Hasidim means “Pious Ones,” and are now members of the Hasidic movement. They were devotees of the mystical phase of Judaism. Their first appearance was in the pre-Maccabean age. The supposed descendants of this earlier sect appeared again in the first centuries of Christianity.
Later Hasidim were saints and workers of miracles, gifted with esoteric wisdom and the faculty of prophesy. Baal Shem Tov around 1750 founded Hasidism in Poland, this Jewish religion stresses a livable relation to God in which song and dance, the lyrical, the wondrous, and the magical are near by. Within one hundred years after this founding about half of world Jewry belonged to the Hasidic movement.
The Nazis murdered millions of the Hasidim, but the religious movement continued growing. Hasidim can still live in Hungary, Poland, Russia, and America.
Source: 81, 201.