SUCEAVA (Ger. Suczawa), town in Suceava province, Bukovina, N. Romania; formerly capital of Moldavia, from 1774 to the end of World War I under Austria. Jews lived there from the beginning of the 18th century. In 1774 there were 50 Jewish families (209 persons) living in the town. Although the Jews were oppressed by the Austrian authorities, their number increased as a result of immigration from Galicia and Russia. In 1782, 92 Jews were expelled from Suceava, the authorities claiming that they were unable to pay the taxes. Representatives of Suceava Jewry took an active part in the struggle of the Jews of Bukovina against the oppressions of the Austrian authorities. There were 160 Jewish families in Suceava in 1791, and 272, with the Jews in the vicinity, according to data of 1817. After 1848 their numbers increased rapidly, and the Jewish population numbered 3,750 (37.1%) in 1880; 6,787 in 1901; and 8,000 on the outbreak of World War I. With the advent of Romanian rule, many Jews moved to *Chernovtsy and other places; 3,496 Jews remained in 1930.
The communal institutions included a Jewish school, opened in 1790. A large synagogue was erected at the beginning of the 19th century. Jews also prayed in many battei midrash and a number of houses of prayer (kloysen). Ḥasidic influence in the community was strong. Zionist activity had been initiated during the Ḥibbat Zion period and an organization of Zionist students existed in Suceava before the First Zionist Congress. A number of smaller Jewish communities were affiliated to the Suceava community until they became independent. Jews engaged in the trade of liquor, wine, and beer. The cultural orientation was German. Jews played important roles in both municipal and national political life.
Holocaust and Contemporary Periods
The local Jews were persecuted by the Nazi German and Romanian authorities between 1940 and 1941. When deported to *Transnistria in 1941, they numbered 3,253. Only 27 remained in the town.
After World War II, when northern Bukovina was annexed by the Soviet Union, many Jews from Chernovtsy and other places in northern Bukovina who arrived in Suceava chose to remain there. Their numbers rose to 4,000 and community life was active during that period. The number of Jews subsequently declined as a result of emigration to Israel and other places. In 1971, there were still about 290 Jewish families in the town and Jewish life was maintained to a limited degree. Prayers were held in the central synagogue and a number of other places.
H. Gold, Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina 2 (1962), 113–8.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.