Danubius International Conferences, 7th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

Germans and Jews of Bessarabia : two Fates, two Tragedies

Liliya Tsyganenko
Last modified: 2017-06-07


In 1814 31 German families from the Duchy of Warsaw were permitted to settle in Budjak. From 1814 till 1842 about 9 thousand Germans moved to Bessarabia; they arrived not only from the Duchy of Warsaw, but also from Pfalz, Bavaria and Switzerland. Most of them came from Wrttemberg. The history of Bessarabian Germans is an example of a difficult, somewhat tragic fate of the German national minority in South-Eastern Europe. 

First Jews settled down on the Bessarabian land in the end of  XIV century. In early XVI century mass resettlement from German and Poland starts. By the end of XVIII century Jews lived in almost all cities and in many villages of Bessarabia, and at the beginning of XIX century their amount on this territory was about 5000 families (more than 20 thousand people). Almost a hundred years of humiliations and tragedies of the Jewish people in the Bessarabian land made a major part of the representatives of this ethnic group to immigrate abroad.

Two nations – Germans and Jews, they are so different and so alike. Bessarabia became the second motherland for them. They were developing there, saving their cultural and ethnic traditions, their individuality and their language. Despite the history of Bessarabian Germans and Jews contains many tragic events, modern generation of Bessarabian immigrants gladly recall about their ancestors’  motherland, aiming to visit it and acquaint their children and grandchildren with original and colourful world of Bessarabia.