The Jewish community from Buzau

  • The Jewish community from Buzau-the first attestation took place in 1575
  • Moments of history – 1953, the Jew named Haim from the time of Mihai Viteazul
  • Community elite
  • ION PRIBEAGU and the happy hours of the existence
  • Voyage to the… Moon
  • Hot pretzels!…
  • Summary
  • There were once… THE GAD BROTHERS
  • B. LUCA (LUCA BERNSTEIN)-respected dramaturgy writer in his époque
  • LUDWIG GRUNBERG and the vocation of philosophy

    The Jewish community from Buzau-the first attestation took place in 1575

    Over the years, tens of thousands of Jews lived here, on the lands of Buzau… Today, only 45 souls have left…

    • Are there still young Jews in Buzau? Cristian Svart, 24 years old, student at the Faculty of Medicine in Constanta; Madalina Clecner, 26 years old, journalist at the “Opinia” newspaper who, on August 13, 1996, dedicated a page to the Buzau “Kehila”, signed by Professor Alex. Gaita. • The leader of the community is Mr. Paul Gartenberg, ex-army officer; he asked us not to write about his private life (still, we mention that this year Passover coincides, unfortunately, with the “Jahrzeit” for one of his children). • For restoring the Temple, built in 1906 and strongly affected by the earthquake that took place in 1977, offered their aid six donators from Israel, originated from Buzau. • The religious service takes place in the community center, where it is place the Aron Kodes once created by the father of the well-known publicist and writer Mico-May (Blumenfeld), from Buzau. • Mr. Engineer Isidor Sverner, a pensioner aged 64, is the officer of the community, and he is also teaching the Hebrew language to non – Jews in Buzau who want to work in Israel. • On Purim, every Jewish family offered other family homemade cookies. • Dr. Gabriela Iolanda Selaru, from Focsani, and Dr. Claudia Fotache, from Bucharest, assure the medical assistance. When they speak, the eyes of the community veterans become moist with gratitude. • Through Buzau passed the children who came back from Transdniester, among those Blanca Sragher-the future poetess, wrote when she was only 12: “I am chased from everywhere / With courses and hate…” (“Copilul de evreu“). Dr. S. Succin attended the health of the little deportees. • Jewish families were saved and helped, between 1941-1944, by Romanians, as Scanteie family, captains Stroie and Ionescu, Stahu family etc. • A former inhabitant of Buzau came back, the Israeli Naftali Aron, who has no family anymore and who decided to spend here his adult years. • The most passionate reader of the community, who buys all the books published at the “Hasefer” Publishing House, is construction engineer Feri Bernstein, 49. • The Jews from Buzau honor the memory of the Romanian lawyer, who intervened, on June 22, 1941, to the prefect’s office to stop the killing by drowning of the Jews in the cellars of the political police department. • Among the 10 Jews from Buzau who suffered the Transdniester nightmare, only four of them are still alive: two are in Israel, one in U.S.A. and one in Buzau (Moscovici – Ceausu, 86 years old). • Those who today make more pleasant the life of the Jewish community in Buzau – through their love for the history and for the preservation of customs – are Paul Gartenberg, the leader of the community, and Aron – Rubin Aronovici, both pensioners, and we owe him some of the information published in this page.


    Moments of history – 1953, the Jew named Haim from the time of Mihai Viteazul

  • 1575, 1593. Mircea Ciobanul attests the presence of some Jewish inhabitants in Vernesti, a parish in Buzau, in 1575; Mihai Viteazul issues a “document-order” confirming that, in 1593, the Jews were for a long time on those places, and some pieces of land in Topliceni were attested as propriety of a Jew named Haim…
  • 1794. Almost one century ago, on an old piece of paper found in Ciolanu hermitage, father Provian, director of the Theological Seminar within the Buzau diocese, found the words written by a monk saying that, in 1794, “a Jewish medicine man from the Jewish community in Buzau town cured his severe illness”.
  • 1832. From this year dates the oldest tombstone kept in the old cemetery and also the oldest document that exists in the archive of the community.
  • 1938 -1944. There were never more than 1,800 Jews (before the war), reaching, after the havoc done by the pogroms, 1,100 (1946);
  • They supported for two times a “snif de ahsara” (agricultural camp for the future citizens of the Holy Land) – before and after 1944;
  • They gave shelter for dozens of Jewish families evacuated from Ploiesti, some other dozens that sought refuge from Nazi-invaded Poland, hundreds of orphans from Trandsniester (some died later on the “Mefkure” boat), hundreds of repatriates from the same territory.
  • Buzau was designated, between 1871-1872, the place of judgment for the trail of a staged “ritual killing” in Moldova. Dr. A. Stern, who came to try avoiding the consequences of a judicial farce, was aggressed in the tribunal. After 1900, when the anti – Semitic gazette “Alarma” incited to hatred, the suspension of this magazine was determined after a complaint made by the community. The local Zionist movement wasn’t intimidated by the condemnation of some of its members.


