Remembering Emmanuel Landau, MD, PhD

Dr. Emmanuel Landau (Courtesy by Rob Gartenberg)

Rob Gartenberg: I will always remember my mother’s cousin Manny (as he called himself after settling in the USA) as a witty man with a generous spirit, a sparkle in his eye and a razor-sharp intellect. We always knew him as Mani, for he was born Manuel Leonid Landau, the initials of his name derived from those of his grandfather, Leibish Mendel Landau, a well-respected rabbi. Leibish’s wife, Ettl Schächte, once said of Manny as a boy:  “Das Kind hat kein Ernst in sich, er will nur spielen!” (The child has no earnestness, he just wants to play). Well, later in life he certainly did develop his serious side, becoming a widely respected professor and medical researcher. But it’s true, he never lost his appetite for laughter. His maternal grandfather was Josef Ohrenstein, who founded and ran the Jewish Hospital in Czernowitz.

Dr. Josef Ohrenstein (Courtesy by Rob Gartenberg)

After being interned in Transnistria, Manny, his parents and his maternal grandfather managed to get onto one of the last boats to Palestine, where people started calling him Emmanuel. This name found its way onto many personal documents, so, to avoid confusion he changed his name to Emmanuel Manuel and dropped the Leonid. His father, Jakob Landau was an eye doctor, his mother, Ida Ohrenstein, worked for a well-known publishing company. Sadly, Manny was not an eager correspondent, so our intermittent meetings were my only opportunity to benefit from his very extensive knowledge and wisdom. I never had a boring conversation with him and wish we’d lived closer together and that our paths had crossed more often. That, in itself, is a tribute to his character: he was someone you wanted to spend time with. My mother grew up with him in Czernowitz, where he lived in Herrengasse (she lived in Taboragasse), close to the old synagogue. Mani was like a younger brother to her and life was good until the Red Army marched in and many Jews had to flee (she among them, though they were later reunited in Palestine). Mani also had an eccentric side to him, accompanying every dinner with a lemon, cut into seven equal pieces, which he then ate. I cannot recall the significance of this, but it gives a small insight into his nature, showing that he liked to give life meaning. He married twice, having two children of whom he was very proud with his second wife, and his last decades were spent living with a third companion, first in New York, then in Atlanta. He is – and will remain – sorely missed by his family.

Click here for the obituary published by the Mount Sinai Alumni Relations Team!

Happy Birthday, Edgar Hilsenrath!


goodreads: Edgar Hilsenrath (born [April 2] 1926) is a German-Jewish writer living in Berlin. His main works are Night, The Nazi and the Barber, and The Story of the Last Thought.

Hilsenrath was born in Leipzig. In 1938 his mother escaped with her two children to Siret (Sereth), in Romanian Bukovina, where they enjoyed a respite from persecution. At the time that he should have received an entrance card to higher education, he and his mother were interned in the ghetto of Cernăuţi (Czernowitz).

He began to write about the Holocaust after his liberation when he moved to Paris. Hilsenrath also lived in Palestine, Israel, and New York.

According to Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Hilsenrath calls things by their proper names and portrays life first and foremost as physical existence, of whose details the reader is constantly made aware: birth, nursing, feeding, sex, and excretion accompanied by feelings of pleasure and pain. The rhetoric of politicians and political theory are shown to be the schemes of beings ultimately dependent on these bodily processes and subject to physical desires. Hilsenrath’s very approach is a protest against disrespect toward the mortal body, against the tyranny of the mind over matter.”

The Osias “Shike” Stenzler Radautz Booklet

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“The Osias ‘Shike’ Stenzler Radautz Booklet” is a unique document compiled by Osias Stenzler over about three decades until his death in the year 2008 at the age of 99 years. His memory, unlike his eyesight, never faded, even at an advanced age. After the loss of vision, Osias’ sons Daniel and Bondy kept his records from dictation and so we have the rare opportunity to discover a real treasure chest making alive the Jewish life in post WW2 Radautz. The booklet is headlined “Occupations and Professions Practiced by the Jewish Population of Radautz”, but beyond the long list of names it contains authentic notes and remarks on the Radautz Jewish community.

osias-stenzler-82-638Link: http://bondysidi.blogspot.de/

Happy Days of Youth

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Czernowitz – In a garden.

