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[Pages 94 - 130]

E. The Jews from Bacau During the Years
of Wrath of the War and the Racist Laws

The Community from Bacau After the War

The Jewish Community from Bacau

Bucharest, 1995

May 16th, 1939. The leadership of the Jewish Community from Bacau, was addressing Dr. W. Filderman, asking for guidance in a serious matter. Applying the legislation regarding the Jews' citizenship, which the Goga-Cuza Government had promulgated in 1938, the Law Court of Bacau had decided that about 2000 of the Jewish inhabitants of the city are no longer Romanian citizens. The factories in the city had received dispositions to dismiss the Jews who were in this situation; thus, only from one textile company (Isvoranu factory), 150 Jews were announced that they would be fired1. For instance, Golda Leder, the widow of a cashier of the charitable societies, asked the Community for money so she could make an appeal to the sentence of the Law Court; thus, her daughter would be fired2. At the end of the year 1939, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced the names of dozens of Jewish firms, which had been erased from the commercial register because of loss of citizenship; for example, Hascal Rotenstein, Aron M. Blumer, Leon Reiyel, User Vechsler, Herman Hoffman and many others were in this situation3

It was the beginning of the nightmare, lived, from now on, not only by a small group of Jews, but by the entire Jewish population in the country. The Jews from Bacau saw some of the faces of this nightmare in the autumn of 1939; they saw the despair of several hundreds of Jews who had managed to escape Hitler's army in Poland, and were now passing through Bacau, hoping to find a haven, as far away from the fascist wrath as possible4. The Jewish Community from Bacau considered their duty to support them, and they did everything they could for them. But the Community had to face other difficult problems too.

The local anti-Semitic elements began to be present. The Jewish journalists were fired. Cuza's followers, Urziceanu-Antoniu, conducted the bar of lawyers, teachers like Stoian, Klug, Popescu, Focsa did not hide their anti-Semitic feelings in the secondary school.

There were an increasing number of poor people who needed material help; more and more families were left without any means of subsistence, because - among many other things - able men had been called up in different military units, at the country border5. Moreover, there had been launched the appeal to subscribe for army equipment, and the Community leadership had asked the Jews to do their duty in this respect6.

Not after along time - only a few months after - a whole range of destroying blows started to come upon the Jews. In July 1940, as a consequence of the Soviet ultimatum, Romania had to give up Basarabia and Northern Bucovina. Terrified, the Jews from Bacau learned about the pogrom in Dorohoi, where Emil Aroneanu, a Jew from Bacau, had been killed, while serving the Romanian army; and also about the Jews who had been shot in other localities in Northern Moldova or who had been thrown out of the wagons, while the trains were in motion.

Soon after, the new racist laws of Gigurtu Government were published and applied. Jews holding positions in the public administration (teachers, doctors, jurists, etc.) were fired; even Malca Iancu David, holding the “important” position of operator at Parincea was fired7. Jews were forbidden to trade at the countryside, even the tobacconists in the city owned by the Jews, even if they were invalids, widows and orphans from the war. The Jewish children of school age learned they no longer had access to public schools, and the Community leadership had to struggle to get the permission to organize classrooms in improvised rooms, instead of “F. Klein” and “Culture” schools (which had been occupied by the army). The Jews were taken out of the army to be used for mandatory labor.

Only one month after all these, the country leadership was taken over by General Antonescu, who proclaimed Romania as a national Iron Army State. The iron army terror was unleashed in Bacau and in the whole country.

The iron army commander I. Panzaru was designated for the position of controller at the Population Compartment of the Police Department in Bacau: his duty was to make sure there was no illegal change in the Jews' juridical situation: “Prefecture of Bacau County, October 22nd, 1940. To the Mayor of Bacau City. Motivated by the order of the Minister of Inner Affairs. General Police Inspectorate, no. 73309/940, which informs us that a large number of Jews intend to choose Romania or stay illegally in the country, and to develop a serious check of all the Jews included in this category, and forbid any illegal change in their juridical situation, we are honoured to ask you, in agreement with the Iron Army Commander, to name an iron army soldier for the position of controller at the population office within the police department in this city. (undersigned) Prefect (undecipherable). Signature of City Hall representative: Comrade Panzaru is designated by the City Hall”8.

Offended and brutalized in all circumstances, the Jewish population in the city no longer had either safe living, or the safety of their belongings. The iron army authorities confiscated Jewish settlements, they took over the central bath, which belonged to the Community, and a big part of the grave yard.

On May 19th 1941, the Community in Bacau wrote: “Most honoured Union of Jewish Communities in the Old Kingdom. We inform you that, in the autumn of 1940, the agronomist from the City Hall of Bacau and several clerks entered the Jewish cemetery with no forms whatsoever, they had the graveyard ploughed and seeded [...]”9.

The iron guards started the action of “making Romanian” the staff of the private companies; protégés of those who had know taken over the local administration leadership were now replacing the fired Jews.

Then they learned about the iron army rebellion, about the pogrom in the Capital, where Aurel User had been killed as well.

Having defeated the iron army rebellion in January 1941, General Antonescu began to apply his policy regarding the Jews, a methodical policy, which was meant to destroy them. They started by confiscating the radios. In March-April, they began to expropriate the Jews' urban real estates. More than 1200 buildings were expropriated in Bacau10. Jews were called up for mandatory labor, and they were sent in detachments to remote localities. At the same time, there was a methodical propaganda action to stirring the population against the Jews. The Community leadership in Bacau was accused in the press for not having disowned the so-called aggressive actions against the Romanian troops, when they retreated from Basarabia. Severe interdictions were obstacles related to the Jews' circulation, to their contacts in groups including more than several persons. Before the beginning of the war, Jews who had been evacuated from near-border localities, as precaution, passed through the station in Bacau towards the camps in Caracal, Slatina and Turnu-Severin.

When the war began, the Jews in Bacau, trapped within so many interdictions, didn't learn too soon about the massacres in Iasi and about the “death trains”, which had passed through the station in Bacau, too. However, they felt the increasing harshness of their living conditions ever since the first days of July 1941. On July 4th, they displayed the announcement according to which all the Jews had to wear the discreditable “yellow star”. The chief of the police department, sub-inspector I. Cuptor, signed the order. Within a few days, they began to apply the order (no. 817 from July 3rd) by which 4-5000 Jews from Tg-Ocna, Moinesti and from the villages of the county were evicted from their homes and forced to come to Bacau, bringing along only a very small part of their belongings. The administrative bodies strictly respected the orders they had received (for example, order no. 4467 from June 28th), and gave no support whatsoever to the evacuees. Helped only by the relatives they had in Bacau and by the Community leadership, they could find rooms for shelter; it was the beginning of the very difficult problem of finding means to subsist. Thus, a considerably large number of people who had been brutally deprived from everything they struggled to have, added to the poor already existing in the city11. The Jewish population in Bacau had increased in a short while with more than 4000 people. From 9000 Jews, the number before the war, 13,038 Jews were registered in 1942, compared to a total population of 31,578 persons12. But the anti-Jewish measures didn't stop here. Leaders of the Community were taken as hostages in “Rabi Israel” and “Corn Dealers” synagogues, under the threat that they would be shot if the Jews dared to perform actions of rebellion or sabotage; only in 1942 was the hostages order abrogated.

