Copyright © 2012 Martin Davis
Municipal Coat of Arms
47°46' N, 27°56' E
Yiddish: ץלעב [Belz],
[Byel’tsy] and Бэлць,
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Bălţi (Belz) is the second-largest city of the Republic of Moldova and the main city
of the northern region and today has a population of over 140,000 people. The
town is situated on the small river Răut (known to its former Jewish inhabitants
as the Revet), a tributary of the Nistru Dniester, located within a a hilly
landscape; which in the Middle Ages was covered with forest.
The town and the region has had a turbulent history and this has had (and continues to have)
a profound effect on the various communities that formed its population.
According to the Romanian official census for 1930, Bălţi had a population of 30,570, comprising 14,200 Jews,
8,900 Romanians, 5,400 Russians and Ukrainians, and 1,000 Poles. 14,400 of the inhabitants were Christian Orthodox,
14,250 Jewish, and 1,250 Roman Catholic. In that year, the city represented only 7.9% of the population of the surrounding Bălţi
County (so the town functioned as an urban centre for a mainly rural population).
Today the municipality covers an area of 78.0 sq km, of which the city constitutes 41.42 sq km, the village Elisabeta (an eastern
suburb) 9.81 sq km, and the village Sadovoe (a north-western suburb) 26.77 sq km. Of these, an important portion (20.11 km) is
actually agricultural land. Some city neighbourhoods bear the names of the former 19th century suburbs: Pamanteni, Slobozia,
Molodova, Baltul Nou, Podul.
This KehilaLinks site is intended to give an outline impression of the vibrant Jewish communal life of Bălţi before the onset of the
Second World War. A war and subsequent history which has seen the Jewish community reduced by over 95% to today’s
population of approximately 400.
The Story of the Jewish Community of Bălţi is written of in detail on the Yad Vashem site of the same name, which is
a source of invaluable information about the general history of the town and the impact of the Shoah on the
community of Bălţi. This KehilaLinks site is not intended to do anything other than add to the sum total of information about the
former Jewish community of Bălţi and to further memorialise its way of life.
Strada Regele (King) Ferdinand, Bălţi circa 1890
Updated August 2012