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[Page 194]

Nănești

(Romania)

47°50' N 24°01'

Romanian: Nănești
Hungarian: Nánfalva

Translated by Jerrold Landau

It is a village about 25 kilometers southeast of the district city of Sziget. All of its residents were Romanian.

Jewish Population

Year Population Percentage
of Jews in the
General
Population
1830 42 (359 residents)
1920 65 10.5
1930 74 9.5

 

We have no information about the beginnings of the Jewish settlement of Nănești. In any case, not one Jew is mentioned in this village in any census of the 18th century. On the other hand, we already find 42 Jews listed in Nănești in 1830, a sufficient number for communal life. It seems that the first Jews arrived in Nănești at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th century.

The Jews of this small village had almost all of the necessary communal institutions. There was a wooden synagogue built at the beginning of the 20th century in the place where there had been a synagogue previously. Next to it there was a ritual bath [mikva]. On the other side of the village there was an old cemetery, and a new one not far away. This small community did not have a shochet [ritual slaughterer]. The shochet of Birsanif, about 4 kilometers away, visited this village at least twice a week.

Almost all the Jews of Nănești were Hasidim of Kretshnif. Several of them were scholars. Torah classes were taught in the synagogue during the evenings and the mornings, and most of the householders attended. The children studied Torah in a cheder. Melamdim [teachers] were generally hired from outside of the village. The melamdim from the village itself included Reb Binyamin Jakubovics and Shimon Jakubovics, both of them scholars. Most of the youth studied in various yeshivas.

Livelihood was found easily in Nănești. Some owned lands, others were apple merchants, and others were shopkeepers, tavern keepers, and butchers. Among the village notables was Reb Moshe Ganz, a Hasid who owned a flourmill, lands, and forests. He died in the early 1930s. A significant number of the Jews of the village were his descendants and relatives. His sons were Nachman Ganz, Leizer Ganz, and Yehuda Ganz. Chuna Jakubovics owned a shop and a tavern. He was a scholar and a Hasid. His brother Meir Kopel Jakubovics owned land and was a merchant. Kalman Markovics owned land and was a cattle merchant. He was a wealthy Jew and a scholar. His son Mendel Markovics was similar. The children of Meir Kopel Jakubovics were also scholars who studied in yeshivot. Meir Jakubovics was generally the gabbai [trustee] who concerned himself with communal needs.

In 1940, after the Hungarians captured northern Transylvania

[Page 195]

the evil times overtook the village of Nănești as well. Michael Ganz (from whom we received the information) relates: I traveled to Sziget on a horse and wagon. Suddenly, I sensed shooting. One bullet penetrated my body, exited, and went through the horse, who was killed on the spot. I was taken to the hospital in Sziget. After several days, I was taken to prison with the pretext that I had beaten a Hungarian soldier who shot me under the claim of “self-defense.”

During the summer of 1941, an attempt was made to deport two families to Ukraine – Yaakov Unger and his family and Berl Indig and his family – under the pretext that they did not have Hungarian citizenship. The Hungarian gendarmes took them from the village and deposited them on one of the tall mountains where they left them to their fate. All of them returned secretly without suffering any harm. Later, a deportation order was again issued against several Jews of Nănești, along with several Jews of nearby villages such as Breb, Ocna ªugatag, and others. They had already been loaded upon the wagons with their belongings when a command arrived to release them.

On the eve of the Sabbath, the last day of Passover 5704 (April 15, 1944), the Hungarian gendarmes arrived from Birsanif (where the closest gendarme station was located) and went to the home of Chuna Jakubovics with an order to list all the Jews of the village. A few days later, they closed off all the Jewish homes, and gathered the Jews in the yard of the village school. They pillaged everything of value, loaded them on wagons, and transported them to the Berbești Ghetto. From there, they were deported to Auschwitz, where most of them died in sanctification of the Divine Name. After the Holocaust, 17 Holocaust survivors returned to Nănești, but they left within a brief time. Almost all of them made aliya to Israel.

Today, one Jew lives in Nănești – the son of Mendel Markovics.

 

Bibliography

An interview with a Nănești native

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