Romania and Moldova, ca. 2000.

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The Romanian name for the historic region between the Carpathian Mountains and the Dniester River, also known by its Russian name, Moldavia. The principality was divided along the Prut River in 1812, when Russia seized the eastern portion, Bessarabia; the western portion forms part of the modern state of Romania [see Moldavia].  Moldova became an independent state in August 1991, succeeding the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia [see Union of Soviet Socialist Republics], which included Bessarabia and Transnistria. The latter region, dominated by a Slavic population, has been under the control of a breakaway government since 1990. (Transnistria is also the name given during World War II to a Ukrainian region to which many Jews, especially from Bucovina and Bessarabia, were deported.)

Today, the Jewish population in the Republic of Moldova is about 20,000, with some 75 percent in the capital, Chişinău (Kishinev). There are smaller communities in Bălţi, Tighina (Bendery), Rybnitsa, and Tiraspol. Moldovan Jews, with American Jewish and Israeli support, have established a variety of religious, cultural, and educational institutions.

Suggested Reading

Diana Dumitru, “The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust: Historiography and Politics in Moldova,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 22.1 (2008): 49–73; Valerii A. Dymshits, “Documenting of Jewish Cemeteries in Ukraine, Moldavia and Romania,” Le patrimoine juif européen (2002): 141–156; Malka Korazim, Esther Katz, and Vladimir Bruter, Survey of the Jewish Population in Moldova (Jerusalem, 2002); Flavius Solomon, “Comunităţile evreieşti din Basarabia/Republica Moldova în secolele XIX–XX: Evoluţii demografice şi organizare,” Studia et Acta Historiae Iudaeorum Romaniae 9 (2005): 106–134; Dmitry Tartakovsky, “Conflicting Holocaust Narratives in Moldovan Nationalist Historical Discourse,” East European Jewish Affairs 38.2 (2008): 211–229.