LUGOJ (Hung. Lugos), city in W. Romania (Transylvania), until 1918 in Hungary. Jews settled in Lugoj and its surroundings at the beginning of the 18th century. An organized community was founded between 1780 and 1790, and a ḥevra kaddisha in 1790. Some Sephardi Jews participated in the establishment of the community in the town alongside the Ashkenazim. Jews played an important role in the development of the extensive textile industry and the processing of natural silk there. The Jewish population numbered 550 in 1851, 1,303 in 1891, 1,878 in 1910, 1,774 in 1924 (8.9% of the total population), and 1,418 in 1930 (6% of the total). During World War I, 173 members of the community served in the Hungarian army. Simon Hevesi was the local rabbi between 1897 and 1905. With non-Jewish intellectuals, he organized popular educational institutions, the first of their kind in southern Hungary. An elementary school, founded in 1833, functioned until 1944. A large synagogue was erected in 1842. There were also some smaller synagogues. After the split within Hungarian Jewry in 1868 (see *Hungary), the community defined itself as neologist (see *Neology). A charitable organization of Jewish women functioned from 1875 and a talmud torah from 1903. After the 1919 unification of Transylvania with Romania, and because of the Romanian government's antisemitic policies, many Jews left the city. Zionist organizations were active in Lugoj, and from 1934 the Zionists were the dominant element in the community leadership. Between 1941 and 1942, the period of the Romanian Fascist regime, some of the Jewish men were conscripted for forced labor, and many Jews lost all their belongings. The Jewish population numbered 1,043 in 1942. A number of Jewish youngsters accused of Communist activities were deported to Transnistria by the Antonescu regime. After World War II the Jewish population increased, as Jewish refugees from the surrounding districts and northern Bukovina settled there (1,620 in 1947). The number of Jews declined from the 1950s through immigration to Israel. By 1970 only 220 were left.
Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 546; O. Kálmán, in: Magyar Zsidó Szemle, 51 (1934), 79–106; PK Romanyah, 1 (1969), 316–8; T. Schwager, in: Revista Cultului Mozaic, 243 (Dec. 15, 1970).
[Yehouda Marton /
Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.