ORHEI (ro) / ORGEYEV (ru) / URIV (yid)

Orhei is mentioned for the first time in 1554. Jews are supposed to live here from the very beginning or so, the cemetery is reliably dated back to the edge of 17-18th centuries. The Great synagogue of Orhei was built in the first half of the 18th century. In 1897, Jews constituted 7.114 of 12.336. By that period Orhei had at least 8 known synagogues, a great amount of community institutions. In 1886 a Jewish hospital was established. From 1880 there were 6 Heders headed by tutors. At the same time a Talmud Torah was established. It began with 7 rooms and 7 teachers and 112 students – mostly poor children. In 1884 there was a private Jewish elementary school in for boys and for girls. Since 1910 the curriculum in the Talmud Torah was the same as that of the public schools. In 1930, Jews constituted 6.302 of 15.279 Orhei residents. In 1940-41 and 1949, more than 500 Orhei residents, and many Jewish families among them, were condemned by the Soviet authorities to prizon or exile. The German and Romanian troops entered town on July 8-10 1941, the same day mass killings started, the ghetto with terrible conditions was established. In 1957 there were 450 Jewish families in Orhei. Today there are very few Jews in Orhei.

In Orhei we would visit an ancient Jewish cemetery, one of the oldest in Moldova, with a Holocaust memorial, see the rededicated synagogue buildings, formerly Jewish hospital etc.

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