Concluziile Comisiei de anchetă pentru “Cercetarea neregulilor săvârşite cu ocazia evacuării evreilor din Cernăuţi” (1941) – Click here for download!
Liviu Carare: “The events in Czernowitz during 1941-1942 are a constituent part of the phenomenon of “ethnic cleansing” developed by the Romanian state immediately after the reconquest of the territories ceded to the USSR in the summer of 1940. The Jewish population of the city was enclosed in a ghetto as a preliminary measure to their deportation to Transnistria. The deportations were halted three days later because the Romanian authorities had realized that the majority of professionals and technicians in Czernowitz were Jews. These actions were possible due to the Mayor of Czernowitz, Dr. Traian Popovici, who managed to persuade the Romanian military governor and the head of state, Ion Antonescu to spare 20,000 Jews from deportation, claiming that they were vital to the economic stability of the town. The mayor attempted to stop deportations, issuing more than 3,000 certificates of exemption from deportation, but the officials of the municipality, the police, and the gendarmerie extorted enormous sums of money in return for these exemptions. Many Jews were deported even after they paid the ransom. The report captures the details of the establishment of Czernowitz ghetto, planning and organization of the deportations, but also how mayor Traian Popovici and other members of the sorting commission prepared the tables with Jewish experts in Czernowitz, saving from deportation sometimes even whole families.”
Mordecai Lapidot (18.05.2012): Chapeau to Liviu Carare for having located and published the fascinating, horrifying, but greatly revealing document of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Fascist Authorities re the saving of more than 20000 of Czernowitz Jews (myself and my parents and relatives amongst them) from deportation to Transnistria. Having read the Romanian report of the Commission it is clear to me that in a way the Commission “laundered” the actions that were performed by Popovici and the other officials involved. As they mention there – you cannot prove the actions of bribery since neither the bribers nor the bribed can be expected to volunteer confirmation of their acts… As if the Sigurantza of the Fascist Regime could not have extracted the information had they wished to do so… All they mentioned in detail in their report were the discrepancies they discovered in the lists of those who were saved, e.g. persons that were obviously not of the profession that was recorded, or the names added in pencil or ink to the typed lists. I was 8 year old at the time but aware, from rumours that went around between the grown-ups, that apparently some bribery was involved. However it was believed not to be related to Popovici himself but to the many intermediaries. Now I learned a lot about what really happened from this and the other articles mentioned below.
Chapeau also to Edgar for locating this article by Liviu Carare. It is worthwhile to enter his name in Google – I found a number of interesting related articles by him. One about our Ghetoization in Czernowitz – CONSIDERAŢII PRIVIND PROCESUL DE GHETOIZARE A EVREILOR DIN CERNĂUŢI
Another – a collection of articles “Partide politice şi minorităţi naţional din România în secolul XX” includes some interesting articles: one on p. 11 “The Resolution of the Hebrew Issue in the Romanian Principalities (1848-1866) between Political Will and Social Failure”, one by Lya Binyamin on p 51 “Idei diriguitoare în Mişcarea Sionistă din
România. Congresul Sionist din 1919”, and one on p 247 by Liviu Carare based on the above mentioned report of the Commision of Inquiry “Deportările din Cernăuţi (1941). Mărturii pe baza unui raport de anchetă informativă”
as well as few others related to antisemitism in Romania and fate of Jews in other cities – e.g. Transilvania. Of course, only for those of us who still read Romanian, but all can benefit of the abstracts in English.
Ken Cutler (17.05.2012): I can’t recall if this was in the discussion about Popovici but these are his words translated:
Miriam Taylor (24.03.2012): It is in the nature of dictatorships to want to appear legitimate. Consider all the dictators of the 20th century and the current ones as well. They all hold elections, even though everyone knows that these elections are rigged. Antonescu wanted to get rid of Popovici, because the later was a decent person and had contravened his orders. Insubordination might have been contagious. But it seemed better to accuse Popovici of dishonesty than insubordination due to decency. Antonescu wanted to be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
Hardy Breier (24.03.2012): I still do not get the reason for the 1942 investigation: The military saw that Popovici abused his office and contavened orders. This was a military dictatorship at war. The investigation came to justify the dismissal. To justify to whom? To history?
Miriam Taylor (24.03.2012): To what has been written about the Popovici authorizations and about Popovici, I would like to add some of my own memories and known facts. I do have my parents’ and my Popovici authorization and will gladly send a copy to anyone who wants it. It was issued on the 27 of November 1941. To receive it, my father had to present his birth-certificate and prove that he was a resident of the city during the last census. (it says so on the authorization). It is signed by Dr. Traian Popovici and by maj. Mihai Iliescu, who also filled out the names of my father, his sister, my mother and mine. I know from what my parents told me that authorizations were handed out in alphabetical order, one or two letters per day. From the fact that people who’s names started with R or S received their authorizations on Nov. 27, you can guess when the giving of authorizations began and ended. On the night of June 6 – 7, 1942 and again later that month, when Jews who had Popovici authorizations, but not Calotescu authorizations, were being rounded up and deported, my family and I hid and and were not found.
I was five years old at the time, but I remember both events quite clearly. We eventually got the Calotescu permit. I firmly believe that Traian Popovici was a decent, well intentioned and courageous man. This is how he was regarded by my parents and their friends, most members of this list and others who had known him personally. I fully agree with Ervin Spinner.
