Jewish community archives in Brasov, part II

One of the older archival items held by the Brasov Jewish community is a beautifully bound book dedicated to Löbel Aronsohn, founder of the Jewish school, on the occasion of 40 years of activity. The book was presented to him by the students of the school and is dated 1891. There are three pages of text written by the community’s current religion instructor, Sigismund Steinhardt (also sometimes called Samu or Samuel Steinhardt), followed by the names of those who attended the Jewish school exclusively and those who attended other schools within Brasov, but received their religious instruction from Steinhardt.

The list of pupil’s names who attended the Jewish school reveals a far more diverse student body than other Saxon or even Transylvanian towns. Presumably because Brasov was the closest major town in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Romanian border and the educational system had a strong reputation, it appears that Jewish families from the regions of today’s Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey sent their children to study in Brasov. Students’ home towns include Bucharest, Constanta, Constantinople, Sofia, Adrianople, Rustsek (Russe, Bulgaria), and even Jerusalem. Of course there are also students from Brasov and the surrounding villages and towns. The communities of the Balkan Peninsula and Wallachia were more Sephardic than Ashkenaz; the teacher, Steinhardt, hailed from Moravia and was trained in western-oriented Vienna; many of the other students were from small Hungarian villages in the region. Quite a linguistic and cultural mix!