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9 Dead, 36 Badly Hurt in Panic That Swept Bucharest Synagogue

Following an examination of the ruins of the Poradin Synagogue, where the women’s gallery collapsed during a panic that occurred in the course of the Kol Nidre services on the eve of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), it was established by the police and firemen that there were no men among the victims. Attempts were being made today to penetrate into the wreckage to save victims pinned in the debris of the fallen gallery.

Bucharest doctors are working desperately to save as many of the sufferers as possible. The toll of the dead is still growing.

Nine women are dead, thirty-six are seriously injured and fourteen slightly injured as a result of the panic that swept over the women’s gallery in the overcrowded synagogue last night when a short circuit occurred. The sudden dimming of the lights and a flash in the gallery alarmed the women worshippers and one shouted “fire.” In the ensuing rush from the wooden gallery toward the exits, a frightful panic took place in which many of the women were trodden to death. The gallery collapsed and many of the women were dashed to the floor below, where the men sat.

The panic was confined almost entirely to the women’s gallery, the men below remaining composed. The cantor attempted to continue the services in a vain attempt to stop the panic, but the terror-stricken women paid no attention, making a mad dash for the doors. It is feared that there were children among the victims.

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