Identity Under (Re)construction: The Jewish Community from Transylvania before and after the Second World War

Codruta Cuceu


When talking about the identity of a certain community, we are inclined to appeal to essentialist, almost metaphysical notions. This often results in a unitary, deeply rooted and stable perception of the analyzed community. But this view is not always accurate enough, for it does not offer an account of a specific history. By offering a short history and a structural presentation of the Jewish community from Transylvania, before and shortly after the Second World War, our article’s purpose is to overpass, by questioning, the shortcomings of an essentialist interpretation of the discussed community. Taking into account the long history of pogroms, applied anti-Semitism and persecutions on religious or ethnic grounds that took place along the 20th century, our work aims at depicting whether religion was and remained a major characteristic, i.e. an unique communal specificity in the re(creation) of Jewish identity in Transylvania, before and after the Second World War.


Jewish identity; Transylvanian Jewry; Second World War; ghetto; Neolog Judaism; Magyarization

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