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Town in northern Romania in the county of Maramureş, on the Someşului Plain at the southwestern foot of the Gutîi Mountains and on the Seinel River, 48 km northwest of Baia Mare. The first documented reference to Seini (Hun., Szinyérváralja or Szinérváralja) dates to 1334, and the first indication of a Jewish population comes from the second half of the eighteenth century. A census of Jews in Maramureş in 1768–1769 recorded 2 Jewish families with 6 people living in Seini. In 1839–1840 there were 151 Jews; a century later, the census of 1930 counted 673 Jews (13% of the total town population). The Jewish community was established by the end of the 1700s, with its own rabbi, and it later affiliated strongly with Orthodoxy. In 1885, it became the administrative center for the surrounding rural communities.

Between 1904 and 1943, Seini was the major center for Jewish printing in Transylvania. Iacob Wieder and his son Judah (who settled in Haifa in 1932) printed 145 books in Hebrew and Yiddish (130 of them have been preserved, 35 of which exceed 100 pages). The printing industry’s most prolific periods were 1921–1930, when 72 books were produced, and 1931–1940 when 28 were issued. Both religious and literary works were published, as well as Apirion, a journal edited in New York. A posthumous volume of Yiddish poetry by Herman Gottlieb (1841–1931) was issued in 1933.

Seini was included in the region of northern Transylvania transferred from Romania to Hungary in 1940. In April 1944, the community had 615 members; its president was the tradesman Izsak Elias and its rabbi was Abraham Schwarz. In May 1944, the Jews of Seini were concentrated in the central ghetto of Baia Mare and were then deported to Auschwitz on 31 May and 5 June. The community was reestablished by survivors, and totaled 150 members in 1947. As a consequence of emigration, in 1971 there were only 3 Jewish families left in Seini, and by the turn of the twenty-first century, just one Jewish inhabitant remained and was included in the community of Baia Mare.

Suggested Reading

Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger, A zsidóság története Erdélyben (1623–1944) (Budapest, 1995), pp. 40, 227, 230; Izvoare si mărturii referitoare la evreii din România (Bucharest, 1990), vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 81–87; József Schweitzer and Kinga Frojimovics, eds., Magyarországi zsidó hitközségek 1944 április (Budapest, 1994), vol. 1, pt. B, pp. 668–669.



Translated from Romanian by Anca Mircea