Encyclopedia of the Jewish Communities
From their Foundation until after the WWII Holocaust

Translation from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania


Volume I – Moldavia
Volume II - Transylvania

Title Pages and Introduction:

English translation researched and edited by:
Robert S. Sherins, M.D.

Translation by Ziva Yavin, Ph.D.

Donated by Robert S. Sherins, M.D.,
Richard J. Sherins, M.D., and Beryle Solomon Buchman

Yad Vashem
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

The book was published with the help of “The Remembrance Foundation
for Jewish Culture.”

Proofs - Shmuel Wechsler: Collecting photographs – Shimon Sheferman;
Maps – Karta, Mordechai Gavrieli; Technical help – Zvi Basi
“Daf-Hen Printhouse, Jerusalem 1969

Theorore Lavi Ph.D., Responsible Editor
Aviva Broshi (Ben-Azar), Chief Editor
Zvi Shal, Deputy Editor
Neta Perach, Secretary

List of authors and their names' abbreviated

Anchel Jan
Graduate, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem / southern Transylvania (JA)

Vago Bla, Ph.D.
Lecturer, The University Institute of Haifa / southern Transylvania (BV)

Yardeni Miriam, Ph.D.
Lecturer, The University Institute of Haifa / Southern Transylvania (MY)

Cohen Yosef, I.
Employee, The Jewish National and the University Library / southern Transylvania, Hebrew literature (YC)

Lavi Theodore, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Pinkas ha-Kehilot in Yad Vashem / Hegat, Transnistria (TL)

Litani Dora
Master's degree from the University of Bucharest / Transnistria, Hargat (DL)

Mark Nathan / Yiddish literature (MN)

(Pages 7-12)


By Yaacov Robinson

With the publication of the first volume of “Pinkas ha-Kehilot” series, we witness the beginning of the realization of an idea which is as old as Yad Vashem itself. The geography of the Jewish history – the vague is greater than the explicit. Surely, there are a handful of people in our generation who are able to look at an historical atlas and point out the location of Nehardea, Pumbedita and Sura. However, even the historical atlas does not show the locations of hundreds of Jewish communities that existed in greater Babylon. And, who can guarantee that in a hundred years from now the thousands of European Jewish congregations will be remembered unless we build for them a gravestone of this kind. This is the mission of “Pinkas ha-Kehilot” which got a priority in the undertakings of Yad Vashem.

This idea underwent several changes. The motivator was Prof. Benzion Dinur and this is not the place to detail those changes. What we aimed at is an historical-geographical Encyclopedia of the European Jewish communities destroyed or damaged during the horrible times of the Nazi regime and its followers.

We have not yet managed to commemorate all the millions of victims. At least we can be credited for beginning to commemorate the Jewish centers. Two of the activities of Yad Vashem merge here: study of communities and congregations, of where persecution and eradication took place, and of the political entities and building a memorial to the communities, the regions and the entities. When we started this task most of the studies were still concentrated on the large, general issues of the Holocaust, its roots and aftermaths. During the years a change of direction took place. Yizkor books of survivors and documentation discovered in war criminals trials contributed to the illumination of the regional and local history.

Accordingly, entries in Pinkas ha-Kehilot are of three sorts: (a). the main one – entries on communities and congregations; (b). introductions with an historical review of persecution and eradication regions; and, (c). a comprehensive introduction to the general historical background. This division allows the separation between the common elements of many congregations in a state or a persecution region (dealt with mainly in the introductions) and the specific elements of each community or kehillah.

We wanted to put a monument to all the Jewish communities, big and small, long lasting or transitory. All of them can be separated into three main kinds:

  1. Organized congregations with an active Jewish life concentrated around a Rabbi or a leader, with public and cultural institutes.
  2. Smaller communities with up to 100 persons. Often those did not have an organized congregation, only institutions such as a synagogue and a “Heder” and were appended to a neighboring Jewish congregation. We could not dedicate a separate chapter to communities of less than 50 Jewish people, but mentioned their names alongside the main neighboring large congregation.
  3. “Forced” congregations that the persecution and eradication era gave rise to. In this way whole Jewish communities were exiled to Transnistria, some gathered again in their places of exile around the previous leaders. Sometimes even succeeding to build some kind of a communal life, including aid to the needy and education to the children. Already in this volume we have examples of those “communities”.

The fate of the Romanian Jewry is strongly connected to the camps built for them in Transnistria (also for the local Jews who survived). All that happened to the Jews in Transnistria belongs to the history of the Romanian Jews. In the following volumes we shall witness similar manifestations.

During the persecution and the eradication times Romania fell apart into seven regions, each to its fate: The Old Kingdom (Hagrat), Bessarabia, Bukovina (North and South), Transylvania (North and South) and Transnistria. This calls for regional reviews, but of course, in spite of the disintegration, common important elements remained, so a background review of the whole state is necessary.

The study status differs from one congregation to another. There are congregations with a lot of documentation and others with much less. Our work reflects the present status and as for the last two periods, an original study was carried out in Yad Vashem, after gathering the necessary materials by the Archive, the Library and the Section of Obtaining Evidence of our institute, and with the help of the General Archive of The History of the Jewish People belonging to the Historical Society in Jerusalem and similar institutions abroad.

We present the first volume of the series to the public knowing very well that in the historiography in general and in the Jewish historiography in particular there is no “last word.” Each generation reviews the preceding ones, describes and interpret them. In some way, this is a trial volume. We hope that the public will accept it with a spirit of critical evaluation, to teach us what are the improvements advisable and required for the next volumes.

 Yizkor Book Project    JewishGen Home Page  

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
Emerita Yizkor Book Project Manager, Joyce Field
Contact person for this translation Robert S. Sherins, M.D.
This web page created by Max Heffler

Copyright © 1999-2024 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 5 Jan 2007 by LA