SEINI: Maramures judet Print

From ROM-SIG Digest: The Seini, Romania Jewish cemetery consists of two sections. When I visited in 2006, I found that the newer section had been moderately well-maintained, but noted that the older section was completely overgrown and probably untouched since the War. Visiting again in 2007, I found that nothing had changed. But in 2010, I found that the older section of the cemetery had been cleared and cleaned completely. Stones that had toppled were re-erected; buried stones, unearthed; etc. Now, Marcel Glaskie has generously volunteered to photograph these older stones and to translate their inscriptions upon his return to Israel. Marcel and I will be in Seini on September 4 [2012], and we expect to be able to complete the required field work within the several days we've allowed. We'll be donating the results to JewishGen, of course. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has an interest in Seini or this cemetery project. If you contact me privately, I'd be happy to send a photo of the older cemetery section taken in 2010. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Lincoln, MA [July 2012]

US Commission No. ROCE-0369 Reference Number: RO/MM/81

Alternate/former Hungarian name: Szinérvăralja. Located at 4745 2317, 265.7 miles NNW of Bucharest in Maramureş judet. The cemetery is located next to the caretaker's home at No. 9 Strada General Georgescu. From the center of Seini on the road from Baia Mare, turn right toward Orasu Nou. There is another turn-off to the right at the next bend, and the road splits again shortly after the second turn-off. Take the left branch here and follow it around another large curve to the left. The cemetery will be visible shortly on the left. The cemetery is very large. Many people in the city will know where it is located and be able to provide directions.

  • LOCAL: Comunitatea Evreilor (Baia Mare), Str. Someşului Nr. 5, 4800 Baia Mare, Jud. Maramureş, Romania. Tel: (40-62) 211-231. Further inquiries about the site could be addressed to the Jewish community in Baia Mare or the Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities in Bucuresti.
  • REGIONAL: Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, Str. Sf. Vineri 9-11, Bucureşti, Tel: (40-1) 613-2538, 143-008. Contact: Mr. Alex Silvan
  • CARETAKER: Eva Berezki (48) Str. General Georgescu n0. 9, Seini, Jud. Maramureş, Romania.

The cemetery in Seini is very large compared to the rest of the village cemeteries in Maramureş. It contains two sections divided by age and contains a number of distinctive features. The first is a large gatehouse with an ornate iron gate with a plaque in Hebrew inside. Inside the gate, a central pathway separates two large sections of "modern" graves containing approximately 200-250 stones. There appears to be a section for Cohanim along the front fence (to the right of the gate by the road) and graves for women and children appear to be "clumped" together in scattered sections within the whole area. This modern section also contains a large memorial to Jewish soldiers, although the caretaker was unable to tell us in which war they had fought. In addition, several Holocaust memorials were erected after the war by surviving family members. The site contains many obelisks and other fine marble and granite stones. Many of the stones contain inscriptions in both Hebrew/Yiddish and Romanian or Hungarian.
Behind this "front" section is an open space with several fruit trees. To the left, and obscured by brush and undergrowth, we discovered what was clearly a much older section of the cemetery. The stones here are massive - often 1foot thick, ornately decorated, and densely inscribed. With the assistance of the caretaker, we were able to clear and photograph three particularly beautiful enormous stones. We estimate that there are probably between 60-75 stones in this section alone, many of which are leaning or have fallen. Many deciduous trees have grown up in this area; most of the other space is covered in ivy and brambles. That section is not often visited, though the main section receives visitors 2-3 times a year. The caretaker, a single 48 year-old woman, does a great deal of work to maintain the main section and orchard. The cemetery size is listed as 2,000 square meters. At the time of our visit in June, all but the old section was neatly trimmed.

