The Jews in Piatra Neamt
Dr. M. A. HALEVY
KIRYAT SEFER- a stronghold of the book, a stronghold of the spirit . There are few important books about Kiryat Sefer- a stronghold of the book and of the spirit -, as Piatra Neamt was named at the end of the last century. The first, as information source, seems to be "Cronica Comunitatii Israelite din judetul Neamt", by Josef Kaufman. The second synthesis- "Obstea evreilor din Piatra Neamt", by Mr. Pharmacist Pincu Pascal. Harry Solomon, present president of Jews Community in Piatra Neamt, mentioned the third to us: "Dictionarul oamenilor de seama din judetul Neamt", by Professor Constantin Prangati (non-Jew). Important information we find out in the researches made by the chroniclers I. Psantir and I. Kara. And, not for last, the volume "Revolta tinerilor din Romania" (in Hebrew-language- Tel Aviv, 1983), by Z. Feinstein.
But the book, the great book on never forgetting of the Jews in Piatra Neamt, still waits to be written…
"In the second half of the last century, on these lands formed a real stronghold of the book, of the Judaic book, surpassing the already existing others. Even more: the numerous merchants and commonplace middlemen trafficking with timber, but also the various local Jewish craftsmen and workers were, in the same time, people who loved to learn and educated… Piatra Neamt Jews represented, in fact, the harmony of the antithesis- the synthesis between the realism of Zebulon and the idealism of Isaschar, inscribed in the Talmud' ethics". Among those human typologies, not at all exceptionally, of great spiritual and noble tenure, rose David Meir Streitman- Reb Dude Meir, as he was called -, the father of the future writer.
After the memoirist talked about a "numerous plethora" of Talmud and Hebrew specialists in Neamt, spreaders of generous ideas- their contribution was underlined by the "chronicler" by excellence of the community, Josef Kaufman- who said: "Without upstart ambitions, without publicity stunts surrounding their names, with no other goals except those inherent to their pure meditative training- those humble intellectuals represented a sort of elite, an aristocracy of the spirit. They are, thus, in our memory: numerous Rabbis, Hahams, preachers, cantors, Rabbinical counselors ("Daianims"), teachers, visionaries, and the entire cortege of precursors and ancestors, with traditional links to R. Israel Baal Sem, the founder of Hassidism, whose legendary traces are still present in places near the town and in people like R. Meir'l, from Premislani, or in R. Elizere Wolf, from Bucecea. From the Rabbi Iehiel Michel ben Josef, mentioned around 1750, and to the late "gaon" Haim Loebel, this 200 years old cortege has sometimes grown with non-ecumenical figures. No one was the holder of the education monopoly: all of them were learning and all of them were reading. Long time ago, in Piatra, thousands of Hebrew books were collected and the Hebrew newspapers' subscribers, as "Halevanon", "Hamaghid", or "Hatefira" were much more then that they are now in the entire country".
(From the speech uttered, on February 20, 1940, at the Institute for Culture near the Coral Temple in Bucharest, within the celebration of H. St. Streitman, in the presence of I. Brucar and Eugen Relgis, also from Piatra- cited from "Curierul Israelit", February 25, 1940)
THEY WERE ONCE…
JOSEF KAUFMAN (1860-1934)
"By all means, Kaufman had faith in the mission of the People of the Book" (Sergiu Dan)
Former schoolmaster, historian, publicist, "the columnist from Piatra", "a digger in the past of the Jews communities in the country", he unraveled the signs on the tombstones, he researched old documents about communities in the country, offering us far-reaching monographs. He is also the author of a monograph about the Israelite communities in Neamt district, dedicated to Dr. Elias Schwarzfeld and Mr. Moses Schwartzfeld (1928-1929), published in the "Record" publishing house- "Cronica Comunitatilor Israelite din Judetul Neamt", including: charters, documents, inscriptions and photographs in two volumes.
He was elected president of the Jews Community in Piatra Neamt, as he started some steps regarding education, culture and industry.
The researcher Savin Solomon, long-time contributor, has written evocative pages about him to the "Revista Cultului Mozaic". Josef Kaufman said that in these lands, close to Piatra, Israel Baal Sem was born; it is sure that his parents lived in Moldavia (J. I. Niemirower).
In 1914, he wrote to Moses Gaster, who was in London, telling him that he has some documents on vellum "dating back to Stefan cel Mare period and to Cuza".
MENDEL P. MENDEL
He was Hebrew-language specialist, author of a Hebrew-Romanian/Romanian-Hebrew dictionary (1933).
ABRAHAM LEIB ZISSU
He was born in 1888, in Piatra Neamt, politician, journalist, literate and essayist (he died in Israel, in 1956). He was a thinker "with a real European vision in a mind of a Talmudic Jew" (Th. Loewenstein and Naum Kitzler). He published, along with M. Braunstein-Mebasan, in Piatra Neamt, the "Hamechitz" (The Awakening) Hebrew magazine. In Iasi, together with a group of young people, he published "Floarea albastra" literary magazine. He contributed to "Opinia", "Cuvantul", "Lumea Evree", "Bilete de papagal", "Adam", "Puntea de fildes" etc. He was involved in the direction of the following publications: "Licht", "Hatikvah". Together with Gala Galaction and Dr. Algazi, he edited "Spicul" magazine. He was the editor-in-chief of the "Mantuirea" national Jewish newspaper, published in 1919. Works: "David Gugumanul", "Spovedania unui candelabru" (1926, translated in French, in Paris, by B. Fundoianu), "Logos", "Israel Biserica", "Calea Calvarului" etc. It is estimated that in "Samson sau nou Dagon…" he presented the figure of the chronicler Josef Kaufman. The last years of his life were shadowed by the loss of his son, Theodor Zissu, who died in 1942 as a hero leading a voluntary Jewish commando within the British army.
