(Săliștea de Sus, Romania)
Romanian: Saliștea de Sus
Hungarian: Felsö Szelistye
Translated by Jerrold Landau
It is a village about 45 kilometers southeast of the district city of Sziget. All of its residents were Romanian.
of Jews in the
The Beginning of the Jewish Settlement
The historian of Hungarian Jewry, Reb Yekutiel Yehuda Greenwald, writes that the first Jews arrived in Salist around 1750. Documents in our possession confirm this, for in the censuses of the Jews of Hungary from the years 1725, 1728, 1735, and 1746, not one Jew is registered in Salist. The first Jew of Salist was registered only in the census of the Jews of Máramaros from June 1768. According to the census listing, this was a Jew named Marcus Josif, who had a five-person family and worked in liquor distilling. He paid the large sum of 381.40 florin annually as lease fees.
The following families of Salist are listed in the 1830 census (number of individuals in parentheses):
Lazer Weider (2), Hirsch Leib Stern (3), Hirsch Wolf (2), Leib Sachs (9), Shmuel Debliner (4), Strul Stern (4), Fishel Rosenberg (6), Yaakov Pasternak (5), Izak Stern (3), Moshe Ganz (7), Shmuel Stern (6), Meir Stern (8), Shmuel Ganz (4), Leib Pasternak (6), Hirsch Pasternak (4), Lazer Schneider (2), Shmuel Shechter (2).
It seems that Markus Josif is none other than Reb Mordechai the son of Reb Yosef Stern, the nephew [son of the sister] of the well-known Gaon and Tzadik Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Nikolsburg. Reb Mordechai was born in Czortkov, Galicia, where his grandfather (his mother's father, the father of the brothers Reb Shmelke and Reb Pinchas Horowitz) Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Horowitz, served as a rabbi. Reb Mordechai lived in the house of his uncle in Nikolsburg and studied Torah in his yeshiva. He received his Hassidic path from his uncle Reb Shmelke. He was forced to leave Moravia after his marriage, and he reached Máramaros along with his brothers Reb Shlomo Fruchter and Reb Avraham Adler, who settled in Ubervischau (see entry), and Borsa (see entry).
Reb Mordechai Stern did well in Salist both from a material and from a spiritual perspective. Despite the fact that his listing in the census stated that he worked in liquor distilling, there is no doubt that he was one of the wealthy men of the entire district. Apparently, he leased forests and fields from the local noblemen, and was engaged in very large scale commerce as per the concept of the times. There was no Jew in the entire district of Máramaros who paid such a high lease fee. (His brother Reb Shlomo Fruchter of Ubervischau was in second place at 177 florin.)
Reb Mordechai Stern used his wealth and good connections with the local authorities and nobility to improve the spiritual and religious situation of the Jews of Máramaros. The few Jews who lived in Máramaros at this time (the number of Jews throughout the entire Máramaros region in 1768 was 670) were scattered throughout a large area in tens of villages, without Torah, public prayer, or the opportunity to educate their children in the ways of Torah (indeed, without any education at all). The sole ray of light shone in the home of Reb Mordechai Stern of Salist. The first regular Beis Midrash of all the villages of the region (excluding the city of Sziget) was there. His home was open wide to any passer-by, and even gentiles were stayed over at his house. He invited rabbis and renowned Tzadikim from Galicia to his home. From among the guests to his home, the well-known Tzadik Rabbi Baruch of Kosow, the student of the Magid of Mezeritsh and of Reb Menachel Mendel of Vitebsk, the author of the books Yesod Haemuna [Foundations of Faith] and Amud Haavoda [The Pillar of Divine Service] (Czernovitz 5614 1854), who died in the year 5542 (1781) stands out. Reb Baruch of Kosow would remain in the home of Reb Mordechai Stern in Salist for several months, and many of the Jews of Máramaros would flock to him to listen to his discussions and words of Torah, and to be blessed by him for live children and sustenance. He would serve as the prayer leader on the High Holy Days, and Jews of Máramaros from the nearby and farther away villages would come to hear his Hassidic style prayers and supplications. There is no doubt that the first Hassidic gathering in all of Hungary took place in the home of Reb Mordechai Stern. Nevertheless, the Hassidic Tzadik who had the most influence upon the home of Reb Mordechai Stern in Salist and upon the ways of all of Máramaros Jewry was Reb Menachel Mendel of Kosow, who imprinted his spiritual-Hassidic seal upon the District of Máramaros in his generation, and for following generations.
