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ORSOVA (Rom. Orşova ), town in Severin province, S.W. Romania; until 1918 part of Hungary. Since Orsova was a border town between Hungary and Romania, settlement of Jews was prohibited until the first half of the 19th century. After the prohibition was lifted, Jewish merchants and craftsmen, mainly from western Hungary, began to settle there. A community was founded in the old town in 1876, affiliated with the organization of Neologist communities. A synagogue was erected in 1878. The oldest tombstone in the Jewish cemetery dates from 1879. Between the world wars the community was prosperous, its members including merchants, craftsmen, physicians, and lawyers. This period saw the development of ramified Zionist activity. Activities were guided by the local rabbi, K. Löwenkopf, who held office from 1928 until 1945, when he emigrated to Palestine. In September 1942 Jewish property was confiscated by the Fascist regime, and many of the men were conscripted for forced labor, while others were expelled to *Transnistria. The Jewish population, 192 in 1930, fell to 135 in 1942 and 10 in 1947. By 1970 emigration to Israel and other places had reduced it to 20.


E. Deutsch, in: Almanahul Evreesc, 3 (1938), 141–52 (Ger.); K. Löwenkopf, in: Uj Kelet (Feb. 17, 1967).

[Yehouda Marton]