The two most brutal movements of the last century, fascism and communism, hit Maramures like twin tornadoes. Invading dictatorships came one after the other. The ghosts of those encounters still haunt the timeless simplicity of this place. They whisper in plain buildings that stand today as museums to the people who lived and died here – The Elie Wiesel Memorial House – Museum of Jewish Culture in Maramures and The Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and the Resistance.

Some of the Jewish families had lived in Maramures for over 200 years. Most had come in the late19th and early 20th centuries, fleeing the pogroms of Russia. Some worked the farms; some lived in villages and towns, working as traders and craftsmen. There were synagogues in most villages.

The Jewish Community in Sighet has existed since the beginning of the 17th century. The first synagogue was built in 1780 with the agreement of Emperor Josef II. The Community flourished and by WWII had become the second largest in Romania. Of the two temples, six synagogues and 13 prayer houses, only one is left standing today. Built in 1885, it has been rebuilt, repaired and restored several times over.

15, 500 Jews were deported from Sighet in 1944. Most famous among them was Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and receiver of the Nobel Peace Prize in1986. After the war only 2000 returned. Many of those have since died and many left Romania during the 45 years of communism.

 

 

 

 

 

It will be my privilege to help you discover your roots and walk the path of your ancestors with you.  Although not Jewish myself, I have over the years had the pleasure of working with people from many countries including the USA, the UK, Australia and Chile who came to Romania to rediscover their origins.

e-Mail: cornelia@maramuresguide.com, Mobile/WhatsApp +40-720-919907