SIBIU (Hung. Nagyszeben; Ger. Hermannstadt), capital of Sibiu province, Transylvania, Romania; until the end of World War I part of Hungary. By the end of the 15th century some Jews had commercial or other connections with Sibiu. Permanent Jewish settlement began there after the restrictions in Hungary on Jewish residence were abolished in 1848; however, there is also information about Jews trying to establish themselves in Sibiu from the middle of the 17th century. There were 478 Jews living in Sibiu (about 3% of the total population) in 1850. A permanent minyan was organized in 1860, and organization of community institutions began in 1876. In 1868 the community declared itself Orthodox. The first synagogue was built in 1878; a second large, handsome synagogue was opened in 1890. In 1881 there was a case of blood *libel in Sibiu. The Jewish population numbered 1,307 (4% of the total) in 1890, and 1,310 in 1920. The Orthodox Ármin Horo witz (1869–1934) was the rabbi of the community from 1890. A Sephardi community was organized in 1923. Zionist activity in Sibiu commenced immediately after the first Zionist Congress and grew rapidly in the period between the two world wars. A Jewish school was founded in 1919. The community also supported a Hebrew nursery school. The community numbered 1,361 (1.2%) in 1941, and 2,020 in 1947. The majority of the Sibiu Jews were speakers of German, and only some of them learned Hungarian and Romanian (the latter mostly after World War I). During World War II the community's institutions were liquidated, and under Romanian-Fascist rule the Jews in Sibiu were persecuted and their communal property was confiscated. Early in the war the city served as a district mobilization center for forced labor among Jews and, from August 23, 1944, as a refugee center. There were about 125 Jews living in Sibiu in 1970. Friday night and holiday prayers were still held in the great synagogue.
A. Horowitz, Denkschrift der autonomen orthodoxen israelitischen Kultusgemeinde zu Sibiu (1928); S. Yiẓḥaki, Battei Sefer Yehudiyyim bi-Transilvania bein Shetei Milḥamot Olam (1970), 172.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.