"The merit of A. L. Zissu's works stands in their documentary value. From my pals, the books, I learned to know the Jewish world from here and everywhere, in a revelatory light, untouchable through life experiences… adding the Romanian literature this Judaic cosmos that Ronetti-Roman was trying only to reveal to us… a planet made to unravel its mysteries, through the power of a telescope of an unknown capacity…" (Gala Galaction).
"The book (Spovedania unui Candelabru) breaks inside me, as a pick hitting the ground, an electric cable, in which erupts hundreds of dark mysteries… Zissu rises his heroes in Piatra Neamt" (B. Fundoianu).
"Any human being praises God in his own tongue…"
A sale and purchase act for a piece of land from Ilie Jidovu to Ionica Barbieru is dated 1798. Here we find the mentioning. The local Israelite community was well organized through the Sacred Society: "Chevra Kedosha", and they had: Synagogue, School, Talmud Torah, Public Bath, Shelter for the Poor, Cemetery, etc.".
For the history of this town that numbered, before 1940, circa 15,000 Jews- approximately 50% of the existing population at that time -, we have as a proof the tombstones dated 1677 and 1689, showing the skill of the Jewish stone cutters- the Pincas, dating 1771, and the brief articles published in the press of the time. The Piatra Neamt Pincas is regarded as the oldest and most important book "in studying the history of this Moldavia community" (M. Schwarzfeld).
Something is sure: the Jews settled from early times on the Romanian lands; they "came in Dacia under Decebal"- said the great politician M. Kogalniceanu; and D. Bolintineanu underlined the fact that "from ancient times, the Jews lived in the Principalities… The Romanians let them live in peace with their Rabbis and their Havras, always thinking that any human being praises God in his own tongue…". Here, in Piatra Neamt, the community was organized since 1865, guided by presidents and Ephors. It seems that, during Prince Stefan Tomsa, approximately 1615, Rabbi and Doctor Iosef Solomon Delmedigo visited those places. He had the famous Galileo Galilee as his professor. He studied medicine and math. Misunderstood, "he wandered city after city" (J. Pineles), reaching Moldavia.
History and legend is also the passing through the Moldavian lands of "the greatest Romanian Jew", Baal Sem who, after Iosef Kaufman, was born near Piatra. His parents, Rabbi Eliezer and his wife, had "almost supernatural virtues"; they lived in Moldavia. Baal Sem proclaimed the return to nature and he was part of the Hassidic movement. Here- according to history books -, the Jews from Piatra hide Petru Rares in the synagogue, for the fear of Turks, and Dimitrie Cantemir "did justice to the Jews wrongly accused" of ritual murders.
"Egalitatea" (1906) notes that on these lands arrived Salom Alehem who invited to one of the literary circles, red "a few spiritual sketches, of extraordinary beauty". Not less important is the fact that the great playwright I. L. Caragiale will soon meet Ronetti-Roman, established for a brief time in Piatra.
These are just a few facts attesting the importance of this community right from the first moments of its settling on these lands and maybe, even now, when only 196 Jews are living here.
Selectively, we mention only a few of the most important moments of an old and active community.
SYNAGOGUES, PRAYER HOUSES
"And whatever the place they want, they can build their synagogue, but only of wood, not of stone". (Dimitrie Cantemir, in "Descrierea Moldovei", 1852)
"Sinagoga de lemn din Piatra Neamt" (The Synagogue-Cathedral or the Great Synagogue)- one of the oldest edifices -, it was rebuilt in 1766, "on royal charter", under the reign of Grigore Alexandru Ghica. It sits at the foot of Cozla Hills. The building has been declared historical monument, and today it functions as a museum. In 1826, it has been restored and repaired. In 1872- new restoration works, inside and outside. From the beginning of the 19th century, the princes agree to "the building of brick-made synagogues". 1902 -1906 - the seal of the synagogue documents was "two pigeons holding a Maghen David…". 1922 and 1928 - some improvements have been made (Ephor Senior Weisman). While Petru Rares was forced to flee to Transylvania… he passed through Piatra Neamt… finding refuge and hiding at the local Jews… The Jews, for preventing him to fall in (Turkish) hands, hide him in the synagogue…" (Josef Kaufman)
- 1839 - The Smiel brothers, David and Pinchas Kolomeir, built a prayer house, "Beth-Hamidras of Lipscani", also named the Temple, demolished in 1897. Rebuilt, in 1898, on Pincu Zisu's initiative; inaugurated in 1899. In 1904, it is destroyed in a fire, and in 1906 was rebuilt again; it had a library
- 1831 - "Beth Hamidras Mare", between 1849 -1852, with the support of banker Laba Mocal and then, in 1880, with the help of Ephor Hers Goldner; a library, comprising the years 1702-1791
