CONSTANTA (in Greek and Roman antiquity Tomis , until 1878 Kustendje, Rom. Constanţa ), Black Sea port in S.E. Romania; within the Ottoman Empire until 1878. There was a small Jewish settlement in Tomis in the third century c.e. The Ashkenazi community of Constanta was founded in 1828. After a while a Sephardi community was established. The Jewish population increased with the development of the town. A Jewish cemetery was opened in 1854. In 1878, after northern Dobruja passed to Romania, Romanian nationality was automatically granted to the Jews in the region, including Constanta. As former Turkish subjects, they found themselves in a more favorable situation than the other Jews of Romania, the overwhelming majority of whom were deprived of rights. The Romanian authorities, however, attempted to expel individual Jews from Constanta. There were 957 Jews living in Constanta in 1899 (6.5% of the total population), most of whom were occupied in commerce and some in crafts, with two schools for boys, an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi one. In 1930 the Jewish population numbered 1,821 (3.1%) in the city and 1,981 in the province. In the fall of 1940, a German military representative was placed in the city and entry of Jews to the port was forbidden. After the outbreak of war against the U.S.S.R. (June 22, 1941) all the Jews were arrested and sent to the Cobadin camp. Men and women were also sent to forced labor. In November 1941 the Jews returned to Constanta, but to a special district. In 1942 there were 1,532 Jews in Constanta. In 1947, after the war, there were 2,400 Jews in the city, some of them refugees from *Bukovina. Until 1951 Constanta was a port of departure Jews emigrating to Israel, with the community consequently diminishing to 586 in 1956. There were 60 Jewish families in Constanta in 1969, with a synagogue and a rabbi. In 2004, 128 Jews lived there.
M. Carp, Cartea Neagra, 1 (1946), index; Pe marginea prapastiei, 1 (1942), 194, 231–33, 242; pk Romanyah, i, 232–35. add. bibliography: D. Ofer, Derekh ba-Yam (1988), index; S. Sanie, in: sahir, i (1996), 1–27; fedrom-Comunitati evreiesti din Romania (Internet, 2004).
[Theodor Lavi /
Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]