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Town in the extreme west of Romania, in the Crişurilor Plain, 14 km east of the border with Hungary and 40 km southwest of Oradea. The first written reference to Salonta (Hun., Nagyszalonta) dates to 1332 and was found in a papal document. Destroyed by the Turks in 1598, the town was rebuilt by the free soldiers of Prince István Bocskay in 1606. The town was ravaged by severe fires in 1658 and 1847, and by floods in 1816.

Jews had a presence in Salonta from 1840. The community was established in 1850; in the same year it had a synagogue, then a burial society (1859), a women’s association (1868), and an elementary school (1869). Salonta’s first rabbi was Aron Landesberg (ca. 1860), who was succeeded in 1892 by József Fried, and then by Abraham Isac Nebel (1925–1944), who was affiliated with the Neolog movement and supported Zionism. Numbers increased from 534 in 1891 (representing 4.2% of the town’s total population) to 843 in 1910. The numbers decreased during the interwar period, from 740 in 1930 (4.8%) to 593 in 1941 (3.7%). Subsequent to the civil emancipation (1867) and the Congress of Jews from Hungary and Transylvania (1868–1869), the community declared itself Neolog and built a new synagogue in 1886. An Orthodox community was also established in 1927, led by Nathan Brisk; by 1938, some 30 of the 180 Jewish families living there chose this affiliation.

In the 1930s, the Jews of Salonta included 2 tradesmen, 66 salesmen, 8 craftsmen, 7 doctors, 4 agricultural landowners, 4 clerks, 3 lawyers, and a teacher. In addition, 3 persons were supported by the community and 75 others did not claim a specified occupation. In April 1944, the Neolog community counted 375 members; its president was the textile manufacturer Izsó Farkas. The community had 3 employees, a burial society, a home for the elderly with 14 places, a school fund, and some real estate.

In 1940, Salonta was included in the region of northern Transylvania that was transferred from Romania to Hungary. In May 1944, when Hungary was occupied by German troops, the Jews of Salonta were concentrated in the ghetto of Oradea. From there, 27,215 Jews were deported to Auschwitz on eight separate days between 23 May and 27 June. A few survivors rebuilt the community after 1945, and its numbers reached 190 in 1947. Monuments dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust were erected in the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery. Over the following decades, emigration reduced the Jewish population of Salonta, leaving just 10 families in 1971. The synagogue was torn down in the 1980s, when the country’s Communist regime updated urban development. By 2003, just 7 Jews lived in Salonta; they are included in the community of Oradea.

Suggested Reading

Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger, Az erdélyi zsidóság története (1623–1944) (Budapest, 1995), pp. 182, 185, 232, 309–314; József Schweitzer and Kinga Frojimovics, eds., Magyarországi zsidó hitközségek 1944 április (Budapest, 1994), vol. 1, pt. B, pp. 466–467; Imre Szabó, Erdély zsidói (Cluj, 1938), pp. 218–220.



Translated from Romanian by Anca Mircea