- 1844 - it is built "Beth Hamidras "Chabad"
- 1842 - "Beth Hamidras "Klazel". The last restoration and expansion work was made in 1927
- 1863 - "Beth Hamidras Garibaldi"; in 1892, it was demolished (Ephors- Volf Brener and Bureh Abram)
- 1867 - "Stone cutters' Beth Hamidras"; a library with Hebrew books and ten Torahs
- 1859 - "Beth Hamidras "Maratei" "
- 1855 - "Tailors' Beth Hamidras"; a Pinkhas dating back to 1827. In 1926, it was transformed in a Temple
- 1873 - "Shoemakers' Beth Hamidras"; restored in 1926
- "Fur merchants' Beth Hamidras", demolished in 1923
- "Beth Hamidras "Avrum Malomed" of wood
- 1865 - "Beth Hamidras from Darmanesti", of wood
- "Beth Hamidras from Precista outskirts", bought, in 1897, by Ioina Zisman
- Rabbi Chaim L. Lobel's "Beth Hamidras"
- "Beth Hamidras" from Gara Veche
- Josef Kaufman establishes "Beth Hamidras the craftsmen society « Wahrer Scheiwis-Achim »" (1903)
- Rabbi Avram Brandvein's prayer house
Bureh Abramovici; Rabbi Avraham; Israil Bergher; Avram Brandvein; Broder (d. 1622); Berl Leib Cohen (Maghid); Rabbi Iosef ben Daniel (d. 1841); Iosef Gabe; Volf Hers (1841); Rabbi Kitai; P. Katz; Herscu Lieberman; Iosef Hoisie; Chaim L. Lobel; Beir Leib Maghid; Ihiel Mehl ben Iosef (d. 1777); Iosef Medean (1854); Abraham Moise; Aharon Mose; Haim ben Menachim (1806); Zev Nahman (Gabai, d. 1848); Iancu Rigler; Sulim bar Zev (d. 1784); Pincu Zisu; Samuel Tobias - in the second World War, "when the Jews saved themselves from deportation and extermination" (Salvation Day).
EUGEN RELGIS - A CONSCIENCE OF THE WORLD
"The Judaism is included in the modern humanitarianism as a flame in a crystal sphere…"
"I can't go back (to Judaism) for the simple reason that I have never abandoned it", said Relgis, this complex personality, an encyclopedic humanist, novelist, poet, essayist, and renowned columnist. We could write about him entire pages, magazines and even volumes. We will just underline a few aspects, honoring - as Arghezi said once - "his dedication… a continuous and equal power to give credit to a idea". Regarded as "citizen of the universe" and pacifist, Relgis (b. 1895; d. 1986, in Montevideo - Uruguay) - graduate of the Piatra Neamt lyceum - asserted himself in the world of universal culture. As recognition of his merits, he would be proposed, in 1956, as a candidate for the "Nobel Prize for Peace". In literature, he made his debut with the volume "Triumful nefiintei" (1913), and two years later, in 1915, he will publish a lyric volume entitled "Nebunia", with his own drawings. Novels: "Petre Arbore", "Glasuri in surdina"; "Prieteniile lui Miron" etc.
As sociologist, he published studies regarding "Umanitarismul si internationala intelectualilor", and in 1923, "Principiile Umanitariste", and in the same year he set the foundation for the "First Humanitarian Group in Romania", and then he launched an "Appeal to all free intellectuals and enlightened workers". In 1920, he edited, in Iasi, the "Umanitatea" magazine that has become in 1928 "Umanitarismul".
In his "Eseuri despre iudaism" - brought together, in the Spanish version, as "Profetas y Poetas. Valores permanentes y temporarios del Judaismo" -, and in his "Umanismul biblic", "Marturii de ieri si de azi" etc, he underlines the fact that Judaism is not just a religion, but also an "ethic, an effective sociology, a legislation harmonizing the material and spiritual interests".
Judaism - this "living organism, having the Bible as its heart" - includes the ideas hold dear by Relgis regarding the rebirth of the Holy Land, the ideas also loved by the "riding coat prophet", Th. Herzl, this clairvoyant, an undying certainty, as the Jewish specific itself. And in this moment, we recall the Werner Sombart's words: "What a big vacuum would be without the Jewish specific". From here started his ideas of condemning the anti-Semitism, this "mental illness", with which Jews - citizens of the humanity - "in their entire history, had to face it, and they even had to counter themselves the anti-Semitism".
He was named member of honor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1972), and he was member of numerous academies; his activity was rewarded with countless prizes.
- "Relgis' voyages are inroads in the minds and hearts of the people he visited. This traveler, hungry for humanity, presents us a world dedicated to superior ideals of tolerance and union" (Perpessicius).
- "Who follows Relgis' intellectual trajectory can notice that the pacifist has discovered in his Judaic heritage the spiritual incentive and the ethic support for his actions and initiatives, with an international echo. His thinking was decisively influenced by the Bible, from which he extracted, to a certain extent, the elements of his humanitarian doctrine" (Leon Volovici).
- "Our duty is to create new values with the support of the old ones" (Eugen Relgis).
