“Capresht”
Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Romania, Volume 2
(Căpreşti, Moldova)

47°45' / 28°28'

Translation of “Capresht” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Romania

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1980


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to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania, Volume II,
pages 399-400, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1980


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[Pages 399-400]

Capresht

Translated by Ala Gamulka

In Romanian it was called Capreshti and also in Russian - a Jewish agricultural settlement in the Soroka District.
It was founded in 1853 on leased land near the Reut River and east of a Romanian village with the same name.

Jewish Population

Year Numbers Total
Population
% of
Jews
1851 211   100
1897 866 1,022 86.4
1930 1,815 1,998 90.8

 

During the first few years after the establishment of the settlement the Jews were mainly farmers, but towards the end of the century most of the residents earned their living through trade and agriculture. Only 36 families out of 135 worked 118 Disiatin of land. Eventually the land was owned by the settlement.

 

Between the Two Wars

Relations with the local Romanian population were quite good during the Russian regime. When Bessarabia was annexed by Romania organized incitement against the Jews began. It was directed by the Communist party. The Jews also suffered from various steps taken by the local authorities. The agrarian reform introduced by the Romanian authorities after WWI brought about the division of land among farmers. In some places in Bessarabia Jews were included. However, this brought the Jews much injustice and suffering. The lands of the settlement were given, illegally, to the residents of the Romanian village and the Jews were given land further away. All this was due to the anti-Semitic attitude of the committee in charge of the distribution of land, as ordered by the agrarian reform.

The Jewish press announced in December 1927 that there were Communist agents who traveled in the area and incited the Christian population against the Jews. They wished to cleanse the state of “Jewish parasites”.

In April 1930 representatives of the Koza party came from Beltz and incited the farmers in the weekly market in Capresht. They called on them to hit the Jews. Several Jews were badly beaten and some stores were broken into and robbed. The authorities did not intervene. Landau, the Jewish member of the Romanian parliament, sent an inquiry to the Ministry of the Interior and wanted to find out what was done to the instigators. However, he never received an answer.

The Jewish settlement of Capresht was occasionally featured in newspaper headlines because of the anti-Semitic incidents there. In February 1932 there was a national Romanian celebration in the school. Since most of the residents were Jewish, many Jewish children participated.

The Member of Parliament and head of the anti-Semitic party, A.K. Koza, accused the principal of the school of allowing a Zionist celebration too close to the national Romanian holiday of February 24.

Even the Minister of Education at the time, the historian and intellectual Nikolai Yurga, reacted and said he opposed “celebrations” in school auditoriums and that he would do something about it.

 

The Community and its Institutions

The community was organized only after WWI. Capresht had a homogeneous Jewish population and a vibrant Jewish life. As in every Jewish village there was no lack of disputes about matters that now seem not so important, but they riveted many of the residents.

The community had all the usual institutions such as Help for the Poor, Help for the Sick, a small hotel, “Talmud Torah”, Hevra Kaddisha. The Gmilut Hasadim was the most important public institution in the settlement. In 1929 it was used to help about 1000 needy people in Capresht and the nearby villages. This fact proves the number of poor was quite high. The winter of that year brought about a huge economic breakdown. There was also a Savings and Loan Fund in Capresht.

The educational institutions were relatively numerous: Tarbut school which had a library and its own reading room and was used for many literary evenings. The library had books in Yiddish and in Hebrew. Another reading room was opened in July 1929 on the premises of the Savings and Loan Fund. For a while there was a drama group in Capresht. There was also a public library in addition to the Tarbut library. In August 1929 Dr. Yohanan Kapliuchek established Mizpe for children 8-15 years old. In total 150 children were organized into groups headed by counselors.

In 1934 the community split and a modern group “new democratic”- was established. It was headed by Dr. Sh. Goldenberg. The new community reorganized itself with all its institutions. The community was enlarged with the addition of Jewish families who lived in villages nearby. There was thus more income from taxes.

In Capresht there were several Zionist groups such as Gordonya (140 members in 1933), Poalei Zion organized in 1929 and its youth wing established in 1937. These groups, as well as Hashomer Hatzair, organized many cultural activities in addition to bringing youth and adults as members.

It is unknown how many synagogues existed, but in 1897 there were two.

Most of the Jews were exterminated, but there is no data known.

 


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