Chișinău

Discover Jewish life in Chişinău

This AudioWalk brings Chişinău’s Jewish history back to life. Explore the unique atmosphere of this multi-ethnic city, which was known for its large and vibrant Jewish community. Places of violence as well as cultural exchange become visible, as you listen to the memories of thirteen Jewish Holocaust survivors. Their personal stories, which they shared in Centropa interviews, connect the past with the present and guide you through the city.

The Chişinău AudioWalk was developed by Centropa, the Büro für Erinnerungskultur, the Jewish community of Moldova, Irina Shikhova from Maghid – Jewish Heritage Moldova and EcoVisio. 

All the stations from the Chișinău Audiowalk

Intro: Jewish Life in Chișinău

“Chişinău was a rather big city, when I was a child. It had a Moldovan, Russian, Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Bulgarian, Polish population.” – David Wainshelboim

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Jewish Cemetery

“This cemetery was demolished after the war when Soviet authorities were trying to destroy the memory of the Jews who lived in this town. Now there is a park on the spot, which has almost become part of the center of Chişinău.” – Boris Dorfman

Choral Synagogue

„I remember well that on holidays my father put on his black suit and went to the Choral synagogue, the biggest synagogue in Chişinău, with my mother […] The synagogue was very beautiful and there were many people in it“ – Bella Chanina

Gleizer Shil

The Gleizer Shil played an important role for Jewish life after 1945, since Chişinău’s Jews were only allowed to use one religious room during the times of the communist government.

Lemnaria Synagogue

The former Lemnaria Synagogue was constructed in 1835 and was one of the city’s central synagogues for over 100 years. Today, it is the home of the Jewish community, a Jewish cultural center as well as various Jewish charities and youth organizations.

Alexandrovskaya Street

“Alexandrovskaya Street was paved with gravel like the majority of the streets in Chişinău, and there was a tram running there. There were one- storied houses, some of them were nice. There were many shops owned by Jews on Alexandrovskaya Street.“ – Zlata Tkach

Jewish Hospital

The former Jewish hospital was founded in 1817. As the Jewish Community grew, it was expanded and included a poor house and a synagogue until the hospital’s nationalization in 1940.

Jewish Orphanage

The orphanage for Jewish girls opened in 1920 and was the home of Centropa interviewee Shlima Goldstein until its closure in 1940.

Liceul Dadiani

The building of “Liceul Dadiani” was erected in 1901 as a girls’ high school. After the second World War, it served as the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party until 1964.

French high school Jeanne d’Arc

“After graduating from elementary school, I went to the French Jeanne D’Arc gymnasium. It was a private gymnasium, the most prestigious and the most expensive in town.” – Polina Leibovich

Girls’ grammar school Regina Maria

The girl’s grammar school “Regina Maria” was founded in 1864 as a private school for girls from distinguished families in Chişinău. Among their students were Centropa interviewees Sarra Shpitalnik and Zlata Tkach.

Stumbling Stone Moise Berliand

A stumbling stone, embedded in the wide sidewalk, commemorates Moise Berliand, who was deported to and murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Vocational school for Jewish girls

The school was founded in 1885 on the initiative of Bessarabian elites and played an important role for the poorest Jewish families: The training was free, the best students received fellowships, and the school organized free summer camps.

City park

“Young people went for walks in the town park where there was a monument of Stefan the Great. I liked going to this park to sit on a bench with a book and then I secretly watched the enamored couples.” – Polina Leibovich

Villa Kligman

Villa Kligman was the home of one of the most famous Jewish families from Chişinău. It was built in 1898 on behalf of the lawyer Moses Kligman.

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