- "B'nai B'rith" Society, "Menorah" Lodge;
- "Zion" (in 1876, it takes care of the "activity in the Talmud Torah school"; president - Pinchas Mendel;
- in 1877, Hers Goldner;
- "Zerubabel" Lodge, that became "Menorah" Lodge (president - Moise Juster);
- in 1883, an Israelite-Romanian School has been opened (in 1903, president - Bercu Samsony);
- "Libanon" (1874);
- "Luna" (1878);
- "Ahavas Cheised" (1877);
- "Misgow-Ladow" (1868);
- "Parnuses Aniim" (1900);
- "Chewra-Ghemilath-Cheised" (1874);
- "Ghemilath-Cheised" Society (1904, charity society, president - Josef Kaufman);
- "Leiw-Echod" (1909);
- "Ajutorul" (1800, formed by young people);
- "Cultura" (1883);
- "Moria" (1881);
- "Kadimah" (1884);
- "Unirea" (1885);
- "Tikwah" (1889);
- "Fratia" (1892);
- "Oise-Cheised" (1921);
- "Achnuses-Kahlle" (1906);
- "Amicitia" (1906);
- "Lumina" (1877);
- "B'nei Zion";
- "Banoth Zion";
- in 1889 - "Propasirea" Society is involved in the "school canteen";
- 1900 - The Israelite Popular Canteen, charity institution, "destined to alleviate the pain of the people in need, without the daily bread" (president - B. Samsony; secretary - B. K. Engelberg).
"Chevra Chedosa" (Sacred Society") administered the cemeteries - old and new - until 1870. In 1928, the media ("Telegraful", "Reformatorul", "Neamul Evreesc", "Egalitatea") wrote about the desecrating of the Jewish cemetery in Piatra Neamt (January 5).
SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, JOURNALISTS
- 1883. The Israelite-Romanian School - mixed primary school; well trained staff; students from all over the social classes. Within the Israelite-Romanian School has been also created a class for adults, by the "Ajutorul" Society, for local young Jews, with free of charge professors.
- 1896 - the Israelite-Romanian School for boys no. 1 has been inaugurated, established by Engineer I. Rosenstein
- 1898. "J.C.A.", through its representative, Is. Astruc, will offer help for the opening of a school for girls. In 1927, a vocational school for girls was established, on the initiative of Aron Juster, A. Fondianer and A. Barid
- 1899 - The Israelite-Romanian School for girls
- 1900 - The Israelite-Romanian School for boys no. 2, with four elementary classes
- 1906 - A modern method of Hebrew-language learning is being introduced - "ivrit be ivrit"
- 1914 - "« Michel and Rebeca Juster » Elementary Commercial School". Piatra Neamt (headmaster - Dr. H. Wolfshaut between 1914-1918, followed by Ermil Istrate, Aron Barid and Ioan G. Filip)
- Dr. A. Lupu has the initiative of establishing a Jewish secondary school.
- Headmasters, professors, school teachers: Barad; Mina Cusiner; Daniel Wolf (1901); M. Jacobi; Haras; Bercu Samsony; Leon Abramovici; David Marcovici; Iosef Daniel; Iosef Bolocan; Avram Koin; Nahman Zvi bar Mordehai Halevi (school teacher)
- in 1940: Schools - 5; kindergartens - 1; primary schools - 3; lyceums - 1; teaching staff - 48; students - 947 (in kindergartens - 35; in primary schools - 752; in lyceums - 160).
- in 1910 - a school library at the Israelite-Romanian School for boys in Piatra Neamt, with 900 Hebrew, French and Romanian-language volumes and with a "community corrector", being a public library
- "B'nei Zion"
- "Bercu Samsony" etc.
- "Israelite Library" (June 30, 1900) - just one edition, Piatra Neamt, newspaper for literary history, editor Josef Kaufman, edited with the support of the immigrants;
- "Bistrita" (June, 1900), just one edition, edited by the Jewish students for "Montefiri" group of immigrants;
- "Buletinul Comunitatii Israelite" in Piatra Neamt, III-XII (1909);
- "Arhiva istorica a evreilor din Romania", Piatra Neamt (1909);
- "Ecoul Obstei" (1909) - three editions had been published;
- "Doliul nostru" (February, 1912) - just one edition, four pages (in the memory of Leo Tarcananu);
- "Dr. Theodor Herzl" (1920) - magazine of the literary circle with the same name;
- "Jubileul" (1921) - just one edition;
- "Renasterea" (1921) - national Jewish newspaper;
- "Saptamana" - political and economical weekly, independent and democratic;
- "Menorah" (1922) - under the auspices of "B'nai B'rith";
- "Viata Evreiasca" (1932-1934), director - M. Horn;
- "Faclia" (1935) - promoting the workers', craftsmen' and public servants' interests;
- "Zeirei Zion" (1910-1940), bilingual - the name of the newspaper written in Hebrew-language, but with Latin letters; columnist - A. L. Zissu;
- "Israel" (in Hebrew-language);
- "Die Neuste Nachrichten" (Yiddish);
- "Die Hoffnung", by Eleazar Rokeach (1882-1905);
- "Mercurul" (1905), by Iacob Kopel, typographer;
- "Steaua Israelita";
- "Biblioteca Israelita";
- "Ecoul Pribegilor" (1900), just one edition edited by the "Hamekiz" immigrants, established by A. L. Zissu and M. Braunstein Mibasan; ? "Adio Romania" (1900) - editor Josef Kaufman; ? "Apel al unui grup de emigranti pe jos" (1900);
- "Fratii Evrei" (1900) - leaflet edited by 62 immigrants;
- "Ramas bun" (July, 1900) - leaflet edited by a group of pedestrian immigrants;
- "Vocea Pribegilor" (1900) - just one edition, published by Josef Kaufman, immigrant group "Don Isaac Abrabanel".
- JOURNALISTS: Fred B. Urseanu; Carol Stelian - journalist, writer (he described Piatra Neamt; he settled in Brussels); Alter Moise Relta; Ziegfried Cremer; Leon Goldner; Aizic Locar; Otto Marcovici; Nadler Emanuel (Emil Nicolae); Martin Leibovici; J. Koppel; Strujan Sorin (Weinstein); Z. Cremer.
