FALTICENI


FALTICENI (Rom. Fălticeni), town in Moldavia, N.E. Romania. The first Jews settled there between 1772 and 1774, and an organized community existed from 1780, when the town was officially founded under the name of Şoldăneşti, later changed to Fălticeni, as a commercial center between Austrian Bukovina and Moldavia. In 1781 the landowner permitted the building of a synagogue in the form of a regular house and put a plot for a cemetery at the disposal of the community. Many of the Jews were Sadgora ḥasidim or belonged to Chabad. Several leaders of the community were killed by Greek revolutionaries in 1821, because the Jews were unable to pay them the money they demanded. The community numbered 1,500 in 1803, 5,767 in 1859 (63.5% of the total), 5.499 in 1899, 4,751 in 1910 and 4,216 in 1930 (36.6%). Up to World War I the majority of the Jews in Falticeni were occupied in crafts, and the rest in commerce. Jewish traders held an annual fair there. The community had a hospital, an old age home, 11 synagogues, a talmud torah and two schools (for boys and girls). Among the rabbis were Joshua Falik (1835–1915), author of Torah studies; Aryeh Leib Rosen (d. 1950), author of responsa published in Eitan Aryeh; and Alter Dorf. The Jewish scholar Solomon Zalman *Schechter also lived in Falticeni, where he studied Torah. Other prominent figures were the Hebrew writer Mattitiyahu Simḥah Rabener, director of the Israelite-Romanian school (in the 1860s and 1870s); the traveler Israel Joseph Benjamin (*Benjamin II); the painter Rubin Zelicovici (Reuven *Rubin; later emigrated to Israel); the mathematician David Rimer (later emigrated to Israel); and the journalist Ḥayyim Rimer, former director of the Jewish periodical of Romania Revista Cultului Mozaic (1980–94) At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries a Zionist organization led by Shulem Mayer was active. After World War I, when Bukovina was incorporated within Romania, Falticeni ceased to be a border town and the economic situation of the Jews deteriorated. In the 1930s members of the antisemitic parties organized the looting of Jewish shops and forcibly prevented Jews from attending the annual fair.

Holocaust Period

There were 4,020 Jews living in Falticeni in 1941, about one-third of the total population. Under the Fascist regime (September 1940–January 1941) a "Green House" was set up in the center of town, where Jewish merchants were brought and tortured until they agreed to pay for their release. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union (June 1941), a German headquarters was set up in the town and the synagogues were expropriated to be used as military barracks. All male Jews were concentrated in camps, from which 1,000 were sent on to Bessarabia for forced labor; those wealthy enough were able to ransom themselves. More Jews were sent on forced labor far from their homes, where a number perished in the harsh conditions. Falticeni was evacuated in the spring of 1944, at the approach of the Soviet Army. The Jews took refuge in Suceava and Botosani and returned six months later to find their houses stripped of all their possessions. By the time the other inhabitants had returned, the Jews had succeeded in restoring public services both in the town itself and throughout the district.

The Jewish population numbered 4,700 in 1947, but decreased to 3,000 in 1950. In 1944–48 a Jewish secondary school functioned. In 1969 there were about 150 families with one synagogue. In 1994, 51 Jews lived in Falticeni. In Israel there is an organization of Jews from Falticeni.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. Gorovei, Folticeni (1938); PK Romanyah, 188–92; E. Schwarzfeld, in: Egalitatea, 22 (1911), 162–3, 170–1, 178–9, 186–7, 194–5; idem, Împopularea, reîmpopularea şi întemeierea tîrgurilor şi tîrguşoarelor din Moldova (1914), 24–26; M. Schwarzfeld, in: Analele Societăţii Istorice Iuliu Barasch, 2, pt. 1 (1888), 65, 73; W. Filderman, in: Sliha, 1 no. 3(1956), 3; 1 no. 4(1956), 3. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: O. Bacalu, D. Rimer, and N. Vaintraub (eds.), Fălticeni (1995).

[Theodor Lavi /

Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.