GENERAL SURVEYS AND LISTS
Searchable online database of landmarked heritage sites, including a number of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries.
Official government web site with news, resources, databases and other material on museums, monuments and heritage sites, including Jewish heritage sites, around Romania.
Various databases, online lists, articles and other material on heritage sites, monuments and museums in general in Romania
Extensive photographic documentation by Charles Burns of Jewish heritage sites, mainly in parts of Poland and western Ukraine, but also in Romania, with a focus on Jewish cemeteries, including many images of individual gravestones. Dozens of towns are included.
A valuable web site on Jewish cultural heritage in Romania, featuring research on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, much of it carried out by Dr. Mircea Moldovan and other researchers from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism. There are lists and inventories of sites, articles on specific topics, photographs and some architectural drawings of synagogues, reports on Jewish cemeteries, list of sites, proposals for enhancing Jewish heritage tourism and other material. Most of the material is in Romanian, with some in English.
Web site — in English and Romanian — of a foundation sponsored by B’nai B’rith International and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, with information on synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, Jewish communities, etc.
Survey published in 2010 by the U.S. Comission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. It includes general information and specific material on 698 Jewish cemeteries and 98 synagogue buildings, as well as historical and legislative data and information about methods of care and maintenance.
FEDROM, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, owns 87 synagogue buildings in Romania. They stand in all parts of the country: 38 in Transylvania, 33 in Moldova, 14 in Muntenia, and 2 in Dobrogea.
The synagogues date from the 17th to the 20th century: seven were built between 1651 and 1830; 15 between 1831 and 1860; 29 between 1861 and 1890; 11 between 1891 and 1900; 11 between 1901 and 1910; and 14 between 1911 and 1930.
Thirty-four are listed as historical monuments, and 42 are in regular use as synagogues. FEDROM has arranged long-term lease agreements for a small number of synagogues, under which the buildings have been or will be rehabilitated and used for cultural purposes. The U.S. Commission Survey includes a chart showing the use of FEDROM-owned synagogue buildings in the early 2000s.
In addition, a number of other synagogues not under FEDROM’s ownership also still stand, in various states or transformation or disrepair.
FEDROM’s list of its synagogue buildings, arranged alphabetically by location, with date of construction and address. Synagogues still in regular use as Jewish houses of worship are marked with an asterisk. (See also this list of synagogues.)
Location, photographs of some, and indication of those listed as national cultural monuments.
A photo gallery of synagogues in Transylvania
Detailed photo and text documentation of about 15 synagogues in northeastern Romania, carried out as a project of centropa.org
Detailed documentation, with photos, by the Center for Jewish Art in Jerusalem.
In 2002, the Romanian Government turned over ownership of all Jewish cemeteries in the country to FEDROM, and passed an ordinance providing stiff penalties for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and other sites.
As of January 2012, FEDROM had identified at least 821 Jewish cemeteries, in all parts of the country. Seventeen of them are listed at historic monuments. Jewish cemeteries are located in more than 732 cities, towns and villages; only in 148 of these places is there any Jewish presence — be it a small organized Jewish community or individual Jewish residents. That means that more than 650 Jewish cemeteries are located in places where there are no Jews.
There are believed to be 17 cemeteries that retain more than 5,000 gravestones, and more than 40 with between 500 and 5,000 stones. But 400 or more cemeteries have only between 1 and 20 stones. More than a dozen sites are still identified as cemeteries but have no visible gravestones.
Many Romanian Jewish cemeteries, especially those in the Bucovina and elsewhere in northeastern Romania, are particularly significant for the high level of stone carving of the gravestones found there. Cemeteries such as Suceava, Botosani, Radauti, Gura Humorului and Siret rank among the finest repositories of Jewish folk art in East-Central Europe. The gravestones in the many cemeteries in Transylvania and the Satu Mare region are generally less ornate.