Wanda Orenstein (24.03.2012): I guess I put my foot in my mouth with my comments about the investigation. I only know of one other person on this site who lived in Romania just like me during the communist era. He and I were born after the war, so all we know is what we read and what our parents and grandparents told us about the Holocaust, Ion Antonescu, Transnistria and the labor camps in Romania. NOT ALL ROMANIANS ARE ANTI SEMITES, XENOPHOBES, HOMOPHOBES OR HATERS!! Now, after saying all this, it matters what the Romanians think and believe. It matters a lot. A country like Romania is new to democracy. Almost 23 years ago, Romania was under Ceausescu, and today it is not doing well economically or politically. Bribes, bad education, stealing is all part of life in Romania. Do I have a soft spot for that country? NO, I DO NOT! I miss my friends and I help my friends in any way I can. BTW, all my friends in Romania are not Jewish and I miss them a lot. When Liviu Carares will publish his thesis, I can bet any one of you that the Romanian public and some of the politicians are going to say it is all a lie. Very few people read Eli Wiesel’s report. A spokesperson for the Socialist Democratic Party in Romania (PSD) was interviewed on Romanian TV (March 2012) and his name is Dan Șova. This imbecile, told the interviewer, that 24 Jews died in the Iasi pogrom of 1914. His statement touched a nerve of the Jews in diaspora and the Jewish Community of Romania demanded his resignation. Dan Șova was shipped to Washington DC to get “educated” about the Holocaust. If you know Romanian, please read the following article http://www.acum.tv/articol/48373/. I say we know the truth and yes, we do not know it all. Eli Wiesel wrote 4000 pages about the truth and not many Romanians read it or thought it was worth reading. It was not to know the truth, it was not to stop the hate, it was purely for being accepted into the EU. That was the only reason for the report. From the bottom of my heart, I hope that the report written by Liviu Carares will be read by everyone. More power to him, for writing something not very flattering about Romanians. I look forward to reading it.
Merle Kastner (23.04.2012): Sorry for the misleading information – the family name was Limonchik. My cousin, Betty Limonchik married her husband, Joseph Millman in 1954 in Canada.
Merle Kastner (24.03.2012): I drafted this during several interviews with a cousin, now deceased. It is written in the third person, but reflects her words almost exactly, as is shown by the rambling style.
“Betty Limonchik Millman’s family somehow managed to hide when the Romanians came to round up the Jews in Czernowitz. Betty’s father had purchased the authorization for them to remain in their house. There were two ways to do this – either buy the papers from the mayor, or, more expensively, from a Mr. Calotescu, who was responsible for Bukovina. Mr. Calotescu’s papers were more expensive than the mayor’s were, but were more valuable. After the mayor was deposed, all the Jews, who had bought their papers from him, were rounded up by the authorities, and deported to Transnistria. Even though, relatively safe with Calotescu’s papers, some people were still unlucky. In the summer of l942, when the Jews were being put into railway cars for deportation, one of the cars was half-empty. The police, then closed a street, and went from door to door, looking for people, who had purchased these papers, and took them, too. One day, all the Jews in the neighbourhood were ordered to pack whatever belongings they could and go to the railway station. They were all under the impression that they were going to be deported. They were all in the street for as far as the eye could see – all with their bundles and goods piled in wagons. However, as no one had horses, the wagons were next to impossible to move, so everyone stayed as they were in the street. After several hours, some soldiers came by and ordered all those Jews in front of one house, to go inside and stay there. (They gave similar orders to other groups of people, in front of other large houses.) Betty Millman’s was among those families – this situation lasted for several days and then, the ghetto was diminished in size, and the house was no longer within the boundaries, as it had previously been. These families were then sent to other houses, (within the new boundaries of the ghetto.) Fearing deportation to Transnistria, these families buried their valuables, money, etc., under the boards in the basement and in the walls of the house. Later, most of the Jews were allowed to return to their own homes, and then ordered to move to other places to allow the Romanians to take over their homes. Upon returning, after the liberation of Transnistria, in 1944, none of these items were found – the basement was broken open, exposed, and empty. The Millmans, with the grandparents, were then allowed to live in their own apartment, as they had purchased the necessary “permits” to do so. However, one of their Romanian neighbours, supposed good friends, took a liking to their apartment and so the Millman family was sent to live in another apartment, vacant, since the Jewish family who had previously inhabited it, had been sent to Transnistria. The Romanian neighbour family moved into the former Millman apartment.”
Miriam Taylor (24.03.2012): Thank you Edgar for clarifying that the investigation we have been discussing, took place in 1942 and not recently. I too, was not sure about this. I do not know whether there were similar investigations into the way other officials performed their official duties, but it seems clear that the reason for the investigation, was that Popovici handed out a greater number of permits than he was authorized
to hand out. Antonescu and his henchmen wanted to get rid of him and one excuse was as good as another.
Fanny Cooper (24.03.2012): Well said,!! I totally agree with you, My parents had the Calotescu authorization but some of my family were saved by the Popovici one. I think I knew your parents in the fifties when we lived in Mtl..My husbands name was Frank Cooper (Kuperman) from Czernowitz, and he would be now 91 years, so we were probably contemporaries. my name is Fanny also from Czernowitz. I remember the yearly Ball and Chanukkah parties.and Lori Einhorn who used to sing together with my husband. Sheva Honig who was my friend. We left in 1964 to Venezuela where my father was living since after the war.
Merle Kastner (24.03.2012): Dear Hardy, Thank you for your acceptance. Having been a list member since the very beginning, I must say that this has been a most precious education for me. When he and others began their wonderful work on the Ehpes site and the Czernowitz list, my dear friend and cousin, Bruce Reisch, invited me to join, which I did immediately. My grandfather, David Kastner (nor the rest of his family) never spoke about life in Bukovina. He left Radautz at the age of 15 in 1900 to join two of his brothers who were already in Montreal. With few exceptions, the rest of his huge family followed – some beforevWWII, some others afterwards, a few went to live in Israel, some were deported to Transnistria, some perished there. It wasn’t until several years ago that a dear cousin who lives nearby, a Transnistria survivor, Netty Kastner Moses, told me her story and her husband, Eisig/Aziu Moses, told me his. Actually, you can see his account on the JewishGen Yizkor Book site at: http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Chudyn/chu001.html. Wanting to learn more, I then collected and read a number of books – by Dr. Felicia Carmelly, Ruth Glasberg Gold, Rita Stenzler Rogers, among others. So, unlike so many list members, I have had no personal experience in Czernowitz nor any part of Bukovina, but I feel very much a part of it just the same. For this, I thank the list members. And this coming summer, I will be fulfilling my dream of being there.
Hardy Breier (24.03.2012): Merle, You are as qualified as any. Except the very few of us,who were adults and still with us ,the rest do not know too much. We didn’t now then, know even less now. We were too young then. There was no media, everything was hidden. I still have a good memory of location of my part of town as I was a wanderer (still am). So , being a list member, you know as much as any. Your oppinion is as good as any.
Ervin Spinner (23.03.2012): Am I missing something here? I don’t understand the Popovich discussion. The historians should do whatever historians do and those of us who were saved by Popovich should be grateful. My father was involved in the social and political life in Czernowitz. He was then very active in the Association of Bucoviner Jews in Bucharest in the late Forties. He was the founder and first president of The Bucoviner Association in Montreal in the Fifties. He knew a lot of people who were “there”. He was always pleased that one of the first things he did when coming to Israel in 1950 was to submit Dr Popovich’s name to Yad Vashem as a righteous gentile. This is my legacy. Read what the midrashic literature has to say about the greatest Jew of all time, Moses. 95% is positive but some of it is scathing! One of the greatest aspects of the Jewish culture is that there are no saints, only people who do the right thing much of the time.
Cornel Fleming (23.03.2012): Hardy…spot on!!
Edgar Hauster (23.03.2012): Wanda et al…Thank you so much for your mail. I’ve uploaded all recent contributions, summing to 66 (!!!) entries, to our Ehpes.com Blog post at
and I am very grateful, that the recent correspondance turned out to be based on a misunderstanding. To make it very clear, no one denies the outstanding role of Traian Popovici and his merits, favored of course by some other factors, but – as Hardy – I am infected by the researcher virus, to find out, what really happened in Czernowitz in 1941/2. And, no doubt about, the day-by-day antisemitism is still virulent and Romania is far away from completing the process of coming to terms with the own Holocaust history, but researchers like Liviu and others are speeding up the – at the end of the day let’s hope – positive development. And, dear Yosi, why should you revoke even one single word from your mailing? I don’t see any reason for that, to the contrary – all your contributions are priceless and I thank you all for your outstanding engagement!
Ruth Gold (23.03.2012): Dear Edgar, Thank you for clarifying the “Investigation” issue. I must confess that I did not read the original text. It still bothers me that, while trying to identify the corrupt officials, the main goal was to prove that too many Jews were issued Popovici permits.
Hardy Breier (23.03.2012): Dear Wanda, We have lived through the bad years in Czernowitz. You say we know the truth . Yes, but much is missing. I want to know. What the Rumanians think and believe is not my worry. The investigation will shed light on the doings of Traian Popovici from 1941 till 1946 when he died. The true story, if it can be uncovered. Lets hope Mr. Carare does a good job.
Yosef Eshet (23.03.2012): Dear Edgar, Qualified or not I regret this misunderstanding. My impression was that this investigation was part of the research. Of course I stand 100% behind my words which are facts I know from my own experience. I hope this incident will not interrupt your fantastic contribution to our list. Thank for everything.
Wanda Orenstein (23.03.2012): Mea culpa! I did not read the text. I just reacted to the fact that Romania is doing anything to investigate the TRUTH about the deportation of Jews to Transnistria. I am Romanian and I came to the US in 1965. I lived there under communism. Not a picnic! I read Romanian newspapers and I understand the trend. OF COURSE there are people like Liviu Carare who will tell the truth. My concern is, if the Romanian public and the politicians will listen to his truth. Liviu Carare’s thesis is not written for people like me and you who already know the truth. I, a Jew from Romania will believe him, and many other Jews will too, but the anti-Semites will deny it until they are dead in their graves. Not all Romanians hate Jews and I do not want to leave that impression. There are maybe between 7000-9000 Jews living in Romania as of 2010. The anti- Semitism is blooming there. Sure we can help from the outside to spread the truth about the killing of Jews in Romania. How do we educate the Romanians who do not want to listen, who are deniers, who would rather hate than believing in the truth?
Wanda Orenstein (23.03.2012): Dear Irene, Yes, you are correct. He was officially excluded in Israel. HOWEVER, the Romanian politicians are so much in love with him, that one politician quoted him in an interview. The damage was done by no other than one of our own. Sometimes we do not need enemies from the outside, they right there between our own Jews. I am the PR Manager for www.acum.tv. I know the article you are mentioning. Thank you for listening and for your response.
Irene Fishler (23.03.2012): Dear Wanda, The Israeli author of the book about Antonescu was officially excluded from the Rumanian Writers Association of Israel, a couple of month ago. The discussion started thanks to the firm stand of writer Sonia Palty , a Transnistria survivor. Here is a link to the English translation of her book.
And her letter ( in Rumanian):
There are today in Romania a number of very serious scholars researching and teaching the Schoah in Rumania. We encourage their work and wish them well.
Merle Kastner (23.03.2012): Dear Edgar, I am not qualified to enter into this discussion, but I want thank you for clarifying this unfortunate misunderstanding. Very best regards and deep appreciation for all the excellent work that you do.
