“Frumusica” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Romania, Volume 1

47°57' / 28°07'

Translation from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1969


Project Coordinator

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 225 - 226, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1969

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(pages 225 - 226)


By Theodore Lavi, Ph.D., Coordinator of Pinkas ha-Kehilot in Yad Vashem/Transnistria, Hargat

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


Frumusica: A village in the Moldavia region, Botosani district, on the main road between Iasi and Botosani,
14 km from Hirlau and 32 km from the district's capital.

Jewish Population

YearNumber% of Jews in General Population
183847 (families) 
1910596 people 

Until WWII Breakout

Founded in the first quarter of the 19th century, in the times of prince Ionita Sturza (1822-1828). In 1832, there were 82 Jews in Frumusica as compared to 7 Christians. In 1839, there were 10 Jewish traders and craftsmen compared to 5 Christians.

The manor owner, Alecu Marvocordat, was not pleased with the village development and on October 8, 1844 he formulated a new contract with the Jewish traders. He furnished them several lots for building a synagogue, a ritual bath, and a cemetery, including building materials. He also promised to get them a permit from the prince allowing them to become permanent residents, since there were already 80 Jewish families in Frumusica. Indeed, the prince signed a permit on October 14, 1845 and asked the princes, who would follow him, to vow that they would not change it, since it was for the public's benefit. In this permit the amount of tax due was detailed and the traders were obliged to build storage rooms and stores in order to hasten the village's development. In spite of all that, the district's ruler ordered the expulsion of the Jews in 1894. It seems that this did not take place, since in that same year a branch of “Chibat Zion,” named “Kadima” with 100 members, was active in Frumusica. Zionists chose a delegate to the third Zionist Congress in Basel.

During the days of the peasant's rebel in 1907, they broke into the town after being incited by the elementary school teachers. The Jews got frightened and 200 of them fled to Hirlau. The district's ruler appeased the rebels so the consequences were not too severe. The Jews returned to their homes.

In 1910, there were among the Jews in Frumusica: 44 traders, 21 tailors, 20 shoemakers, 3 blacksmiths, 4 carpenters, and 25 of other professions. That same year 128 pupils studied in the congregation's school.

The Rabbi for 30 years was Avraham Schechter (born in 1853, passed away in 1918), the author of a book “Make the Sleeping Talk”.

Between Two World Wars

There were 2 synagogues in Frumusica: one for the traders and one for the craftsmen. There were also an elementary school and a public library. A branch of the Zionist youth movement, “Dror Habonim,” was active there.

In 1929, the manor changed hands. The new owner demanded from the authorities to expel the Jews from his land since the permit had expired. The Jews appealed to the high court and asked, according to the agricultural reform following WWI, to make them the owners of the lots. The dispute lasted a very long time without reaching a decision.

Until the rise of the Goga-Cuza government to power, the relationship between the Jews and the Christians was quite good. During the pogrom there was raging in the neighboring small villages. Several months later, Jews found refuge in Frumusica. After that government fell, things got better.

In 1932, the congregation got a formal legal status.

During the Holocaust

In the first half of the Antonescu regime, when the terror of the “Green Shirts” spread and encompassed the whole country, no members of the “Iron Guard” were in Frumusica. However, gangs of that same organization arrived from Hirlau and arrested many Jews and took them to the municipality's cellar, where they were tortured. Several of Frumusica's Christians joined them, headed by the previous mayor – Nicolaie Mosneguta. The commander of the local guard, Ion Purcaru and the local physician intervened and the Jews were freed.

The head of the “Iron Guard” from Hirlau continued with his actions and confiscated stores and apartments of wealthy Jews. But in January 1941, after the “Iron Guard” was removed from Frumusica by the Antonescu government, the Jews got back their stores and apartments, but not before the “Green Shirt” people emptied everything.

In May 1941, German soldiers arrived in Frumusica and settled in apartments belonging to Jews. Ten of the congregation's leaders were sent as hostages to Botosani, where they were locked in the synagogues, together with leaders from other neighboring congregations.

At the same time, Jews from Stefanesti, who were expelled from their place, arrived in Frumusica. The Commander of the local police warned the local Jews that they would also be expelled and suggested they should sell their property while they were still there. After war with USSR broke out in June 1941, the Jews were told to leave in one day. They rented 350 carts and loaded them with their belongings and the caravan then headed to Botosani. The farmers from the vicinity attacked the caravan and tried to rob them, but the head of the local police, who followed the caravan with other policemen, confronted them and succeeded in preventing the looting. He also prevented hurting the Jews for the benefit of the cart owners, who had rented their carts.

Several Jews, younger and older ones, were sent as suspects of being Communists to a political detainment in Targu-Jiu.

Several of Frumusica's Jews were sent to camps of hard labor and did not survive.

After the war only a third of the Jews returned to Frumusica. Their apartments and the congregation's buildings were found in ruins.

During the persecution some of the locals excelled in their help to the Jews, with the manor owner, Grigoriu, at the head. As a result, the Jews helped him when the communist regime confiscated all his property.




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