Reb Mordechai Stern established a blessed generation of upright people. Many of the Jews of Máramaros are descended from him. Two of his sons moved to nearby villages. Reb Yitzchak Stern moved to Starimatra (see entry) and Reb Mordechai Stern moved to Dragomireºti, where they continued in the traditions of their father and raised generations of scholars and Hassidim. The father-in-law of Reb Mordechai Stern, Rabbi Chaim Meir Traub, was the rabbi of Sziget for a brief period (see entry on Sziget). After his wife died in her prime, he left Sziget and returned to his native town of Delatyn in Galicia. He returned to Sziget toward the end of his life, where he died at an old age in the year 5602 (1841). Reb Mordechai stern apparently died around the year 5560 (1800).
Of course, the first kernel of the Salist community was in the home of Reb Mordechai Stern. The community was organized at the end of the 18th century. It would seem that the first synagogue was built at the beginning of the 18th century, but it was not preserved in its original form. A larger synagogue with 400 seats was built in the middle of the 19th century. It was called Di Groise Shul [The Large Synagogue] by the residents of Salist. Later, an additional synagogue was built, which was called Di Oibershte Shul [The Upper Synagogue]. Both were built of wood. A ritual bath [mikva] was built in the city from the time of the beginning of Jewish settlement (almost certainly by Reb Mordechai Stern). It was renovated and expanded as time went on. A Chevra Kadisha [Burial Society] also functioned from the beginning of the Jewish settlement, even though it was only constituted officially a long time after that. Several societies for the study of Torah were set up, such as the Chevra Mishnayot [Mishna study group] that was founded in the winter of 5655 (1894). An announcement of its founding was published in the Szigeter Zeitung newspaper (issue 15 of 5655 - 1895). The goal of the organization was to conclude the six orders of Mishna four times a year. The founder and head of the organization was Reb Moshe Tzvi Pasternak. Organizations of this nature, as well as charitable and benevolent organizations were founded in Salist, even though we have no information regarding such. Traditional Jewish education, which was formerly in the hand of private teachers [melamdim] was set up after the First World War, with the founding of a communal public Talmud Torah in which six of seven teachers taught.
The livelihood of the Jews of Salist was meager, and most of the Jews lived lives of privation and poverty, as in the rest of the settlements of Máramaros. Aside from the owners of the few estates owned by the Stern, Fogel, and Kahana families, as well as the three flourmill owners and several other large-scale lumber and fruit businessmen, the vast majority of the Jews of Salist were very poor. Approximately 30% worked in small-scale commerce as owners of shops and taverns, and merchants of hides, cattle, and other such items. About 5% were tradesmen: tailors, furriers, shoemakers, wood carvers, builders, and others. Along with these businesses, most of the Jews of Salist owned small farms that provided their basic food needs.
The community of Salist never had a rabbi. The rabbi of the nearby village of Dragomireºti also served as the rabbi of Salist. Salist participated in his upkeep. The community did maintain a shochet [ritual slaughterer] who also responded to common halachic questions. Several of the householders, who were scholars and qualified to give answers, also responded to questions that arose.
One of the scholars of Salist who fulfilled the role of judge and rabbinical teacher (apparently not for renumeration) was Reb Chaim the son of Reb Yehuda Menachem Kahana. His father Reb Yehuda Menachem Kahana lives in Sziget, made aliya in his latter years, and died in Safed. He was a fourth generation descendent of the Kuntrus Hasfeikot and was the son-in-law of Reb Yosef Aryeh Kahana, the grandson of the author of the Kuntrus Hasfeikot and son-in-law of the Gaon and author of Mareh Yechezkel. Reb Chaim Kahana was a great scholar and a Hassid of Kosow. He died on 14 Shvat 5685 (1925) in Sziget. During his lifetime, he published Torah novella in Torah oriented publications, such as Aseifat Chachamim Year I (5670 1910), Sivan edition (section 29). In his estate, he left an unpublished composition of Tractate Eduyot. A great deal of material on the history of the Kosow dynasty exists in his writings. The material was given to Reb Chaim Yissachar Dov Gross of Petrova, who
was a head of a yeshiva and preacher of righteousness in Munkacz at that time. He organized the book and added many additions:
The book Even Shetiya The history of Tzadikim, their good, pleasant deeds, awesome, wonderful stories, and new Torah ideas of our holy rabbis Rabbi Yaakov Kopel Chasid of blessed memory, his son Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kosow of blessed memory, his son Rabbi Chaim of blessed memory of Kosow, and his three sons: Rabbi Yaakov Shimson of blessed memory of Kosow, Rabbi Yosef Alter of blessed memory of Radowice, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of blessed memory of Visznitz, as well as his son Rabbi Baruch of blessed memory of Visznitz Munkacs 5690 (1930). 111, pages.
