The Shtetl of Foleshty (Făleşti)
The shtetl of Făleşti was a small village in the Balti (Beltz) District on the Beltz-Sculeni road. The shtetl was founded in 1792. In the beginning of the 19th century Făleşti was a part of the Yassy district (later the Balti district). In that period 176 Jewish families or 880 people lived in Făleşti.
The Jews were mainly merchants and craftsmen. A small number of them were in agriculture. They owned fields and vineyards. The merchants dealt in furs. Many Jews worked as laborers in the fields.
In December 1888 there was a huge fire which burned 300 homes and deeply affected the Jewish population. The local authorities plotted against the Jews who were hurt by levying on them a higher tax (triple the usual) when they applied for permits to rebuild.
In 1900's the shtetl had significance in the local trading as a "warehouse center". In that time there were one synagogue, 5 Jewish prayer houses, 2 schools, one pharmacy, brick, leather and candle plants, many small shops, big warehouses of wood and several windmills.
After the annexation of Bessarabia by Romania in 1918, there was an agrarian reform done by the Romanian authorities - some Jews in Făleşti received ownership for land.
Relations between the Jews and the local population were stable until the anti-Semitic propaganda of the Cuza party, in the 1930s, reached the area. Eventually, the lands given to the Jews were taken back - even fields and vineyards owned before the distribution.
At the end of June 1940, all of Bessarabia was annexed by the Soviet Union. At first, there were no changes in the lives of the Făleşti Jews. During the week before the war broke out (19.6.1941) all `enemies of the people` were arrested. Zionists and wealthy people were sent to Siberia.
On the first day of the war, 21.6.1941, Făleşti was bombed by the German Air Force. The first German soldiers entered Făleşti on June 27. A few days later, when the Romanian forces came to town, attacks on the Jews began. Murder and robbery were committed by soldiers, civilians and area farmers. The Jews who did survive were taken from their homes and placed in another area which served as the ghetto. By the end of 1941 the ghetto was terminated and its residents were sent to death.