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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Bukovina

Trade since 13th century - Cossack invasion in 1656 - Austrian rule with restrictions - split of the community between left and right - Romanian rule - Soviet rule - Holocaust in northern Bukovina - Soviet rule (northern Bukovina) and emigration movement (southern Bukovina under Romanian rule)

from: Bukovina; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 4

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<BUKOVINA, region between the E. Carpathians and the upper Dniester, part of Ottoman Moldavia until 1775, when it passed to the Austrian Empire (the entire region named Bukovina from 1774); after World War I incorporated into *Rumania; in 1940 the northern part was incorporated into the Soviet Union (west Ukrainian S.S.R.), the southern part remaining in Rumania [[Romania]]. The main town of Bukovina is *Chernovtsy [[today in Ukraine]], formerly [[under Austrian law]] Czernowitz (see entry for some major aspects of Jewish life in the region).

[Trade connections - Cossack invasion in 1656]

Jewish merchants passing through Bukovina are mentioned from the 13th century, and Jews settled there from the 14th century [[expelled Jews from central Europe]].

In 1408 they were granted the right of freedom of movement and commerce along the Moldavian trade routes. The Jewish population increased steadily, and maintained close commercial links with the Jews of *Poland-Lithuania, being mainly occupied in the transit trade and purvey of alcoholic beverages. The Cossack invasion from the Ukraine in 1656 (see *Chmielnicki) caused much suffering in the region.

[Cultural life - distinct character]

Jewish communal life in Bukovina developed along the same lines as in the other communities of the Ottoman Empire. From 1710 to 1834 Bukovina Jewry had an independent *hakkam bashi (ḥakkam bashi) [[spiritual leader]], who held hereditary office, and was also responsible for collecting the taxes imposed on Bukovina Jewry. Another office of the Jewish leadership from 1716 was that of rosh medinah (head of the region). From the end of the 17th century the growing Polish-Jewish (col. 1476)

element imparted a distinct Ashkenazi character to the Bukovina communities.

[Austrian rule with heavy restrictions of residence since 1782 - new individual residence permits since 1816]

The census of 1776 recorded a Jewish population of 2,906 in the region, now under Austria. Their economic position was satisfactory. That year the government prohibited additional Jews from settling in the communities of Bukovina and limited trade in alcoholic beverages to Jews resident there before 1768. In 1780, when 1,069 Jewish families were recorded in Bukovina, a proposal was made to limit residence of the Jews to three main towns, with permission to settle elsewhere only if they engaged in agriculture. Orders along these lines became effective in 1782, and by 1785 the number of Jewish families had dwindled to 175. They had increased by immigration from *Galicia to 360 in 1791.

From 1816 Jews were granted individual residence permits to settle in the region. The number of Jews increased throughout Bukovina after 1848 and the attainment of emancipation (see *Austria), and by 1890 numbered approximately 90,000.

[Hasidism (Ḥasidism) and radicalism]

Hasidism (Ḥasidism) struck roots in Bukovina, one of the early leaders there being *Abraham Joshua Heschel of Apta (Opatow). A branch of the *Ruzhin dynasty of zaddikim (ẓaddikim) [[ultra-radical Jews]] made Sadagora a center of Hasidism (Ḥasidism) in the region. Another dynasty originating in Kossow settled in *Vizhnitsa.

[Secular education - socialism and assimilation - racist Zionists]

From the second half of the 19th century Jews in Bukovina tended increasingly to prefer a secular education, in which the Chernovtsy community led the way. They also took part in the political and social life if Bukovina, in general tending toward assimilation into Austro-German culture and identification with its aspirations. [[Racist]] Zionism penetrated Bukovina at the end of the century.

[Professions and careers]

Jews took an active part in Bukovina's industrial and commercial development, initiated timber and cement industries, and were prominent in railroad construction and banking. A number of these Jewish industrial and financial magnates were awarded Austrian titles. Most owned large estates. The status of Jewish artisans also improved, and certain trades, such as the tinsmiths', were exclusively Jewish.

[1919: Romanian rule - racist Zionists and Bundist socialists]

After the incorporation of Bukovina into Rumania [[Romania]] the situation of the Jews declined. However there was an upsurge of communal, in particular [[racist]] Zionist, activity. The *Bund [[socialist party]] gained ground among the growing Jewish proletariat. Among Jews active in politics was the [[racist]] Zionist leader and member of the Rumanian [[Romanian]] senate, Meir *Ebner.

[Sovietization of northern Bukovina since 1940 - Stalin deportations 1941]

The incorporation of northern Bukovina into the west Ukrainian S.S.R. brought hardship to the Jewish population, and Jewish cultural and social life came to a standstill. On June 18, 1941, 3,800 Jews of the region were deported to Siberia.
[[The withdrawal of the Red Army and of the Soviet occupation staff (Big Flight from Barbarossa) with many Jews is not mentioned in the article. Also the pogroms between the withdrawal of the Red Army and the German-Romanian occupation are not mentioned. See: *Czernovtsi]].

[Holocaust in northern Bukovina with badge, looting, deprivations and deportations]

When in July 1941 northern Bukovina was occupied by the Germans and the Rumanian [[Romanian]] Fascists, the German and Rumanian [[Romanian]] soldiers proceeded to massacre the Jewish population. The yellow *badge was introduced, their personal belongings were looted, and all occupation in professions and crafts was prohibited to Jews. Forced labor was imposed. On Oct. 11, 1941, a ghetto was set up in Chernovtsy; 40,000 Jews were deported from there, to be followed by another 35,000 Jews from the surroundings, to the death camps in *Transnistria.

[Emigration since 1945]

On the partition of Bukovina after World War II, the Jews in the northern sector eventually had to conform to the general pattern of Jewish existence under Soviet rule. The more liberal attitude of communist Rumania [[Romania]] permitted emigration to [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] Israel from the south where few Jews remain.


-- H. Gold (ed.): Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina [[History of the Jews in the Bukovina]], 2 vols. (1958-62)
-- PK Romanyah, 349-549

[M.ER. / ED.]> (col. 1477)
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Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in
                          Bukovina, vol. 4, col. 1476
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Bukovina, vol. 4, col. 1476
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in
                          Bukovina, vol. 4, col. 1477
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Bukovina, vol. 4, col. 1477

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