Author Archives: Edgar Hauster

Glimpses of Youth Activities in Pre-War Bucovina

The Orchestra and Choir of the Aron Pumnul Liceum, conducted by Prof. Sava Arbore, in April 1940, prior to departure to Bucharest for a live performance at Radio Bucuresti. Prof. Alfred Schneider: “I am the second accordion player from the left; The cello player in the front was known to us as Burschi Schwefel, you met him as Radu Armsa, a retired high official and diplomat in post WWII Romania; the student in the right corner of the last row was the son of the Mayor of Czernowitz Marmeliuc; there were several Jewish students in this picture, notably the first violinist at the left in the first row.”

The Marching Band of the Aron Pumnul Liceum. Prof. Alfred Schneider: “The date of the parade on the Siebenbuergerstrasse was June 8,1940, on the birthday of King Carol II. I am the first accordion player on the right. Three weeks later, soldiers of the Red Army were marching there and singing ‘Moskwa moya…’. Later in October I marched there with my school carrying banners hailing the great Stalin before a reviewing stand on which stood an honorary group of German SS soldiers, in Czernowitz to supervise the ‘repatriation’ of the Volksdeutschen.”

Four Jewish strajeri (successor organization to the Boy Scouts) at the public school in Wiznitz. Prof. Alfred Schneider: “The photo was taken in 1936, we were in third grade of Public Elementary School in Wiznitz. I am standing, the three other boys who survived Transnistria were Bertl Koller (left) and Baruch Winter (right), both later lived in Israel, Erwin Rosner (front) lived in Chile (?). The photo caused an international incident*: when my uncle in New York received it he was very upset, promptly returned it noting that his nephew giving the Hitler salute is an insult! He must have forgiven me, because in 1948 he sponsored my immigration to the U.S.”
[*The raised right hand (Roman) salute was certainly not a traditional Romanian Boy Scout salute. The Romanian Scouts (cercetasi), abolished in 1935, used the international three-finger salute. King Carol II, trying to counteract the growing fascist movement, started to change from a constitutional to an authoritarian rule. In 1938, all political parties were abolished and replaced by the Front of National Renaissance (Frontul Renasterii Nationala) and the Straja Tarii youth organization became an integral part of the Front. The spoken salute accompanying the raised right hand was “sanatate”, which translates to Gesundheit or Heil in German.The similarity with the Hitler salute was not accidental.]

Courtesy: Prof. Alfred Schneider, Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering Georgia Tech and MIT

Jewish Refugees in Shanghai (1938 – 1947)

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum unveiled a memorial wall in 2014 listing the names of 13,732 Jews who found a haven in the Chinese city during World War II.

Sinosphere, the Blog of The New York Times, wrote on the dedication ceremony: “In the 1930s and 40s, thousands of Jews escaping Nazi Germany arrived in Shanghai, a place they could enter without a visa. After the Évian Conference of 1938, when the major powers shut their doors to nearly all Jewish immigrants, the city remained one of the few available places of refuge. By the beginning of World War II, more European Jews had fled to Shanghai than any other city in the world. The memorial consists of a 111-foot-long copper wall etched with the names and featuring a sculpture of six allegorical figures representing faith, suffering, love, determination, light and hope, designed by the Chinese artist He Ning. Chen Jian, the museum’s director, said the names on the memorial were compiled with the help of former Jewish refugees in Shanghai, as well as Chinese and foreign scholars, according to China Daily. Many of the names were taken from a list found in the German book ‘Exil Shanghai: 1938-1947,’ co-authored by Sonja Mühlberger, 75, who was herself born in Shanghai to refugee parents in the 1930s and has been involved in the memorial project.

The list in her book was first compiled during the war by three teenage Jewish girls hired by Japanese military officers to undertake an informal census. Most of the Jewish population then was relegated by the Japanese to an overcrowded district called Hongkou, a ‘designated area for stateless refugees.’ In a museum press release, Ms. Mühlberger comments, ‘My parents’ experiences in Shanghai were certainly not the easiest, but if they had not been exiled there, I wouldn’t even be alive today, let alone have the chance to tell this history.'”

Among these refugees, immortalized on the “Wall of Names”, we discover Rosa Koppelmann from Czernowitz, the addressee of the “Cry of Desperation from Siberia via Shanghai to Czernowitz”. Seven further names, potentially all related to Rosa, were listed under the same address in Shanghai, i. e. Zang Yang Lu Rd., former Ward Rd.:

HERBERT KOPPELKOWSKI • RUTH KOPPELKOWSKI • JULIUSZ KOPPELMAN • RICHARD KOPPELMANN • MAX KOPPLOWITZ • SIMON KOPSKI • MAX KOPSTEIN

Yearbook Photos from Czernowitz

Assaf Patir from Jerusalem wrote: “I found some yearbook photos of my grandmother from Czernowitz. She was born Selma Lepkowicz (later Polisher) on 30/4/1922, and the photos are from 1928, 1929 and 1931, when she was in the 1st, 2nd and 4th grade respectively. I thought that if you could put them on ephes, maybe some members of the list could identify relatives.”