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[Page 327]


Tribute to Some of the Larger Townships
that Belonged to Bethlen District


Ispánmezö [Spermezeu, Romania]

4718' 2409'

Translated by Susan Geroe

Ispanmezo, deserves to take its place separately within the framework of larger townships that belonged to Bethlen District. Aside from its designation as recording administrative district and as such a hub that was handling the daily problems of numerous communities and villages, it was also home to a significant Jewish community. It numbered more than forty families, or nearly two hundred Jewish souls. Of course, with the addition of the Jewish population from the surrounding villages, it becomes evident why Ispanmezo grew into an important center.

Spitz Majer, the well known scholarly member of the Transylvanian rabbinical affiliates, served in the capacity of chief rabbi for a while. From here, he went on to become Chief Rabbi of Beszterce, while Ispanmezo elected rabbi his son, Mose. Spitz Majer was deported with the Beszterce Community and became a martyr, as did his congregation. His son, Mose, who survived deportation, first, moved into his father's position at the head of Beszterce Community, then, immigrated to America.

Already in 1905, Ispanmezo had a functioning Jewish elementary school, led by the well-known educator, Majer Mihaly, who later went to Retteg, then to Des. He exerted a blessed educational activity everywhere. At nearly seventy years old, this teacher was deported with his wife and pharmacist son, Jozsef. His daughter Zitta resides in Beer Sheva.

Mihaly Bela, who was also Jewish, stood as head of the previously mentioned recording office. Highly respected by both, Jews and non-Jews, he was a beloved member of the local society. During a specific era of the Romanian period, he was transferred to Felsoilosvar. However, in 1940, following the Vienna Award, when Northern Transylvania was given to Hungary, with the intervention of Count Bela Bethlen, he could again occupy his position as Circuit recording officer of Ispanmezo. At best, this rehabilitation lasted a short while because he could not hide from fate - he was deported.

Vilmos Wiesel, President of the Community, attended his duties with his well-known passion for business and expertise, for a long while. His heart and pockets were always open for those in need, and he contributed significant sums to Zionist funds. He died young, at the age of fifty with his wife, in Auschwitz. His son, Icu, and his daughter, Luci, survived deportation, and they both reside in Tivon.

Wertzberger Zelig, the ritual butcher, helped Samson Eizik, religious studies teacher, for a decade in his trustworthy job.

The local Jewish community was engaged in commerce and handicraft, while also working with distinction in agriculture. Before the Holocaust, for long decades, people lived peacefully in Ispanmezo regardless of their religious denominations. Romanians and Jews lived in harmony with one another, side by side.

The demonic spirit of Nazism impacted also the Jewry of Ispanmezo. They were deported. Only very few of them were able to survive and in great majority, they found a free home and contentment in Israel.


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