The Jewish Communities of Romania Collection (sometimes also described by the Romanian National Archives as the Documents Collection of the Jewish Communities of Romania) contains documents created and received by Jewish communities and organizations functioning in Romania from the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.
The documents until World War II are composed of a variety of items reflecting community life, including statutes, correspondence, reports, and membership lists. Documents from the World War II period generally address the plight of Romanian Jews during this period. This material includes reports on persecutions and expropriations, correspondence and other documents related to deportees, and emigration paperwork. The post-World War II material generally deals with the repatriation of Jewish deportees to the Romanian-organized camps in Transnistria, the welfare of survivors, emigration, and the activities of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania and of the Jewish Democratic Committee (communist Jewish organization). For the complete inventory list of the collection, please see this link (in Romanian only).
JBAT archivists surveyed folders containing material related specifically to Bukovina and Transylvania. For details on the contents of these folders, please see the list below and click on any link.
This folder contains correspondence, declarations, and charts related to expropriated property in Reghin in 1947. The expropriations mentioned here appear to have mainly been of German (Saxon) property.
This folder contains a chart of "war criminals" from the county of Mures. Included in the chart are the name, occupation, age (generally blank) and residence. The chart was created by the prefecture of Mures and sent to the Reghin town hall, apparently in order to assertain what property and goods existed which had been the possession of the men condemned for war crimes.
This folder contains documents related to the agrarian reform of the interwar period. It includes a legal case to expropriate Mendel Schwarz of forest property and also has correspondence regarding workers associations for youth in the region.
This folder contains various requests and related correspondence regarding certificates of nationality for individuals from Reghin. The requests or certificates themselves contain information regarding the individual's birth place, occupation, and family circumstances.
This is an apprenticeship register. Each person has a page on which is listed his personal information (birth information, religion, physical characteristics and so forth) and then the masters with whom he has apprenticed. There are several registers of this sort in the Reghin collection.
This folder contains forms about the new street names in Reghin. The charts are of interest as they contain many Jewish landmarks in the town, such as the Jewish sanatorium, the 2 Jewish "churches" (or second Jewish church, difficult to know what was intended), the Jewish quarter (called Plangerilor, or quarter of tears/wailing) and the newly named Street of Jewish Martyrs (which was quickly changed to something else). There are also lists of inhabitants who emigrated illegally in 1947, the majority going to Hungary or Palestine. Included on the lists are the names, occupation, date of departure, and destination.
Folder contains miscellaneous documents regarding collectivization measures, friendship with the USSR, workers holidays, and so forth. There is one "confidential" memo regarding a change of usage for prayer houses or synagogues and stating that no changes of usage are allowed.
The folder contains lists of properties owned by the city and churches, including property of the Jewish community. It is unclear why the synagogue and cemeteries are not included on these property lists. There is also correspondence regarding the desire of the Orthodox church and town hall to construct a new cemetery and the response from the neighbors, who opposed this measure (including some Jewish neighbors). There is likewise a report from a health official advising against the new construction of a Jewish cemetery for the same reasons (as given by the neighbors who opposed the Orthodox cemetery).
Please note that this collection comprises three inventories: "Primaria Orasului Reghin" (1829-1950) with 704 items; Sfatul Popular al Orasului Reghin (1951-1955) with 111 items; and Consiliul Popular al Orasului Reghin (1950-1968) with 634 items. These titles reflect the changes of governmental organisation within the country. The present survey focused primarily on the contents of the first inventory. The material within the second two inventories deals largely with the restructuring under communism and rarely do the contents move beyond bureaucratic and administrative announcements and records. The first inventory however contains numerous files with information relevant to Jewish history. The collection contains material customary for a municipal authority including administrative and financial files, documents regarding permits and professions, and regulating schools, religious institutes, and so forth. Specific to the Jewish population, there are files with material on synagogues, Jewish organizations, Jewish professionals and apprentices, and numerous files regarding Jewish citizenship or property of Jews who were deported or emigrated. For details on these files and others with material related specifically to the Jewish population of Reghin, please see below and click on any title.
