In 1930, 69.885 jews lived in Bucharest, representing 11% of the population.
The events of the second world war and then of the emigration to Israel caused a great drop in the jewish population in Bucharest.
Today it stands at less than 10,000 jews.
In the place of the old jewish center today stands Bucharest’s commercial center, even still, some of the houses are reminiscent of those that once stood in that area.
A state-run jewish theatre still shows productions today.
The monument is a five-sculpture ensemble – “The Column,” “Via Dolorosa,” “The Roma”s Wheel,” “The Star of David,” and “Epitaph” arranged around a central memorial precinct.
The programme for the creation of a Romanian Holocaust Memorial was initiated in 2006 upon the recommendation of the International Commission for Romanian Holocaust Studies, known as the Wiesel Commission, after talks with public luminaries, officials for the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, men of culture and artists as well as Holocaust survivors.
It was repaired in 1865, redesigned in 1903 and 1909, repainted in Rococo style in 1936 by Ghershon Horowitz, then it was restored again in 1945.
It is the oldest Yiddish-language theater with uninterrupted activity in the world.
Its contemporary repertoire includes plays by Jewish authors, plays on Jewish topics, and plays in Yiddish (which are performed with simultaneous translation into Romanian, using headphones installed in the theater in the 1970s.
It was designed by Enderle and Freiwald and built between 1857 – 1867.
The synagogue was devastated by the far-right Legionaries, but was then restored after World War II, in 1945.
The main hall is currently being refurbished, and is scheduled to be re-opened in 2015.
The museum gives broad coverage of the history of the Jews in Romania. Displays include an enormous collection of books written, published, illustrated, or translated by Romanian Jews; a serious archive of the history of Romanian Jewry; a collection of paintings of and by Romanian Jews that, while relatively small, consists of works of a calibre worthy of a major art museum (many of the same artists’ works hang in the National Museum of Art); memorabilia from Jewish theaters including the State Jewish Theater; a medium-sized display devoted to Zionism; a small but pointed display of anti-Semitic posters and tracts; two rooms off to a side, one dealing with the Holocaust era from a historical point of view, the other a Holocaust memorial; discussion of both favorable and unfavorable treatment of the Jews by various of Romania’s historic rulers; in short, a museum devoted to looking seriously at the history of a particular ethnic group within a society.
In contrast to its Hungarian equivalent in Budapest, this is not a museum that sees the exodus of the majority of the country’s surviving Jews to Israel as a culmination: this museum is focused more on what that means for those who have stayed, what is the continuing contribution of Jews to Romanian culture, what has been, what is, and what will be the role of Jews in Romania.