The Jewish political prisoners, some of whom were native from Bacau or from other localities in the county, were transported to Transnistria - to Vapniarca and other camps.

Sisters Rena and Stela Marcusohn and the Pipergals died after deportation, according to the official documents.

At the same time, the City Hall ordered the Community leadership to provide, every day, about 200 Jews, whom they could use for the maintenance of the city13. They were used foe the works performed at the channel of the hydraulic plant, at city cleaning (under the supervision of the street sweepers employed by the City Hall), at the barracks of the military units or for the German Commandment in the city.

In autumn, the Government issued the decrees according to which all Jews, with no exceptions (therefore, including those in the labor detachments), are obliged to give the army items of clothing and shoes (jackets, coats, laundry, bed sheets, boots, etc.). The Community was held responsible for the execution of this measure. Despite all the efforts they made and all the material support that the Community tried to give to the poorer Jews, more than 3000 of the Jews who registered in Bacau at that time couldn't provide the quantities they had to give. Many of them didn't have the money to compensate for the value of these items. These Jews were declared offenders and involved in lawsuits; archives include evidence that more than 100 Jews from Bacau were sentenced by law courts to harsh penalties (years of imprisonment) and huge fines14.

In the following years, the application of the systematic measures continued and worsened, helping Antonescu's regime to physically and spiritually destroy the Jewish people. The Jews in Bacau experienced the effects of these measures, which emphasized their poverty, their disqualification, the aggravation of the conditions in which they lived. There was a considerable increase in the number of the Jews who were sent to mandatory labor in remote detachments (Ucea de Jos-Fagaras, Suraia-Putna, Parliti-Basarabia), as well as in the number of the handicraftsmen who were distributed to mandatory labor at C.F.R. (Railway Company) and military units (harness workshop in Focsani, tailors workshop in Rm. Sarat, etc.). After months of work in harsh conditions, many of the Jews in the detachments found themselves in the situation of not having anything left to wear and addressed desperate appeals to the Community to help them.

In the same time, many other Jews, who were available to the City Hall, were asked to perform all sorts of humiliating works for the town utility15.

Here is the reproduction of a document which exists at the branch of State Archives in Bacau, illustrating the harsh situation of those who had been called for mandatory labor: “The Community of the Jews in Focsani. 1942, October 18. Most honoured Community of the Jews in Bacau. We are honoured to inform you the following: Today the Jews Finkelstein Sloim, contingent 1935, 69 Leca Street, and Finkelstein Meilich, contingent 1933, 159 Stefan cel Mare Street, came at the office of our Community, both of them from Suraia mandatory labor detachment, native from your city, completely naked. Almost everyone in this detachment is in the same situation of terrible poverty [...]. Please do everything in your power to send without delay the necessary clothes and shoes... President, Dr. H. Copelovici, Secretary, S. Baron”16.

General Antonescu's order was applied, according to which, beside the mandatory labor, every Jew had to perform community service for ten years or pay money in exchange.

Beside the restrictions for doctors (the interdiction to see Christian patients, the obligation to have firms and headers with the inscription “Jewish Doctor”), some doctors were called to work for several months in sanitary units from Transnistria.

Here are some of those who were taken for mandatory labor in Transnistria: Dr. S. Sabath, from Bacau, Dr. C. Litman (evacuee from Moinesti) and Dr. M. Bernstein (evacuee from Tg.-Ocna). Four decades later, Dr. S. Sabath, established in Israel, remembered: “I left for Transnistria with a big wish to help - if possible - as many unhappy Jews as I could, and I managed - by a series of fortunate circumstances - to save from death a relatively large number of Jews, who had been destined to a one way road. I had been in the ghetto for 4 months”17.

According to Community statistics, about 2500 Jews performed different categories of mandatory labor18. Repeated laws and orders forced the Jews to pay important sums of money: the reunification loan, the exceptional subscription, fines for the smallest violations of the interdictions, all sorts of taxes for the exemption from some labor category, etc. Thus, a Community report showed that, until January 20th 1942, the Jews from Bacau paid about 19 million ROL for the reunification loan, and they would deposit the same amount once again during the next days19. In the same time, all sorts of measures forbade sending money, food or clothes to those who were in the outside detachments or to those deported in Transnistria. The Jewish population from Bacau was forbidden to procure the necessary food supplies, not only because they were always poorer, but also because repeated orders of the City Hall (which were displayed even during the first half of the year 1944) included severe interdictions for Jews: they could buy food only from certain places and at certain hours, they were not allowed any contacts with the rural population, the rationalized food quotas sugar, oil and even bread) were much smaller for Jews than for the rest of the population20.

Here are some fragments from the orders, which were displayed by the City Hall and Prefecture of Bacau during Antonescu's regime: The sugar ratio for May 1942: 500 grams per person for Christians and 200 grams for Jews (Disposition no. 18/4.VI.1942). The oil ratio for June 1942: 350 grams per person for Christians and 150 grams for Jews (Disposition no. 38/7.VIII.1942). The Jewish population will get their bread ratio after 10 a.m. (Disposition no. 39/10.VIII.1942). The bread ratio for Christians is of 250 grams per person, for Jews 150 grams per person (Disposition no. 1276/29.I.1943). Three bakeries were established for the Jews (Disposition no. 3499/3.III.1943). The price of bread is 17 ROL/loaf for Christians and 33 ROL/loaf for Jews (Disposition no. 9096/10.VI.1943). The rural population is forbidden to enter Jewish houses in order to sell food. Jews are allowed to buy supplies only from markets and stores, only after 10 a.m. (Disposition no. 31841/17.VI.1944), etc., etc.

Other restrictive measures were imposed to the Jews beside all these: for example, the special regime of rents that the Jews owed, living in buildings which had been expropriated from them (the Jews had to pay bigger rents than the rest of the population), the Jewish pharmacies were closed, evictions of Jews from buildings that were turned into public property21. Often it happened that Community buildings were abusively occupied (synagogues turned into warehouses, a building from Calea Oituz was turned into the contagious disease ward, etc.). The authorities continued to impose the “making Romanian” process to the enterprise staff. Thus, there was a continuous deterioration of the Jews' living conditions, large groups had always poorer sanitary conditions, many of them were undernourished fell prey to disease. One way or another, about 6500 Jews had become dependent on the aids that the Community could no longer provide. The systematic census of the Jewish population, which was ordered in 1942, was felt by the Jews from Bacau as a prelude to the application of the programme of massive deportation to Transnistria, and of sending the Jews from Bacau in ghettos, a programme that was increasingly more spoken of (it was given up only because of the changes in the front situation).

There were also Jews from Bacau who tried everything to get to Israel, thinking that they would escape the terrible conditions in which they had been brought. Embarking themselves on the “Struma” ship, in 1942, they died, drowned with the ship: Mircea Grünberg, Rubin Iehuda, Tvi Reicher, as well as Arnold Gartenberg and his wife (native from Moinesti), Iticovici with his wife and a niece (native from Tg.-Ocna).

Herbert Reichert, 18 years old (from 4 Stefan cel Mare Street) and Herscovici Iosif, 16 years old (from 7 Precista Street), from Bacau, were among the 315 Jews who died during the sinking of “Mefkure” ship22.