This register is entirely in Hungarian. Though the book is catalogued under Reghin and was certainly maintained there, many or even most of the individuals appear to be from neighboring villages. Thus, even half a century after the laws were changed to allow Jews to live in towns, the community was still overwhelmingly rural. On the other hand, much more so than in the record books from smaller settlements in the region, in this book you do see marriages taking place between individuals from Reghin and those from larger towns, including towns with a Saxon presence such as Brașov and Făgăraș. The proximity to northern Transylvania and Maramureș is also indicated in the frequency of individuals from such towns as Beclean. Information recorded is: Name and birthplace of the bride and groom, parents' names and place of residence, age and status (single, widowed, divorced) of bride and groom, date and place of the wedding, officiant's name.
This register is entirely in Hungarian, with a few names written in Hebrew by certain scribes. Though the book is catalogued under Reghin and was certainly maintained there, most of the individuals appear to be from neighboring villages. Thus, even half a century after the laws were changed to allow Jews to live in towns, perhaps half or even a majority of the Jewish births were occurring in rural villages.
This register is in Hungarian and Hebrew (some names and dates). It contains much less information than other death registers, namely only the name (Hungarian and Hebrew), date of death, and place of stone in the cemetery. In fact, it is more likely that this book was a register for the cemetery rather than the official death register, which normally included information regarding the deceased's place and date of birth, occupation, cause of death, and so forth.
This collection comprises civil registers recording birth, marriage, and death records. Originally the registers were kept by each respective parish, church, synagogue, etc. In the 1950s they were collected by the National Archives and made into this overarching collection. The collection is organized by locality and then religion. In addition to birth, marriage, and death records, some of the Christian registers record conversions, baptisms, confirmations, pastor or priest names, and other notes on the development of the community. The Romanian preface to the collection notes that in 1784 the Jewish communities were made to record their civil records under the supervision of the Catholic priests. It is unclear whether this may indicate that 18th century Jewish records might be found within Catholic record books. In any case, there are no extant Jewish registers prior to 1815. Of interest in this civil record collection in the county of Mureș are the numerous registers from rural areas, especially from the area around the small town of Sângeorgiu de Pădure, also the region of the socalled Szekely Sabbatarians. All Jewish registers held at the Mureș archives are described in detail below.
This collection has four inventories. The first inventory, nr. 171, lists 279 items which for the most part are of an administrative nature or class newspapers. There are also a few class registers and various other registers which mostly refer to staff affairs. A student register book from the 1930s shows many Jews attending the school, alongside Romanian and Hungarians. Of particular interest amongst the items in this inventory are those administrative documents from the interwar period and especially following World War I in which nation-building and Romanianization measures are discussed. The second inventory, nr. 996, lists 155 items. The majority are class immatriculation registers and grade books, though there is also meeting minutes and budgetary and administrative paperwork. This inventory contains papers dating 1919-1948. The third inventory, nr. 1359, contains 26 items, dating 1920-1940. Of particular interest here are the annual school reports, which exist from 1920-1935, and which contain breakdowns of the student body by ethnicity and religion. In 1927, for example, Jews made up 25% of the student body. The other items in this inventory are administrative in nature. Finally, inventory nr. 1442, contains 16 items, dating from 1914-1941. The items in this inventory belonged to the former director of the school, Valeriu Boeriu. They consist primarily of personal momentos, photographs, manuscripts, and other items related to Boeriu's period as director (1914-1941).
