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Building of the former Jewish primary school today
The building of the former Jewish primary school today

Jewish Primary School+

Element 340
Shteinbarha St, 2
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Adjacent to the former Jewish National House, the large two-story building on Eliezer Steinbarg Street used to be the Jewish primary school. Until the mid-19th century Jewish children in Chernivtsi studied only in illegal religious schools. Only after a public education reform, Chernivtsi´s first German-Jewish school was opened in 1855. Its first director was the Chief Rabbi of Bukovina Lazar Elias Igel. The school quickly gained popularity, and the Jewish community erected a new building. Up to 500 pupils studied in the school every year.

After 1918 Romanian authorities deprived confessional schools of their status as public education institutions. The authorities also forced the usage of the Romanian language. These developments resulted in the lower student enrollment in the Jewish school. The administration of the Jewish community began to lease vacant rooms to different NGOs and private organizations. In the 1920s and1930s the building hosted, among others, a kindergarten, a Trading and Crafting School of the association “Poale Zion”; a Jewish civil rights defense Bureau of Dr. Max Diamant, and an Hebrew language club. Starting from 1932 a vocational school of the Jewish ORT association was also situated in the building.

The Jewish School, in its smaller version, existed until the Soviet annexation of Northern Bukovina in 1940. After the Soviet authorities had dissolved the administration of the Jewish community and nationalized its property, they reorganized the Jewish school. It became a Soviet Jewish school, which educated children in the spirit of Communism.

After World War II the Soviet authorities didn’t consider it necessary to have a Jewish school in the city center. From 1966 the Chernivtsi department of Kyiv Institute of Trade and Economics was situated here. Later the building was used as a teacher training center. Since 1991, the Chernivtsi lyceum #1 is located in the building.

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