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Jewish Communities in Romania

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Note: This page is currently under active development, but should be complete within a few days. There is a discussion thread specifically dedicated to development of this page. Last updated: 8 Jul 2016

This is an umbrella project for all of the Jewish communities in Romania. Here you'll find a brief historical summary, then some sections of links: Geni projects organized by geography, projects for Romania in general, and links to related outside resources. The information included and its organization are primarily oriented toward what will be most helpful to genealogy researchers while staying brief, but many links are provided for those who wish to go deeper.

History

Although Jewish communities existed in Romanian territory in the 2nd century AD, the population was minimal (estimated <22,000) until the 18th century. But in the early 1800s, tens of thousands of Jews began migrating into the area to escape war or persecution, or who were attracted by new opportunities. The size of the Jewish population increased significantly more after around 1850, especially after the establishment of Greater Romania in the aftermath of World War I, and reaching over 700,000 by 1930. A diverse community, albeit an overwhelmingly urban one, Jews were a target of religious persecution and racism in Romanian society – from the late-19th century debate over the "Jewish Question" and the Jewish residents' right to citizenship, to the genocide of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Dorohoi populations as part of the Holocaust, and pogroms elsewhere. These, coupled with successive waves of aliyah, has accounted for a dramatic decrease in the overall size of Romania's present-day Jewish community.

Today, the majority of Romanian Jews live in Israel, while modern-day Romania continues to host a modest Jewish population. In the 2011 census, 3,271 declared themselves as Jewish. Source: History of the Jews in Romania @ Wikipedia.

Each map below can be clicked for more details and enlargement. [Top left, 1812] Romanian principalities 1793-1812: Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania between the Second Partition of Poland, 1793 and the Treaty of Bucharest, 1812. Here, as in the next map, Transylvania is part of the Austrian Empire. [Top right, 1878] Romania 1859-1878. [Bottom left, 1918] Treaty of Bucharest, May 1918, showing much of Transylvania in Hungary (as does the next map). [Bottom right, 1944] Romania and territories under Romanian administration between 1941-1944.

Romania 1859-1878 Romanian principalities 1793-1812 Treaty of Bucharest, May 1918 Romania and territories under Romanian administration between 1941-1944

Geography

The physical geography of Romania has had a strong influence on its historical regional structure. But during the period that Jews have lived in the region now called Romania, countries have formed and dissolved and regional borders have constantly shifted. These changes have been extensive even during genealogical time, which is important for those reviewing historical records and seeking to understand place names. For this reason, no single geographical categorization will be able to capture every division that might be of interest to genealogists.

However, because the most extensive historical records for Jewish Romania are currently to be found at the JewishGen.org website, this section has been organized to match the structure used by the JewishGen databases. It follows the historical regions/provinces of Romania c. 1900-1930, which include areas not part of the country today. The list of counties (județe) given for each region is the modern set, but with some alternative spellings that are used in the JewishGen databases and elsewhere. The JewishGen Communities Database can help you find both the historical and modern region and county names, with alternative spellings and translations.

Romania Counties 1930-2008
Romania Counties 1930-2008. An historic map overlayed with the modern county borders. (Click for details and enlargement.) Or for something simpler, here is a map just showing the modern county borders, that also expands the two-letter purple county codes shown in the map above. This map shows the modern counties and also each one's county seat.

Banat

Counties (județe): Timiş, Caraş-Severin.
Banat is the southern section of the plain located west of Transylvania.

Bessarabia

Counties (județe): Akkerman, Bieltsy (Bălti), Bendery (Bender), Izmail (Ismail), Khotin (Hotin), Kishinev (Kishinev), Orgieev (Orhei), Soroki (Soroca).
Historical Bessarabia is now mostly in the country of Moldova, north of northeastern Romania.

Bucovina

Counties (județe): Suceava.
Bucovina is on the northern edge of Romania, east of Maramureş.

Crişana

Counties (județe): Arad, Bihor.
Crişana (Crisana) is the northern section of the plain located west of Transylvania.

Dobrogea

Counties (județe): Constanţa (Constanta), Tulcea.
Dobrogea (Dobruja) is the southeast part of Romania, on the Black Sea coast.

Maramureş

Counties (județe): Maramureş, Satu Mare.
Maramures is on the northern edge of Romania, west of Bucovina.

Moldavia

Counties (județe): Bacău, Botoşani (Botosani), Galaţi, Iaşi, Neamţ, Vaslui, Vrancea.
Historical Moldavia became the northern arm of the Romanian Old Kingdom.

Muntenia

Counties (județe): Argeş, Brăila, Buzău, Dîmboviţa (Dâmbovița), Ialomiţa, Ilfov, Prahova, Teleorman, Călăraşi, Giurgiu.
Muntenia is also known as Wallachia or Greater Wallachia, vs. Lesser Wallachia which is Oltenia. Wallachia became the southern arm of the Romanian Old Kingdom.

Oltenia

Counties (județe): Dolj, Gorj, Mehedinţi, Olt, Vîlcea (Vâlcea).
Oltenia, also called Lesser Wallachia, was the western part of the historical region of Wallachia, which became the southern arm of the Romanian Old Kingdom.

  • Craiova
  • Turnu Severin (Drobeta-Turnu Severin)

Transylvania

Counties (județe): Alba, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Braşov, Cluj, Covasna, Harghita, Hunedoara, Mureş, Sălaj, Sibiu.
Historical Transylvania is bordered by a ring of mountains (the Carpathian and Apuseni ranges) with a central plateau.

Regions of Greater Romania
Map of Romania at its approximately largest historical extent, including outer regions that are now part of other countries. (click for details and enlargement)

Other Jewish Romania-Related

More Resources

Administrative map of the Kingdom of Romania in 1930
Administrative map of the Kingdom of Romania in 1930. (Click for details and enlargement.)

For discussion of the information included here and its organization, please visit the dedicated discussion thread.




Below is the Jewish Communities in Romania page as it appeared before 6 Jul 2016, which is being retained temporarily while the new page above is developed.

This is an umbrella project for all of the Jewish communities in Romania.