- In 1906, in Piatra Neamt takes place "the first Jewish cultural conference", the Zionist Cultural Conference: "… the Zionist idea has succeed in forming deep roots in Piatra thanks to the Jewish intelligentsia that leads this movement" (Josef Kaufman).
- PRINTING HOUSES: 1928-1929 - "Record" (Avram I, Segall and Misu Steuerman); "Leopold Steinberg" Printing House; "Victoria" Printing House (S. Lobensohn); "Lumina" Printing House (David Abramovici); "Unirea" Printing House.
- SPORTS. "Macabi Piatra-Neamt" society and sports team. Sportsmen: Tauber, David and Samy Grunberg, Itca Gutman etc.
- Bread factory and mill - Aron L. Juster and sons
- Timber and mill - Davidovici and Beral, David Rabitza
- Mill - Pitaru, I. David, Negru Haim
- 1888 - textile industry: A. Juster Factory;
- "Zimca" Beer Plant;
- Feingold Mendel's and Segal M. Isac's Pot Factory;
- Leopold Bach's Brush Factory;
- Moise Juster's Alcohol Factory (vinegar, soap);
- Siphon Factory: Leibu David, Catz Iosef, Zeilig Meir, Ghita Ionescu Plesea and David Avram; Ilie Weiber;
- Strul H. Abramovici Blind Factory;
- I. Bachman Cahane's, S. Haim's and Cahane Israel's knit-wear Factory;
- Burech Aizenberg's, Avr. Finkelstein's and Finkelstein Nathan's foundry, turnery and brick Factory;
- Oil plant - Albert Abeles, Aizic Grunfeld, from Piatra Neamt, build a plant for refining oil, paraffin, mineral oils in Roznov village;
- Arthur L. Grunberg's Furniture Factory.
- Engineer Iancu Solomon (1891-1982), born in Vaslui, he designed some plants and electricity and water installations, in Piatra Neamt.
FRED B. URSEANU
He was born in 1907. With his family, he moved to Constanta, where, from early days, contributed to local newspapers "Dacia", and "Marea Neagra". He made some investigations in Middle East, for English newspapers, especially "Daily Mail".
IOSEF MARCUS-AMIHe was born in 1877. He has published in the press short stories and lyrics; he has his own heading "Din Carnetul unui vomis-voiajor". Wounded on the battlefield, in 1917, he dies in a Ramnicu Sarat hospital.
Painter, sculptor, sketcher, poet of the brush - he was born in Piatra Neamt, in 1903 (he died in Paris, in 1966, the city he choose as his home in 1930). Vanguard-linked painter, he made the illustrations for various books written by Sasa Pana, Ilarie Voronca, Gellu Naum, etc. He contributed to "Integral", "Unu", "75HP". Together with Ilarie Voronca, he invented "Pictopoezia" (Painting-poetry) - a mixture of color and word.
He had over 60 personal exhibitions in Romania, France, Italy, England, Austria, Holland etc. He took part at the international exhibitions dedicated to surrealism; paintings: "Intalnirea cu mine insumi", "Atractia Mortii", "Poarta"; "Himera" cycle; "Victorii" and "Penetratii psihologice" autobiographical cycles etc.
H. ST. STREITMAN
Essayist and columnist, he was born in Piatra Neamt, in 1870 (he died in 1949, in Israel). He studied physics and chemistry at the Zurich and Stuttgart Universities and he attended, at Faculty of Philosophy in Rome, the classes of historic philosophy and sociology. In 1908, he published "Cuvinte libere" magazine and "Prezentul" newspaper, and in 1930, "Observatorul politic si social". He contributed to "Viitorul", where he was first-editor, to "Facla", "Reporter", "Curierul Israelit", "Adam", "Gazeta Evreiasca" etc. He published: "Oamenii zilei"; "Fiere si miere"; "Intre da si nu" (essays); "Mi se pare ca" (essays); translations. Between 1926-1943 he was president of the Romanian Jews Central.
Choreographer, great creator of modern dance, she was born in 1924, in Piatra Neamt. "Searcher of that pure gold in the future ballet, creator of a new outlook about the choreographic art" (Hero Lupescu). She led the first public choreography school in Romania (1949-1950).
MAYER A. I. HALEVY
Historian, columnist, he was born in 1900, in Piatra Neamt, but he moved permanently to U.S. He graduated the city's Israelite-Romanian primary school and "Petru Rares" lyceum. He edited "Sinai" magazine (1926-1927) and led "Anuarul de studii iudaice «Sinai» " (1928). Works: "Contributiuni la istoria evreilor din Romania"; "Comunitatile evreilor din Iasi si Bucuresti" etc.
He was born in 1913 (Neamt district). Studies: primary school and "Roman Voda" lyceum, Ecole de Medicine in Tours, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law in Iasi. Author and co-author of numerous communications and scientific works about ancient Romanian law, as the critical editions "Pravilniceasca Condica 1780" (Academy Publishing House, 1957); "Codul Calimachi" (Academy Publishing House, 1958); contributor to "Dictionarul Limbii Romane Contemporane" (Academy Publishing House, 1957); "Dictionar de imbunatatiri funciare" (A-M letters, 1987, N-Z, 1989, "Ceres" Publishing House).
