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Vatra Dornei


VATRA DORNEI , town in Suceava province, N. Romania. Vatra Dornei was a way station on the trade route between Transylvania and Moldavia and was visited by Jewish merchants in the 14th and 15th centuries. Intensive Jewish settlement, however, did not begin until the late 17th century, when the city was still under Moldavian control. In 1774, under Austrian rule, census officials counted 45 Jews in the city. There were 494 Jews (12.4% of the total population) in 1880; 1,921 (12.3%) in 1910; and 1,737 (22.3%) in 1930. In 1908 the Austrian authorities expelled six Jews from the city, claiming that they did not contribute to its agricultural development. In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish hotel managers helped to develop Vatra Dornei as a therapeutic and vacation center. The Romanian annexation of Vatra Dornei in 1918 inaugurated a difficult period for the Jews. Riots were incited, one Jew was killed and Jewish homes were burned. From 1930 the city became the regional center for antisemitic activities. When the Goga-*Cuza regime assumed power in 1938, the Jewish situation became critical. In its religious life, the Jewish community was associated with that of Campulung, the previous capital of the region. In 1896 the Vatra Dornei community became independent. A large synagogue was built at the start of the 20th century. Vishnitz (*Vizhnitsa) Ḥasidim maintained a prayer house and had considerable influence in the community. Zionist organizations were founded in the city in 1900 and later organized a private elementary school associated with the government school. In 1941 the Jews of the region were concentrated in a ghetto in Vatra Dornei, and in October of that year they were deported to camps in *Transnistria. After 2,029 Jews were moved from the city, only 21 remained. About 1,500 Jews lived in the city in 1947, including refugees from areas annexed to the Soviet Union. Subsequent emigration to Israel and other countries depleted the Jewish population.


H. Gold (ed.), Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina, 2 (1962), 82–84.

[Yehouda Marton]

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