The registered figures are significant for the disastrous social consequences of the restrictive measures imposed by Antonescu's regime against the Jews, as they show, for the Jewish population in Bacau, a decrease in birth rate from 15.1% in 1938 to 5.6% in 1942, and an increase of mortality from 10.9% in 1938 to 18.7% in 194223.

Despite all these difficult conditions, the community from Bacau found resources to limit, as much as possible, the effects of the measures aimed at its physical and spiritual degradation. The Community supported the activity of a canteen, where many young people volunteered to work, and where 7-800 poor people got a meal every day (people from the C.F.R. Site, from the Technical Service of the City Hall and, especially families of those taken to the outside detachments).

The old people alms-house, where about 40 persons lived, received permanent aids. The Community had to collect and spend large amounts of money for these activitites, and to help the poor with wood, drugs, unleavened bread for Pesah, money for those who had trials, for not having given the clothes asked by the Government, winter aids, clothes for those in the detachments and even for those who had been deported to Transnistria, etc.

The youth, students of the Jewish primary schools and secondary school, helped by their teachers, organized a shelter for poor children, within synagogues.

The permanent aggravation of the Jews' material conditions imposed increasingly worsened financial tasks to the Community. In 1943, it had to spend 16,157,992 ROL for social assistance, twice more than the amount spent in 1942. When orphans were repatriated from Transnistria, the Community made a special effort to accommodate and look after the 21 children who had been brought to Bacau. Many Jews' actions of fraternal solidarity made an important contribution: those who had some material possibilities donated money; Community employees gave their salary for one day; the students of the Jewish primary schools and secondary school offered the little money they had. The Rabbi Office organized the education of these children in the Jewish spirit.

“The entire education of these children from an intellectual, religious and ritual point of view is an absolute necessity for them, as the future of these young people is their settling in Eretz, where they must come trained and educated in this spirit”, wrote Prime-Rabbi M. Blanc at that time24.

There were constant actions in the sanitary field, where all the doctors volunteered (including those who had come with the evicted Jews from the county). Distributed on neighborhoods, they guided the population to avoid contagious disease (especially typhoid, which had appeared, as well as exanthemum typhus). The Community clinic provided about 1000 free consultations every month. The maternity developed its activity, and a small ward for patients suffering from inner illness was added to it.

There were also important efforts related in education, in circumstances where the Jewish children didn't have access to public education. The orphanage was supported to function in “Marieskes” Synagogue, then in “Rabi Israel” Synagogue. There was no interruption in the courses for boys and girls within primary education, although in totally inappropriate conditions. A mixed theoretic secondary school and a commercial secondary school were founded, where, beside the analytic programme in the public schools, there were the additional subjects like Hebrew, history of the Jews, and cultural conferences were held; the students who had attended these secondary schools could take the exam in public schools in the autumn of 1944, therefore not only did they prove to be a center of spiritual resistance against Fascism, but also a step of life training. Although teaching was also performed by non-professionals, the results were many times exceptional. Famous people like the learned mathematician Solomon Marcus or the opera singer Blanche Adelstein were educated in these schools.

Children of pre-school age were not neglected. Two kindergartens were founded, and skillfully managed by Olga Iser and A. Solomon, with the material contribution of the A.C.F.E. Society.

Here is the number of students from the Community schools25:

YearTalmud ToraPrimary SchoolsSecondary SchoolsTotal

Here are the teachers: A. Wagner, M. Hirssohn, M. Herscu, E. Smeltzer, C. Zaharia, M. Zaharia, Z. Drimer, H. Iticovici, A. L. Iosif, I. Idelovici-Voledi, H. Simion, L. Haber, J. Hirssohn, J. Koffler, E. Mititelu, A. Lazarovici, E. Lupovici, S. Marcusohn, R. Marcusohn, I. Grinberg, G. Avram, F. Leopold, S. Smil, M. Lespeyeanu, M. Grunvald, E. Colenberg, S. Leibu, M. Aronovici, A. Schapira, P. Gutman, N. Vaserman, S. Knoll, E. Schwartz, I. Abramovici, H. Haimsohn, F. Marcu, I. Ilian, B. Stein, L. Videnfeld.

There were also attempts to start a vocational school, as well as a music school. However, they managed to organize an orchestra of classical and rhythmical music, which gave concerts, and contributed at shows where the youth manifested their hope for better days and their trust in a less sinister future for the Jews (for instance the show in 1943 performed by the secondary school students). The attempts to reopen the “Raza” library failed, as the front drawing near forbade any activity in this direction.

Many papers, such as those published by I. Voledi-Vardi, mentioned memories about the actions of spiritual resistance that had involved many young people: “The City upon Bistrita” and “Students without Uniform”, which were published in Israel.

The end of the war found the Jews in Bacau in a state of physical exhaustion, because of all the interdictions that had been imposed to them, and in a situation of economic disorganization, with about 2000 people trying to find means of subsistence (more than 700 workers and handicraftsmen and more than 550 clerks who were unemployed, as well as more than 600 ex-employers, whom had been deprived of their belongings). It was a community that had been profoundly marked by the brutalities and the constraints they had been enduring for so many years, a community that doubted, in its majority, the possibility to take life anew. During the first years after the war, there were enough Jews from Bacau who participated in the wave of emigration for Eretz Israel, especially as soon as the existence of the independent Jewish State was proclaimed. Those who didn't leave then, tried to reintegrate in the economic life of the country and rebuild a spiritual life, based on the old Jewish traditions. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that, in 1945, the Community from Bacau organized a practical agriculture school at Margineni26, that the organization of an industrial general school was being aimed at, and that, until 1948, the kindergarten, the Jewish schools and the Talmud Tora classes continued their activity.

We must also remember that, in 1946, the branch from Bacau of O.S.E. (the Sanitary Jewish Organization for mother and child protection) founded the “Sip of Milk” center at the maternity, where there was free distribution of the milk necessary for small children27, Dr. S. Sabath being the one who initiated this action.

During the period to come, when the Stalinist policy was promoted in Romania in all the fields, and when the Zionist movement was presented as an agency of imperialism, the Jewish population from Bacau was also confronted with the pressures from the Jewish Democratic Committee, which actually aimed to dissolve the Jewish religious institutions and suppress everything related to the Jewish tradition. At the same time, it was more and more obvious to the Jews that the “democratic” slogans of the totalitarian regime were actually hiding the methodical action of marginalizing the Jews, so that, in Bacau too, there were many people who, despite all risks involved (especially losing their positions), submitted applications to leave for Israel.

Only after the Jewish Democratic Committee had been “self- dissolved” and there was an obvious action from the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, led by Chief Rabbi dr. Moses Rosen, was there an organized activity both in the field of social assistance and in the direction of revitalizing the Jewish traditions. And, when the members of the Government accepted (of course, not from “ideological” reasons) to re-open the gates for emigration, the majority of the Jews in Bacau joined the several hundred thousand Jews who had left Romania, making their contribution to the strengthening of Israel, the reborn country of the Jewish people.

[Page 165]

The Central Archive of Jewish people in Romania
Census info for population having Jewish blood
Confirmation paper of receiving the census information with regards to the Jewish population in Bacau.

Police of Bacau

Within 48 hours, every Jewish man or woman, except the persons dressed in military uniform, serving in the army, will wear on the left side of the chest the Jewish star, two superposed triangles with sides of 6 cm made of yellow cloth.

