VIDIN, port city on the right bank of the Danube in N.W. Bulgaria. The fortress of Judaeus, which was rebuilt in the vicinity of Vidin by Justinian I (527–565), confirms the presence of Jews at that time (Procopius of Caesarea (6th century) War with the Goths, Dewing translation, 1954, B. IV. VI. 21). After the expulsion of the Jews from Hungary in 1376, some of them settled in Vidin. When Vidin fell to the Turks in 1394, the community was led by Shalom Ashkenazi of Neustadt (Hungary), who founded a yeshivah in the town and whose pupil Dosa ha-Yevani ("the Greek") wrote in 1430 the work Perush ve-Tosafot. Refugees from Bavaria, who were expelled in 1470, also settled in Vidin. Refugees from Spain arrived there via Salonika. In 1778 David Shabbetai Ventura, the author of Nehar Shalom (Amsterdam, 1774), and Elijah Ventura, the author of Kokheva de-Shavit (Salonika, 1799), arrived in Vidin. To commemorate the escape of the Jews of Vidin during the rule of the Turkish leader Pazvantoglu (1794), a local Purim was fixed on the fourth of Adar. The number of Jews in Vidin at the end of the 19th century was between 1,300 and 1,500; in 1919 there were 2,000 Jews and in 1926, 1,534. The members of the community did not suffer severely during World War II. The decree of expulsion in 1943 was not carried out (see *Bulgaria). After the establishment of the State of Israel, most of the Jews of Vidin immigrated there together with most of Bulgarian Jewry. In 2004 there were 55 Jews in Vidin, affiliated to the local branch of the nationwide Shalom organization.
M. Gruenwald, Algo de la Istoriya de la Comunidad Israelitah di Vidin (1894); S. Rosanes, in: Jevrejska Tribuna 1 (1926–27, Bulgarian) 381–95; 6 (1927), 504–14.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.