Brief History of the Jewish Shtetl, Sadgura


Sadgora (Rum. Sadagura; Ger. Sadagora), Town in Chernovtsy oblast, Moldavia, Ukraine.

From 1775 until World War I, Sadgora passed to Austria and between the two World Wars was within Rumania.

The first Jews settled there during the 17th century. In 1775, 45 Jewish families (186 persons) were enumerated among 180 families in the town.

There were 100 Jewish families in 1808, and 3,888 Jews (80.3%) of the total population) according to the census of 1880. Once the community developed, 16 smaller Jewish communities were affiliated to it. Communal institutions developed from the 18th century. The central synagogue was apparently built about 1770, but there were also numerous additional synagogues and houses of prayer. The community had a Yeshivah and a Jewish school, established under Austrian rule. The Jews of Sadgora mainly engaged in commerce and crafts, while among the Jews of the vicinity, who in practice belonged to the community of Sadgora, there were also lessees and wealthy landowners. A special occupation of the local Jewish poor was the haulage of water in barrels from distant wells to dwelling houses in the town.

In 1914, before the outbreak of World War I, in the most flourishing period of the community, there were 10,000 Jews living in Sadgora and a further 3,000 in the 16 communities affiliated to it. During World War I the town and its surroundings suffered extensively from the fighting there, and many of its Jewish inhabitants left. After the War a number returned and continued to live there under Rumanian rule. Zionist organizations were early established in Sadgora and were particularly active in the inter-war period under the Rumanian rule. Jews also took part in the municipal life, and their parties were well represented in the municipal administration.

Sadgora was an important center of Chasidism, from the period of Austrian rule over Bukovina until the liquidation of the community. Most of the Jewish inhabitants of the town belonged to the Ruzhin Chasidim. R. Israel Friedman of Ruzhin arrived in Sadgora after he was released from prison in Russia and established a magnificent "court" there. His royal style of living aroused opposition from the Chasidim of Zanz. After World War II the center of the Sadgora dynasty was transferred to Eretz Israel. Sadgora was occupied by the Red Army in 1940. In 1941 the town was restored to Rumanian administration, which collaborated with the Germans. During this period 186 Jews lost their lives in attacks made against the Jews. In 1941 almost all of the 1488 Jews remaining in Sadgora were deported by the Rumanian and German authorities to death camps in Transnistria. A few Jews returned to Sadgora in 1944, but community life was not reorganized after the war.

(from the database of Beth Hatefutsoth - the Jewish Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv - reprinted with permission)