Literary historian and essayist, university professor, he was born in 1932, in Iasi. He graduated the primary school and the lyceum in Piatra Neamt. Doctor in philology, with the thesis "Aspecte ale comicului la Caragiale". His father was a physician and his mother - teacher with the Piatra Neamt lyceums.
A scholar in the law history: JEAN JUSTER
His friends known him better as Iancu Juster. He was the son of industrialist and great scholar Moise Juster. He attended elementary classes, Hebrew primary education and lyceum in his native town, Piatra Neamt. He obtained his license in law in Bucharest, in 1903 and after that he went to Paris to prepare his doctorate (1911) and to become researcher, as he was a skilled polyglot. In 1914, his most important work was published: "Les juifs dans l'empire romaine" (vol. I - 510 pg., vol. II - 338 pg.), and shortly after that "La condition legale de juifs sous les rois visigotes".
Returned home to see his relatives, he was taken by surprise, in Bucharest, by the beginning of the Great War and - as he received French citizenship not long ago - he hurried back to Paris to enlist. Seriously wounded, but recovering, he refuses to be invalidated out of the service, to die as a hero, in the first line, on October 12, 1915. He was 34! In 1905, he was part of the Zionist delegation from Romania to the seventh Basle Congress, with Dr. Lazar Mayersohn, Dr. S. Baruch and many others, immortalized on a historic group photo.
DOREL DORIAN - Self-rediscovering
THE STRUMINGERS, KAUFMAN, MATES but, more than anything, the unbelievable MIMI…
I read again and again these brief memories about the Jews from Piatra Neamt, about that "Kiryat Sefer" - a model of spirituality, as described by Halevy - and which I identify, in all my revivals, with the human being, strictly speaking, who is Mendel P. Mendel, great Hebrew-specialist and time traveler, from the immortals camp… And also with the verb of fire, incendiary, of Abir Mark, a Zion dreamer, untimely fallen, so they say, but I don't believe it… Abir Mark was too much of a dreamer and he loved being alive… They also tell me how he died - but he is alive in our minds -, ennobling all those Jewish high-school years ‘40s-'44s, the distinguished Strulovici, who taught me about logarithms, derivatives and functions with never ending variables, a very good think for my first profession, as an engineer… All this to the desperation of Madame Fainaru, literate - I may add, attractive -, who was sure that no engineering, but writing, will be someday my destiny…
I met again, after many years, my former high-school colleagues, who spanned throughout the world… With the Strumingers, the brothers - Jay and the explosive Dean -, from the United States (Jay - a gifted planner, a Dostoievski and Tolstoi lover), with the beautiful Leni, IT specialist, with Gica, the nephew of the first Kaufman… (And I remembered them together, their parents being taken and killed with bestiality, in ‘42-'43, but staying together till their last moment of their life)… With Armand Mates, a name of reference in the energy system of his adopting country, Canada… With Lazar Almasanu, Ohio university professor… With Kraft brothers, from Israel, internationally acclaimed engineers… With Mimi Alberton (Leibovici), the most beautiful girl of my youth and in our city, whom I met shortly before her leaving us forever… Yes, she is gone too, but still lives in the memory… With Mirel Bergman, settled in Belgium… With Cohen brothers, both of them with great success in their professions…
And I often meet - in a revival of the past -, with my former colleagues, "the adventurers", who didn't live the country: with Doctor Harry Falic, with Marcel Rotman, respected economist and manager of some big companies, even after his retirement, with the faultless memory of those times - Hermina Schwartzman, with Sorin Strujan, fascinated by the truth, so many times hidden, of the press news… But at an eventual roll call, the most of them would miss…
Oh my God, I am not saddened by the fact we are every time fewer … I am just worried that that book on never forgetting we've been talking about, we've been dreaming about, and we've been waiting for so long, could end unwritten! I am really afraid that, among the Piatra Jews, we don't have people like Shlomo David, who edited five big volumes about the Dorohoi Jews…
And I would like, in the end, to recall two other names, my parents'… Or, at least, to say that for me, Piatra, that first moment of my formation begins and lasts through them… Because nobody dies completely… And we were, we are and we will be nothing without them. Izgadal…
University professor, musicologist, respected folklorist (disciple of sociologist Dimitrie Gusti), he was born in 1908, in Piatra Neamt (d. 1989). His ideas about folklore were summed up in his volume "Sa auzim iarba cum creste", published in 1979, in Bucharest. "Chibrituri si mamaliga" presents the fight for surviving, in jail, of musician and artist Harry Brauner, suspected of being involved in Patrascanu group. From jail (where he stayed until 1964), he puts into music two poems written by Michel Solomon. His personality will be remembered in Preda's novel, "Cel mai iubit dintre pamanteni", and in "Jurnalul", by Mircea Eliade, where we find fragments of the life of this fine scholar.
Composer, songwriter, musical revues, musical fantasies, he was born in 1916, in the village of Girov. He will later confess: "The life can't be more beautiful as in Piatra Neamt". We remind you a few titles of his successful songs: "Am strans toamna dupa toamna"; "Cand cade primul fulg de nea"; "Cine a spus ca esti batran, Bucurestiule?" etc. He published didactic works: "Tratat de teoria muzicii"; "Ritmul muzical"; "Teoria ritmului" etc.
He was born in 1921, in Piatra Neamt. He studied music with Dimitrie Cuclin, Mihail Jora and Alfred Mendelssohn, at the Bucharest Conservatory, where he was a conductor. He settled in Prague, supporting the Czech music development. In 1947, he composed "Suita in stil vechi", followed by sonatas, quartettes ("Sonata pentru vioara si pian", "Cvartetul de coarde") and "Ciclul de cantece pentru soprana si pian pe vechi poeme japoneze…" an extraordinary composer's fantasy, with a profound personal expression" (I. Sava).
(Isidor Rotman) - writer, journalist, he was born in 1903, in Piatra Neamt (d. 1976). Poet, novelist, "the pen-artist" (Al. Mirodan), he made his debut in "Flacara" and "Chemarea". His first short story, "Iudita si Holofern", is published in 1927, and in 1929 his first novel is published, "Viata minunata a lui Anton Pann" (with Romulus Dianu), rewarded in 1934. Novels: "Dragoste si moarte in provincie" (1931) and "Arsenic" (1934) - received awards from Romanian Writers Society. He contributed to newspapers and magazines such as "Chemarea", "Universul literar", "Bilete de papagal", "Viata Romaneasca", "Vremea", "Revista Fundatiilor Regale" etc. "The writer has undisputed qualities as an artist and psychologist"(Octav-Sulutiu).
Doctor, university professor, he was born in 1894, the son of chronicler Josef Kaufman. In 1925 - he took his license in chemistry at the Berlin University. After the war, he immigrated in U.S.A. He contributed to science magazines published in France, Germany, and England. He is chevalier of the order "Steaua Romaniei".
LEIZER MENDL BENJAMIN
He was born in 1889. His family was related with the scholars from the family Sanielevici. He graduated the Law Faculty within the Montreal University. He contributed to the Yiddish press: "Keneder Adler", "Der Weg", and "Judischer Journal" from Toronto. He translated in Yiddish language "Jean Cristof", by Romain Rolland.
Playwright, fiction writer, columnist; he was born in Piatra Neamt, in 1930. Editor-in-chief at "Realitatea Evreiasca" magazine, from 1995; from 1996 - deputy in the Romanian Parliament, as F.C.E.R. representative. In 1955, he made his debut with a sketch volume "N-au inflorit inca merii"; in dramaturgy - with plays like "Daca vei fi intrebat" and "Secunda 58" (1959-1960), successively followed by "De n-ar fi iubirile", "Oricat ar parea de ciudat", "Ninge la Ecuator", "Corigenta la dragoste", "Joc dublu", "Teatru cu bile" etc. Complex personality, "Dorel Dorian knows what he wants to say" (B. Elvin). In the domain of science fiction, he published "Fictiuni pentru revolver si orchestra", "Anchetatorul SF si fortele oculte", "Secolul XX, ultimul sfert de ora"; "Paranormal 2000" (1999). At the same time - a series of conferences with a Judaic theme, within F.C.E.R. framework. A special place - "Foc in Calea Vacaresti. Evocare dramatica dupa viata si opera lui I. Peltz".
ITIO S. SIEGLER
He was born in 1876 (he died in Bucharest, in 1943). Engineer (Munchen Polytechnics), he built the Buzau-Nehoiasu railway line. He organized "Ciocanul" school in Bucharest. Zionist activist, he was president of "Oficiul Palestinian" (Palestinian Office, 1924-1928), and of "Jeditei Hechalutz" organization. He created the first farms for Halutzims.
(Arthur Bergman), he was born in 1895, this sonnet writer ("Atatea lumi, si toate sunt in mine!"), once a "sweetheart in Iasi" (C. Drimer). He attended the Piatra Neamt lyceum. His father was a respected Hebrew specialist and Talmudist. "Franturi de suflet", a volume that comprises sonnets written without following in the footsteps - as Rodion said - "of any maestro".
Doctor in chemistry, corresponding-member of the Romanian Academy (sister with Dr. Med. Adelina Siegler-Derevici and with writer Eugen Relgis). She was member in the Biology Societies in Bucharest. Her works have been published in "Bulletin de l'Academie des Sciences", "Archives de Physique biologique", "Archives Roumaines de Pathologie… et de Microbiologie" etc. "Through the seriousness of her researches, through the ingenuity of her working hypothesis, but also through the importance of her results, the name of Mr. Eugenia Soru entered, long ago, in the international scientific world…" (E. Anghelescu).
She was born in Piatra Neamt, in 1899. In 1925, she became doctor in medicine and surgery in Iasi Faculty of Medicine. Diplomat for Hygienic Institute in Paris, she moved to Bucharest, she headed the laboratory for chemical-biological analysis within "Iubirea de oameni" hospital and headed the laboratory within "Eforia Spitalelor Civile", professor Danielopolu's clinic. She made one "of the best medical-social investigations ever to be performed in our country. She can serve as a model for this type of investigations…" (Prof. Dr. I. Nicolau). Works: "Influence de la tyroidectomie sur quelques reactions hormonales dans l'imunite"; "Action particuliere du nickel metallique sur les serums humains normaux" etc.
(Martin Abramovici) - poet, author of "Decalog liric" and "Din zorii iadului pana in grota ingerilor", this "self-tormented person, almost crazy with the metaphor of his own passions" (Dorel Dorian) - was born, in 1938, in Dorohoi -, law studies, he settled a long time ago in Piatra Neamt. With his family, he was deported in Transdniester. After almost three decades of continuous poetical activity, in 1999 he decided to publish his first volumes, well received by the critics and public.
He was a well-known film director with Romanian Television, until 1970; today - in Spain, director of internationally acclaimed television programs.