- Region: Banat (1 cemetery, 4 burials)
- City: Gurahonţ (1 cemetery, 4 burials) (data online 14 June 2014)
- Region: Bucovina (6 cemeteries, 7862 burials)
- City: Arbore (1 cemetery, 73 burials) (data online 7 January 2010)
- City: Bucecea (1 cemetery, 646 burials)
- City: Cîrlibaba (1 cemetery, 36 burials) (data online 17 July 2009)
- City: Gura Humorului (1 cemetery, 664 burials)
- City: Radauti / Radautz (1 cemetery, 5604 burials) (data online 7 January 2010)
- City: Suceava (1 cemetery, 839 burials) (data online 21 November 2007)
- Region: Crisana (2 cemeteries, 812 burials)
- Region: Maramures (11 cemeteries, 8284 burials)
- City: Livada Mica (2 cemeteries, 19 burials)
- City: Odoreu (1 cemetery, 19 burials) (data online 10 April 2008)
- City: Oraşu Nou (Avasujvaros) (1 cemetery, 53 burials)
- City: Sacel (1 cemetery, 30 burials) (data online 6 June 2010)
- City: Satu Mare (3 cemeteries, 4588 burials)
- City: Seini (1 cemetery, 130 burials)
- City: Sighetu Marmaţiei (1 cemetery, 3311 burials)
- City: Tur_ (1 cemetery, 134 burials)
- Region: Moldavia (7 cemeteries, 85760 burials)
- City: Botoşani (1 cemetery, 13198 burials) (data online 6 March 2007)
- City: Hîrlau (1 cemetery, 3278 burials) (data online 22 November 2004)
- City: Iasi (1 cemetery, 66607 burials)
- City: Moineşti (1 cemetery, 472 burials) (data online 6 June 2010)
- City: Piatra Neamţ (1 cemetery, 41 burials) (data online 13 January 2013)
- City: Podu Iloaiei (1 cemetery, 58 burials) (data online 13 December 2013)
- City: Roman (1 cemetery, 2106 burials) (data online 19 December 2010)
- Region: Transylvania (5 cemeteries, 2602 burials)
- City: Batiz (1 cemetery, 8 burials) (data online 10 April 2008)
- City: Csikszereda-Miercurea Ciu (1 cemetery, 70 burials) (data online 13 December 2013)
- City: Elöpatak (1 cemetery, 1 burial) (data online 13 December 2013)
- City: Tirgu Lapus (1 cemetery, 162 burials) (data online 14 June 2014)
- City: Târgu-Mureş (1 cemetery, 2361 burials) (data online 14 June 2007)
Download from here the Preliminary Report by the Lo-Tishkach Foundation on Legislation & Practice Relating to the Protection and Preservation of Jewish Burial Grounds in Romania. A very full description of cemeteries, conditions and legislation, drawn from FEDROM documentation and other sources.
A 108-page PDF report by FEDROM on Jewish cemeteries in Romania. It dates from 2007 but has much information, as well as photos and the chart of all known cemetery locations.
Links to cemetery descriptions; resources, addresses.
Photographs, articles, and other information on Jewish cemeteries, mainly in northern Romania (Radauti, Siret, Botosani, Gura Humorului, Suceava, and other towns), focusing on the decorative gravestone iconography depicting women. A web project by Jewish Heritage Europe Coordinator Ruth Ellen Gruber.
There are believed to be eight surviving synagogues or prayer houses in Bucharest, including the grand Choral Temple, built in 1864-65, which anchors the Jewish community headquarters complex; and Great Synagogue, built in 1846-47 (now used as a Holocaust museum); the Tailors’ Synagogue, built in 1836 (Jewish Historical Museum), and other smaller buildings:
Bucharest Choral Temple, Sfanta Vineri Street
Great Synagogue 11, V. Adamache Street
Holy Union Temple/Unirea Sfânta/Tailors’ Synagogue, 3, Mamulari Street
Podul Mogosoaiei Synagogue, built in 1827, Calea Victoriei
Yeshua Tova Synagogue, 9, built in 1827, Take Ionescu Street
Credinta (Faith) Synagogue 4, built in 1927, Gh.V. Toneanu
Vointa Synagogue, built in 1878, Dacia Avenue
Bucharest has three large Jewish cemeteries, all well maintained.
Philanthropic Cemetery, Blvd. Ion Mihalache 89-91
Located in the northern part of town, the main Ashkenazi cemetery was founded in the mid-19th century, around 1865. It has a large and elaborate, domed pre-burial house and a striking art deco entry gate. There many interesting monuments, including the elaborate tombs of prominent families and a memorial to Jewish soldiers killed in World War I.
In the southern part of the city there is a large Sephardic cemetery at Soseau Giurgiului, no. 2, near the major municipal cemeteries, and a vast Jewish cemetery, still in use by the local community, at Soseau Giurgiului 162.
ELSEWHERE IN ROMANIA
As in other countries with hundreds of Jewish heritage sites, you can find basic information in the lists above. Here below we present sites with their own web sites and online resources, as well as some other key sites and documentation.
Synagogue built in 1885 and listed as a historic monument. In 2013 the municipality began work to restore it as a cultural center.
Str. Marchian 1
Built in the 1834, one of the oldest and most lavishly decorated in Romania. The exterior is anonymous; but the sanctuary has a richly carved and gilded Ark, detailed wall and ceiling paintings and an elaborate chandelier.
Str. Penes Curcanul no. 6
Extensive and largely overgrown Jewish cemetery with vividly carved gravestones from several time periods. There are several sections — the more modern section is still in use by the tiny Jewish community. The older part of this features gravestones with metal canopies. Behind the modern section is an older, rather overgrown, section where tombstones feature extraordinarily vivid carvings of lions and other animals, many of them clearly by the same artist/stone mason. Next to this cemetery there is an even older cemetery, also with elaborately carved stones.
Great (Neolog) synagogue designed by Lipot Baumhorn and inaugurated in 1901: it was restored and rededicated in 2001; smaller orthodox synagogue, dating from the early 1920s and damaged in an earthquake. Jewish cemetery.
The drawings, signed by Baumhorn, were discovered by archive researcher Julie Dawson, who is making a survey of Jewish material in archives in Romania.
Synagogue (on Alexandru Ioan Cuza Street) dating from 1858, with impressive wall paintings. Buhuşi was a noted Hasidic center founded by the Tzaddik Yitsḥak ben Shalom Yosef Friedman (1834–1896) of the Ruzhyn Dynasty. The synagogue is part of a complex that included his rabbinical court, yeshiva and mikvah. Descendants of the Ruzhyn dynasty restored the building in 2007 and it is the scene of pilgrimages by followers of the rebbe. (The Buhuşi rebbe moved his court to Bene Berak in Israel after World War II.)
The Jewish Cemetery, (down a dirt road off Alexandru Ioan Cuza street) where Buhuşi rebbes are buried, dates from the 19th century and has many ornately carved gravestones.
Essential resource. A lengthy, illustrated article by Drs. Nicoleta Doina Teodorescu and Adriana Andone of the Architecture department of Spiru Haret University in Bucharest tracing the history of the Jewish community in Caracal and detailing the built Jewish heritage including the 1902 synagogue on Grigore Ion Street, the Jewish cemetery with ceremonial hall, and Jewish houses and businesses. The illustrations include maps, historic images and contemporary photographs.
Only one synagogue, the once-grand, Moorish-style Ashkenazic Great Synagogue remains in this Black Sea port — and it is ruined to the point of collapse. Designed by Adolf Linz , it was built in 1910-1914 corner of C.A. Rosetti street and Petru Rareş street on the site of two earlier synagogue. The Sephardic synagogue, built in 1866, was demolished in the late 1980s. The site, at Mircea street 18, is now paved over and a vacant lot with a gas tank on it. The Jewish cemetery, at 4 Bărăganului street, was founded in the mid-19th century and, though still in used by the tiny Jewish community, is in large part overgrown and needs maintenance.
An essential resource. A detailed, illustrated study by Drs. Nicoleta Doina Teodorescu and Corina Lucescu of the Architecture department of Spiru Haret University in Bucharest that presents the history of the Jewish community in Constanţa as well as a description of their architectural heritage: synagogues, homes, shops, communal buildings, cemetery, etc. The illustrations include historic images as well as contemporary views.
Synagogue (5 Horezu street)
Built originally in 1832, it is the only one of three pre-WW2 synagogues. It was rebuilt in 1887 and underwent restoration in 1982 following damage in a 1977 earthquake. It is the current seat of the small local Jewish community.
Jewish cemetery (209 Bucovăţ Street)
Established in the 19th century, it has a large, distinctive main gate recalling art deco style. One tomb, the mausoleum of monument of Iosif and Ralian Samitca, is landmarked as a historical monunent.
Essential resource. A lengthy, illustrated article by Dr. Nicoleta Doina Teodorescu of the Architecture department of Spiru Haret University in Bucharest that presents the history of the Jewish community of Craiova and offers a detailed description of their architectural heritage — the one surviving synagogue, the Choral synagogue at 5 Horezu street; the Jewish cemetery with mortuary at 209 Bucovăţ street; and homes, businesses and commercial buildings. The illustrations include historic and contemporary views.
The web site dates from the mid-2000s, but has information on Jewish history in the town as well as on the surviving synagogue and Jewish cemetery
Extensive, genealogy-oriented web site that includes a section on the Jewish cemetery, with a map of the cemetery, some photographs and index of names of people buried
Two surviving synagogue buildings out of more than 100…one is oldest synagogue in Romania, built in the 17th century and currently under (sometimes fitfull) renovation, with the support of the World Monuments Fund and the Romanian Culture Ministry. It has a distinctive dome and an elaborately carved and painted wooden Ark.
There is an extensive Jewish cemetery, with a section devoted to the mass graves of Holocaust victims and a large section graves of World War I Jewish soldiers.
MEDIAS (Southern Transylvania)
Synagogue built in 1896 as part of a complex of Jewish communal buildings, and now in disrepair, despite international efforts to restore it.
Download a PDF brochure about the synagogue and its history, written by Julie Dawson and Letitia Cosnean. (The pagination is strange when view online; it is meant to be printed and folded.) Some of the text and information about fund-raising is outdated, but there is a good description of the building and history:
“The architect of the synagogue in Medias is unknown and significant affinities with other synagogues remain unexplained. The composition of the main façade is, however, similar to the Neologue synagogue in Cluj-Napoca: a stepped facade, vertical registers separated by decorative facet pilasters suggesting minarets, ornamental stars of David, and a triple profile cornice accented by a blind arches frieze.
Nineteenth century eclecticism together with Romantic and Moorish characteristics strongly influence the decoration: lacy profiles, oversized facet pilasters, rounded, tall windows, etc.The interior space is divided into two main sections: the entrance area and the ceremony hall. The entrance area consists of three rooms placed on the west side. The main vestibule (pulis) is accessed through a one-storey portico framed by four massive columns. A smaller room for Tora study is placed on the right side of the pulis and on the left side, with a separate exterior entrance for women, is the staircase.
The main ceremony space consists of a generous nave (18x11m) vaulted with a wooden, painted-barrel vault and surrounded on three sides by the women’s gallery. Beautiful lacy wooden banisters visually separate the women’s gallery from the ground floor ceremony area. Thin, metal columns with stylized capitals in Secession style buttress the gallery.
In the middle of the nave is the bima with highly decorative sculpted elements surrounded by benches on either side. The Torah Ark (Hebrew: Aron Kodesh), located on a platform on the east wall, is the main architectural feature of the interior. It has two painted, wooden columns, one on either side, above which is a pediment crowned with the 10 commandments.”
Web site of a foundation set up to preserve Jewish heritage in Moinesti, in particular the Jewish Cemetery (located on the main road to Osoiu Hill, on the right side of the road, close to the hill top) whose oldest legible stones date from 1740. The web site includes photographs as well as a downloadable PDF file of the names and dates of people buried in the cemetery, with the location of the gravestone also noted.
Major city in northern Transylvania near the border with Hungary; the center comprises a valuable collection of art nouveau buildings. There are five surviving synagogues; three surviving Jewish cemeteries; numerous buildings that were Jewish communal properties, businesses, mansions, etc.
A non-profit organization dedication to education about Oradea’s Jewish history and monuments, and the Holocaust. Its slogan is “Oradea united in diversity: A Jewish voice.” One of its projects is the promotion of a Jewish Museum to be located in the Teleki synagogue, which was long used as a vegetable warehouse.
Essential resource. Detailed, illustrated article by Drs. Ana Maria Biro and Andreea Biro presenting the history of the Jewish community of Petroşani and describing its Jewish architectural heritage, including the simple prayer house, a converted dwelling at 8 Gelu Street — before WW2 there were three synagogues, now demolished; today only a handful of Jews live in the town. The hilltop Jewish cemetery at 11 Cireşilor Street was established in 1880 and has 300 grave markers. Illustrations include historic views and contemporary photographs.
Essential resource. Detailed, illustrated article by Drs. Ana Maria Biro and Andreea Biro presenting the history of the Jewish community of Piteşti and describing its Jewish architectural heritage. This includes the grand synagogue at 1 November 19 street, built in the 1920s, and the former Jewish school next door (turned into a restaurant in 2009). Both buildings are listed as cultural monuments. The Jewish cemetery on Dârzul Street in surrounded by a wall and includes about 500 graves, some marked by large tombs.
Large, twin-towered synagogue with elaborated interior painted decoration, built around 1880 or 1883, that is a major landmark in the center of town. Restored in 2012 and houses a permanent exhibition on Jewish history and culture. Romania issued commemorative stamps about it in 2013.
Extensive and very well mapped and documented Jewish cemetery, with many finely carved gravestones.
Extensive, genealogy-oriented web site with many links to history, resources and Jewish sites in the town. It includes an extensive section on the Jewish cemetery in Radauti, including a map, photographs of gravestones and index of people buried there.
Film made from Laurence Salzman’s photos of Radauti in 1970s:
Spearheaded by Marcel Glaskie; the Jewish cemetery is being cleared and all gravestones have been photographed and uploaded digitally. The extensive, genealogy-designed web site has maps, photographs and other material.
