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Fagaras

FAGARAS

FAGARAS (Rom. Fǎgǎraş ; Hung. Fogaras ), town in Transylvania, Romania; until 1918 in Hungary. Jews were not permitted to settle there until the beginning of the 19th century. In the 17th century, however, they occasionally visited the fortress at Fagaras to present petitions to the prince of Transylvania. The settlement of Jews 12 miles (20 km.) from the town in the village of Porumbak, today known by the Romanian name of Porumbacul de Sus, was of special interest. From the judicial aspect, this village belonged to the owners of the town Fagaras. In 1697, two Sephardi Jews, Avigdor b. Abraham and Naphtali b. Abraham, leased a workshop there for the manufacture of glass articles. They signed the contract of tenancy in Hebrew characters; this document is preserved in the community archives in Budapest. They were followed by other lessees as well as by Jews who leased the local tavern. A community was organized and a cemetery acquired in Fagaras in 1827. At the beginning of the community's existence its members used mostly the German language, only later going over to Hungarian. After 1919 many of them started to teach their children the language of the new country – Romanian. The synagogue was erected in 1859. There were 286 Jews living in Fagaras in 1856; 485 in 1891; 514 in 1910; 457 in 1920; 390 in 1930; and 267 in 1941. The Jewish contribution to the economic development of the town and the region was very important during the entire existence of the local community. A Jewish school was founded in 1867; the language of instruction was German until 1903, Hungarian until the end of World War i, and subsequently Romanian. It was closed down in 1938. The community joined the neologist organization (see *Neology) in 1869 and became Orthodox in 1926. The rabbi of Fagaras, Adolf Keleman (1861–1917), visited Ereẓ Israel in 1905 and subsequently published his impressions of the journey in Hungarian.

For long periods of time the relations between the Jews and the Romanian and Hungarian population of the region was more or less normal, with relatively few antisemitic incidents.

During the Romanian Fascist regime (1940–44), Jewish possessions and communal property were confiscated. Some of the men were conscripted for forced labor and others (mostly those accused for Communist activities) were deported to *Transnistria. The Jews from the surrounding villages were concentrated in the town. There were 360 Jews living in Fagaras in 1947. Subsequently many left, first for the bigger cities in Romania, and after that abroad (mostly to Israel), and 20 remained by 1970.

bibliography:

Sitzungs-Protokoll fuer die Beschluesse der Fogaraser israelitischen Kultusgemeinde, 1861–1874; Grundbuch der Sitze und deren Inhaber in Fogaraser Tempel, in: the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (rm 189); Pinkas Ḥevrah Kaddisha 182761 (ibid., rm 190); mhj, 5 pt. 1 (1959), no. 716, 808, 864, 868, 887; 8 (1965), no. 360; Magyar Zsid Lexikon (1929), 284.

[Yehouda Marton /

Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]

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