Edgar Hauster (23.03.2012): Dear Wanda, Dear Ruth, I’m very sorry, but I suppose, that your recent mails are based on a huge misunderstanding! I suppose you don’t read Romanian and/or you didn’t read the original text of the investigation, as the investigation, we are talking about,
“CONCLUSIONS OF THE INQUIRY COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO THE IRREGULARITIES DURING THE EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM CZERNOWITZ” (1941)
has not been effected nowadays, BUT in 1942 by the Antonescu regime (!!!) and thanks to Liviu Carare, PhD candidate in contemporary history at the Romanian Academy “George Baritiu” Institute of History in Cluj-Napoca, we all now are aware of this exciting and thrilling document. Liviu Carare received a master’s degree in Jewish History and Hebrew studies from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. Actually he is completing his researches for his dissertation on the subject “Jews from Czernowitz. 1941-1944″ on a scholarship of the USHMM in Washington:
So please notice, that we are miles and miles away from “the current trend in Romania” or “now they are trying to find irregularities”, quite the contrary is the case. Please check our Ehpes.com Blog at
and scroll down to Liviu Carare’s statement, dated 21.03.2012, where you’ll get – Ruth – the requested explanation for the investigation:
“The Romanian head of state, Ioan Antonescu, ordered investigations in both Kishinev and Czernowitz ghettos, trying to find if the state was defrauded in the process of deportation. So, the Romanian authorities didn’t try to see if abuses or crimes were comitted against the Jews, but to identify the corrupt officials. They failed doing so and corruption was probably the most important factor which kept Jews alive, or in our case in Czernowitz. Regarding the actions and activity of mayor Popovici you are not correct. If you read the conclusions of the inquiry commission, you’ll see that it cannot establish if Popovici or general Ionescu were corrupt, but nontheless they were responsible for all the ‘irregularities’ – which means here execeding the number of Jews allowed in the city. The easiest way of getting rid of members of Romanian administration was to label them as ‘corrupt’. The Romanian Special Services were watching very close all of the mayor’s actions. They even investigated if his wife was Jewish or not. Efforts to maintain in Czernowitz a large number of jews have generated numerous accusations of corruption, especially against mayor and the commission members. There is no doubt that in return for writing down one’s name on the authorisation some members of the commission took money, but I don’t think this is the case of Traian Popovici or general Vasile Ionescu, as I don’t have any evidence of this. […]”
Wanda, I’m sorry to contradict you, but “Romanian style” is not always according to our prejudices. As a matter of fact, there is a trend in Romania to minimize the Romanian Holocaust, but researchers like Liviu Carare, Mariana Hausleitner and others, as well as our group, are doing their very best to uncover the truth!
Hardy Breier (23.03.2012): Reading all oppinions on this we must come to a decision: “Do we stop the investigation or do we not, this is the question? ”
Wanda Orenstein (23.03.2012): This is typical Romanian style “investigation”. The current trend in Romania is to minimize or completely negate the fact that Antonescu regime had anything to do with deportation of Romanian Jews to Transnistria. To make this even more painful for those who suffered, a Jew living in Israel wrote a biography of Antonescu and portrayed this criminal as the “savior ” of Romanian Jews.
Ruth Gold (23.03.2012): A Romanian investigation?
“CONCLUSIONS OF THE INQUIRY COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO THE
IRREGULARITIES DURING THE EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM CZERNOWITZ”
This is laughable. There were not even written orders.The deportations were carried out based on verbal instructions, so as to leave no evidence, and now they are trying to find “IRREGULARITIES?????????”
Do they want to find out that more Jews were supposed to be deported to Transnistria?
Please, somebody explain to me the purpose of said investigation.
Hardy, you say that we are just bystanders? Perhaps, as a group of Czernowitzians, we should let our voices be heard in defense of the humanitarian Traian Popovici.
Miriam Taylor (22.03.2012): First I would like to say that I agree with the statement of Ruth Gold:
“Traian Popovici was the only high-ranking official servant in the Antonescu regime to condemn directly and explicitly the deportation of the Jews. He tried to oppose the deportations and managed to win the approval of Antonescu to retain in the city some 15,600 Jews as “Specialists. Do you think he did it with the purpose of making a profit?”
If making a profit from selling exemptions from deportation, would have been so easy, why is it that of the total Jewish population of Radauti, Suceava and Cimpulung, only 179 Jewish people received exemption from deportation? It is generally agreed that Antonescu allowed him to issue 15600 permits, but he issued and additional 4000, because of which he was demoted from being mayor. The intention of governor Calotescu during the summer of 1942 deportations, was to deport 4000 Jews, an equal number to the unauthorized permits issued by Popovici. According to M. Carp in “Cartea Neagra”, one of the major sources for any knowledge available about the events of 1941 and 1942 in Romania, the decisions as to who would receive the Popovici permits was assigned to mayor Popovici and general Ionescu. They are certainly likely to have needed the advice of other officials. It is possible that these officials, even general Ionescu, took bribes. It is also possible that some Jewish people were tricked into believing that a Romanian official could obtain a Popovici permit for them and therefore paid bakshish without obtaining a Popovici permit. It is not supported by eyewitness reports or documents, that Traian Popovici himself accepted bribes, nor does it seem a reasonable assumption.
Asher Turtel (22.03.2012): Hardy, Cornel and everybody, the majority of us were children (some elder some younger) and not every step done by our parents was clear to us. We cannot be called witnesses. Bribery is not something done in public. No one is proud about doing it. No one that failed doing it will admit. The Rumanian researcher do not always have a “clean” aim to prove one thing or another. I think that we will never know.
Liviu Carare (23.03.2012): Dear Miriam Taylor, I don’t know if you read Romanian, but in the article I give the exact numbers according to the documents I have researched so far:
Deportarea evreilor cernăuţeni a avut loc în două etape: în intervalul 13 octombrie – 15 noiembrie 1941 şi apoi în 1942, în lunile iunie şi septembrie. În prima etapă 14 trenuri conduse de Batalionul 1 Jandarmi au transportat în Transnistria un număr de 28.391 evrei6. Astfel, la finalul anului 1941 în oraş se mai
aflau 16.569 evrei ce se găseau în posesia autorizaţiei de specialist, semnată de
guvernatorul Bucovinei, generalul Corneliu Calotescu7. Restul celor rămaşi au
format aşa numitul „lot II” şi au primit autorizaţii semnate de primarul Traian
Popovici. Acest „lot II” a fost deportat în a doua etapă, în 1942. O statistică
referitoare la cei trimişi în Transnistria în 1942 consemnează un număr total de
4.139 evrei, din care 1.576 bărbaţi, 1.796 femei şi 776 copii8, deportaţi din
Cernăuţi. Situaţia populaţiei municipiului întocmită de Serviciul administrativ al
primăriei la data de 31 august 1942 stabileşte numărul locuitorilor evrei la 15.6339.
Indeed the abstract does not provide the correct information, because I just wanted to let people know what is it about and did not give the exact figures, so it is not a correct statement. Here is the english translation for what I wrote above ( believe these numbers to be the most exact so far):
The deportation of Czernowitz Jews took place in two stages: between October 13 to November 15, 1941 and then in 1942, in June and September. In the first stage 14 trains run by the 1st Genarmerie Battalion in Transnistria transported a total of 28,391 of Jews. Thus, at the end of 1941 in the city were still 16,569 who were in possession of Jews specialist authorization signed by the governor of Bukovina General Corneliu Calotescu. The rest of the rest formed the so-called “group II” and received authorizations signed by Mayor Traian Popovici. This “group II” was deported in the second stage in 1942. A statistics on those sent to Transnistria in 1942 recorded a total of 4,139 of Jews, of which 1,576 men, 1,796 women and 776 children, deported from Czernowitz. A census made the of the City Administrative Service on August 31, 1942 establishes that 15,633 inhabitants are Jews.
Miriam Taylor (22.03.2012): Hello Edgar and Mr. Carare, In the abstract of the article by Mr. Carare, it says:
These actions were possible due to the Mayor of Czernowitz, Dr. Traian Popovici,
who managed to persuade the Romanian military governor and the head of state,
Ion Antonescu to spare 20,000 Jews from deportation, claiming that they were vital
to the economic stability of the town.
I believe that this is not a correct statement. According to Radu Ioanid, in “The Holocaust in Romania”.
Popovici received authorization from Antonescu to permit 15600 Jews to remain in Cernauti.
Popovici issued on his own, an additional 4000 temporary permits.
Most likely Popovici was deposed as mayor, because he issued these additional permits.
In the deportations of the summer of 1942, Calotescu intended to deport the 4000 people
Who had escaped deportation due to the extra permits issued by Popovici.
Abraham Kogan (22.03.2012): I am unfortunately unable to provide you any additional information on the Popovici issue. My father passed away a long time ago; he had received a specialists permit to stay in the Ghetto. He was indeed a specialist in the timber industry, but I am not sure whether he was advised to add some “Schmiergeld” to one of the lower-ranked officers of the Municipality.
Anna Kofner (22.03.2012): I know that lately I became a “silent majority” (that what school year does to most teachers), but I am reading everything to make up for all the stories and street names I refused to listened as a child and even as a young adult. I was not familiar with the name of Popovici before I joined this site. Growing up in Czernowitz my assumption was that more Jews were saved in Czernowitz than in other places because you could bribe the Rumanians. I did have relatives who survived Transnistria on my aunts and uncle’s side (the Schachters)and my “machateineste'” parents who lived at that time in Khotin as well as friend never left Chernowitz (yes, those had money before the was, but as a child you don’t connect those thinks) . What I see (easy to see it from now and here) that it was a war and everybody was trying to behave as human as possible, while trying to save their families and helping as many people as they could, which was not an easy nor a simple task. As for Popovici, he probably loved the money and did not mind saving the Jews to start with. Schindler did what he did in the beginning strictly for profit . It was later that he became human and heroic. In the end he spend his fortune,while jeopardizing his freedom and life, in order to save “his jews”. BTW, Schindler was able to save 1200 people. As our wise men say, “He who saves one life, saves a whole world”. Was Popovici a saint? probably not. Was he human? Definitely. Was money made on Jews trying to survive and stay alive? Not the first time. Finally, the important thing, a lot of Jews were saved. The tragedy of it,not everybody.
Yosef Yagur (22.03.2012): As one of the junior members (I was born in Israel on Dec 1950), I can’t provide any evidence base on self-experience. But, I agree with Yosef Eshet, who emphasized the difference between Jews fate in Czernowitz, versus all other towns and villages of Bukovina (not to say Besarabia). For example, see the documents in Edgar Hauster’s blog in http://www.radauti.blogspot.com/ and see for yourself. So the main issue is “What special activities enabled this difference”. Based on all correspondence regarding this issue in the last few weeks – the answer is clear.
Cornel Fleming (22.03.2012): Hardy…we do have at least some tools…and those tools are people like Liviu and equally importantly the memories and knowledge of events stored in the heads of our list members. So if any of you out there,or your relatives / friends,have not yet contributed whatever information you have……..
Hardy Breier (22.03.2012): I wish we could probe but have no tools to do it. The Rumanians have and will, we cant stop them. We have a choice: Knowing the results or completely ignoring the issue. As long as there is response this thread will go on, I hope.
Yosef Eshet (22.03.2012): There was Czernowitz and there were all the towns and villages of Bucovina who’s Jews would have been very happy to have somebody like Popovici but instead were plundered and massacred by their neighbors and the “Jandarms” (from what I know all of them or most of them were Romanians). The “survivors” were driven by the Romanian soldiers on foot to Transnistria. Some of them perished or were killed by the soldiers on the way. Among them my maternal grandmother who’s grave is unknown (if she was buried at all). Popovici didn’t hand out the authorizations in person. He acted to achieve them, signed them, and distributed them (in haste??) through what intermediaries he thought fitting. Some of them were Jews most of them not. Some took bribe, some not. In the case of my family no money or valuables changed hands for that purpose. Nevertheless, In our case we were deported anyway when Calotescu intervened. We ended up in “Carera de piatra” a stone quarry on the shore of the Bug river with – among others – the inmates of the “Siechen Haus” (House of the old mentally disabled) who were spared deportation (by Popovici) till then without paying bribe. When the Romanian guards felt they couldn’t handle them they shot them and threw their bodies to rot on a pile of quarry-waste. After that and much more all I can say is that from my point of view Traian Popovici earned with honor the title of “Righteous among Nations”. When people struggle for their survival they’ll use every means available and those who brought upon them this struggle are the ones who should be investigated.
