views updated


KALARASH (Rom. Cǎlǎrași , formerly also Tuzora ), town in Bessarabia, Moldova. Jews began to settle there in the first half of the 19th century. They numbered 4,593 in 1897, forming 89% of the population. Most were engaged in trade, primarily in agricultural produce, and some in agriculture. Most of the Jews were ḥasidim and spoke Yiddish. The wave of pogroms in Russia in October 1905 also hit Kalarash, where 60 Jews were killed, 300 were injured, and over 200 houses were burned down. After Bessarabia passed to Romania in 1918, communal life flourished in Kalarash. The community had welfare organizations and educational institutions, including a hospital (founded in 1890), a talmud torah, a library, and a loan and savings fund. In 1930 the Jewish population numbered 3,631 (76% of the total population). Israel *Giladi was born in Kalarash. Zionist organizations were also active.

[Eliyahu Feldman]

Holocaust Period and After

When World War ii broke out, some of the community managed to escape from Kalarash, apparently to the Soviet Union. Those caught on the way were either killed on the spot or deported to Transnistria. In July 1941 Romanian troops assembled all the remaining Jews in Kalarash and took them to a forest not far from the city, where a deep ditch had been prepared. Some 250 Jews were thrown into the ditch and killed. This action had been ordered by the commander of the gendarmerie legion in the Lāpuşna district, Lieut. Col. Nicolai Caracas. The local Kalarash gendarmerie commander also took part in the slaughter and looted Jewish property. In 1970 the Jewish population was estimated at about 750. The only synagogue was closed down by the authorities in 1961 and converted into a public library. The baking of matzah was stopped in 1962. In 1964 seven Jews were arrested for economic crimes allegedly committed 20 years earlier.


Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 (1909), 97–102; P. Cowen, Memories of an American Jew (1932), 212–24; Y. Yakir, in: Eynikeyt (Dec. 3, 1946). add. bibliography: Sefer Kalarasch (1966).

[Jean Ancel]