NIKOPOL (Nicopolis)


NIKOPOL (Nicopolis), small city in the Plevna district of Bulgaria. A Byzantine Jewish community existed in Nikopol during the tenth century. Jewish refugees arrived in Nikopol after their expulsion from Hungary in 1376 and also from Bavaria after expulsion in 1470. Jews expelled from Spain also sought refuge there. During the 16th century there were six synagogues in Nikopol–a Romanian, Hungarian, Wallachian, and Ashkenazi synagogue and two Sephardi synagogues. From 1523 to 1536 R. Joseph *Caro lived in Nikopol where he founded a famous yeshivah and continued the writing of his Beit Yosef. The synagogue that bears his name, Maran Beit Yosef, was destroyed several times and rebuilt in 1895. Some of the Jews expelled from Italy in 1569 by decree of Pope Pius V went to Nikopol. Those Jews who did not succeed in escaping at the approach of Michael the Brave of Wallachia, during the Turkish-Wallachian wars from 1595 to 1599, were taken to Wallachia and executed. After the wars R. Isaac *Beja (d. before 1630), author of Bayit Ne'eman, was the rabbi of the city. In 1688 the Jewish population increased with the arrival of war refugees from Smederevo (Semendria; Serbia) following the German invasion.

During the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 the Jews of Nikopol fled to Plevna (Pleven), and Adrianople, returning after the peace treaty of 1878. The economic situation, which deteriorated after the war, induced many Jews to settle in other Bulgarian towns. In 1904 there were still 210 Jews in Nikopol, but in 1926 only 12 Jewish families remained. During World War II the city received refugees from Germany and other European countries. The Nazis converted Maran Beit Yosef synagogue into a warehouse and stable. In 2004, after a process of migration process, only a few Jewish families lived in Nikopol.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Rosanes, Togarmah, 1 (19302), 7–8, 206, 213–4, 221, 252, and passim; idem, in Yevreyska Tribuna, 1 (1926), 28–37, 172–80; Bulletin de l'Alliance Israélite Universelle, 29 (1904), 170; S. Markus, in: Ha-Ẓofeh (Dec. 10, 1948).

[Simon Marcus /

Emil Kalo (2nd ed.)]


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