Cornel Fleming (22.03.2012): Hardy, I disagree! As the one who started this discussion, I am very much interested in probing….because in one way or another a large number of us and of our families were affected and the information coming out is utterly fascinating!!!!
Hardy Breier (22.03.2012): Hedwig, what truth? of eyewitnesses? Do we know the truth? 20,000 truths? Can we sum up? Some gave money, others did not. Can we settle on an average? What do we know of the Popovici years 1942 – 1946? Who can tell us? Quentin Reynold in his book “Courtroom” has a quotation: ” There is nothing more unreliable than an eyewitness”.
Sally Bendersky (22.03.2012): I think what Mr. Carare is doing is most important: gathering facts. Regardless of how many questions we might have concerning Popovivi honesty, without facts we can only speculate. By the way, there was a lot of speculation about this issue within our list during 2011, as Mimi reminded us. So, I will patiently wait for Mr. Carare’s findings. Maybe they will shed some light on our questions and doubts. And maybe not.
Hedwig Brenner (22.03.2012): Hi Ruth, list members, You are perfectly right, in my opinian, historians, with all my respect, are looking in archives, and make theire conclusions…we who lived the events in Czernowitz already grown up, we witnesses, we only can tell the trooth.
Hardy Breier (22.03.2012): There is an inquiry going on in Rumania :
“CONCLUSIONS OF THE INQUIRY COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO THE IRREGULARITIES DURING THE EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM CZERNOWITZ” (1941)
We didnt start this. It is a Rumanian affair. Does it interest us? Yes, very much. It deals with our fate. Shall we ignore this?
Hardy Breier (22.03.2012): We do not probe. This is a Rumanian investigation. We are by-standers.
Ruth Gold (22.03.2012): Traian Popovici was the only high-ranking official servant in the Antonescu regime to condemn directly and explicitly the deportation of the Jews. He tried to oppose the deportations and managed to win the approval of Antonescu to retain in the city some 15,600 Jews as “Specialists. Do you think he did it with the purpose of making a profit? In my opinion it is shameful that we, Czernowitzians, even probe into the integrity of this “Righteous of the Nations”. He paid a high price for opposing the deportations and we should honor his memory in every way possible. Please, let Traian Popovice rest in peace. Yes there was corruption among the Romanian officials and our own Jewish leaders, but for once it had a positive outcome. What is the value of 20,000 lives? Would it have been better without this particular corruption? And if Traian Popovici himself would have been bribed to save those Jews, would that also be condemned? The only unjust part I see in all this issue, is that it was the privilege of the rich to buy said certificates.
Hardy Breier (22.03.2012): Since this thread is up and Mr Carare is correponding on our list I wonder at the little post the thread shows. Except for me and Edgar – total silence. No questions? All is clear? Popovici suspected of what? The last years of Popovici we know nothing about – no curiosity? The latest recipe on spiced bubliky was much more reactive.
Cornel Fleming (22.03.2012): Ervin…..it was worth while you breaking your silence and adding to the history of the list….!!!!
Ervin Spinner (21.03.2012): I too am a member of the silent majority of the Czernowitz group. I was born in Czernowitz as was my father, Isidor Spinner. There was another person in Czernowitz by that exact name, apparently unrelated. He was working in the chemical industry. He received two Popovich authorizations, one from City Hall and one through his company. He had no children. One authorization said “with wife and children” and no address, the other was more specific. He sold my father one of them which accounts for my being currently a breathing member of the silent majority.
Edgar Hauster (21.03.2012): Liviu… I’m delighted with your contribution to our Czernowitz-L Discussion Group and very thankful for the most interesting details, which you are providing from your research activities. Your mails were enlightening for me.
Hardy Breier (21.03.2012): If Traian Popovici was accused for corruption by exceeding the allocated quota for Jews to stay – this is one thing. In the eyes of the Rumanian rule – this was corruption. In our eyes – divine intervention. If he got personal jewish bribes for permits- another matter. I am glad to hear that this was not the case. Bribing the rumanian beaurocracy was a usual matter and we lived with it during the rumanian rule before.
Liviu Carare (21.03.2012): The people daring to take steps in the opposite direction in those times are recognized as Righteous among Nations (some of them). Hard to believe, but sometimes such people, as mayor Popovici, acted against nazi / nazi-allied state orders. Traian Popovici was subtle enough in his relationship with the Government of Bukovina to stay in office until the end of 1941. I have many documents, part unpublished, to support my point of view. Things are not as simple as they may seem…
Hardy Breier (21.03.2012): It was 1941. Rumania on the way of becoming a superpower. Military dictatorship at war. Getting rid of the Jews was an old time rumanian aspiration. Here comes the big one time chance! And one civilian mayor makes them take a step in the opposite direction? They could have removed him on the spot or worse. But they did not. The 20000 Jews stayed. Popovici was then fired in disgrace. Go understand…
Liviu Carare (21.03.2012): Indeed bribing the Romanian bureaucracy was a common practice of that time (and unfortunately it is still going on nowadays). Popovici was never accused by the state of taking personal bribes, there were only rumours about it. He was one of the few Romanian high ranking state officials that opposed Antonescu’s policy of deporting Jews in Transnistria. This was contrary to ‘state interest’, the Romanization process and to most part of the local population concerns who was anti-Semitic and hoped to take over Jewish property. So, he had to be removed from office. If I find new data concerning his personal involvment in bribes I’ll let you know.
