46°38' / 27°44'
Translation from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 1969
Robert S. Sherins, M.D.
Our sincere appreciation to Yad
Vashem for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of
Jewish Communities, Romania,
Volume 1, pages 120-123, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1969
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
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English translation researched and edited by Robert S. Sherins, M.D.
Translated by Ziva Yavin, Ph.D.
Translation donated by Robert S. Sherins, M.D.,
Richard J. Sherins, M.D., and Beryle Solomon Buchman
Vaslui is a district town in the Moldavia region, on the estuary of the rivers Vasluietz and Balard. According to one tradition, it was founded by the Byzantines.
|Year||Number||% of Jews in General Population|
Most of Vaslui's Jews were initially from Galicia and Bukovina. In the second half of the 19th century, many of the kidnapped (cantonists) escaping from Russia settled in Vaslui.
In 1867 many Jews were expelled from the villages and the farms around Vaslui. During that year many were arrested on the pretext that they were vagabonds. In 1886 a plague broke out infecting the Jewish population and as a result, a parcel of land was allocated for a new cemetery. In 1889 the Jews were expelled again from the villages and the farms of the district and the same thing happened again and again in 1901 and 1908.
During the farmer's rebellion, in 1907, 87 Jewish families were robbed and many of their houses were destroyed.
Jews from Vaslui dealt with grain trading. They built a mill and a soap factory. In 1910 there were among them 345 traders, 228 tailors, 26 shoemakers, 14 tinsmiths, 37 carpenters and 287 of other professions.
A similar condition can be found in the education area. The congregation's school was established in 1877. In 1897, a building was purchased for it and in 1914 it was built anew. However, the conservative Osey Tov organization opposed the school and founded a Talmud Torah of its own. It seemed that the poor people preferred to send their children to a Heder, while children of the rich people studied in governmental schools. In 1911 the number of children attending governmental schools was 65, while in the congregation's school there were 62.
In 1909 Rabbi Shalom Halpern arrived in Vaslui, a descendant of the Admor (a title of a Hasidic Rabbi) of Rogin dynasty and the son-in-law of Rabbi Yitzhak Friedman from Buhush (born in 1848 in Berditchev, Russia and died in 1939). He founded in Vaslui the Admorim court of the Vasluier Rebe. After him, the chair was passed to his son Haim, who was born in Buhush in 1876. Rabbi Haim Halpern was a pupil of the grandfather, Rabbi Friedman, and served in Vaslui until 1950. He passed away in 1957 in Haifa.
In the years 1938-1949, the Rabbi, Dr. Arie Dov Halpert, served in Vaslui. He was born in 1907 in Borsha, Transylvania, and was the leader of Agudat Israel in Romania. He immigrated to Israel in 1960.
For some time the writer and educator, Menachem Braunstein-Mabshan, was active in Vaslui. He published schoolbooks, poetry and translations.
In 1932 this committee was given formal status as a judicial essence and as a result, the Jewish public became interested in the congregation's activities. In the 1935 elections, 797 Jews participated.
On the eve of WWII the congregation maintained the following institutes: the hospital Bikur Holim (visiting the sick) with a clinic and a pharmacy; an old people's home; a new cemetery (in addition to the previous one); a ritual bath house; an elementary school, Osey Tov; a kindergarten; and also supported the Talmud Torah. The school was supported by the municipality. There were eight synagogues in Vaslui at that time. Apart from the meat tax, the congregation had income from houses that it owned. The budget included donations to Zionist funds and to welfare. With welfare matters others were also involved The Society of Jewish Women, The Montifiori Association of the Craftsmen, and Ezra, the society of mutual help that was founded in 1920. Also, the kehillah operated a credit bank.
During the years 1920-1921, the Zionist Federation published a weekly bulletin and a farm for preparation of pioneers was also established.
On November 10, 1949, the Legionnaires took over the Jewish school. That same month the Jews were forced to dig out the bones of the deceased from the old cemetery and transfer them to the new one. 23 wealthy traders were arrested by the Legionnaire police and forced to sign a statement to hand over all of their assets and shops. On the 1st of June several Jews were sent to Taragu-Jiu camp, including some wealthy traders with a communist libel. On the night of June 29, 1941, all the distinguished members of the kehillah were taken as hostages and were told they will be shot or hurt if one Romanian soldier is injured. On July 1, 1941 all the Jewish men, up to 60, were imprisoned in the synagogue. Some were sent to hard labor and some were coerced to work in the town. The rest were expelled to three farms in the district. The congregation was forced to provide them with food. In September 1941 the Mayor published a decree prohibiting the Jews to be present in the market for more then one hour per day in order to buy food. After that, they were not allowed to come to the market at all, in order to separate them from the Christian population; the congregation had to provide the food. They were also forced to wear the mark of disgrace.
Jews that were originally from Bessarabia were sent to a concentration camp in Caracal and some were killed on the way. Others were expelled to Transnistria. Jews from villages and farms such as Cauest, Pungest (Pungesti), Tibana, Negrest (Negresti), and more were transferred to Vaslui; altogether 600, and the congregation had to take care of their employment. The congregation was also forced to supply food, clothing and medicines to the Jews employed in the work companies.
The economic situation of the Jews at that time is evident from the following numbers from 1942: out of 286 craftsmen and workers only 160 were employed; out of 159 clerks (commerce and industry) only 49 were working; out of 470 grocers and industrialists only 160 were active; out of 22 of liberal professions only 13 continued working; and out of 24 other professions only 5. Only 8-10% of all the professional groups were active. In all the Vaslui district 462 buildings, 8 mills, one factory, 983 hectares of land watered by rain, 3,121 hectares of forests, 21 hectares of vineyards and 3 hectares of lakes were confiscated from the Jews.
When the orphans returned from Transnistria in February 1944, 300 arrived in Vaslui and were housed in the synagogue. When the [war] front got closer to the town the children were transferred to Buzau.
After the War, life in Vaslui went back to normal.
The General Archive of The History of The Jewish People, RM 154; RM 160.
The Central Zionist Archive, A 133 (99).
Yad Vashem Archive
IM 1220; 011/181 (33336); 011/171 (4, 36, 53, 67, 71, 80); 011/18; 03/1462; PKR/I23 (87-89); PKR/I112 (125255); PKR/I113 (125660); PKR/I114 (1261).
W. Filderman Archive
M. Karp Arcive
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