Those who do not obey this regulation after the period specified above, will be arrested and handed over to the police authorities and military commendatory.

July 4th, 1941

Chief of the Police,
Sub inspector I. CUPTOR

The Bacau State Archives, Bacau City Hall, brief

21/1942, file 1

[Page 166]


Nr. 688 - January 23-rd 1942
Following the publication no. 161 dated January the 9-th 1942;

We hereby inform the citizens that the oil ratio for the month of January 1942, will be sold on the basis of cards issued by the Ministry of National Economy (ticket no. 1). The price is of 84 ROL for one liter.

From the quantity of 10 000 kg oil officially distributed to this town, 200 g for each person is due to the people living here permanently. In the same time, for the Jews who have been evacuated to this town we owe 100 g oil for each.

For the boarding houses, hostels, canteens, restaurants, etc. oil is distributed based on the schemes from “Oancea” and “Trotusul” stores.

The present publication will be displayed in order to be clearly seen in all traders' shops.

The Town Hall of Bacau

The Economic Department

The State Archives of Bacau, The Jewish Community foundation

[Page 167]

Mr. Director,

The undersigned, First Rabbi Moise Blana, chief of the Mosaic Cult from Bacau, please allow me to ask you kindly to absolve us of the responsibility of collecting the tax on the water from the Ritual Bath, since the Bath has been bought off by Region 6 as of January 20, 1942.

Please accept our great considerations.


Chief Rabbi Moise C. Blana
Stamped on March 27, 1942

Next letter is addressed to the Director of the town's factories.

The State Archives of Bacau, The Jewish Community foundation

[Page 168]

Ministry of Internal Affairs
Bacau Townhall

To :

Ministry of Internal Affairs
Direction of Local Administration


As a result of the circular order H.4G.714 from March 4, 1942, we are honoured to report the following:

In Bacau, there over 1200 Jewish buildings which have been expropriated. We believe that these buildings can be given in the possession of all Romanians with full rights, who have been demobilized in their time, according to norms which will be established for this process.

Moreover, with the exception of these buildings, it is also possible to give in possession buildings for at least 200-250 houses currently located on the communal land, specifically designated for this purpose by processes and definitive decisions. Their application cannot be stopped by the situation recently created of changing the destination of this land without right of distinction. Our report no.85331941 addresses this issue and it is enclosed in a copy, certified and waiting either for an order to be executed or for the right moment when the Justice Department will intervene directly or incidentally.

Please find attached a copy of the requested questionnaire.


General Secretary,

The Bacau State Archives, Bacau City Hall, brief 20/1942, file 100

[Page 169]

Mr. Prefect

The undersigned, Lawyer D. Ionas, President of the Jews Community of Bacau, with much respect I submit to your attention the following:

Our community takes care of a canteen for poor people where 800 people eat daily.

In order to supply the needed food, it is absolutely necessary for the canteen's delegate to go each morning at the market and groceries stores.

Due to the fact that by your order no. 12088 dated May 6, 1942 it is completely forbidden for the Jewish population to do any shopping until 10 o'clock, an hour when almost nothing can be found on the market, or in any case, it is quite late to buy one's stock. Therefore, please kindly approve and dispose the issuing of a special authorization for our delegate Mr. Tauber Zalman, the canteen's administrator, based on which, he may go to the market and groceries stores, with the special obligation that everything he buys is designated only for the Jewish poor people of our Community.

Without this authorization the canteen will have to be closed. Therefore, a large number of poor people having no other possibility to support themselves will be abandoned in the worst misery of life.

Please receive, Mr. Prefect, the expression of our special consideration.

D. Jonas

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 170]

Town Hall of Bacau

No. 34 from July 18th, 1942

We, the Mayor of the Town of Bacau,

Considering the Decision of the State Secretariat of the Agriculture and Estate Department, no. 12.502, published in the Official Gazette issue 162 from July 13th, 194


Art. 1.- Starting with the date of issuance of this publication, we forbid the ritual slaughtering of cattle and poultry, for both public and private consumption, even with prior dizziness.

Art. 2- The community and police authorities will take measures to ensure compliance of the provisions in the above-mentioned Decision no. 12.502, canceling the previously given authorizations, according to Art. 72 from the Slaughter Houses Regulations.

Art. 3- The violation of the provisions in the above-mentioned Decision represents a major offence, and it can be punished according to Art. 8 of the Law for Animal Protection.

Officers and Agents of the State General Police Department, Bodies of the Sanitary-Veterinary Service, as well as the Community Police, have the duty to fulfill this act.

Mayor, M. Vagaunescu
Retired Lt.-Colonel

State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community in Bacau, file 25/1942, p. 125

[Page 171]

The Jewish Community of Bacau, July 22, 1942

Dear Colleagues,

We have divided the town into 14 sectors such that each physician will have a smaller area of population to attend to.

The first physician on the list will make house calls attending to the sick population, while the second one will ensure the health and sanitary procedures are followed as required, visiting almost every family once a week. The following month, the roles will alternate and so each physician will be making house calls every two months. We understand that we are asking for a lot of sacrifices from the medical personnel in comparison with their conational counterparts, however given the difficult times we are going through, we hope that no one will refuse to help any sick Jewish person. In fact, this took place in almost every other city.

Best regards,

Dr. Lasarov,
Chief of the Sanitary Committee of the Jewish Community
1 - 10 names the doctors assigned to the various streets of the town.

State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community in Bacau, file 12/1943, file 55

[Page 172]

No. 1979 from August 9th, 1942

Regiment 5 Pioneers

Damming Detachment

To the Jewish Community of Bacau

Honorably, we ask you to take urgent measures and send the supplies of clothes and shoes to the poor Jews who perform mandatory labor on this site, as they are left completely naked, since they don't have the means to procure the necessary clothes for themselves.

Please send us the confirmation urgently.

Commander of the Damming Detachment, signed and stamped

State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community in Bacau, file 12/1942, p. 82

[Page 173]

State Sub-Secretariat for the “Romanizare” Process (I.E. A Process by which Romanians are Entitled to Land & Property), Colonizing and Census Information - General Department Bacau

To Mr. Pepi Reiger

15 August Street, No. 26 No. 3312 from October 1942


According to the Ministerial Decision no. 5486 from July 30th, 1942, published in the Official Gazette issue 176 from July 31st, 1942, please acknowledge the fact that the building (apartment, shop), which you have rented so far, has been leased to a person of Romanian ethnic origin, therefore you will have to evict the building on October 26th, 1942, the latest.

If you do not comply with this invitation, you will be referred to the Justice Department, for having sabotaged the “Romanizare” process, and you will be evicted according to the provisions of Art. 15 of Law no. 393 from May 27th, 1942, depending on the damage for which you will be held responsible.

General Administrator,
Signed and stamped

A.C.M.E.O.R. Archives, Israel, Bacau

[Page 174]


Bacau County Prefecture

Decree No. 1097

We, Lt. Col. Constantin Ionescu, the Prefect of Bacau County

Given the numerous attempts made by some Jewish people in sabotaging the propaganda and in order to stop illegal & dishonest trade, on the basis of Art. 7, law No. 3229-940, and art 100 of the Administrative Law, we are ordering the following:

Art. 1 It is strictly forbidden for any Romanian person to enter any Jewish house, either for selling groceries or for any other reason.

