MOINESTI: (Bacău judet) Print

Alternate names: Moineşti [Rom], Moynescht [Yid], Hebrew: מוינשט , Moineshti. 46°28' N, 26°29' E, 21 miles WSW of Bacău. 1900 Jewish population: 2,398. JOWBR: Jewish Cemetery.

Leolam Jewish Heritage Foundation is happy to announce that renovations currently at the Moinesti Jewish Cemetery are almost done with the support of the City of Moinesti and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania. The inauguration ceremony will take place on September 25, 2013. The time of the ceremony and the list of guests will be announced closer to the date. If you plan to attend the ceremony, a Moinesti Accomodation.pdf for information on how to get to Moinesti and accommodation options is available. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [August 2013]

I am writing on behalf of Leolam Jewish Heritage Foundation. Leolam tries to keep the Jewish heritage alive in Moinesti.. Our main project is the renovation and mainenance of the 300-year old cemetery. Last year Leolam was able to raise money to renovate the exterior of the burial home, repair the entrance and the fence, and pay for the regular maintenance work (grass cutting, removal of fallen trees, etc.) An account of the works done last year can be found on the Leolam website and our blog . For the before and after picture, please visit here. We are currently raising money for phase 2 of the renovation project - the interior of the burial house - and for this year's maintenance. We would be grateful if you could help us raise the necessary funds. Any contribution is welcome and will make a difference. We will be happy to provide more details about our foundation and anyone interested to learn more about what we do. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Sincerely,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [Apr 2014]


2016 Report from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it : The Jewish Cemetery in Moinesti, Bacau County Author: Beatrice Kohlenberg, Toronto. tnslated by Andrea Bernard - USA. The path ascends gradually, along the new plaza, in front of what was the Community Bath.  It passes a few buildings, and, to the right, the ascent becomes more difficult.  Through properties with orchards to the front and back of the houses, the city is visible to one side, and on the other side appears the pine forest.  A few dogs accompany those who are adventurous enough to hike up the hill.  No one knows if the dogs belong to locals, and they, too, are tiredly heading toward their homes or if they are without owners; either way, they are so accustomed to passerby that a foreign presence in the city does not provoke them.

On the hill, the ascent eases up.  A plateau opens up timidly toward homes and orchards, although a short distance ahead, the ascent resumes.  With strained breathing, the passerby discovers, to the right, the panorama of the city.  It's a bizarre combination of old homes and modern villas, old square-shaped buildings on which the stucco barely stands, and other newer buildings with windows and patches of thermal isolation in colors that seem too bright.  The hospital building, the pride of the city, distinguishes itself towering, in a blue tint, just like the red rooftop of the City Hall.  Everything is concealed between ridges and elongated hills, which extend far, toward the horizon.  The city is buried in the green of the parks and of the untouched nature patches, which, surprisingly, continue to exist in this corner of Romania.  Hidden, surrounded by wire, an old oil drill reminds one that for hundreds of years, oil was the heart of this little town, the lively fluid which transformed the town, throughout centuries, from a merchant community into an industrial city and, presently, into a municipality.

On the other side, an alley enters the pine forest, toward another nature patch, this time, touched by humans.  Two restaurants and a few small wooden homes, until recently surely the only place in city where you could find overnight accommodations, have grown over the past few years among the tall and slender pines.  I remember, during my childhood, that we would come here Sundays, at the beginning of June, to pick berries, for me the most delicate fruit left by nature for earthlings.  I wonder what might be left now of the berry meadows of my childhood?  In front of us stands tall, a house, solid and well-maintained, with closed wooden shutters and a door that appears to not have been opened for a while.  Next to the house's wall is an iron gate, sealed with a lock the size of a fist, pointing to the entrance into the Jewish Cemetery.

The Cemetery is the only evidence of Jewish presence in this place hidden among the hills.  An ancient settlement, mentioned in history as far back as 1437, Moinesti has become, in the mid1800s, a tradesmen's market, where forestry and oil exploits completed the range of occupations of the 688 inhabitants (in 1832).  Here, at the crossing of the mountain with the hill, inhabitants of nearby settlements would arrive at the market to sell their grains, wines, or cattle and to purchase oil fuel and lumber.  Around that time in history, there were about 200 Jews in Moinesti.  However, Jewish presence in the area dates back another hundred years in history, based on the inscriptions on the gravestones, hidden at the other end of the Cemetery.

