The Sighet Jewish Cemetery is about 300 years old, however many of the original tombstones are not to be found any more due to weather erosion and the materials the tombstones were made of. Sighet was the capital of Chassidut movement, frequently visited by Jews from all around Europe. Today, many Chassidim are coming to pay homage the “Famous Rabbis Ohel” many feel that writing notes, praying and making a pilgrimage will cure their health conditions, bring a match to single persons and so on.
The Jewish community of Pre-WW II Sighet had many synagogues and Shtebels (a small synagogue next to a home) with about a dozen large ones, serving the various religious denominations. The main larger synagogues belonged to orthodox and neolog Judaism. Neolog Judaism originated among a segment of Hungarian Jews, who integrated the emancipation decrees. The Conservative Movement evolved from Neolog Judaism Post WW II. Today the one and only remaining synagogue is the Sephardic Synagogue, also known as the Wijnitzer Klaus Synagogue. It was built in 1902 in an eclectic Moresque style, and was restored in 2004. The synagogue was a Vijnitzer Kloiz, and has nothing to do with the name “Klaus”. There is no daily or holidays Minyan, only when large groups are visiting the city.
Professor Ellie Wiesel was born and raised in this house until the age of 16, before he and his family, along with the whole Jewish Community of Sighet were deported to Auschwitz between May 16-22, 1944. Today, it is a Memorial to the Jewish Life Cycle of the Pre-Holocaust Sighet Jewish Community. Thousands of visitors are coming from all over the world, including high school students and educators from the Romania and across Europe. The Museum organizes programs and exhibits throughout the year
Although a small city, Sighet is quite picturesque, situated in the heart of the very authentic Maramures Region of Northern Romania. Embraced by two rivers, the Iza and the Tisa, The Hungarian meaning of “Sighet” is island. Roughly half of Sighet’s population was Jewish before May 1944, when deportations to Auschwitz started taking place. The numerous traces of Sighet’s Jewish past tell a remarkable story about the city’s origins and it’s importance as a major cultural hub for various Jewish schools and traditions. Tarbut Foundation is offering guided historical tours through the city to all known and hidden Jewish sites. You can find out more about some of Sighet’s Jewish sites and history on our Sighet page dedicated to the city. While any tourist coming to Sighet can walk through the points mentioned, a guided one day Tour will include more sites and in depth historical background information. We very much recommend it! We offer tours between May and September. Bookings can be made for individuals, families or groups. You can contact us directly for more information and bookings.
Located in Sighetu Marmatiei, the heart of the Maramures Country, a place rich in history and legends carved in wood with diligence and daring by the special people of these places. The Iurca de Calinesti family plays an important role in the life of the Maramures community. As early as 1361, it was mentioned in medieval documents along with other noble families, receiving over time two noble diplomas: first in 1470 by King Matthias Corvinus and then in 1569 by King Sigismund II, attesting the important role of the Iurca family on the Maramures plains. Traveling to our country means, among other things, discovering the hand and mind of the craftsman who, over time, has created a true wood civilization in Maramures. Every piece of furniture, pottery, every traditional costume, local architecture, food, music or folk dance make you feel the dedication and love with which they were made. Discover our Maramures dishes in a warm and loving atmosphere, accompanied by authentic music. We have 29 accommodation places with breakfast included and conference rooms for a complete stay. Our experience, work and dedication assure you that the most important moments in your life will be unforgettable. Discover our Maramures programs that give a special charm to the Easter, Christmas and New Year holidays. Our ensemble of professionals completes the atmosphere with traditional dance performances.
