Cover image for Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania By Alexander Avram

Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania

Alexander Avram

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$115.00 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09142-6

Available as an e-book

308 pages
6" × 9"
6 maps
2021

Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania

Alexander Avram

Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania represents an important contribution to the domains of onomastics and history. On the one hand, with scholarly rigor, the author analyzes Jewish Romanian–based and Romanianized surnames. On the other hand, the book is an exemplary study illustrating how onomastics can be used as a major tool to study the social history of a population group.”

 

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Linguistic and semantic features in names—and surnames in particular—reveal evidence of historical phenomena, such as migrations, occupational structure, and acculturation. In this book, Alexander Avram assembles and analyzes a corpus of more than 28,000 surnames, including phonetic and graphic variants, used by Jews in Romanian-speaking lands from the sixteenth century until 1944, the end of World War II in Romania.

Mining published and unpublished sources, including Holocaust-period material in the Yad Vashem Archives and the Pages of Testimony collection, Avram makes the case that through a careful analysis of the surnames used by Jews in the Old Kingdom of Romania, we can better understand and corroborate different sociohistorical trends and even help resolve disputed historical and historiographical issues. Using onomastic methodology to substantiate and complement historical research, Avram examines the historical development of these surnames, their geographic patterns, and the ways in which they reflect Romanian Jews’ interactions with their surroundings. The resulting surnames dictionary brings to light a lesser-known chapter of Jewish onomastics. It documents and preserves local naming patterns and specific surnames, many of which disappeared in the Holocaust along with their bearers.

Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania is the third volume in a series that includes Pleasant Are Their Names: Jewish Names in the Sephardi Diaspora and The Names of Yemenite Jewry: A Social and Cultural History, both of which are available from Penn State University Press. This installment will be especially welcomed by scholars working in Holocaust studies.

Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania represents an important contribution to the domains of onomastics and history. On the one hand, with scholarly rigor, the author analyzes Jewish Romanian–based and Romanianized surnames. On the other hand, the book is an exemplary study illustrating how onomastics can be used as a major tool to study the social history of a population group.”
Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania is an innovative and original contribution to the study of Romanian Jewry based on the study of surnames. In his research, Avram has achieved a very successful combination of different disciplines, showing full mastery of very diverse sources.”
“This book introduces the methodology of onomastics not only in order to comprehend the characteristics of the collected names but also to learn about historical processes in a certain territory. By doing so, certain theses about the history of the Jews are refuted, and professional and social characteristics and migration routes are uncovered. This is an innovative approach, and the findings are illuminating. Avram presents a complex and multi-faceted historical picture of the history of Romanian Jewry.”

Alexander Avram is the Director of the Hall of Names and Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

List of Charts, Maps, and Tables

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Topic of Discussion

State of Research on the Topic

Purpose of the Present Study

Scope and Limits of the Study and Style Conventions

Chapter 1. Historical Background

The Jewish Presence in Historical Moldavia and Walachia, Sixteenth Century to 1944

Different and Divergent Historical Narratives

Onomastics as a Means of Refuting the Anti-Jewish Claims

Chapter 2. Methodological Approach

Methodological Background

Jewish Names and Naming Patterns

Jewish Surnames: A Typology

Jewish Surnames and Surnames Used by Jews

Romanian Naming Patterns and Romanian Surnames

Surnames Used by Jews in the Romanian Linguistic-Cultural Space

Romanian and Romanized Jewish Surnames

Sources

Statistical Analysis

Chapter 3. Antiquity of Early Jewish Settlement Through the Prism of Surnames

Early Jewish Settlement: The Native Jews

Romanian Jewish Surnames Adopted at the Time of Early Settlement

Conclusions

Chapter 4. Demographic Aspects: Rural and Urban Settlement; Internal Migrations

Jewish Geographic Dispersion

Rural and Urban Settlement

Internal Migrations

Conclusions

Chapter 5. Socio-economic Profile of the Jewish Population

General Aspects

Jews and Their Occupations in the Romanian Lands

Statistical Analysis of Occupation-Based Surnames

Categorization of Occupation-Based Surnames

Jewish Specialization in Specific Economic Fields

Semantic Analysis of Occupation-Based Surnames

Conclusions

Chapter 6. Jewish Identity as Reflected in Romanian Surnames: From Traditional Separation to Integration

General Aspects

Adaptation and Romanization of Common Jewish Surnames Brought from Abroad

Direct Adoption of Romanian Surnames Developed According to Local Patterns

Direct Adoption of Surnames in Other Languages: A Comparison

Conclusions

Chapter 7. The Romanian Authorities’ Attitude: From Invited Settlers to Undesired Subjects

Governmental Response to Jewish Settlement: Civil and Political Status

Administrative Registration: Regularization of Status and Surnames

Jews and Names During the Holocaust Period

Conclusions

Chapter 8. A Case Study: Jewish Intellectuals and Romanian and Romanized Surnames

Chapter 9. A Different Group: The Sephardim in the Old Kingdom

General Conclusions

Appendix 1. List of Jewish Intellectuals and Artists Active in Romania Prior to WWII

Appendix 2. List of Surnames Used by Sephardic Jews in the Kingdom of Romania

Appendix 3. A Dictionary of Jewish Romanian and Romanized Surnames

Glossary

Bibliography

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction