Category Archives: Yiddish

Czernowitz Jewish Cemetery 1992 by Boris Dratva

• Commentary by Anna Barth’s son, who is visiting Czernowitz from [Venezuela] in May 1992
• Interview with Boris Dratva
• Interviews with Holocaust survivors
• Vandalism at the cemetery

HEADSTONES [in order of appearance]: Anna Kahane • Ruchel Kramer • Mali [?] Rosenberg • Golde Hecht • Anna Barth • Israel Schorr • Aron Moses Weissman • Mortco Kirmayer • Berl Brandmann • Abraham Gewürz • Gusta Baar • Simon Leiser Kinsbrunner • Bertha Kinsbrunner, née Schimmel • Sidi [?] Herman • Dora Kuppermann • Nathan Tropper • Emanuel Salter, Kamena • Elias Kampelmacher • Markus Kampelmacher • Dr. Benno Straucher • Fany Straucher Rosenstraus • Dr. Eduard Straucher • Marie Fischer-Straucher • David Tittinger • Berta Goldenberg • Pepi Trichter • Josef Steiner • Babette Steiner, née Kraus • Emil Steiner • Samuel Dankner • Calman Fischer • Chawe Hudel Krell • Markus und Dora Gewürz • Samuel Hechler [?] / Mechler [?] • Bruno Tittinger • Dr. Ludwig Chaies • Helene Rosenkranz • Aron Rosenkranz • Dr. Leo Rosen • Henriette Rosenzweig • Anna Zirl Abeles • Leon Abeles • Chaim Rosenzweig • David Altmann • Rose Altmann, née Luft • Berta Eisenberg, née Altmann • Jonas Grabstein • Salomon Goldschmidt • Rosa de Anhauch • Berl und Brane Rudel • Eliezer Steinbarg • Betty Bursztyn

Memorial at Mass Grave – Bershad Jewish Cemetery

From Ruth Levin:

This is the tombstone on the mass grave at the Bershad Jewish cemetery.
The names on the tablet are of my grandparents: Joseph the son of Shimshon and Feiga the daughter of Levy; and their daughters – Haika (Clara) and Dvora (Dora) Levin. They all were deported from Czernowitz and died of typhoid in 1942.
My father was informed of the fate of his family when he himself was in the gulag. He was released in 1956 and lived in Moscow. My brother traveled to Bershad in  1972 and put this tablet on the stone. In 2017 our friends visited the cemetery and did not find the tablet. The local guide said that it was apparently stolen, because it was made of metal. Our friends ordered a new tablet made of stone and put it instead of the old one.  Ruth Levin

And this from Edgar Hauster

Read more at: Bershad, Oy Vey Bershad from the year 2015

Meyer Ebner on Leibu Levin – 1935

From Ruth Levin, an article from the “Ost-Yiddishe Zeitung”, 2.6.1935:

“…Dr. Landau introduced to the audience a young man whose name
should not be forgotten. Probably, we’ll hear from him again and again.

Levin isn’t a singer, rather he’s an artistic reader. He’s not a reader, rather
he’s an actor. As a matter of fact he’s all in one: singer, artistic reader, actor
and poet. Why also poet? He reads to us only the poems of others, does he not?
That being so, this is the secret of his art. He reveals what is hidden between the lines.
He brings the poet to completion. He draws from the poet’s soul riches the poet himself
did not know of, riches that were hidden in his sub-conscious…

Frequently the words of the text in his mouth serve solely as a stimulus that awakens –
just for a passing moment – the poetic spiritual inheritance of his own, and that has
always to be born anew, like the music.

The art of Leibu Levin needs not only to be heard, though, but also to be seen. He himself
one has to hear and see, how he breathes into the dim hall, into the pearls of strangers’
poetry, his young burning soul, the creative, sometimes ecstatic, and sometimes weeping
soul…  His profound understanding drew one deeply into the fables of
Eliezer Steinbarg and the ballads of Itzik Manger.

From time to time the reader becomes singer, and only when he was seen as well as heard,
did I finally understand the meaning of the old expression “to sing and to say”
regarding troubadours and minnesingers. When his spoken word passes to song, it reminds me
of a flying ship hovering above the earth and taking off to the blue heavens…

Talent is as rare as gold. From the gold it is possible to forge a holiday crown for
priests who serve gods and it is possible to pay with it the penance for sinful impurity…

Talent can be refined to capture surpassing art, or can descend to cheap popular
entertainment. It seems to me that all in Leibu Levin aspires toward and is uplifted to the
shining heights of noble art .”