Liviu Carare (21.03.2012): The Romanian head of state, Ioan Antonescu, ordered investigations in both Kishinev and Czernowitz ghettos, trying to find if the state was defrauded in the process of deportation. So, the Romanian authorities didn’t try to see if abuses or crimes were comitted against the Jews, but to identify the corrupt officials. They failed doing so and corruption was probably the most important factor which kept Jews alive, or in our case in Czernowitz. Regarding the actions and activity of mayor Popovici you are not correct. If you read the conclusions of the inquiry commission, you’ll see that it cannot establish if Popovici or general Ionescu were corrupt, but nontheless they were responsible for all the ‘irregularities’ – which means here execeding the number of Jews allowed in the city. The easiest way of getting rid of members of Romanian administration was to label them as ‘corrupt’. The Romanian Special Services were watching very close all of the mayor’s actions. They even investigated if his wife was Jewish or not. Efforts to maintain in Czernowitz a large number of jews have generated numerous accusations of corruption, especially against mayor and the commission members. There is no doubt that in return for writing down one’s name on the authorisation some members of the commission took money, but I don’t think this is the case of Traian Popovici or general Vasile Ionescu, as I don’t have any evidence of this. One example: A Secret police report of October 29, 1941 indicates that the removal of Jews in the ghetto who are not technicians is conditioned by payment of 300,000 lei. Moreover, “on behalf of for the authorization the Jew who paid, some 5 to 8 persons indicated as family members are exempt without name and without any evidence showing that point part of the family”. The next day Police Inspectorate Czernowitz informs that the attitude of Traian Popovici and and Deputy Mayor is one of concern for the interests of Jews. The two were seen daily walking in in the ghetto and embracing Jews. This attitude has been proven by an eyewitnesses who claims that the mayor expressed sympathy for critical situation of Jews in the ghetto promising them he would interfere to save from deportation of a large number of jews. Ensuring the jews of all his help he even said about 15,000 jews will remain in Czernowitz : “he was so touched that he even cried in the ghetto”. Popovici’s attitude towards the tragedy of the Jews of Czernowitz was a topic frequently discussed in Secret police reports and informative notes on the ghetto. Documents have to be analyzed from different perspectives. This one (the report of the inquiry commsision) is very important because of its length and topic that deals with – how sorting of Jews took place. But this document only confirms to me things I have either found in other sources or I suspected. It does not change the image of Popovici, Czernowitz ghetto and deportations. It gives us more information (or confirms) about who were the decision factors who ordered deportations, who were the ones involved in the sorting process and of course – lists of Jewish professionals. If there was no Traian Popovici mayor it is hard to say how many Jews would have stayed in Czernowitz, but probably not so many! I didn’t have the information at the time of the paper, but I do now. He was fired on December 1941 and he found out about it in the newspapers because nobody told him he wasn’t mayor anymore. They just gave the job to someone else and announced the new mayor. So he stayed home and didn’t go to work. Then I think one should ask the question – ‘What was Popovici doing after that – in 1942’ ? (when other deportations from Czernowitz took place). He was there, on the Maccabi field or at the train station trying to save other families. He was also writing memorandums addressed to central authorities about the futility of anti-Jewish measures and about what happened in 1941. There are other factors contributing to the rescue of jews, as Edgar pointed out. Popovici’s attitude towards the events is definitely one of those factors, a very important one.
Hardy Breier (21.03.2012): […] b.. the assistance has to be given without any financial gain expected in return c.. This is why!! does not meet the criteria.
Edgar Hauster (21.03.2012): Hardy…Thank you so much for your mail. I am not sure about the right answer to your question “If there was not a Traian Popovici as mayor in ’41, would 20,000 Jews have stayed in Czernowitz?” but what I definitely learned from my research during the last few months, is, that Traian Popovici was for sure not a saint and the extent of incompetence and corruption concerning the issuing of indespensability certificates was so tremendous, that – as brought to us by and thanks to Liviu Carare – this Inquiry Commission was appointed, in order to investigate the irregularities. On the other hand, when it comes to deportations and mass murder, isn’t it preferable to have an incapable and bribable administration instead of a perfect functioning killing apparatus? In my eyes, the rescue operation of the Czernowitz Jews was a – NON COORDINATED – joint venture, in due consideration of
– the social, cultural and economic position of the Jews in Czernowitz,
– the real indespensability of the Jews for the functioning of the town,
– the multicultural connections of the Jews inside and outside of Czernowitz and Romania,
– the positive, or at least not negative, intervention of the local German Conulate (Schellhorn),
– the financial capability of the Jews from Czernowitz,
– the support by the Romanian Jewish Federation, etc., etc.
Finally, please let me try, to give an answer to your points:
1. Popovici cannot be Righteous. – Why not? There are in total 23,788 Righteous among the Nations. Romania ranks with 60 in the midfield between Vietnam (1) and Poland (6,195).
2. Streets names and memorials are inadequate. – Street names and memorials come and go, even cities – Petrograd/Leningrad/Saint Petersburg – are changing their names.
4. Pictures in the museum and Rathaus inappropriate. – How many portraits of Czernowitz mayors are hanging in the Czernowitz Town Hall? Charles Rosner will know!
5. The Dustin Hoffman film is out. – I don’t believe this project has ever been real. Czernowitzer would have said “Luftprojekt” by analogy to “Luftmensch”.
Hardy Breier (21.03.2012): The Liviu Carare paper in which Popovici was sacked from office in ’42 because of corruption related to the ghetto exemption permits is a heavy blow to our sanctification campaign of T. Popovici. If the allegations prove right then:
1. Popovici cannot be Righteous.
2. Streets names and memorials are inadequate.
4. Pictures in the museum and Rathaus inappropriate.
5. The Dustin Hoffman film is out.
There remains only one little question which nags my brain: If there was not a Traian Popovici as mayor in ’41 would 20,000 jews have stayed in Czernowitz?
Edgar Hauster (20.03.2012): According to yesterday’s phone conversation with Liviu Carare, he is supposed to complete his thesis by October this year and it will be most probably in English, including the present article. I’m waiting eagerly on the publication, as perhaps most of us do.
Cornel Fleming (20.03.2012): …amazing!! When will there be an English translation???
Edgar Hauster (20.03.2012): No, Ervin, I’m sorry, but I’m not aware of such a listing.
Ervin Spinner (20.03.2012): Is there a list of all the people who received Popovich authorizations?
