Before World War 2 Romania had a significant amount of Jews in it’s population with a census in 1930 stating there was 756,930 Jews by religion living in Romania.
Most of these lived in the Northern part of Romania and it was estimated that there was about 34,579 Jews living in the villages of Maramures. After World War 2 it was estimated that there was only 3,072 Jews left in Maramures. Today it is estimated that there is now 48 Jews living in the area.
One of the most famous Romanian Jews who came from Maramures was Elie Wiesel. Eli Wiesel was born Sighet in 1928 and was a survivor of the Holocaust and survived the evils of the Auschwitz. His parents and one of his sisters were killed during the Holocaust.
Eli Wiesel emigrated to the USA in the 1950’s. He is the author of 57 books including the award-winning book “Night” where is attempts write about his experience of the Holocaust.
Eli Wiesel won the Noble Peace Price in 1986 and was also a Professor and a University in The States.
He is indeed one of the famous Romanians still alive today.
The house is now museum dedicated to his life and the Jews of Maramures. However it is seems to be very short of funding and does seem to be decaying away, which is a tragedy as there is so much more they could do with this house.
My impression was as with the memorial (the area was locked, unkempt and you could only oberve from a distance) and the shabby Elie Wiesel house were from an age where people would rather forget about and rather nor remember.
But it would be a tragedy and grave mis-justice if we forget about the 756, 930 Jews who lived in Romania in the 1930’s and today the population of Jews in Romania is now only between 9,000 to 15,000.
“Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And therefore indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor – not the victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten” Eli Wiesel 1999