When you enter through the gate, the cemetery appears like a park whose boundaries are not visible.  A feeling of calm and peace envelops your soul and mind.  A few acacias, oaks, and pines are lined up along the fence that runs along the street.  Among the gravesites, plum trees, nut trees, and about three sour cherry trees have grown over the years, perhaps planted by the hand of a housekeeper, who knows when.  I recall savoring, in that area, the most wonderful, bitter cherries left for lovers of strange aromas, full of flesh as much as you can get off the pit, and bitter enough to give the jam that surprising, intriguing taste, without filling your mouth with wormwood when you eat them right off the tree branch.  A wonder that this grew on the tree every year, in the shape of small polka dots, of a dark red, almost black color.

In the shadow of the aligned fruit trees are laid out the gravesites, row after row, ascending on a smooth ridge, then descending toward a valley.  They are impressive gravesites, built of marble or massive granite, with ornaments made of forged iron or floral inscriptions in relief and letters that still preserve traces of paint.  Others are made of common river stone, encrusted with veneer/metal of a noble essence.  The oldest gravesite dates back to 1740.  On the darkened stone already covered with moss, the letters, which once formed a name, are almost washed by time.  You can almost decipher something that looks like Dovben Iehuda.  Somewhere, approximately in the center of the cemetery, a massive "stibl" made of stone rises up, a sign of the faith of those resting inside, but also of their wealth.  On the exterior, a massive marble plaque shows that a family is interned, a husband and a wife.  The inscription on the stone, according to a legacy transmitted from one generation to the next, was written by the Rabi Arie Rosen himself, the father of His Excellence, Dr. Moses Rosen, whose Moinesti roots are well- known.

In a row with the other gravesites, there is a stone that intrigues.  Although not distinguished from the surrounding ones, this stone has a half moon on it, instead of the Star of David.  The name on the gravesite, Iurist Elias, deceased in 1912, in no way suggests an explanation.  Most likely, the mystery of the strange inscription will remain eternally unsolved.  Somewhere, further down the hill, three gravesites, next to each  another, are inscripted with Cyrillic letters.  They belong to Russian soldiers from World War I who died on the Moldavian front and brought to Moinesti to be buried, because there is no other Jewish Cemetery in the area.

Back toward the gate, alone, in the shadow of a contorted walnut tree, stands a small gravestone, at the head of a similar gravestone:  a child who lived no longer than a few years until the end of the 1960s.  A few meters ahead, the trail created by the few visitors leads through the grass along the front of a house with closed shutters.  This is the funeral home, the place that houses what is still left of the contents of the last synagogue in Moinesti, after it was demolished.  Inside, there are a few wooden benches and a few objects of worship, on which the dust has settled over the years, since they have not been moved.  No one prays there any longer.  The only time a prayer is heard in the Moinesti Cemetery is when someone dies.  The nearby somewhat larger Bacau Jewish Community ensures that rituals are carried out accordingly.  How can one find ten Jewish men nowadays in Moinesti, who can assist in reading the Kaddish?

The Jewish population of Moinesti will become extinguished in a few years.  The town from where the first group of Jews headed toward Eretz Israel, thereby inaugurating Alya, will disapper from the Jewish Community lists.  Only a few monographs of those who lived there during the flourishing times of the village of Moinesti will be left behind, testifying that the famous Tristan Tzara, with his real name of Samuel Rosenstock, was born in Moinesti, a memory to those who, like me, have scattered all over the world and throughout the Cemetery and the Osoiu Hill.  From all those, only the Cemetery is eternal.  The Leolam Foundation, meaning Eternity, was born from the initiative of four former Moinesti residents, scattered all over the world:  the sisters Josephine and Beatrice Kohlenberg and the brothers Hedi and Rinel Enghelberg.  Josephine lives in France, Beatrice in Canada, Hedi in the United States, and Rinel in Israel.  They are all bound by a profound love for their native place, where they grew, and a burning desire to not allow the disappearance of what once was one of the most vibrant Jewish communities of Romania.

Leolam Foundation's main project is the maintenance of the Jewish Cemetery in Moinesti, as well as the organization of cultural events that preserve Moinesti on the list of major importance in the history of Jewish communities of Romania. For information and donations, please contact Leolam Foundation: Josephine Kohlenberg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Hedi Enghelberg, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • photos of cemetery rehab [July 2012]
  • Projects August-September 2012: donations from D.M. (France), H.G. (Bucharest), M.D. (Comanesti), I.J. (France) will accomplish: 1 - Participation to Moinesti City Days (6-8 September 2012) with "open doors" in Jewish Cemetery (Moinesti responsible Leola M. Rusu) in collaboration with City Hall of Moinesti and Moinesti Association ACTIV; 2 - Cut two dead trees that damage monuments; 3 - photograph ancient monuments in the cemetery for historical evaluation; and 4 - Analysis of management software for cemeteries, choosing one specific for Moinesti.[July 2012]

US Commission Report No. ROCE-0062 Map Alternate name: Lucacesti.