Art. 2 It is strictly forbidden for any Jew to participate either as a middle person or directly in the commerce with cattle, grains or any other goods.

Art. 3 It is strictly forbidden for any Jewish tradesmen or professionals to walk around on or to station themselves on the streets for the purpose of acquiring clients; they will have to stay within the limits of their shops while exercising their profession.

Art. 4 No Jew will be allowed to enter the market, except authorized butchers, having in their possession the legal forms allowing them to shop for the slaughter houses they work for.

Art. 5 Those not obeying the present order will be immediately sent to concentration camps, according to the current legislature.

Art. 6 All Judicial & Administrative police officers will ensure the present order will be adhered to and will punish the ones disobeying it.

Dated today November 7th 1942 in our office.


Lt. Col. C.S. Ionescu & N. Vlahuta

State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community in Bacau, file 20/1942, p. 106

[Page 175]

The Jewish Community High school

The Teaching Staff

No.NameCourses taughtAcademic CredentialsEmployed since
1Iticevici, HarscuReligion, HistoryRabbi34 yrs
2Driser, AiticJewish History & HebrewLaw DegreeNov. 1, 1940
3Sohapira, AlfredNatural ScienceMedicine Fac/BucSep. 1, 1927
4Zaharia, CarolinaRomanianB.A. Lit & Lang.Nov. 1, 1940
5Idelevici, IosifHistory, RomanianLaw Degree, IasiNov. 1, 1940
6Zaharia, MariaPhilosophy, LawTeaching College, CernautiNov. 1, 1940
7Wagner, AurelMathematicsVienna UniversityOct. 1, 1919
8Cutnann, PincuMathematicsLiege UniversityOct. 1, 1941
9Schneltzer, EmanoilGeographyIasi UniversitySep. 1, 1926
10Hirschezohn, NatiaGerman Lang.Law degree, Lit. & Lang.Sep. 1, 1930
11Waceman, Marcu Dr.Latin Lang.Vienna UniversityApr. 10, 1902
12Fainaru, MisuMathematics, PhysicsDr. Chemist Eng.Nov.1, 1941
13Haber, LeonDrawing & Fine ArtsFac. Of Architecture, RomeNov. 1, 1940
14Knell, SolemonAccountingMunchen UniversityNov. 1, 1940
15Kaffler, JeanMusicConservatory, BucNov. 1, 1940
16Schwartz, EtiHome EconomicsTradesmen SchoolNov. 1, 1940
17Sinon, HildaFrench LangLaw DegreeJan. 1, 1940
18Mititelu, B. BuilPhys. EdLaw Degree, Electrical Eng.Mar. 1, 1940
19Hirschezohn, JerozeMathematics, ChemistryTeaching CollegeMar. 1, 1940
Maria Zaharia

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 177]

Envelope sent from the concentration camp in Auschwitz by Muyel Brill to Leon Brill in Bacau in 1943 with a German stamp

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

Envelope sent from the concentration camp in Auschwitz by Muyel Brill to Leon Brill in Bacau in 1943 with a German stamp

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 178]

List with the names of the teaching staff of the Jewish Elementary Boy School F. Klein of the Jewish Community of Bacau, academic year 1941 - 1942

Dated June 29, 1942 Bacau

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 179]

Community Auditorium

May 1943


“Haloimes - Melody”

Humouristic-musical fantasy in 2 acts & prologue

By N. Kanner

Under the patronage of Mr. Mise Grad, honorary president of Bacau County


The Jewish Community Orchestra in Bacau, led by Professor Jean Koffler & Mirela Marcusohn presents the following instrumentists:

Violin: Iosif Katz, Rutu Goldstein
Piano: Ricu Moscovici
Accordion: Fred Simon, Eugen Feldherr, Izi Lazarovici
Trumpet: Sergiu Laufer, Jean Coralsicor
Clarinet: Miuta the son
Drums: Lazar Mayerovici

[Pages 180 & 181] Correspondence table with writings by Jews in the concentration camp Grosulovo to their families. 32 Jews had written to their families. At the bottom, there is a stamp which states that the writings have been censored and checked by authorities.

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 182]

Authorization Paper

The Jewish Sergeant Rottman Henry (from year 1941) located on Str. Bradului No. 5 is re-assigned for mandatory work on regiment Laptari Calugara starting on May 7th 1944. Furthermore, he is allowed to walk on the streets from 5 AM till 8 PM.

Signed by commander on May 7th 1944 in Bacau.


In accordance with the “Baricada” order No. 33 issued on May 7th 1944, all Jewish people between the ages of 18-50 from Bacau are to present themselves to the Bacau Communal Court on May 11th 1944, at 7:30 am for a census reading.

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

[Page 120]

F. Aspects of the Spiritual Life

The Jewish Community from Bacau

Bucharest, 1995

The Jews were bilingual in Bacau. They spoke - of course - Romanian. However, there was not one family - of poor or wealthy people - where Yiddish, the common language of the Jews from Eastern Europe, was not spoken.

Of course, every child acquired at heider (the orthodox school) elements of Hebrew, the language of the Biblical texts: the alphabet, reading the prayers and other religious texts, writing in Jewish letters, basic norms of the Jewish religion. A more profound knowledge of Hebrew was acquired only by those - relatively few - students who studied in iesivot, places for the systematic study of the Bible and of Talmud. The Jewish population used Hebrew only at religious services, which took place in synagogues, or on the occasion of other ritual events. Otherwise, what the ordinary Jews (especially women) knew from Hebrew were the Hebrew words and expressions, which had become a part of the Yiddish linguistic thesaurus throughout the centuries. Yiddish was an essential means of communication, beside the one used with the Romanian population. People used Yiddish, speaking and writing, in all the circumstances of every day life, beginning with family life, continuing with the relations within different preoccupations, and even in the spiritual life, in a considerable measure. Yiddish was used for different notes and calculations, engagement, marriage and divorce documents, private or commercial correspondence. Beside Hebrew, Yiddish was used in the registers of the Jewish handicraftsmen communities and of other fraternities. The sermons, the occasional speeches, the greeting were made in Yiddish. In order to understand the meaning of the prayers, Yiddish translations were used; there were also special prayers in this language (”Tehines”). There was a very popular Yiddish compilation of the Biblical texts (”taicihimes”). Of course, the oral folk creation was also produced in Yiddish.

The Jews from Bacau started to use Romanian gradually, as they increased their relations with the majority population. As it had become currently spoken, Romanian got to be used in writing as well, after the development of modern primary education system.

Let us analyze a bit the Yiddish folk creation of the Jews in Bacau. We can say that it played an important part in their life; it included stories, anecdotes, and especially proverbs and sayings. The Yiddish folklore from Bacau enjoyed the attention from collectors and researchers only in the 20th century. I. Kara, who published folkloric material ever since 1923, collected poems, stories and anecdotes from Bacau. They say that the Hasidic tzadik Rabi Mihel Dorohoianu came “on tour” to Bacau. A fruit trader, named Haim Rubinstein, came to him complaining that he had too many fruit and no buyers. The tzadik told him to be patient. Winter passed too, but the plums were still unsold. Then the trader wired the tzadik the following text: “Purim has passed, I haven't sold my plums, what is to be done?”28\. Dr. Israel Fuhrman, who lived in Bacau between 1946 and 1965, collected many proverbs and sayings from this place, which he included in a remarkable work with folkloric material from Romania29. He disposed the material in alphabetic order. Only at the last five letters of the alphabet were there 47 proverbs and sayings collected in this city. Here are some examples, with an attempt of translation and adaptation: “Andere taitn andere laitn”, meaning “Other times, other people” or “People change with the circumstances”; “Me darf tisteln a times steindlah”, meaning “We make a stone compote” - in other words, something impossible to achieve; “Tures ghein avechi in naie angstn kimen un”, “Troubles are going, necessities are coming”.