Sighet is located in the Northwestern part of Romania, bordering with Ukraine in the north and only 2 hours to the Hungarian border. Its population is close to 44,000 people including the villages surrounding. Recently, Sighet celebrated its 687 years since it was first established in 1334. The city architecture echoes the various Empires which ruled over or the various tribes which passed by. The word Sighet in Hungarian means Island; the city is positioned between two major rivers, the Tis and Iza, both of which embrace the city along with the Carpathian forests. [caption id="attachment_40000" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Photo Credit: Daniel Gruenfeld | Sighet “Old Town” embraced by the high-rise buildings built during exactly on the land where Jewish homes used to be seen pe- Holocaust era. These buildings were built circa 1970’s during the Communist Era.[/caption] Sighet is like a small jewel which hasn’t yet been polished enough, however the Region does attract kings and other Royal personalities. Prince Charles has been fascinated by the oldest Wooden Churches and the most picturesque landscape and the most authentic life style still available to see in Romania. Sighet, attracted Jews as early as the 18th century coming from Galicia; most found their livelihood from the timber and wood industry, that Sighet is famous for. Most of the Jewish community was of Chassidic descendants. Prior to World War II, Romania had a population of close to one million Jews. Romania is a large country divided into 41 counties. Most of the Jews who were affected by the Holocaust hailed from the western Romanian region of Northern Transylvania, which borders with Hungary and includes Maramureș County, and the region of Bucovina, in Romania’s northeast. Jews also resided in the city of Iasi, which experienced local pogroms. (‘Pogrom’ is a Russian term meaning a violent riot aimed at the massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, particularly one aimed at Jews). During the Holocaust, the Jews of Bucovina were deported to Transnistria, a complex of villages located in contemporary Ukraine which were converted into camps during World War II. [caption id="attachment_40006" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Photo by: Daniel Gruenfeld | The Sighet Train Station[/caption] The Jewish communities of Northern Transylvania and Maramureș were deported directly to Auschwitz. More than half of Romania’s Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. Some survivors went to Israel or the United States, and others returned to their hometowns to search for surviving family members. Some left Romania just before the Communist Regime took over the government; others were stuck until the early 1960s, when the State of Israel paid for each person in order to be able to leave Romania. About 250,000 emigrated to Israel, where they integrated exceptionally well into the Israeli society and workforce. Today there are about 5,000 registered Jews in Romania, mainly living in major cities such as Bucharest, Iasi, Cluj, Oradea and Timișoara. Unfortunately, there are many cities, towns and villages that no longer have any Jewish residents. Nevertheless, the Jewish heritage landmarks are well documented and stand strong in memory of the families who once lived there. They provide an opportunity for the families’ descendants to come visit and for the locals to witness the history of Jewish life. [caption id="attachment_40004" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Photo by: Daniel Gruenfeld | The Sephardic Synagogue of Sighet[/caption] One of Tarbut Foundation’s objectives is to serve the descendants of the former Jewish Regions with genealogical research and the Family Roots Journeys. We offer the Maramureș Route, the Bucovina Routes, and the Iasi Routes, with great emphasis on existing Jewish heritage landmarks, such as synagogues and other buildings that once housed famous Jewish residents or organizations. At the same time, we also highlight the monuments built in memory of those who did not return after the Second World War. Each Family Roots Journey is personally dedicated to family histories and individual stories, and we often find new stories while traveling. In this way, we give families the invaluable chance to walk in the footsteps of their forefathers. [caption id="attachment_40001" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Photo by: Daniel Gruenfeld | Early morning hours, Sighet emerges between the dense fog and the sun raising - a common sight during summer days.[/caption] As for those who do not have familial ties to the area, we find that touring these regions is also personally enriching, as many sites are recognized by UNESCO. While traveling, visitors can learn about local folklore, the artistic and architectural heritage of wooden and painted churches, and the unique regional artisanal traditions. The regions also offer an array of summer festivals, making May-late October the best time to visit.
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Located in the heart of Sighetu Marmației, Iza Hotel is the perfect combination between luxury and comfort, offering our guests privacy, silence and sophistication. Despite the fact that the Iza ensemble is part of a 3-star hotel chain, the design and services we offer to our guests rise to high quality standards. In addition to the state-of-the-art infrastructure of both the accommodation and the relaxation areas, we guarantee a unique experience due to the hospitality that is never absent. Iza Hotel is the ideal destination both for holidays with the family, and for business meetings, private or corporate events, team buildings and conferences.