Two surviving synagogues, standing side by side; two Jewish cemeteries, also next to each other.
Str. 9 Mai No.2
The Orthodox Cemetery comprises about 3,000 gravestones, with the earliest dating from the first half of the 19th century. There is a Holocaust memorial and tombs of revered rabbis.
Web site with documentation, maps, database and photographs of all the gravestones in the Orthodox and the Status Quo Jewish cemeteries in Satu Mare.
Synagogue dating from 1899 with richly ornate and nicely restored interior and red-brick tripartite facade with protruding central section, topped by the tablets of the 10 Commandments.
Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the capital of the “siebenburgen,” the seven fortress towns in Transylvania settled by ethnic German Saxons in the 12th century. The Great Synagogue was designed by the architect Ferenc Szalay; it is listed as a historical monument. The sanctuary, divided into three sections surrounded on three sides by arcaded women’s galleries, is richly decorated, with Moorish-style arches, a coffered ceiling, and intricate carving and inlay. The bimah stands in front of the stately Aron ha Kodesh, or Ark, built into in a recess at the eastern wall.
SIGHETU MARMATIEI (Hungarian: Sighet)
Only one of the eight synagogues in Sighet survives: a simply decorated building with vertical red striping on its façade that was erected in 1885. A monument to the Holocaust on Str. Gheorghe Doja stands on the site of the Great Synagogue, which was destroyed during the war.
Jewish Cemetery (Szilagyi Istvan street)
Sighet was home to a court of the Teitelbaum Hasidic dynasty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and pilgrims still come to visit the tombs of the tzaddikim .
Elie Wiesel home and museum (corner of Dragos Voda and Tudor Vladmirescu streets)
Opened at a ceremony attended by Wiesel himself in 2002, the museum includes rooms furnished the way a Jewish family would have lived before World War II, as well as memorabilia, documents, photographs and other material.
Sighet Open Air Village Museum (Skansen)
A collection of traditional wooden houses and other buildings brought from around Maramures that includes two houses once owned and lived in by Jews.
Museum memorial opened in 2005 in the former synagogue in Simleu Silvaniei, built int 1976. Driving force behind it was the architect Adam Wapniak. The museum is operated and maintained by the Jewish Architectural Heritage Foundation of New York and Asociata Memoralia Hebraica Nuşfalău – a Romanian NGO, with support from other organizations and institutions.
Border town with Ukraine; surviving synagogue and three extensive cemeteries. Local authorities erected multilingual signage — Romanian, Ukrainian and English — in 2013 providing the history of the synagogue and the important medieval Jewish cemetery, may have been established as early as the 16th century and is one of the oldest in Romania — it is one of the few Jewish sites listed as a national historical monument.
Str. Teiului 4
Built in 1840, it has rich interior decoration, including the wheel of the Zodiac on the ceiling.
The Old Jewish Cemetery was in operation until 1840 and is one of the few Jewish heritage sites in Romania to be designated a historic monument. The “Middle Cemetery” dates from the 19th century and has an array of wonderfully ornate, Baroque-style tombstones, some of which can easily be attributed to the same artist. It occupies a field that rises, like a plateau, high above the “New Cemetery,” a well-kept assembly of 20th century tombs.
GAH Synagogue, built in 1870 and richly decorated with ceiling and all paintings; restored in 2016. See video below:
Two Jewish cemeteries.
Large, domed, highly ornate synagogue, built for the Status Quo Ante community in 1899-1900; designed by Viennese architect Jakub Gartner (who also designed the Status Quo synagogue in Trnava, Slovakia). Still in use by the tiny congregation; a memorial in the synagogue commemorates 7,500 Jews deported and killed in the Shoah.
A web site devoted to the Status Quo and Orthodox Jewish cemeteries in Târgu Mures, with lots of pictures, browsable Burial Registry books, and databases. Several Jewish cemeteries nearby are also included (though there may not be complete information in the database)– Acăţari, Bezidu Nou, Bogata, Cipău, Iernut, Luduş, Nazna I, Ogra, Şilea Nirajulu, Târnaveni I, Topliţa I, Valea Izvoarelor
In 2008-2009, high school students from Italy, Romania and Slovakia took part in a European Commission-sponsored “Youth in Action” project tracing Jewish heritage in Vaslui, in northern Romania. They published their results online as a freely accessible e-book, with photographs of the Jewish cemetery, 19th century synagogue, personalities and pre-war buildings.
The Vaslui town web site also has some information, map and links