The caretaker, Ms. Eva Berezski, lives in a house adjoining the cemetery. The Jewish Community owns both the cemetery and the house. Ms. Berezski's father was the caretaker of the cemetery from before WWII and lived in the same house. She had moved to Baia Sprie, but returned to Seini after the death of her father in order to take care of the cemetery. Ms. Berezski showed us the contracts that her father had made with the Jewish community dating back to the 1930s and explained that her father had built the house. Today, however, the house is much in need of repair. Because the Jewish community owns it, Ms. Berezski is reluctant to spend money to fix the roof and make other necessary repairs. She has no guarantee that she will continue to be able to live there. The situation is somewhat of a Catch-22: Ms. Berezski feels that the Jewish Community should maintain the house to a livable standard, as it is their property. The Community (according to her) is unwilling to invest in the house both because they lack the money and (apparently) feel it is her responsibility.

This cemetery is exceptionally beautiful, and exceptionally rich in historical and artistic details. It is also a very large cemetery. Because of the work involved in maintaining it, we feel that a modest caretaker's stipend would be particularly appropriate in this case. The site is also in need of a concerted effort to restore the "old" section. Although of massive size, many of the stones are of sandstone or limestone - very soft, and particularly susceptible to water erosion and the insidious destruction by the moss and ivy flourishing in the dark cool recesses under the encroaching trees. Wooden or metal protective "huts" would help to protect the surviving stones and re-erection into concrete bases would slow the erosion of many that have fallen. In addition to the time necessary to carry out these improvements, we estimate that it would take four people approximately one week to fully clear the section of brush, trees and bramble roots. See list of names on gravestones at Rom-SIG website: http://www.jewishgen.org/romsig The isolated suburban flat land has no sign or marker, but a large entrance building with a cast iron fence with Mogen Davids exists. Inside the gate are two plaques in Hebrew. The cemetery is reached by a public road and is open with permission via a fence with a gate that locks. The present size of cemetery is 6,582 sq.m. of which 4,607 sq.m. is covered by burials. The contract that was drawn up between the caretaker and the Jewish community states that there are 267 stones, all in original location. We believe that the true figure is much higher, probably 350 at least. About 5% are toppled or broken, The vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is a seasonal problem that prevents access to the older section of the cemetery. Water drainage at the cemetery is good all year.

The cemetery divided into special sections for rabbis and Cohanim. It is difficult to establish precise sections, but it appears that there are a number of Cohanim stones near the front fence. There is also a small section to the right of the gate that appears to contain graves of young children. Lastly, the older section in the far left corner (from the gate) contains a number of very large stones which we would assume are for rabbis- older stones of smaller proportions and with more simple inscriptions are scattered in the field area between the "new" section and the "rabbi" section.

The marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone tombstones date from the 20th century. The flat shaped, smoothed and inscribed, carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, and obelisks have inscriptions in Hebrew, Hungarian, and Romania. Some have traces of painting on their surfaces, cement footing for stones, or cement grave boundaries. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and Jewish soldiers, but no known mass graves. The national Jewish community owns the property used only as an orchard. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are agricultural and residential, a village residential setting, e.g. very near to houses with adjacent gardens, orchards and pastures). Compared to 1939, the cemetery boundaries enclose the same area (probable). Rarely, private Jewish visitors visit. Theft of stones is the primary problem encountered between 1945 and the present. Care of the cemetery includes cleaning of stones (by visitors), clearing of vegetation, and fixing of gate house (by Baia Mare community with work done by local non-Jewish residents. Seasonal clearing of vegetation by regular unpaid caretaker, cleaning of stones by visitors, and repair of the gatehouse to the cemetery about three years ago.

John DeMetrick and Christina Crowder, formerly of Cluj-Napoca, visited the site on 27 June 2002 and completed this survey on 30 June 2000 using a list of cemeteries known by Jewish Community in Baia Mare. They have no further information. Other documentation exists. They interviewed caretaker Ea Berezki. Further inquiries about the site could be addressed to the Jewish community in Baia Mare or the Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities in Bucuresti. [April 2002]

 

Photo courtesy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [2010]

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 August 2012 22:44