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Darabani, Romania

DARABANI, small town in N.E. Romania. Jews from Galicia settled there in 1836. After them Jews from Russia also settled there. The location of Darabani on the commercial route connecting Bukovina and Moldavia attracted further Jewish settlement. However in 1875 and 1877 the owner of the land sued the Jews, and violence broke out. Anti-Jewish riots again occurred in 1907. There were 600 Jews living in Darabani in 1838; 638 (38% of the total population) in 1859; 2,472 in 1899; 2,387 (36.8%) in 1910; and 1,917 (17.8%) in 1930. The majority were merchants or artisans. Many of them were ḥasidim of the admor of Stefanesti. Between the two world wars the economic life of the town deteriorated because of the changes in borders and commercial routes. From the onset of communal life there was friction in the community. The Russian Jews established a separate synagogue in the 1840s; between the two world wars there was dissension in the community between artisans and merchants. In 1935–40, eight synagogues and five ḥadarim operated in Darabani. Among the rabbis was Nahum Shemaryahu Schechter (1908–30), author of some volumes of derashot and on Hebrew and Jewish names. He later immigrated to Israel and died in Jerusalem in 1976. The Hebrew and Romanian poet Shimon Haran (died in Jerusalem 2004) and the Yiddish and Romanian poet Sami Weinstein-Boiangiu (A. Ebion) were born in Darabani. A Zionist organization was established in Darabani in the 1930s. A branch of the Jewish party (Partidul Evreiesc, a political organization with a Zionist national trend) was active there and had representatives on the municipal council. Apart from the ḥadarim the community maintained its own school (1937).

[Yehouda Marton / Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

Holocaust Period

In 1941 there were 1,854 Jews in Darabani. They were victimized by acts of terror as early as June 1940. On the pretext that the Jews were pro-Soviet and secretly preparing to greet the Soviet Army, Romanian army detachments and police daily attacked them in the streets, searched their houses, and arrested them. In June 1941, a few days before war against the Soviet Union broke out, all Jews were ordered to leave the town within half an hour and were allowed to take only their basic belongings with them. After the evacuation, their houses were plundered. The deportees had to walk to the railroad station, a distance of 22 mi. (35 km.) and were transported by freight car to *Dorohoi ; the men were sent on to the concentration camp at Târgu-Jiu and the women and children to the small town of Turnu-Severin in western Romania. On Nov. 7, 1941, they were sent together with the men from Târgu-Jiu to *Transnistria , crossing the border in sealed freight cars and proceeding on foot to their destination, where most of them perished. At the end of 1943, a few of the survivors returned to Dorohoi and went from there to Darabani, where they were still subject to persecution. They were not permitted to engage in business, to walk in the streets, or buy food before 10 A.M., and Romanian inhabitants were forbidden to have any contact with them. After World War II survivors, joined by refugees from northern Bukovina, reorganized community life. In 1947, 990 Jews lived in Darabani, with five functioning synagogues in 1950, but their numbers diminished owing to emigration. Some ten Jewish families remained in the town by 1970 and maintained the synagogue. No Jews lived in Darabani in 1992. An association of Jews from Darabani is active in Israel, in the framework of the Association of Jewish Israelis from the former county of Dorohoi.

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

Sources:PK Romanyah, 1 (1970), 102–3; M. Carp, Cartea Neagră, 1 (1946), 180; 3 (1947), 75; I. Herzig, in: Renaşterea Noastră, 24 (1945), no. 250; S. David (ed.), Dorohoi-Săveni-Mihăileni-Darabani-Herţa-Rădăuţi Prut, 1 (1992), 182–190 (Rom.), 205–46 (Heb.); 2 (1993), 327–36 (Rom.), 177–236 (Heb.); 3 (1996), 311–43 (Rom.), 283–336 (Heb.); 4 (1998), 347–58 (Rom.), 163–99 (Heb.); 5 (2000), 323–49 (Rom.), 147–238 (Heb.); S. Haran, Darabani (1992); C. Turliuc, in: SAHIR, 5 (2000), 163–73.

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