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

(Bivolari, Romania)

47°32' / 27°26'

Translation of
“Bivolari” chapter from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1969


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to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania,
Volume 1, pages 77-78, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1969

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[Page 77]


Translated by Jerrold Landau

Bivolari is a town in the Moldova region, Iaşi district, next to the Prut River.
It served as a tax depot for Bessarabia prior to the First World War.


Jewish Population

Year Jews % Jews
1838 59
1885 1,000
1930 987 34.3
1941 862 26.3
1947 150  


Until the Outbreak of the Second World War

Bivolari was founded in 1834, under the rule of Prince Mihail Sturza (1834-1893), on the lands of the village of Bradul. In its founding charter, lots were designated for the rabbi's dwelling, the synagogue building, the mikva building, and the cemetery.

Statistics note that there were 59 Jewish families exempt from taxes in 1838.

In 1859, the residents of the town were all Jews. The 307 Christians enumerated there that year were farmers who lived on the estate. Many of the local Jews owned agricultural farms.

A fire broke out in Bivolari in 1885. On account of the crowding of the buildings, the fire spread from house to house, and the entire town went up in flames. One Jew died from his burns.

From 1894 to 1896, the ruler of the district forced the Jews to pay the salaries of the eight policemen who served in the town, despite the fact that these policemen themselves participated in the acts of deportation of the Jews from time to time.

[Page 78]

The community revenue came solely from the meat tax. A school for 300 Jewish students was founded in 1897. A special building was built for the school in 1913 with the help of a grant from ICA (Jewish Colonialization Association).

During the time of the farmers' revolt in 1907, farmers broke into the town and pillaged 118 Jewish houses, despite the fact that the Jews stood up to them with force. Later, the farmers also turned to the Christian houses. We should note that this was a result of anti-Semitic incitement, since the local farmers leased the lands of the state on their own and had no need for an improvement in living conditions. After the disturbances, the head of the town forced the Jews who had been robbed to leave the town. A year later, several more were compelled by force to leave. Life in the town only returned to its normal course after several years.

In 1912, the anti-Semitic students from Iaşi issued a proclamation of protest against the district leader, complaining that he sold his soul to the Jews in that he agreed to serve as honorary president of a community celebration. As a reaction to this libel, the leader stated that the Jews were presently and had always been patriots who supported all the institutions of the town, such as the hospital. Furthermore, the income from this celebration was designated to the establishment of a communal bathhouse in the town.

In 1915, there were four synagogues, a mixed Jewish school, and a mikva. The community paid the salaries of two shochtim [ritual slaughterers].

In 1932, the community obtained official recognition as a legal entity.

Rabbi Chanoch Henik Şafran, the son of Rabbi Betzalel Zeev Şafran served as the rabbi of the town. He was born in 1887, and was appointed as rabbi in 1908. His books included “Minchat Chanoch” and “Dorshei Chanoch.”

The poet Yonah David was born in Bivolari in 1918. His book “Bitranish,” published in Iaşi in 1945, was the first poetry book published after the liberation of Romania. He made aliya to Israel in 1949, and today is a lecturer of literature at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include “Bemakchol,” and “Poems of Non-Love.”


During the Time of the Holocaust

The first era of the Antonescu government passed in Bivolari without unusual incidents. However, in the spring of 1941, with the increased tensions along the border of the Soviet Union, rumors spread about the imminent invasion of Romania by the Red Army, and anti-Jewish incitement increased with the pretext that the Jews were staying in contact with the Russians across the border. On May 15 of that year, a number of Jews on the “black list” were arrested and accused of Communism. They were sent to prison in Iaşi. All the efforts of the community of Iaşi to free them came to naught, and all were deported to forced labor in Gãeşti. Through their intercession, the nearby community of Piteşti succeeded in easing their conditions of life somewhat, and even in freeing the rabbi of Bivolari from there to be employed as a shochet in Piteşti.

A second wave of arrests took place among the Jews of Bivolari on June 15, 1941, in which primarily activists of the Zionist movement, even including a few women, were arrested. The prisoners were deported via Iaşi to the Videle Labor Camp. The women among them were not permitted to take their children along, and were forced to give them over to other families.

AT the outbreak of the war between Romania and the Soviet Union at the end of June, the entire Jewish population was deported to Iaşi (see entry), except for six Jews who were deported to Podul-Iloaci (see entry).

Only a small portion of the Jewish residents returned to the town after the war.


General Archives of Jewish History RM 195; RM 160.
Yad Vashem Archives 3M / 1220; 0-11 / 6-5; 0-11 / 7-1 (53).
Solomon-Maaravi, Tuni, Days of Agony (My shtetl Bivolari), Tel Aviv 5728 / 1968, pp. 54-62.
Schwarzfeld, E.: Impopularea reimpopularea şi intemeierca tãrguşoarelor in Moldova, Bucureşti, 1914, pp 64-65.
Lahovari-Tocilescu: Dicþionarul geographic al Romãnici, I. Bucureşti 1898, p 436.
Tulescu, V.: Tãrguşoarcle din Moldova şi importanja lor economicã, Bucureşti, 1942, pp. 112, 133.
Schwartzfeld, E.: Şcolile publice Israelite, Egalitatca, Bucureşti, 1912, p. 154.
Lazare, B.: Les Juifs en Roumanie, Paris, 1902, p. 76.

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