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Early modern history

In 1623, the Jews in Transylvania were awarded certain privileges by Prince Gabriel Bethlen, who aimed to attract entrepreneurs from Ottoman lands into his country; the grants were curtailed during following decades, when Jews were only allowed to settle in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). Transylvania was annexed to Hungary after the Holocaust.

Among the privileges granted was one allowing Jews to wear traditional dress; eventually, the authorities in Gyulafehérvár decided (in 1650 and 1741), to allow Jews to wear only clothing evidencing their status and ethnicity.

Many Ashkenazi Jews from Poland took refuge in Moldavia and Wallachia, establishing small but stable communities. Massacres and forced conversions by the Cossacks occurred in 1652. By 1825, Jewish population in Wallachia (almost completely Sephardi) was estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 people. Of these, the larger part resided in Bucharest (probably as much as 7,000 in 1839).

  • Around the same time, Moldavia was home to about 12,000 Jews.
  • In parallel, the Jewish population in Bukovina rose from 526 in 1774 to 11,600 in 1848.
  • In Moldavia, members of the community were allowed to purchase urban property, but were prevented from settling in the countryside.
  • In 1821 Jews were victims of pogroms and persecutions and in Galați managed to escape over the Prut River with assistance from Austrian diplomats.
  • Following the 1829, Moldavia, where commercial niches had been largely left unoccupied, became a target for migration of Ashkenazi Jews persecuted in Imperial Russia and the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria.
  • By 1838, their number seems to have reached 80,000, and over 195,000, or almost 12% of the country's population, in 1859 (with an additional 50,000 passing through to Wallachia between the two estimates).
  • At the same time, several Jews rose to prominence and high social status - most families involved in Moldavian banking around the 1850s were of Jewish origin.

Romania, an ally of Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1944, had a Jewish population of about 757,000 before World War II. Extreme anti Semitic tendencies, long evident in the country, escalated on the eve of the war. In June 1941, in the weeks following the invasion of the USSR by Nazi Germany and the Romanian army, some 100,000-120,000 of the Jewish population of Bessarabia and North Bukovina were massacred.

  • The slaughter was carried out on the orders of Marshal Ion Antonescu, the fascist dictator of Romania. Similar massacres were carried out by the Romanian army in Western Ukraine and especially in the city of Odessa. Prior to this, Romanian soldiers, police and civilians slaughtered 15,000 Jews in the city of Iasi and carried out pogroms against the Jews of other cities in Romanian territory.

History of the Jews in Romania

Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania The Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania headed by Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, as the chairman.


The Holocaust in Romania & Antonescu and the Holocaust

Documents relating to # Satmar (Satu Mare, סאטמאר, Szatmarnemeti, Szatmar)

  1. Memorial for the Jews of Szatmar;
  2. זכור את סאטמר - נפתלי שטרן; (Necrology /Yizkor Book by R' Naphtali Stern)
  3. Szatmar - Old Burial Registry;
  4. Szatmar - Marriage records;
  5. Szatmar website by George (Gyuri) Elefant;
  6. Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Satu Mare;
  7. Szatmar - Names of Martyrs;
  8. Szatmar - Photos of Martyrs;
  9. Szatmar - Documents of Martyrs;
  10. Szatmar - The big Synagogue;
  11. Szatmar - A Synagogue (need to complete the name!);
  12. Jews from Satu Mare in the service of health;