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Gertsa

GERTSA

GERTSA (Rom. Herta ), town in N. Bukovina, Chernovtsy district, Ukraine, which passed from Romania to the Soviet Union in 1940. The locality was founded in 1672. Jews of Galician origin, who were craftsmen and merchants, settled in Gertsa in the first quarter of the 18th century. A known local Jewish institution was a talmud torah of which a minute-book dating from 1764 has been preserved. The oldest tombstone in the cemetery dates from 1766. The community had four synagogues, of which the oldest was built at the end of the 18th century; a mikveh was founded in 1820, and a mixed school was established in the early 20th century. The community numbered 1,200 in 1803, 1,554 (56.4% of the total population) in c. 1859, 1,939 in 1899 (66.1%), 1,876 in 1910, and 1,801 in 1930 (25%). Many of them were hasidim, followers of the admor of Buczacz, as well as a local admor. Maskilim also lived in the town, among them the bilingual Hebrew-Romanian writer Moise Roman-Ronetti. The bilingual Romanian-French poet Benjamin *Fondane (Fundoianu) was born in Gertsa, describing it in a poem. During the peasants' revolt in 1907 the Jews in Gertsa prevented attacks and pillaging by organizing *self-defense. After the conferment of Romanian nationality in 1919, Jews were elected to the municipal council, and at one time a Jew served as vice mayor. In 1927 the Romanian governing party appointed a communal board from its own adherents, but the Jews boycotted it and two years later ensured its resignation. In 1938 there were seven synagogues, an elementary Israelite-Romanian school, and a Zionist organization. During World War ii the Jews in Gertsa (1,600 persons) were deported to *Transnistria. Under the Soviet regime all the Jewish public buildings were secularized and nationalized. In the beginning of the Soviet regime (1940–41) dozens of Jews were deported to Siberia, only some of whom could return to Gertsa in 1960. The majority of Jews immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. Only a few Jews remain in Gertsa in the beginning of the 21st century.

bibliography:

E. Schwarzfeld, Impopularea, reimpopularea şi întemeires tîrgurilor şi tîrguşoarelor în Moldova (1914), 63, 79; V. Tufescu, Tîrguşoarele din Moldava şi importanţa lor economiaš (1942), 115, 118, 140. add. bibliography: S. David (ed.), Generatii de iudaism si sionism: Dorohoi, Mihaileni, Darabani, Herta, 5 vols. (1992–2000).

[Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

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