    Community elite

    Among the important leaders of the community we mention the one who had an unusually long activity, Noe H. Glasman, president for 33 years (1901 -1934) – mentioned for a long period of time in the prayers of the Smeeni church for the good made for the peasants when he worked in this parish – and Rabbi Simon Bercovici, who was a pastor of this community all his life, meaning 72 years!

    For the Community Temple, this little community offered extraordinary talents: the artisan sculptor Haim Sniter and carpenter Blumenfeld, who created the altar carved in wood and polished with gold.
    The Ministry of Education offered the Israelite School in Buzau “the right to publicity”, one of the first ever gave in the country, for its didactic level.

    Today only 45 are left. But their presence, the marks of their creation are here, in their native country, as well as in Israel or in other parts of the world, as in the liven history of our days.
    All those things were recorded, with skill and diligence, without an ambition of scientific strictness of other times and possibilities, by Iulius Segal z.l., in a succinct, but well documented work offered to us at the beginning of February, this year.



    A fascinating presence, “the most representative artist of the last decades”, she was born on March 16, 1897, in Buzau. In lyceum, attended in Bucharest, she had Ioan Slavici as Romanian language professor. She attended art classes in Paris. She takes part at the Dragus monograph campaign, leaded by Prof. Dimitrie Gusti (1929). In the same year, the Ministry of Arts rewards her with the prize for painting. She makes study voyages abroad. She takes part at the first exhibition of the “Arta noua” group, together with Milita Patrascu, Marcel Iancu and M. H. Maxy and, over the years, at various exhibitions. In the same time, she published poem volumes and anthologies from the universal poetry. She died on September 9, 1992, but her work continues to make the object of many exhibitions.

    “I am not preoccupied by the interference between my pursuits: I paint or I write, I write or I paint when I feel that, from the Unknown, a thought, a line or a color ask to exist through me…”

    “I don’t know other gift to surpass the splendor of Creation and the blessing of Work”. (Margareta Sterian, 1987)

    “Her painting is, actually, the expression of a complex synthesis. The strange universe, the image concentration of the prose of Mateiu I. Caragiale and the transparence of her color permitted some commentators to compare this work with the paintings of Chagall and Dufy (…) In the paintings of Margareta Sterian (…) we find (…) the memory of an original world, kept intact by the art, also protected by the authentic frankness and by the erudition of a sensitive scholar. A world whose permanence it is called poetry”. (Dan Grigorescu).


    ION PRIBEAGU and the happy hours of the existence

    Who didn’t ever hear of Ion Pribeagu and who didn’t have fun with the rhythms and the “points” of his lyrics? He was an authentic popular poet, sensitive to the challenges and kindness of life, amused observer of the morals, fastened in a model of a intuitive social psychology, in his life experience. Born in 1890, in Buzau, Itic Palicu made his debut in “Facla” owned by N. D. Cocea. He was the first writer in the country who red lyrics on radio (December 1927). Editor and contributor with satirical magazines – “Caricatura” and “Pardon” -, at the satirical page published once a week in the “Dimineata” newspaper, at the main Romanian and Jewish newspaper of that period, from “Rampa”, “Ordinea” and “Adevarul literar si artistic”, to “Curierul Israelit”, “Hatikvah” and “Puntea de Fildes”. His books have been published, his texts have been played on the main stages of the revue. After making Alia, he continued to write intensely in Israel.


    Voyage to the… Moon

    If you want to go to the Moon – / Says Goldsprontz monotonously – / We could offer you a hand / Jan-contan-a million! // Is no good-said Sproncik – / I had pure humane reasons, / And because I risk my life, / I want ten millions. // Other four millions / I would take myself, there’s a fixed rule, / Everywhere, even on the moon / without money you can’t do anything! // O.K.! You’ll leave home four millions / For them to start a new life, / In the skies you would take four, / But how about the other two? // The other two millions – / Says Moise-moaning – / Well, I will give them to the one / Who will leave in my place!


    Hot pretzels!…

    All the actuality / Is stringed on rings, / When, suddenly, one guy passed by / Who yells: – Hot pretzels! // – Don’t be offended and forgive me / If I bore you somehow… / Would you be so kind to tell me: – This hole / In the pretzel, how much is it? // – It’s for free!-Said / the astonished pretzel baker. / – So if it is for free, / Why don’t you make it bigger?




  • Ithoc Azir Schor (1840-1875),
  • Israel Berger (1890-1900),
  • Israel Wurzberg (1880 -1920),
  • Simon Bercovici (1902 -1973).

    Presidents of the community: Iancu Marcovici, Noe H. Glasman, Moise Casapu.

    Writers, journalists:

  • Mico-May (M. Blumenfeld), author of revue performances;
  • Eliahu Meitus (Hebrew – language poet; part of his writings was translated by M. Rudich);
  • Isac Holder (contributor to “Adevarul” and “Dimineata”).


  • Theodor Fuchs (excellent pianist, composer, friend and accompanist of George Enescu);
  • Mandru Katz, honored artist, with an imposing musical career in Romania, Israel and many other countries.