This school had some Jewish students, though proportionately the reform school had more. According to the preface in the National Archives inventory for this collection, this school was opened in 1836. It remained small (with 1-2 teachers) until the second half of the 19th century when it was able to construct its own building. By this time it had classes for both boys and girls. The majority of the material is in Hungarian; beginning in the post-Trianon period some of the material is also in Romanian. Most of the items are class register books with data on the pupils' backgrounds, grades, absences, and so forth and most registers date from the 20th century, though there are 15-20 items from the 19th century. Student register books will contain birth date and place of the pupil and information on the parents' occupations, mother tongue, nationality, and religion. The school was closed in 1948 in the wake of the restructuring of the Romanian school system under communism.
This school appears to have been attended primarily by Hungarians and Jews. The Jewish proportion of the students may have reached up to 20-25% at certain periods. The school was opened in 1860 but did not become well-established, with funds necessary to construct its own building and employ sufficient teaching staff until the end of the 19th century. There are a total of 78 items in the collection, all but two of them are from the 20th century. The oldest item dates to 1893 and is a registration book. Beginning in 1909 the records are, for the most part, comprehensive and without gaps and include class registers, grade books, and curriculum registers. Sometime after 1900 the girls were taught separately from the boys. The vast majority of the material is in Hungarian, though some of the registers in the post-Trianon period are titled in Hungarian and Romanian. Record books generally include information on the pupil's birth date and place, parents, their occupations, mother tongue, residence, nationality, and religion.
This collection has only one item, a folder of correspondence and miscellaneous written material, for the most part from or to the school director. There are several hundreds pages and included is a chart of the ethnic and religious breakdown of the students in 1892. According to the chart, approximately 10% of the student body was Jewish, though overwhelmingly female.
This collection consists of only one item: a registration book for the members of the Reghin Chevra Kadisha. The book is in Hebrew and Hungarian. The Hebrew year in which the individual joined is included and on a few occasions, there are additional notes on the individual (in Hungarian). The book itself has a print date of 1904 but dates of membership reach back to the 1850s. The final entries were made in the 1930s.
This collection contains papers created by the Jewish Democratic Committee for the county of Mureș and town of Târgu Mureș and for the local branch of Reghin. The folders contain meeting minutes, reports, surveys, and other written material. It is not clear how the county of Mureș differed from the region of Mureș (there is also a collection for the Regional Jewish Democratic Committee for Mureș). The committee had a wide range of responsibilities, surpassing basic political tasks. The reports and meetings record decisions about secular and religious holidays, the Jewish school, teachers, emigration matters, unresolved events (missing persons) from World War II, religious staff (butcher, teachers), cultural events, and general happenings in community life. There are surveys on the community, including data on community numbers, language, occupations, and so forth. There are reports on the receptiveness to communist ideology versus Zionism and specific numbers are given for those who have requested to emigrate. There may also be speeches made by the leadership on holidays or for other gatherings. The collection may be of interest to those studying Jewish life in the immediate post-war period and especially those looking at questions of identity, Zionism, and Jewish roles in early communist Romania.
Please note that the inventory for this collection was missing in 2015, so the precise contents are not known. Two folders were requested, one dealt with the regional committee, as per the title of the collection; the other folder was from the Sighișoara committee. The folders contain meeting minutes, reports, surveys, and other written material created by the Jewish Democratic Committee for the region of Mureș (or Sighișoara). It is not clear how the region of Mureș differed from the county of Mureș (there is also a collection for the Jewish Democratic Committee for Mureș County). The committee had a wide range of responsibilities, surpassing basic political tasks. The reports and meetings record decisions about secular and religious holidays, the Jewish school, teachers, emigration matters, unresolved events (missing persons) from World War II, religious staff (butcher, teachers), cultural events, and general happenings in community life. There are surveys on the community, including data on community numbers, language, occupations, and so forth. There are reports on the surrounding towns and the respective population's receptiveness to communist ideology versus Zionism. There may also be speeches made by the leadership on holidays or for other gatherings. The collection may be of interest to those studying Jewish life in the immediate post-war period and especially those looking at questions of identity, Zionism, and Jewish roles in early communist Romania.