The cemetery is located at str. Eternitatii no. 2, Moinesti, Bacău judet, Moldavia region, 46°26' 26°32', 38 km from Bacău. Present town population is 25,000-100,000 with under 10 Jews.

  • Local Authority: Mayor Ailincai Vasile, str. Vasile Alecsandri 14, Moinesti, Bacău judet. Phone: 034/365428.
  • Religious Authority: The Jewish Community of Moinesti, str. Republicii 16.
  • Regional Authority: The Federation of the Jewish Communities of Romania, Sf. Vineri str., no. 9-11, sector 3, Bucharest, Romania.
  • Interested: "A.D. Xenopol" Institute of History, Lascar Catargi str., no. 15, 6400- Iasi (Iasi judet), Romania. Tel. 032/212614; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Director: Alexandru Zub.
  • Caretaker: Nastase Constantin, str. Eternitătii no. 12, Moinesti, Bacău judet. Phone: 363412 14. Nastase Constantin, str. Eternitătii no. 12, Moinesti, Bacău judet. Phone: 363412
  • Keyholder: Kohlenberg Raphael, Moinesti; Phone: 361089 and Sfart Pincu, str. Zorelelor 7. Phone: 319370

The 1831 Census registered 49 Jewish families. The 1899 Census registered 457 Jewish inhamolinestibitants. The 1930 Census registered 1733 Jewish inhabitants. 18. In World War I, many local Jews were killed. Prominent residents include Dov ben Iehuda, Avram Arie Rosen-scholar rabbi and Dr. Smuel Grinberg (1879-1959), poet and writer. This Jewish cemetery was established in the 19th century. Noteworthy individuals buried there include Dov ben Iehuda (died 1732) and Ghidalea Westler (died 1903)-scholar rabbi. The last known Jewish burial in cemetery was in 1992 (Avram Samoil). The Conservative cemetery is unlandmarked.

The isolated urban hillside has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is entirely closed. A continuous masonry wall and no gate or a gate that locks surround. The pre- and post-WWII size is 150 m X 100 m. 500 - 5,000 gravestones are visible with none in original location. More than 75% are toppled or broken. Vegetation overgrowth is a seasonal problem, preventing access. Water drainage is good all year.

No special sections. Gravestones date from the beginning of the 19th century through the 20th century. The marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, slate, and other material gravestones are flat shaped stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, and sculpted tombstones. Inscriptions are in Hebrew, German, and Romanian.

The national Jewish community owns the property now used for Jewish cemetery purposes only. Adjacent properties are residential. Compared to 1939, the cemetery boundaries enclose the same area. Occasionally, private visitors (Jewish or non-Jewish) and local residents stop.

The never vandalized cemetery has no maintenance, but the regular caretaker, who is paid (occasionally.) The preburial house has a tahara (table), a catafalque, and wall inscriptions. Vegetation is a moderate threat. Weather erosion and pollution are slight threats.

Lucian Nastasa, Clinicilor str., no. 19, Cluj, Romania, tel. 064/190107. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it completed the survey on July 23, 2000 using the following documentation:

  • Leonida Colescu, Analiza rezultatelor recensamîntului general al populatiei Romaniei de la 1899, cu o prefată de Sabin Manuila, Bucuresti, Institutul de statistica, 1944.
  • I.M. Dinescu, Fiii neamului de la 1859 la 1915. Statistica sociala pe întelesul tuturora, Iasi, Institutul de Arte Grafice N.V.Stefaniu, 1920.
  • Pinkas Hakehillot, Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities Romania, I-II, Jerusalem, 1980.
  • D. Ivanescu, Populatia evreiască din orasele si tîrgurile Moldovei între 1774-1832 , în "Studia et acta historiae iudaeorum Romaniae", II, Bucuresti, Edit.Hasefer, 1997, p. 59-65.
  • George I. Lahovari, Marele dictionar geografic al Romaniei, 5 vol., Bucuresti, Edit.Socec, 1899.
  • E. Schwarzfeld, Din istoria evreilor: împopularea, reîmpopularea si întemeierea tîrgurilor si tîrgusoarelor în Moldova, Bucuresti, 1894.
  • N. Sutu, Notiti statistice asupra Moldaviei, Iasi, 1852.

He visited on July 16, 2000 and interviewed Nastase Constantin, str. Eternitatii no. 12, Moinesti, Bacău judet. Phone: 363412; and Kohlenberg Raphael, Moinesti; Phone: 361089. [June 2002]

Rafael Kohlenberg, president of the community, (Str. V. Alecsandri, Bl. A2-2, Apt. 7, 5478 Moinesti, Romania, Tel. 034/36-10-89 (home address). has a list of readable gravestones in the cemetery. Cemetery has two sections, the older of which is not recorded in Kohlenberg's list. Older cemetery is overgrown. Some stones date go back to 1740. Fixed surnames were not acquired until the 1950s. Source: "Researching Jewish Romania On Site" by Paul Pascal.

