Translated by Jerrold Landau
It was a village about 25 kilometers from the district city of Sighet. All of its residents were Romanian.
of Jews in the
The first Jews reached the village during the 1730s. In the census of 1735, a Jew named Baruch Markez is mentioned. He had a wife and two young children. He owned a horse and a cow. He paid 10 Florin of lease fees per year. He was under the protection of the local nobleman Pop Istvan. In the census of 1746, a Jew is mentioned once again (his name is not listed), having no children, and paying 8 Florin per year.
In the census of 1768, the Jew Josip Hershkovitch is mentioned in Desht. He had a four person family. He worked in liquor production and paid 24 Florin per year of lease fees.
In the census of 1830, the following heads of families in Desht are mentioned (number of individuals in parentheses):
Meir Moskovitch (4), Shimon Abelahust (6), Mendel Tob (5), Shaya Rabin (5).
Apparently, despite the small size of the Jewish settlement in Desht, a notable number of scholars lived there. The ledgers of the Chevra Mishnayos (Mishna study group) from the years 5670-5684 (1910-1924) have been preserved, and are in the possession of the collected Reb Yosef Halpert in Tel Aviv. The members of the group lived in several villages of the area (Cracest, Hornicest, Şugatag, and others), but the center and heart of the group, as well as the majority of the members, lived in Deseşti. No fewer than 22 names from this village are listed in the ledgers, accounting for almost all of the householders of Deseşti. The trustee and apparent founder of the group was Reb Avraham Yosef Shtoiber, and, following his death in the year 5682 (1922), his son Reb Tzvi Aryeh. Since almost all of the Jews of these villages were Sighet Hassidim, they concluded the study of the six orders of Mishna on the yahrzeit days of the Tzadikim of Sighet – 5 Elul (the Yeitiv Leib), and 29 Shvat (Kedushat Yom Tov).
We will note the names of the members of the Chevra Mishnayos of Deseşti as they are listed in the ledger, along with their yahrzeit dates in parentheses (as listed by Reb David Shtoiber of Cracest after the Holocaust): Reb Yitzchak the son of Reb David HaLevi [Appel], Reb Yisrael the son of Reb Meir, Reb Tzvi Aryeh the son of Reb Avraham Yosef Shtoiber, Reb Yaakov Tzvi Weider, Reb David Lang, Reb Yona the son of Reb Menachem Moshe, Reb Yehoshua the son of Reb Meir HaLevi, Reb Yitzchak the son of Reb David, Reb Avraham Yosef the son of Reb Yoel Shtoiber, Reb Yosef Mordcechai the son of Reb David HaLevi [Lang?], Reb Meir Yaakov the son of Reb Yona Indig (died in Auschwitz), Reb Yisrael the son of Reb Yitzchak HaLevi Appel (died in Auschwitz), Reb Kasriel the son of Reb David Lang, Reb Yerucham the son of Reb Yosef Mordechai Davidovitch (died in 5685 / 1925), Reb Yona the son of Reb David (died in 5686 / 1926), Reb Yitzchak Eliahu the son of Reb Moshe Yechiel Kornobli, Reb Yosef Moshe Zicherman, Reb Avraham Weider (died in Auschwitz), Reb David Shtoiber (died in Sighet in 5734 / 1975), Reb Avraham Yitzchak Zicherman, Reb Shimon Menachem Kohen of Ziolest, Reb Moshe Taub (died in Auschwitz).
In general, the Jews of Deseşti earned their livelihood with ease. The primary sources of livelihood were from shops and inns, as well as from desirable trades. One of the tradesmen, the shoemaker Shimon Ganz, would make boots for all the villages of the area. He employed a number of tradesmen. He educated his children in the ways of Torah, and they studied in Yeshivas.
Most of the Jews of the village were Hassidim of Sighet, and the minority was Hassidim of Kretshniff and Kosow. There were several scholars who educated their children on the lap of Torah, such as Reb Avraham Yosef Shtoiber, the owner of a tavern and liquor still; Reb Yaakov Weider, the owner of a shop and a tavern, whose sons studied in the Yeshiva of Pressburg. One of them was a shochet [ritual slaughterer] in Michalovice; Reb Yitzchak Appel, the owner of estates and a fruit farm, who was involved in the production of kosher cheese; Reb Yona Raub, whose sons also studied in Yeshivas; Reb Yosef Moshe Zicherman, an educated man, who raised his sons in Torah. One of them was a shochet in the United States.
The synagogue, built before the First World War, was built of stone. The aforementioned Reb Yitzchak Appel donated the lot.
At the end of April 1944, the Jews of Deseşti was transferred to the Berbeşti Ghetto, from where they were transferred to the Sighet Ghetto, and then deported to Auschwitz. Today, there are no Jews in Deseşti. The synagogue stands, but it has turned into a consumers' cooperative. The cemetery is guarded by one of the residents of the village. According to the estimation of Reb David Shtoiber, 58 Jews of Deseşti perished in the Holocaust.
Magyar-Zsido Okleveltar, vol. VII, Budapest 1963, pp. 306, 747; vol. XVI, 1976 p. 101.
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