  • S. Succin, Cameraman, Rabinovici, Enric Blasian, Moscovici, I. Sandu, Filip Elias, Zaharia Aurel.


  • Kreindler,
  • Solomon Roisman (erudite in Hebrew and Yiddish),
  • Lazar Maier (director of the Jewish school; a street with Jewish houses bears his name).


  • Moses Kluger (he edited Jewish magazines; his son, Max, died in Basarabia).

    Heroes from1916-1918:

  • Jack Pascu, David Horenstein, Carol Moscovici, Emanuel Goldstein, Kalman Katz, Nicu Avram, Moritz Schefer.

    Prayer Houses:

  • Tailors Synagogue (1885),
  • The Little Synagogue, and The Community Temple (1902).

    Societies, organizations:

  • The “Biker Holim” Society of the Jewish Craftsmen and Tradesmen (1886);
  • “Junimea Israelita” (1888);
  • “Marpe Lenefes” (1892);
  • Zionist Organization (1912);
  • The circle of the young Zionists;
  • “Hasomer Hatzair”;
  • “Ichud”; “B’nei B’rith” lodge; the cultural association for the Jewish women (president – Rozica Schwartz).


  • “Menora”,
  • “Cumpana”,
  • “Idealul nostru”,
  • “Alef-bet-ghimel”.

    Argument, individual and collective, for a future lexicon

    Commentaries and portraits edited by Evelin Fonea, Teodor Gheorghiu, and Boris M. Mehr



    He was born in Buzau, in 1913. As a young college student, only 15, he starts writing for the main local publications. Then, as a student at the Faculty of Law in Bucharest, he starts his journalistic career, his signature appearing in “Zorile” directed by Em. Socor, “Timpul” (where Grigore Gafencu appointed him as subeditor), “Cuvantul liber”, but also in the Jewish press (“Renasterea”, “Adam”, “Hasmonaea” etc.), with features about his ethnic roots. One of his favorite subjects is what we may call today “social protection” for the unfortunate, for whom he asked for hospitals, free canteens…, but also militated through media for the creation of a Yiddish-language theater. A convinced Zionist, his solidarity with his people represents a pathetic vein of his poetry. In Israel, his vocation finds his full dedication. In 1995, at the “Minimum” Publishing House was published a posthumous volume titled “Poezii”.

    “Poet of the memory”, “he wrote about the biblical land of his country and about the ones killed in Basarabia, about the Herzl Mountain and about his companions who fought for Zionism, he wrote with pain about the pain, he suffered continuously because of the suffering” (Al. Mirodan).



    He was born in Buzau, in 1905. After sporadic studies of medicine, pharmacology and law, he attends, following his parents advice (his father was an office worker for Romanian Railways), a telegraphy school, and was later hired as a radio-telegrapher with the “Har-Zion” boat for the first Jewish company for maritime navigation, making voyages in all over the Middle East. In 1937, in full anti-Semitic campaign, he returns to the country and publishes the “Apararea” newspaper, to fight against this campaign, with the help of some important Romanian intellectuals (Anton Dumitriu, Petre Bellu, Neagu Radulescu, George Dem. Pan), but also Jewish (Oscar Lemnaru, Ury Benador, Bogdan Varvara, S. Semilian etc.).


    There were once… The Gad brothers

    Henry (1895-1930), publicist, in October 1922, together with Ion Vinea, he published the magazine “Clopotul”, with contributors such as Tudor Arghezi, Al. O. Teodoreanu, Ion Calugaru and his brother, Ion Graunte (Jean Gad). N. Tonitza and Reuven Rubin illustrated the pages of the magazine.

    Jean (b. 1899), also a publicist, he practiced legal profession, as a secretary of the maestro of the Bar, Alex. Oteteleseanu; he was an active soldier in the Great War.


    B. LUCA (LUCA BERNSTEIN) Рrespected dramaturgy writer in his ̩poque

    He was born in Buzau County (Ramnicu Sarat), in 1873. The dramaturgy writer and poet B. Luca made his debut in 1913, with lyrics; in 1918, he published the volume “Golgota”, after participating in the war of completion between 1916-1918. He was also a publicist, editing, in Craiova, the “Zorile” magazine. The theater companies of Ion Manolescu, Maria Filotti, Gh. Storin staged his plays “Omul de prisos”, “Sacalii”, “Creditorii”. He died in Bucharest, on March 22, 1931.


    LUDWIG GRUNBERG and the vocation of philosophy

    He was born in 1933, in Buzau, and he made himself known during his career as a researcher and university teacher as a brilliant thinker in the theory of values. Due to his pedagogic and oratorical gift, he enjoyed the great appreciation from those who were attending his lectures. In his works, the dialectic helped him as one of his main methods of research.
    Today, we commemorate four years from his death. We recently find out, from his family, that in the near future will be published, in U.S.A., at “Rodopi” Publishing House, the volume “Misterele valorii”.