The creations of those popular troubadours, known as “badheni”, were closely related to folklore. At the same time, authors, composers, actors and, sometimes, editors of their own productions, they wrote poems and songs with educational contents, they improvised programs closely related to the realities of the age, and performed them in different circumstances (weddings, baptisms, Purim celebrations, etc.); all these had a special echo among ordinary people.

The most famous representative of this category of creators, Velvl Zbarjer Ehrenkrantz (subsequently considered as a forerunner of the Yiddish Theater and to whom great Itic Manger, decades later, paid his respects in a poetic creation a great sensibility), came in 1860-1870, to present his programmes in Bacau too. He also had a friend here, A. Meisel, known for his activity as a doctor, and for his taking part in community actions, where he manifested his opinions as a militant of Hasacala.

A typical modern representative of this category of popular troubadours was Lipa Rudich (Lipa Radescu, as he undersigned sometimes), native from Bacau. He was an author of poems and songs as well, a fan of the theater (perhaps a prompter too), interpreting his own creation, sometimes with a satirical nuance.

He had the life of a Bohemian, which took him to Bucharest and to other towns of the country, even abroad, to Constantinopol (where, apparently, he also got married). In 1882, he published “Col Rina”, a collection of songs, written in Yiddish. And a play, having the title in Romanian “Father's Will” or “The Knave”, and which had 5-6 characters. In 1884, he continued to publish songs, but the material success was a weak one. Then he wrote and published texts for amateurs who played Purim theater (”Pirempsil”). His work, entitled “Lipoles Verk”, which included 15 songs, was published at Bacau at Azriel Margulies' printing house; the cost of a copy was of 50 coins.

In 1886, he was planning to publish a weekly magazine, “Die Tukunft” (”The Future”), registering subscribers for it; the magazine was published, entitled “A mesimet in der mispuhe” (”A Renegade in the Family”). Lipa Rudich's songs, such as “The Thief after Death” or “It's a Shame” (the monologue of a tailor's apprentice), are filled by the type of humor similar to the one in “The Testament” of François Villon, whom Lipa obviously did not know. Lipa Rudich had a premature death, when he was only 40. Here is the note on his modest tombstone in Bacau: “Year [5]658. In the memory of a learned man, late Lipa Meier, son of Tvi, deceased on 8 Menahem Av and buried on the Fast day. May his soul be included in the connection of the eternal life”. In 1948, one of his sisters still lived in Bacau, holding the position of “firzugern” at the synagogue (meaning she was a lecturer for those women who were not well familiarized with the prayers). She still had some manuscripts left from her brother, and was able to reproduce some of his songs.

Here are, in approximate translation, fragments from the song “The Thief after Death”, which we have found at Lipa Rudich's sister. The song begins with the lyrics:

“My mother told me that in my childhood I proved to be mean,
She used to say I was possessed by devils,
As I was gamboling, singing, dancing, jumping,
I made my parents' life a living hell”
After he has talked about how he had learned to steal as a child, and mentions, in a humorist way, different situations when he proved his skill of stealing, the thief - now on the death bed - concludes:
“And now there is no use for you, death, to believe that everything comes to an end. If it is true that Heaven includes wealthy people sitting on golden chairs, Then you should know that no locks could stop me. I will enter Heaven and pick everyone's pocket”.
V. Isac published memorable words about Lipa Radescu30\, as he mentions the following quatrain, which legend attributes to him:
“We are all mortals,
This I have always said;
But I am sorry that the odds
Chose that I should die as well...”
The other troubadour mentioned in the article was another picturesque figure: Eliahu Margulies.

In 1895, he published the brochure “Zamlung fin ale naiste in senste folcsider aroisgheghebnfin Eliahu Margulies”. (Its translation would be: “A Collection of the Latest and Most Beautiful Folk Songs, edited by Eliahu Margulies”). The author (who entitled himself “Mnemonic physiognomist”) published here a set of poems, which had been dedicated to him in Hebrew, Yiddish, Romanian and Latin; one of them was signed by A. Goldfaden. The booklet also included a portrait of Margulies, as well as advertisements, one for his “art”, others for his “sponsors”. In 1895, Eliahu Margulies also published the brochure entitled “Teater lider in folcslider” (”Songs from the theater and folk songs”), sold for 15 coins per copy31.

Printer H. Margulies published between 1894 and 1899 Jewish calendars (Iuah). In every calendar, he published in Yiddish one or more moralizing poems, in the tradition of the bards “badhunim”32. In 1898, he also published the Yiddish version of the statute of the Mutual Help Society “Aghidas Haboinim”.

Iacov D. Rozenweig showed a special attachment to the Yiddish culture, as he was the one who had published - as a secondary school student - A. I. Lobel's nespaper “The Present” at Bacau in 1876-1878. As he knew Yiddish very well, he published later on, under the name of Sotec-Leteanu, “Micol Rina”, a collection from Velvl Zbarjer's texts, drafting linguistic studies and elaborating original concepts in this field.

Volf Iser from Bacau also used Yiddish in his works beside Hebrew. He began to write poaems since he had been 15. Although the majority of his productions were in Hebrew, in 1930, he published at Bacau (at Goldsmit printing house) the paper “Reflecsn iber idn in idntum” (”Thought about the Jews and Judiaism”), in Yiddish, and a year later, a booklet including poems in Yiddish.

In 1946, several Jewish writers, repatriated from Northern Bucovina, settled in Bacau. While they lived here, they participated in the cultural activity in Yiddish, both by means of conferences, and by spreading the literature in this language. Hers Segal, a teacher of mathematics, distinguished supporter of the Yiddish culture, took notes with the folklore of the deported people from Transnistria, and with the confessions of the orphans from the deportation camps; then he published them in Israel, where he eventually settled.

Mr. A. Klein made a remarkable contribution to the knowledge of the modern Yiddish literature by publishing in 1947, at Bacau, his valuable translation in Romanian of Eliezer Steinbarg's fables. As he also left for Israel, he continued his activity as a writer and a translator there.

The Jews from Bacau had always manifested their attachment to the Yiddish culture, by the interest with which they welcomed, during the inter-war period, the tours of important Yiddish theater companies (Mali Picon, Kaminska, Vilna, Alexandru Moisi). Local amateur troupes (students and athletes) also gave performances. Saraga Lorian, an actor and a lyricist, remembered for his unforgettable role of Zeilig Sor from Ronetti Roman's play “Manasse”, was greatly appreciated by the Jewish and Romanian audience.

We have shown in another part that some Rabbis from Bacau gave their contribution by works in the development of the Hebrew traditional culture. There were also lay learned men, such as Volf Iser and Mayer Eibschitz, who published works in Hebrew. However we shall analyze the contribution to the promotion of Hebrew language by certain Jewish teachers, who worked in Bacau and who were “maskili” (followers of the rationalistic trend Hascala).

