Translation of the Cluj District chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Romania
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 1980
Published in Jerusalem, 1980
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania, Volume II,
pages 253-254, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1980
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Translated by Jerrold Landau
Most of the towns and villages in the district of Cluj had a Jewish population during the time of the Holocaust. The beginning of the Jewish settlement in this district is generally traced to the 19th century. Indeed, there was a ban on Jewish settlement until 1848, but there were already Jews in several places before that time. The Jews first worked in small-scale commerce, trades, and liquor distilling. Later, there were many land lessees among them. There were also doctors and officials starting from the end of the 19th century. In some places, they were organized into a community, they hired a rabbi and a teacher, and set up Yeshivas in which students from afar also studied. They had cemeteries, synagogues, or at least houses designated for prayer. From a religious perspective, they were Orthodox, and in many places, Hassidim also influenced the Jewish way of life. Their spiritual and cultural center was in the capital city of the district, Cluj, in which Orthodox rabbis of great influence functioned.
The fate of these Jews was similar to the fate of the Jews in the district capital, Cluj. In 1942, men of army age from these places were drafted into work units and deported for this purpose to the eastern front, where most of them perished.
In the summer of 1944, the Jews were gathered together for several days, mainly in the synagogue courtyards, and then sent to Auschwitz either directly or after waiting a brief period in the ghetto of Cluj or one of the other places in the area.
Very little has been written about the history of the Jews of the villages of the Cluj district. There is very little research on the subject. Nevertheless, at least one effort was made regarding the Jews of the villages, including historical facts. It was prepared by Dr. M Carmilly-Weinberger: A kolozsvármegyei zsidók és az 1848-49 évi Magyar szabadsagharc. (Jews in the district of Cluj during the war of indepdence of 1848-1849), in the Cluj-Kolozsvar Yizkor Book, New York, 5730 (1970), pp. 13-28.
The following are the places:
(Romanian: Aghireşu, Hungarian: Egeres)
It is not far from Cluj. Its coal mines were operated by a company directed by Jews. The company headquarters was in Cluj, but there were officials, including Jews on site. The company physicians who tended to the miners were also Jews. The Jewish population was 114 in 1920, and 127 during the Holocaust, out of a total population of 1,889. Thirty Jews returned after the Holocaust and lived there temporarily, but they later left the village.
(Romanian: Apahida, Hungarian, Apahida)
It is very close to Cluj. Fifty Jews lived there in 1920, and 56 during the Holocaust, out of a total population of 1,802. The Jews were fanatically Orthodox.
(Romanian: Bonţida, Hungarian: Bonczida)
The Jewish population was 31 in 1920, and approximately 40 during the Holocaust period, out of a general population of 2,290. This was an ancient Jewish settlement. Apparently, the first Jews arrived already during the 18th century.
See: Dr. E. Munkácsi: Utazáss a multba (Journey into the past) in the IMIT annual, Budapest, 1941, pp. 200-221.
(Romanian: Borşa, Hungarian: Kolozsborsa)
(In order to differentiate between this place and the village with the same name in the Maramures district, it is also called Borşa-Cluj). It is a regional center. The Jewish population was 44 in 1920, and 57 during the Holocaust. Another 256 Jews lived in small places throughout the district.
(Romanian: Gilău, Hungarian: Gyalu)
It was a regional center. The Jewish population was 89 in 1920, and 161 during the Holocaust out of a total population of 3,330. Another 60 Jews lived in small villages throughout the district.
(Romanian: Huedin, Hungarian Bánffyhu-nyad)
It was the second city of the district, after the district capital, Cluj. It was a regional center. The Jewish settlement began during the first half of the 19th century. The first synagogue was built in 1852. It had a famous Yeshiva, in which the Kabbalistic researcher Professor Yeshayahu Tishbi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem began his studies. The Jewish population was 260 in 1920, and 960 during the Holocaust period. There were still 345 Jews there in 1947. They gradually left, and their number was very small by 1976. There were 328 more Jews in the district. For a history of the community, see the Hungarian Jewish Lexicon (in Hungarian), Budapest, 1929.
(Romanian: Zimboru, Hungarian, Kolozs-Zsombor)
During the Holocaust period, it had a Jewish population of 87 out of a general population of 1,146.
(Romanian: Panticeu, Hungarian: Pancélcseh)
In 1920, the Jewish population was 69, and during the Holocaust, 91 out of a general population of 1,474. For a history of the local Jews, see the research mentioned in the article on Bontida.
(Romanian: Sânmihaiul de Cămpie, Hungarian: Mezőszentmihály)
During the Holocaust period, the Jewish population was 72 out of a general population of 1,151.
(Romanian: Ciucea, Hungarian: Csucsa)
During the Holocaust period, the Jewish population was 134 out of a total population of 1,777
A broad set of historical literal deals with the history of Cluj Jewry. However, two books fill the general task in this matter. They list other books and research that was written on this topic. They are:
The Eternal Memory of the Holy Community of Koloszvar-Klausenberg. Edited by Shlomo Zamroni and Yehuda Schwartz, Tel Aviv, Sivan 5728 (1968). In Hebrew and Hungarian. 118 pages.
The Memorial Book of Cluj-Koloszvar Jewry, Dr. Moshe Carmeli-Weinberger, former chief rabbi of the community of Koloszvar, a professor of spiritual studies, Yeshiva University, New York, 5730 (1930). In Hebrew, Hungarian, and English. 144 Hebrew pages, 312 Hungarian and English pages.
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