Published in photocopy: [Jerusalem 5725 - 1965]; [New York] 5735, 1975.
The majority of the Jews of Salist until the final generation were Hassidim of Kosow, but they used to also travel to the Admorim of the Visznitz dynasty: Reb Yisrael and his brother Reb Pinchas of Borsa, and their descendants. The following story is typical: One of the householders of Salist was summoned by the community to a rabbinical adjudication with the rabbi of Dragomireºti, who, as has been mentioned, also served Salist, regarding an issue related to encroaching upon the mikva. Rabbi Moshe Yisrael Feldman issued his verdict and the Jew, who was a Hasid of Kosow, did not accept it. That Jew set up his own synagogue and no longer depended upon the synagogues of the community. The rabbi issued a ban upon the breakaway synagogue, but to no avail, for the refuser persisted with his refusal. The rabbi approached the Admor of Kosow, Rabbi Chaim the son of Rabbi Moshe Hager (perished in the Holocaust) and explained the matter to him. When the Admor did not react after some time, the householder traveled to Kosow. When he appeared at the door of the Admor of Kosow, the door was shut in his face, and the Admor refused to see him until he would accept upon himself in the presence of the Admor to accept the ban of the rabbi and fulfil his obligation. The Admor of Kosow spent a Sabbath in Salist every year.
The following people were the heads of the community, its notables, and parnassim [administrators] until the First World War: Reb Shmuel Stern, Reb Chaim Mordechai [last name not mentioned], Reb Yaakov the son of Pesil, Reb Mordechai Nachman Kahana, Reb Mordechai Deblinger, Reb Mordechai the son of Freidel, Reb Yerucham Shochet, Reb Azriel the son of Chaya, Reb Moshe Szhmuel Mendel Ovics, Reb Mordechai Weider, Reb Menachem Mendel Stern, Reb Chaim Stern, Reb Mordechai Menachem Pasternak, Reb Yechiel Michel Pasternak, Reb Alter Pasternak, Reb Avraham Davidovics, Reb Elya Yitzchak Davidovics, Reb Chaim Deblinger, Reb Chaim Malek, Reb Yosef Josfa Steinmetz, Reb Meir Weider, Reb Moshe Tzvi Pasternak, his son Reb Yosef Pasternak who was a great scholar, the son-in-law of Reb Yitzchak Kind of Masif. Reb Yehuda Meir Pasternak had a second son who was a scholar and proper businessman, who also settled in Masif.
Reb Herzl Fogel, who generally represented the Jews on the village council, served as the head of the community between the two world wars.
During the Time of the Holocaust
We do not have any detailed information about the unfolding of the Holocaust in Salist. At the end of April 1944, all of the Jews of Salist were gathered up into the Great Synagogue, where they underwent investigations and interrogations regarding their property and money. The head of the community, Herzl Fogel, was hauled to his house under the guard of the gendarmes in order to reveal the hiding places of his property. Suddenly, the gendarmerie issued a notice that Herzl Fogel was found hanged in his house. The Jews of the village, who knew their leader very well, were convinced that he was murdered by the gendarmes. He was brought to Jewish burial in the Salist cemetery.
The Jews of Salist were transferred to the ghetto in Dragomireºti, from where they were sent to be murdered in Auschwitz.
After the war, a small numbers of survivors of the community returned (there were 57 in 1947), but they left the place within a short period. The majority made aliya to Israel.
Today, there are no Jews in Salist.
Yekutiel Yehuda Greenwald: Matzevet Kodesh, vol. I: Sziget and the district of Máramaros, New York 5712 - 1952, page 13.Translator's Footnotes:
Naftali Ben-Menachem: From the Israelite Literature of Hungary, Jerusalem 5718 1958, page 86.
Shmuel HaKohen Weingarten: The Annals of the Jews of Carpatho-Rus, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 5719 1959, pp. 23-24.
Shlomo Rozman: Roshei Galut Ariel, vol. I, Brooklyn, 5737 1976, pp. 432-433.
Magyar-Zsido Oklevelter, vol. XVI, Budapest, 1976, p. 100.
Yad Vashem Archives: 03/2439, 015/989.
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