During 1869-1871, M. Schwartz administered the Jewish-Romanian primary school from Bacau. Born in Breslaw (Wroclaw), he immigrated to Romania, quickly learned to speak Romanian and managed to publish a set of school textbooks, for both the Jewish schools and public schools (arithmetic and reading textbooks). W. Schwarzfeld published information about the life of this teacher33. His first Hebrew textbook was entitled “Imrot tehorot lehadrin ialdei bnei Israel badereh haemuna...” and the Romanian title was “Clean words or sentences from the Bible to be used for teaching religion to the Jewish youth from the United Principalities. Collected and corrected according to the Jewish text by M. Svarti, the Inspector of the Jewish-Romanian schools from Iasi”. The textbook was published in 1862. In 1863, Schwartz published another textbook, which was meant to replace the traditional system of learning the Pentateuh (Torah), by means of the folk language. It was entitled “Biblical history, adapted from the original text by M. Svartiu, inspector and religion teacher of the Jewish-Romanian schools from Iasi”. Another textbook of M. Schwartz, entitled “Mesilat halimud Vehakeria”, with a German subtitle “Erstes Hebraeisches Lehrund Lesebuch” (”The First Hebrew Textbook for Learning and Reading”), was published in 1873 and it was supposed to replace the educational system in the orthodox schools. Starting from the maskilic prejudice according to which Hebrew was “bad” German, the author wanted to teach the Jewish children good German, by translations from Hebrew texts. The book also included elements of religious education, as well as issues of Hebrew grammar.

In 1895, a book of popularizing the history of the Jewish people, “Sefer Divrei haemet”, was published in Bacau. Its author was M. Braunstein, whose pen name was Mibasan. Born in Iasi in 1858, he worked in the Jewish primary schools, in Bacau and other localities, and he was the co-founder of “'Dr. Iuliu Barasch' Historical Society”. He published “The History of the Jews for the use of the Jewish schools in the country” (”Samitca” Printing House from Craiova), translations from Hebrew, “Hamore” (”The Teacher”) textbooks of Hebrew.

In 1897, “Sefer more ivrit”, by Mose Orenstein, was published in Bacau, an instructional textbook for the first two primary classes. The same Mose Orenstein edited at Bacau the Hebrew magazine “Lahoren”.

Lazar (Eliezer) Casvan (the son of the well-known Rabbi Avner Casvan), born in 1852 and who was a teacher at the Jewish school in Bacau for a while, is the author of a grammar book of Hebrew, entitled “Sefer tora sefat ever”. The book was published in Bucharest, in 1895, as it was edited by the Society for Jewish-Romanian instructional books.

The information related to “pre-inscribers” gives us a certain image of the interest regarding the Yiddish and Hebrew cultures among the Jewish people. There had been a habit that the authors of works in Hebrew and Yiddish (Biblical and Talmudic comments, panegyric comments, rabbinic responses, occasional works, etc.) should visit different communities and enroll people in a list of subscribers for the works which were to be published, with payment in advance. Of course, only a part of the subscribers were really interested in the contents of the papers, which sometimes surpassed the level of their knowledge; but their gesture was an efficient support for the authors, who thus had dozens of subscribers. A very valuable book, published in 1985, shows that there were many such “pre-inscribers” in the communities from Bacau and in the whole county.

As the Jews in Bacau began to use Romanian, an increasing number of Jews developed their activity in the intellectual field, using this language. We mention here “The Present” newspaper, created by A. L. Löbel in 1876, and which, until 1878, approached issues of both general and Hebrew interest. Personalities such as A. S. Gold, Elias Scwarzfeld, Rabbi Taubes (from Barlad), B. Labin (from Botosani) and I. H. Flor (from Dorohoi) collaborated for “The Present”. Under Löbel's supervision and M. Scwarzfeld's editorship, the “Calendar for the Jews” was printed at Bacau in 1877, where (with the collaboration of L. and M. Brociner, of Richard Torceanu and Dr. Karpel Lippe) studies of Jewish folklore were published, as well as translations from universal literature and original stories,

Actually the press in Romanian became increasingly used by many Jewish intellectuals from Bacau, who thus contributed to the creation of a climate favorable to culture in the city. In his monograph, Gr. Grigorovici enumerates, among the leaders of the press in Bacau, Bernard Klein (who was the vice-president of the Press Association in the city), Paul Kissler-Bistriceanu (chief-editor of the weekly publication “Gazette of Bacau”), Roland Kaufman (who edited the “Trend of Bacau” and then daily paper “The Hour”), M. Margulius-Margarit (who ran the newspaper “The City of Bacau”) and Lupu Glasman (correspondent of the newspaper “The World”). In the book “Special Delegate”, this list is completed with other journalists who had a notable activity in Bacau: Emil Mititelu, H. Rabinson and I. Voledi.

Let's also mention other contributions of the Jews to the local cultural life.

Gr. Grigorovici notes that Daniil Klein was the President of the Cultural League for a while.

In 1915, the magazine “New Horizons” was published in Bacau, as a result of the commune activity of three men of culture: the poet G. Bacovia, Ion Iordachescu and Smil Kraus; all three of them published poetry and prose here, using a pen name.

During the inter-war period, the Association of the Jewish Students, as well as other Jewish cultural circles invited famous writers for lectures in the city: Gala Galaction, N. D. Cocea, Gh. Marinescu, Felix Aderca and others.

The “Raza” library, with the thousands of books it included and the conferences organized there, was a center of culture for the entire population. Those Jews, who functioned as teachers at the public secondary school, attracted entire generations of students to them and culture. The Jewish actors Lori Cambos and Misu Rozeanu, who successfully played at the Theater in Bacau, created a cultural environment.

Many Jews started from Bacau, and tried to do something in different fields of the spiritual life of Romania. It would be difficult to name all those who left their marks in thess fields: scientists, actors, writers, literary critics, musicians, etc. Time will tell who represent authentic cultural values. We only limit ourselves to mention several prestigious names here, who were related to the city on the Bistrita river: painter N. Vermont, mathematicians Solomon Marcus and Alfred Haimovici, actor N. Stroe...

We close this chapter with fragments from a text that we owe to Carol Isac and which describes the Jews' life in Bacau as reflected in literature and arts:

“The impressions created after the contact of some remarkable artists with the Jewish inhabitants of Bacau, underlines, beyond their professions, their spiritual restlessness, their passion for books and for the philosophical dispute. Painter Nicolae Grigorescu owes his Jewish portraits, which was characterized by the artistic critic George Oprescu as an important element of his work, to his visit in Bacau, in July 1874[...]

The canvas entitled 'Pub from Bacau', 'Rabbi', 'A Jew from Moldova', 'Old Jew', shows faces where we can see wisdom, but also suffering for all the great pains of the world, the tragedy and the triumph of a poor life, based, however, on spiritual harmony. 'A Jew from Moldova' includes realistic elements in its compositional structure, an emphasized human verisimilar, marking the sublime concord between external existence and inner life [...]

