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SEINI (Hung. Szinérváralja ), village in Transylvania, N.W. Romania; until the end of World War i and between 1940 and 1944 within Hungary. A geographical-historical description of Hungary published in 1799 mentions Jewish inhabitants among the Catholics and Protestants in Seini. There is also information that speaks about the attempt of Jews to establish themselves in the place during the previous century. A community headed by a rabbi probably existed by the close of the 18th century; from its inception the community was Orthodox. In 1885 the community became the official center for the Jews in the surrounding area. The Jewish population numbered 673 (13% of the total population) in 1930.

The Seini community was important in the history of Transylvanian Jewry because of the Hebrew printing press established there by Jacob Wieder. The first Hebrew work was printed in 1904 and the last in 1943. Between the two world wars the press was among the most important in Transylvania. It printed religious works, religious periodicals, and several works in Yiddish. A member of this family of printers, the son of the founder, Judah Wieder, settled in Haifa in 1932 and established a press there.

Between the two world wars, and especially during the Depression of the early 1930s, many local Jews left the area and moved to larger towns, where they hoped they would be able to support their families.

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

During World War ii, in the summer of 1944, at the time of the deportations of Jews from northern Transylvania, the Hungarian Fascist authorities sent all the Jews in Seini to the death camp at *Auschwitz via the Satu Mare ghetto.

The survivors formed a small community after World War ii, numbering 150 in 1947, but after a while their numbers declined as a result of emigration to Israel and other countries. The community organization ceased to exist. The three Jewish families who still remained in Seini in 1971 took care of the large and ancient synagogue, which, though in a state of dilapidation, was still standing.


J.J. Cohen, in: ks, 33 (1958), 388–403.

[Yehouda Marton /

Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]

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