Dr. Meyer Ebner
The newspaper “Ost-Yiddishe Zeitung”, 2.6.1935

Ostjüdische_Zeitung_1935_00169 Kopie

The Suffering of the Deportees in Transnistria

Click on the front cover above to download the booklet!

I succeeded to acquire a very rare book: The Suffering of the Deportees in Transnistria by Fabius Ornstein, edited by the Association of the Former Deportees to Transnistria immediately after WW2 still in 1945. On Fabius Ornstein’s life-saving activity in Transnistria we learn from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report dated July 26, 1943 as follows:

Thousands of Jews in Transnistria Have Not Seen Bread for Months, Hundreds Starving
Thousands of Jewish deportees confined in the various ghettos which the Rumanian occupation authorities have established in Transnistria, the Rumanian-administered section of the Russian Ukraine, have not seen any bread for months and the vast majority of them are threatened with starvation unless some assistance is forthcoming soon, according to private advices received here today. In the township of Copaigorod about 2,220 Jews are confined at present, the report discloses. Under the leadership of one of the deportees, Fabius Ornstein, the Jewish community has organized a free kitchen which has so far managed to distribute about 500 meals twice daily. These ‘meals,’ however, almost always consist of potatoes and nothing else. […]

Selling Chometz in Novoselice (1904)

What I like about this job is you never know what’s going to surface.  A woman wrote to me recently (Lara Diamond by name) telling of a an interesting old document she saw at a friend’s house and offered to photograph it.  She thought the group would be interested, since it had a list of names attached and was from Novoselice/Novoselitsa.  I agreed to have a look at it.

And this is what I present for you today:  A 1904 document written in cursive Yiddish, written by the Rabbi of Novoselice:   Yisrael Pesach son of Shalom Shachna Wetstein.  This was the great great grandfather of Lara’s friend.  The document apparently is the authorization for the sale of the town’s Chometz prior to Passover in 1904.  There is a list of names at the end of the document, that most likely are the assigned buyers.

Lara says:
“These are signatures so some are difficult to read. I did my best. I suggest you put the last page on Viewmate to get an independent eye on these.

The bottom of the first page is signed by the town’s rabbi (and my friend’s gg grandfather) Yisrael Pesach son of Shalom Shachna Wetstein.

Witness at the top of the second page (first page of the two-sided document) is Avraham Chaim son of Baruch Shvartzer.

There are names in the paragraph up at the top of the last page:

Yisrael Pesach son of Shalom Shachna
Malka daughter of Rei Renish
Moshe son of Meir Veinberg
Zaan Shaya Dibes
Sara Frankfeld
Shabsei Shvartzberg

Then the rest of the page are signatures. (First word of each line is “Signed.”)
Eliyahu (illegible)
Yitzchok Reitman and (illegible) Beleson
Nachum Gruldinberg and also his brother? Pesach and (illegible) Reb Anshel
Leib son of Zev Plumilman (illegible) Yona Yilarstein
Pinchas Babia
Henech Shvartzberg
Chaim Feitia Kapilivike
Avraham Chaim Sheishesh? And Matisya Varman?
(Illegible) Sara Mecharkle
(illegible) Yaakov Yosef Yazlivt
Shlomo Vanblakis??
Yosef Kantirzshna
Mechael Veinberg
Hersh Leib Shich? and his brother Yisrael Shich
Yisrael Nicherberg
Tzvi Gezner”

And for those who can… here is the document, hand written in Yiddish, [Correction –The document is written in cursive Hebrew not Yiddish as originally posted –see commnets below] in pdf format:


Lara notes: “There are two documents. One is one page and the other is 2 pages (on 2 sides of the page).
The first picture is an overview of the one pager. Then I have 3 close ups of that page.
Then an overview of each of the sides of the other. Then I zeroed in on a list of names (actually signatures).”

Jerome notes:
According to the CIA, there are over 25 towns in today’s Ukraine with the name Novoselista. Is this ‘our’ Novoselista at 48°13’00″N : 26°17’00″E ? I ran this by Yosi Eshet who didn’t think so. Lara thinks it is, and I have no idea. Maybe someone will recognize a name and we’ll have the answer?