Happy days of youth. Unusual “arrangement” and setting – Edy Wagner, head of the Balalaika orchestra, who died too young, top left, my husband’s mother Alma Wagner in the middle, on the right her sister Ruzia Wagner with her famous pigtails, the rest are friends. Both Alma and Ruzia, were very gifted, played the guitar and the balalaika, accompanying themselves to a multitude of Yddish songs. Alma had a beautiful voice and had had some lessons with Joseph Schmidt when he was still a cantor. Alma had a great repertoire and sang and played often for her friends. She passed on her singing gift to our daughter Nadine.

Gabriele

Czernowitz – Stadt der Dichter [City of Poets] by Amy-Diana Colin & Edith Silbermann

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Amy-Diana Colin’s (PhD, Yale) much-anticipated book “Czernowitz – Stadt der Dichter [City of Poets]”, the “History of a Jewish Family from Bukovina (1900-1948)” is now at the bookseller’s!

What a literary delectation, something for winter’s eve, but not only! From the blurb we learn: “The report of an exceptional contemporary witness: Edith Silbermann, nee Horowitz, from Czernowitz (Bukovina), actress, reciter, translator, Germanist, publicist, mediator between German and Jewish cultural traditions, narrates her turbulent family history and reports on her youth in Czernowitz before and during WW2. One chapter of this book is dedicated to Paul Antschel (Celan), Edith Silbermann’s friend from the early Czernowitz years until his death. It was for both, Paul and Edith, the first love of their youth. […]”

It is not just a literary delectation, it’s also a listening pleasure, since this precious book comes with two audio CDs including recordings from Edith Silbermann’s sophisticated recitation program. Read, listen and enjoy! It’s a special publication for Czernowitz lovers!

Alfred Kittner’s Handwritten CV in Romanian from the Year 1946

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I, Alfred Kittner, was born on November 24, 1906 in Czernowitz. My father, Heinrich Kittner (dead in 1932) was an accountant, my mother, Cecilia Kittner, born Kapralik, died in 1910, when I was barely 3 years old. I attended primary school and high school in Vienna, where my father lived during the First World War, and in Czernowitz. After graduating high school in 1925 and after attending for a year the Sciences Department of the Czernowitz University, I performed my military service as an infantryman in Satu Mare (1928-1929) and then I attended German Studies and German literature courses at Breslau University, where I began my literary career. In 1932, back in Czernowitz, I worked for a year in the accounting department of the Marmorosch-Blank Bank, and in 1933 I started as an editor with the “Der Tag”; (The Day) newspaper in Czernowitz, at which paper I worked as secretary, literary editor, spell-checker, reporter, etc. until 1936, when this newspaper became Czernowitzer Tagblatt. I worked in my former capacity at this newspaper as well, until it was suspended once the Goga-Cuza Cabinet came to power in 1939. This year I also published a volume of poetry. As a publicist, I always fought for the cause of democracy, against obscurantism, and I revealed, among other things, in my articles, the terrorist means and persecution applied by the Czernowitz police against the Communist prisoners. Throughout this time, I have been an occasional collaborator of literary magazines from Viena, Prague, etc.

In 1940-1941, after Northern Bukovina was annexed to the Soviet Russia, I worked as a librarian with the Regional Czernowitz Library, and as a censor of the foreign books, and I collaborated with the Moscow International Literature Magazine. In 1941, I was deported, having been black-listed as a democratic publicist, by the secret police of Gen. Antonescu. With my familyat Bug, after three torturous years in several extermination camps {Cariera pe Bug (Bug Quarry), Cetvertinovca, Demidovca, Obadovca} being freed by the victorious advancement of the Red Army, I returned to Czernowitz, where I restarted my former job at the Library. In the meantime, my brother in law was mobilized as a military medic and a captain in the liberating Polish Army, sent [invitations] for the entire family. This is how I ended up in Poland, from where I returned to my country after my brother in law was released from the military.

In October 1945 I became a librarian with Arlus [Association for closer Ties with the Soviet Union – Asociația Română pentru strângerea Legăturilor cu Uniunea Sovietică] Library, in which capacity I work even to this day, and in January of this year, I began to work as a radio anchor.

[Translation by courtesy of Elena Iuga]