At Least 11 Jews Killed in Rumanian Earthquake, 5 Synagogues Ruined
Menu JTA Search

At Least 11 Jews Killed in Rumanian Earthquake, 5 Synagogues Ruined

Download PDF for this date

At least 11 Jews are known to have perished in the earthquake which devastated Rumania last Friday, according to Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of the Park East Synagogue, who received this information in a call yesterday from Dr. Moses Rosen Chief Rabbi of Rumania.

In addition, three synagogues in Bucharest were badly damaged and two synagogues in Krayova, some 150 miles southeast of Bucharest, were completely demolished, Rosen told Schneier. Some Passover food supplies were also destroyed when the warehouse in which they were stored was demolished. An effort to replace the supplies is now under way.

Schneier, who is also the president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, said that among the 11 Jews known so far to have been killed were three intellectuals surnamed Prof. Marcu and Mr. and Mrs. Porambu, both writers. Funeral arrangements were being made this morning for the 11 dead and searches were being conducted in the rubble of Bucharest to find other victims. The earthquake, Rosen reported, left many Jewish families without homes.

Rosen said it might be days before all the Jews who perished in Bucharest and other cities could be found and identified among the estimated 750 bodies found so far. There is also thought to be many Jews among the reported 5645 injured, nearly half of them seriously. It is believed that the final death toll will be between 1000 and 2000 in Bucharest alone.

Schneier said that Rosen told him that the main synagogue in Bucharest, the Choral Synagogue, though badly damaged was used for Sabbath services during which Rosen offered prayers for the well-being of the community. The Malbin and Central Synagogues in Bucharest were too damaged to be used for Sabbath services. Four Jewish community buildings in Rumania’s capital were also totally destroyed. Those synagogues that were not too badly damaged will be used as temporary housing quarters for Jews who lost their homes.


Meanwhile, the Jewish community of Bucharest was assured today by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee of any special assistance it may need as a result of last weekend’s earthquake. In a message to Rosen, who is also the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Rumania, Jack D. Weiler, JDC president, expressed condolences and promised to send additional assistance to the Jewish community over and above current programs which will cost $3,280,000 this year.

There are about 60,000 Jews in Rumania, of whom 40,000 live in Bucharest. JDC-supported programs aid about 16,000 of Rumania’s Jews, most of them aged and ill. JDC receives its funds mainly from the United Jewish Appeal. Donald M. Robinson, JDC vice-president and president-elect, and Ralph I. Goldman, JDC executive vice-president, who are now in Europe conferring with Jewish leaders, immediately ordered a team of relief workers into the country to recommend specific aid programs. Since the earthquake, the JDC-supported communal kitchen in Bucharest served more people than it usually does.

In 1975 when Rumania was inundated by devastating floods, the JDC donated funds for general relief, Weiler noted. Five years before that, he added, the JDC also contributed funds for flood relief.


(In Tel Aviv. the Red Magen David was busy collecting and packing medications urgently needed in Rumania according to a list received from that country. The material is being flown to Bucharest by El Al and Tarom, the Rumanian state airline. It includes anti-typhoid and anti-cholera vaccines, hypodermic needles, and various medical instruments, surgical tools, dietary foods for diabetics and baby food. The first consignments were shipped yesterday.

(A special fund has been started by the Association of Rumanian Immigrants, headed by Itzhak Koren, which opened a bank account to deposit cash contributions. Special efforts are being made to send Passover foods and clothing to Rumania in time for the holiday which begins April 2. Mayor Lehat of Tel Aviv announced that the municipality was prepared to shelter 200 children from Rumania.)

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund