888. Return

  20. Idem, no. 14, July 15 1889. Return

  21. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 14-1923, f. 6, 6-s. Return

  22. “Egalitatea”, no. 11, March 15th 1891. Return

  23. State Archives of Bacau, City Hall of Bacau, file 61/1895, p.2, 5, 5/v, 6, 6/v and 7. Return

  24. “Egalitatea, issue 24, June 20 1897. Return

  25. “The Jewish Magazine”, issue 4, February 6 1898. Return

  26. “Macabeul”, issue 8, January 6 1901. Return

  27. I. Voledi-Vardi, op. Cit., p. 27. Return

  28. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 27/1923, p. 6, 6/v, 7 and 22/1924, p. 1-13. Return

  29. “The Jewish People, issue 19, July 20 1909.” Return

  30. Idem, issue 8, June 8 1911. Return

  31. “Egalitatea”, issue 47, September 28 1912. Return

  32. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, files 5/1922, p. 18, 66-69. Return

  33. Idem, Jewish Community, files 21/1922, p. 39. Return

  34. Idem, Jewish Community, files 1/1923, p. 12/v, 16-24, 35. Return

  35. Idem, Jewish Community, files 23/1922, p. 65. 65/v. Return

  36. Idem, Jewish Community, files 16/1926, 2/1932, 5/1934, 7/1934. Return

  37. Idem, Jewish Community, file 3/1929, p. 5, 39. Return

  38. Idem, Jewish Community, files 15/1930, p. 48/84. Return

  39. Idem, Jewish Community, file 5/1932, p. 12, 132. Return

  40. “The Jewish Courier”, issue 30, November 20 1932. Return

  41. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 12/1935, p. 23, 23/v, 24. Return

  42. Idem, Jewish Community, files 20/1939, p. 131-133. Return

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