Philologist and Orient-specialist, he was born in 1864, in Piatra Neamt (he died in 1921, in Buenos Aires). Doctor, with interests in linguistics. He studied medicine and classic languages (he spoke circa 15 languages); he wrote a Romanian language grammar, "one of the best ever published in German, in Berlin" (E. Relgis). He published a "Manual practic de limba romana" (in French).
(Aron Marcovici) - engraver, arts historian, he was born in 1900, in Piatra Neamt (d. 1947). He was deported to camps in Tiraspol, Vapniarca and Savrani. A series of antiwar engravings dates back from the period he spent in the extermination camps. His album, "Alb-Negru" - with a preface written by T. Teodorescu-Braniste -, has 20 engravings. In 1947 - the volume "Ghetto si lagar".
He was born in 1870; he took he license in medicine, surgery; university professor, surgeon in Iasi and Bucharest clinics. He immigrated in U.S.A. Works: "Cateva cuvinte relative la masurile contra leprei"; "Care sunt cauzele care favorizeaza dezvoltarea gusei in Romania?" etc.
DOV BERNARD SUFFRIN
He was playwright, journalist, and author of a Hebrew-Romanian Dictionary, unfortunately still as manuscript in the Library of Jerusalem Hebrew University. It includes all the Tanah words.
- 1877. The oldest Pincas (commemorative book) ever found in Moldavia, important source of research in the history of the Piatra Neamt community. From 1865, the community starts organizing.
- Salomon Drimer (1914, 1928, 1932); Michel Juster; A. Renert (1910-1914); Sigmund Herscovici; Faibis Rosenberg (1881); Ichiel ben Twi; Iosel Medean; Ch. I. Smarack; Aron Juster (1926); Petru Juster (1919); Karol Nacht (1902); Iosef Davidovici; Dr. Haim Fischer (1937-1942); Hascal Catz (1942); Samuel Colbeci (1942); Iuram Sulciner (1943); Elias Herscovici (1945); Strul Lazarovici (1949-1955); L. Haimovici (1970); Sigmund Segal (1977); Bernard Friedman (1978-1991); Engineer Leon Iancu (1991-1998); today, Engineer Heinric Solomon - presidents; I. Svart (1902); Sami Rotman (1932); N. Feinstein (1942-1945); Leiba Carp, Pascal Alamaru, Ionel Ciuraru - 1989-1998; dr. Marcel Crestinu (from 1999) - secretaries.
HOSPITALS, DOCTORS, PHARMACISTS
- 1898 - "Bikur-Choilim" society, helping ill people without possibilities, they wanted to establish a hospital
- 1901 - an asylum was established for ill people without possibilities
- the "Caritatea" society offered help to asylums
- 1903 - the present hospital was established ? two pharmacies and Abram Sildhaus' drug store
Dr. Leon Stein, founder and organizer of Israelite Hospital, doctor within the hospital (1905-1920); Iosef Blumen (surgeon); Iosef Rosenthal (dentist); Aureliu Lupu; Dr. H. Fischer; Dr. V. Daniel; M. Segal; David Segal; Debora Rosenzweig (midwife); Hana Abramovici; Sulamita Cahane (pharmacist); Pascal Alamaru (pharmacist, b. 1914, departmental head within Vorel Laboratory); I. Herscu; Marcu Herscu; Haim Herscu; M. Epelman; David Strulovici; Aurel Barhad (pharmacist, born 1916); Lazar Lazarovici; Daniel Wolf; Mayer Baruch (former German-language teacher with the Jewish Theoretical Lyceum in Piatra Neamt); Sigmund Segal (pharmacist); Maria Blumstein (pharmacist); Rasela Ifrim; Moise Keisel (pharmacist); Iolanda Kopelovici; Iustin Weinberg; Iosif Sarf; Pincu Pascal (born in 1942, in Piatra Neamt, publicist; today, active member within the community, and we take this opportunity for tanking him for the data and some photographs published, selectively, in these pages. He is the author of volumes as "Pagini din istoria farmaciei nemtene", 1995, "Farmacisti din familia Vorel, de la Piatra Neamt", 1983 etc; studies in Spanish publications; he is member of the Society for the history of medicine and pharmacy, Neamt subsidiary, of the Catalan Society for the friends of history and pharmaceutical sciences. His special and permanent interest: the history of Piatra Neamt Jews); Alfred Sapse (born in 1926, in Piatra Neamt, primary pharmacist, settled in U.S.A. He graduated the Israelite Lyceum in Piatra Neamt; specialised in ophthalmology. Professor at the Los Angeles University; member of "The New York Academy of Sciences").
- 1927 - The Guardianship of the Israelite Community in Piatra Neamt launches "Programul comemorarii eroilor neamului" (The program for commemorating the country heroes), dead on the battlefield.
- 1942 - Let's recall youngster Adolf Dan Mihailovici, anti-Fascist fighter, who, at just 21, was condemned to death and executed, on March 16, 1942, in Jilava jail yard. "I am dying with the regret - he said - of not reaching the day when I could have been of real help".
- Veteran Aron Carpan (1854-1914).
- Avram Nuta Ghersin - veteran of the 1877 war, he was naturalized by royal decree, king Carol I; Moise Nuta Ghersin - veteran of the war of completion between 1916-1918, decorated with the commemorative cross with straps; Carol Ghersin - engineer, for 35 years, at "Semanatoarea", co-worker in the goods service of F.C.E.R.
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