BRAŞOV (Hung. Brassó; Ger. Kronstadt; between 1950 and 1960 Oraşul Stalin), city in Southern Transylvania, central Romania; until 1918 in Hungary. From 1492 onward Jews are mentioned living there temporarily or passing through Braşov in transit. For a long time the city was inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians, and Germans (Saxons).The Jews took part in the trade between Hungary, Muntenia, and Turkey. In 1826 several Jewish families received permission to settle there permanently, and in 1828 they also received the right to organize their own community. In 1870 the Jewish community started a program for teaching Hebrew to its members, and for this purpose invited the Hebrew poet Solomon Ehrenkranz to serve as a teacher. The community numbered 103 in 1865 and 1,198 in 1900. A secular Jewish school was established in 1860. In 1868, the Braşov community became Liberal (see *Neology). A separate Orthodox community was established in 1877. The school continued to serve both communities. A significant part of the Jews of Brasov were assimilated (mostly to Hungarian and German culture, but some also tried also to assimilate to Romanian culture). Immediately after the end of World War I Zionist youth organizations made their appearance in Brasov and were active in promoting the ideology of reconstructing Israel. The Jewish population numbered 2,594 in 1930. During World War II, under the Fascist Antonescu regime, the communal buildings and much Jewish property were confiscated. Jewish men, including many from throughout the region, were drafted into local labor battalions and survived the war. The rehabilitated community was reorganized in 1949 in accordance with the law on the organization of Jewish communities in Romania. Instead of two communities, a unified one was established with an Orthodox section. The Jewish population numbered 1,759 in the city of Braşov and 4,035 in the district in 1956, and 2,000 in the city in 1968. At the outset of the 21st century only a few hundred Jews continued to live in Brasov, mostly elderly, the rest having emigrated to Israel or to the West.
Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 137–8; L. Pap, in: Sinai, 3 (Bucharest, 1931), 133–7; 5 (1933), 72–75; PK Romanyah, 291–4.
[Yehouda Marton /
Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.