The poet George Bacovia, for whom living among Jews, all being citizens of Bacau, was an absolutely normal thing, notes the tragedy of being separated from the native land of 'Ebreia' (a poem which was initially published in 'The Cultural Athenaeum', issue 2, 1927), by the eulogy brought to the sensitiveness of those 'swallowed up by America', but who 'don't forget their country'. The poet's identification with the destiny of Ebreia is according to the resistance to a destiny that fights the normal wishes of a human being, 'Ebreia / as we miss our country, / You die in tears, looking across the ocean, / I cry in the old continent'. Allusions to the Jewish co-citizens, whom the poet appreciated a lot, also appear in his prose, but not in an emphasized manner; it is defiantly the proof of the lack of difference in destiny and suffering of all people - a poetic creed, which influenced the entire work of the poetic genius in Bacau.

Other Descriptions of the Jewish inhabitants are included in D. D. Patrascanu's prose; there are observations related to their traditions and everyday life, but with no exotic emphasis. The writer includes the life of the native people in a cosmos of somewhat stereotypical everyday life, shifting between major worries and troubles and small joys. The Jews participate to this only with some distinctive color, which actually belongs, according to the poet, in their integrity, to this place just like the other inhabitants [...]

The prose writer Marius Mircu reflected the Jewish community in his volumes 'Special delegate' (1974), 'The Tailor in Back' (1979) and 'I was Born a Reporter' (1981). There is the opinion of the reporter who is interested, by the nature of his profession, in everything and everyone. According to M. Mircu, the city of Bacau in the first half of the 20th century had a flourishing Jewish community, with no inferiority complex. His narrations are according to the real documents he makes reference to, and to the memory of the contemporaries; there seems to have been no field of activity in which the Jews were not included. They were among the great manufacturers and among the obscure intermediaries, involved in suspicious business related to intended fires.

Marcel Marcian's prose is even more aware of the characteristic nuances of the Jewish community. 'Tell you' (1977) and 'And as I Was Telling You' (1980) are the delight of the reader who wants to learn more details or to find himself in the specific atmosphere that the writer evokes. It is a world of subtle pictoresque, not at all ostracized in its own laws, which makes all the joy of his writings; just like the other writers evoked hereby - Jews or not - there is an emphasis on the unit of existence with the entire population; a ghetto, even if it is only a spiritual one, is a notion which is rejected or avoided from the very beginning.

However, in Alexandru Sever's prose, the Jews' everyday rituals are more emphasized. In the story volume 'Memory of Pain' (1986) there are such aspects of relationships that are only left in the memory of those who have lived them. 'The Sadchen from Bacau' reminds all of the wedding practices from remote times from a nostalgic-ironic perspective.

There are other evocations of the Jewish community from Bacau in other sporadic or occasional writings, such as those related to the activity of the Jewish secondary school, which functioned here during the years of the racist persecution, writings that are subjective and, of course, incomplete concerning specifically the Jewish physiognomy of the community”.

This monograph about Bacau can be continued, as related to many other aspects of the past. Unfortunately, there will be no page about the future. In the city on the Bistrita river, “the Jewish world” is a notion, which is about to disappear...

[Page 196]

a) Calendar for Jewish People for the year 5638 (1877-1878), by A.L. Lobel

b) Jewish Document

c) Entry Ticket issued by the “First Society 'FRATERNA' for helping the ones affected by sickness & death. Founded on January 27th 1879 to a Concert given by

the renowned violin player and singer B. HELSINGER to support the foundation of “Theodor Herzl” synagogue. The date, place and a schedule of the concert will be published at a later date in a special announcement. For a reserved space - 1 Leu. June 20th 1904

[Page 197]

“Theodore Herzl” Synagogue Bacau


With the purpose of making the name of this great man of Israel everlasting, the oldest society of this town builds a synagogue in his memory. Therefore, the society appeals warmly to you in order to kindly support this project.

The name and number of tickets bought by each person will be made public and written on the commemorative picture preserved forever in this holly place.

With deep respect,

The Committee

Bacau, August the 1st 1904

a) Book cover “Poems in Hebrew & Yiddish” by Wolf Isser, published in Bacau in January 1931

b) Another book cover “Fables” by Ezer Steinbarg, translated from Yiddish by A. Clain, Bacau 1931

The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944

a) Professor Al.L.Iosif


In collaboration with: Prof. S. SIMON & G. BRUCHMAIER, 1989



The museum “From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau” 1703- 1944



11 Alexandru cel Bun str.



“From the history of the Jewish People Living in Bacau”. 1703 -1944

d) marius mircu

The Tailor of Back

Printed by Cartea Româneasca (The Romanian Book)


  1. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 5/1939, p. 8, 8/v. Return

  2. Idem, “Fraterna” Society, file 3/1900, p. 178. Return

  3. Idem, Jewish Community, file 4/1939, p. 53, 54/v. Return

  4. Idem, Jewish Community, file 26/1939, p. 131-134, 150, 152. Return

  5. Idem, Jewish Community, file 23/1939, p. 1-6. Return

  6. Idem, Jewish Community, file 4/1939, p. 51. Return

  7. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 159/1939. Return

  8. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 27/1940, p. 239. Return

  9. Idem, Jewish Community, file 6/1941, p. 68. Return

  10. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 20/1942. Return

  11. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 13/1941, p. 66, 67. Return

  12. Jewish World Congress, Jewish Settlements in Romania - Statistic Memento, Bucharest, 1947, p. 43. Return

  13. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 36/1941. Return

  14. Idem, Jewish Community, file 57/1941, p. 1-117. Return

  15. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 30/1942, p. 18 and file 44/1942, p. 13-16. Return

  16. Idem, Jewish Community, file 12/1942, p. 50. Return

  17. I. Voledi-Vardi, op. cit., p. 120. Return

  18. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 12/1942, p. 58. Return

  19. Idem, Jewish Community, file 4-1942, p. 9. Return

  20. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 20/1943, p. 25, andfile 11/1944, p. 11, 43. Return

  21. Idem, City Hall of Bacau, file 3/1943, p. 198, file 7/1943, p. 80, 82, 84 and file 34/1944, p. 65. Return

  22. Zionist Central Archive in Jerusalem, file L 15/295, B. cf. Albert Finkelstein, Mefkure Tragedy, p. 183-184. Return

  23. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 1/1943, p. 195, 225. Return

  24. Idem, Jewish Community, file 5/1944, p. 228, file 20/1944, p. 4, 31, 32 and file 9/1944, p. 28. Return

  25. Pinkas Hakehilot Romania, vol. I, Jerusalem, 1970, p. 14-15. Return

  26. State Archives of Bacau, Jewish Community, file 1/1945. Return

  27. Idem, Jewish Community, file 1/1946, p. 3, 4. Return

  28. I. Kara, in collection “Bukarester Sriftn”, vol. 5, 1972, p. 173. Return

  29. Dr. Israel Fuhrman, in “Sprichverter in Rednsartn ghezamit in Rumenie”, Tel-Aviv, 1960, issues 1350, 1362, 1380. Return

  30. V. Isac, Two Troubadours, in “The Magazine of the Mosaic Cult”, issue 119/1965. Return

  31. “Folksblat”, Bucharest, issue 108, August 1895. Return

  32. Itic Svart, Confessions from old times, Bacau, p. 37. Return

  33. “Year book for the Jews”, year XII, 1889-1890, p. 34-35. Return

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