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Craiova, Romania

CRAIOVA, city in S. Romania. Sephardi Jews were living there from the first half of the 17th century. In 1790 they founded a ḥevra kaddisha, a Romanian landowner having granted them land for a cemetery. Ashkenazi Jews settled in Craiova in the mid-19th century, though their community was not officially founded until 1913. They owned two synagogues, the first built in 1842 and the other in 1880. Craiova was a center of Judeo-Spanish culture. In 1865 the Ashkenazi community established a boys' school which functioned until 1948. The Sephardi community maintained a separate school until 1887, when both schools were joined. There were 82 Jewish families in Craiova in 1831; 490 persons in 1860; 2, 891 in 1891; and 2,274 in 1930 (3.6% of the total population). In the Holocaust period, beginning in 1940, many Jews of Craiova were pauperized. Eighteen hundred Jews from northern Moldavia were forcibly transferred to Craiova.

After the war, the Jewish population was augmented by the influx of refugees from northern Bukovina, who chose not to return to their former homes under Soviet rule. A few years later the majority settled in Israel. In 1969, some 75 Jewish families lived in Craiova; they had a synagogue. In 2004, 89 Jews lived there. An Institute of Jewish Studies was established at the University of Craiova in 1998.

Sources:J. Barasch, in: Anuar pentru Israeliti, 16 (1894), 45–181; M. Schwarzfeld, Ochire asupra istoriei evreilor in Romania… (1889), 16, 40, 47; idem, in: Analele Societatii Istorice Iuliu Barasch, 2 (1888), 33, 35, 39, 41, 46, 52, 74, 106; J.B. Brociner, Chestiunea israelitilor romani, 1 (1910), 103; PK Romanyah, I, 236–40; M. Carp, Cartea neagra, 1 (1946), index;  A. Firescu, in: International Symposium on Sephardi Jews in South-Eastern Europe (1998), 39–45; A. Zimbler, ibid. (1998), 51–58; FEDROM-Comunitati evreiesti din Romania (Internet, 2004).

[Theodor Lavi / Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

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