Current Jewish population: 0-100. Mr. Kohlenberg speaks French and Romanian. He made a handwritten list of tombstones that partially indexes the unlandmarked, inactive cemetery. One copy of the list exists. Cemetery hours are by arrangement. The earliest Jewish community dates from the early 1700s with tombstones dating from 1740. Jews comprised more than half of the population. Tristan Bara (writer) lived there. The town was a major early hotbed of Zionism. Jews were deported to Bacău during W.W.II. The last known Orthodox burial was 1995. The isolated urban site, at the crown of a hill, but in the center of town has a sign. The cemetery is reached by turning directly off a public road. Access is open with permission. A part-time, illiterate caretaker lives nearby and has the key. A broken masonry wall and a locking gate surround the cemetery. The current size is 400x300 meters. Men and women are buried in alternating rows. The 1,000 to 5,000 18th and nineteenth century tombstones date from 1740. 75% of the surviving stones are toppled or broken. The sandstone rough stones, flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, sculpted monuments, multi-stone monuments, horizontally set stones, some with Sephardic inscriptions, flat-low in-ground plaques, obelisks, or mausoleums have Hebrew and Romanian inscriptions. Some tombstones have traces of painting on their surfaces, iron decorations or lettering, bronze decorations or lettering, portraits on stones, and/or metal fences around graves. The local Jewish community owns the site used for Jewish cemetery and a caretaker garden. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. The cemetery is visited rarely. Current care: occasional clearing or cleaning by authorities and the regular caretaker. The caretaker is allowed to use the land to graze his cow as payment. Within the limits of the cemetery is a chapel. Weather erosion is a serious threat. Vegetation overgrowth is a constant problem, disturbing and damaging graves and stones. One of the world's very prominent Jewish communities is dying out, leaving this large cemetery without guardian or catalog. Mr. Kohlenberg is in ill-health and cannot reach all the grave sites. On 27 July 1997, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 3514 Woodlawn Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98103, tel. 206/632-3881 completed this survey. He visited the site on that date when he interviewed Mr. Kohlenberg. He used a partial list of names compiled by Kohlenberg as documentation.

I'm the daughter of Raphael Kohlenberg, who is president of Jewish Community in Moinesti. He is very ill in this moment so, my sister and I plus 2 sons of former president, Enghelberg family, created LEOLAM. We have started a fundraising campaign and need a little more money for the most important project, preserving the cemetery and Jewish culture in Moinesti, the oldest city in Romania where Jewish pople have gone to Israel).  Please find a form or e-mail me. Please find some pictures, taken 2 weeks ago, of the neglected condition of the cemetery. The synagogue needs repair also. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Paris, France [April 2012]

Added July 2012

  1. Un petit film de Rosh Pina (8 Juillet 2012):
  2. Photos:
  3. Article ACUM (USA):
  4. Présentation de Dominique MARTIN-ROVET (membre d'honneur LEOLAM):
Doors Open at the Jewish Cemetery of Moinesti - September 6 and 8, 2013 (In parallel with the annual celebration of Moinesti's Days, September 6-8, 2013) Persuaded of the potential to generate public awareness of the Moinesti Jewish Cemetery and to increase support for its preservation, LEOLAM continues this year the action started in 2012, "Doors Open at the Jewish Cemetery of Moinesti."  On September 6 and 8, 2013 between 14:00-16:00, the public will have the chance to visit the cemetery and the funeral house and learn about the important role that the Jewish community has played in the economic and cultural development of the city of Moinesti. A guided tour will be available. LEOLAM is a non-for-profit foundation whose mission is to preserve and promote the Jewish spirit, values and culture of Moinesti. The main project of the foundation is the maintenance of the Moinesti Jewish Cemetery. LEOLAM was born at the initiative of Josephine Kohlenberg, Beatrice Kohlenberg, Rinel Enghelberg and Hedi Enghelberg. Born and raised in Moinesti, the founders feel it is their duty and responsibility to keep the city's Jewish spirit alive, as did their fathers, Moises Enghelberg and Raphael Kohlenberg, the last two presidents of the Moinesti Jewish Community. Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Mihaela Rusu - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it :, cell: +40-752.432.824 Victoria Pascarita - cell: +40.743.876.778 (Romanian only). Information about how to get and stay in Moinesti please find in this flyer.[August 2013]

[UPDATE] Photos by Charles Burns [March 2016]

Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2016 22:36