Hardy Breier (20.03.2012): After reading the developement of the thread, what is left of the original?
“…Popovici permits were issued without bribery and corruption!…Cornel”
Edgar Hauster (20.03.2012): Czernowitzers, dear friends…Let’s support our current discussion with hard data and thus let me draw your attention to an article under the headline
CONCLUZIILE COMISIEI DE ANCHETA PENTRU “CERCETAREA NEREGULILOR SAVARSITE CU OCAZIA EVACUARII EVREILOR DIN CERNAUTI” (1941)
[“CONCLUSIONS OF THE INQUIRY COMMISSION WITH RESPECT TO THE IRREGULARITIES DURING THE EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM CZERNOWITZ” (1941)]
In my eyes, these are the most exciting and thrilling newly discovered records, which I noticed during the last years, brought to us by Liviu Carare, PhD candidate in contemporary history at the Romanian Academy “George Baritiu” Institute of History in Cluj-Napoca. He received a master’s degree in Jewish History and Hebrew studies from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. Actually he is completing his researches for his dissertation on the subject “Jews from Czernowitz. 1941-1944” on a scholarship of the USHMM in Washington:
FOR THOSE, WHO READ ROMANIAN: Download the original document [24 pages] from the website of the Institue of History “George Baritiu”
read and get horrified at the sight of the cruel bureaucratic description of the conditions in the Czernowitz Ghetto and of the evacuation [= deportation] of the Jews from Czernowitz!
FOR THOSE, WHO DON’T READ ROMANIAN: Read the following abstract and wait – together with meand with bated breath – for the English version Liviu Carare’s thesis:
“The events in Czernowitz during 1941-1942 are a constituent part of the phenomenon of “ethnic cleansing” developed by the Romanian state immediately after the reconquest of the territories ceded to the USSR in the summer of 1940. The Jewish population of the city was enclosed in a ghetto as a preliminary measure to their deportation to Transnistria. The deportations were halted three days later because the Romanian authorities had realized that the majority of professionals and technicians in Czernowitz were Jews. These actions were possible due to the Mayor of Czernowitz, Dr. Traian Popovici, who managed to persuade the Romanian military governor and the head of state, Ion Antonescu to spare 20,000 Jews from deportation, claiming that they were vital to the economic stability of the town. The mayor attempted to stop deportations, issuing more than 3,000 certificates of exemption from deportation, but the officials of the municipality, the police, and the gendarmerie extorted enormous sums of money in return for these exemptions. Many Jews were deported even after they paid the ransom. The report captures the details of the establishment of Czernowitz ghetto, planning and organization of the deportations, but also how mayor Traian Popovici and other members of the sorting commission prepared the tables with Jewish experts in Czernowitz, saving from deportation sometimes even whole families.”
Whithout minimizing, but relativizing the engagement of Traian Popovici, it is in my understanding clear and beyond any reasonable doubt, that corruption played a major role, if not the decisive, in issuing the indespensability certificates for the Jews from Czernowitz.
There are many Jewish names mentioned in the original document, but many of them were misspelled, so I tried to excerpt some of them, to correct them and to list them in alphabetical order as follows:
Albrecht, Samuel – Antschel – Bernstein, Isac – Blumenstein, David – Dauber – Faug – Fingerhut, Carol – Finkel, Adalbert – Flinker – Föbus, Meller – Friedwald, Clara – Harth, Camillo – Kissmann – Klein, Norbert – Klier – Körner, Bernard – Langberg, Kurt – Laufer, Pinkas – Linker, Benjamin – Margulies, Rubin – Meisler, Paul – Merdler, Isac – Neuberger, Dr. S. – Neuberger, Zeno – Polesiuk – Ramler – Reghiu – Salter, Adela – Schickler – Schirold, Tachel – Schmilovici – Scholl, Iakel – Schreiber, Froim Ber – Schreiber, Gerhard – Schreiber, Maria – Schwartz, Iosif – Sehneiorici, Etri – Seinfeld, Felix – Silber – Silberstein, Rozalia – Steufler, Isidor – Steyer – Sturm, Max – Teitler, Avram – Thau, Hersch – Vilenco, Marcel – Wittner, Max – Wittner, Solomon – Zenter, Louis – Zisu, Charlotte
Let me draw your attention to the fact, that relatives of our fellow members, for instance Irene Fishler, and even our fellow member Gerhard Schreiber himself and his family members, are mentioned in this unique document.
I wouldn’t like to conclude this mail, whithout taking the opportunity, to give my thanks to
– Liviu Carare for his confidence and his cooperation,
– PD Dr. Mariana Hausleitner for drawing my attention to Liviu Carare’s publication.
Miriam Taylor (20.03.2012): There possibly or probably were scams surrounding the Popovici permits, but there is no evidence, nor is it ikely that Popovici was directly or indirectly involved.
Ruth Gold (20.03.2012): No doubt about it. Does it really matter? For once the Romanian bribery habit was a blessing, because it saved thousands of Jewish lives. This did not happen in any other Fascist country.
Cornel Fleming (20.03.2012): Ruth…another thought. Will probably upset some….but I wonder if some of the “leaders” took cash to put people on the list???
Cornel Fleming (20.03.2012): Hi Ruth……interesting!! This might encourage more information to come!
Hardy Breier (20.03.2012): Bakshish. When I was little I believed that bribes originated in Czernowitz. Later I found that it comes from the East. Baksheesh is a Persian word. Well known in the East of Europe. To have an official operation performed without bribes is contrary to sound reason. Were the Popovici permits issue an exemption? No real good old Czernowitzer would go for this…
Eytan Fichman (20.03.2012): Here is an excerpt from Before Memories Fade, the memoirs of my late mother Pearl Spiegel Fichman, related to the permits for specialists:
“After ten days of deportations, the Romanian administration changed their plan. The town was paralyzed without the Jews. There were no people to run the services after the destruction left by the Russians, the Romanians had not returned yet in any numbers and without the local Jews, the town was paralyzed. Besides, there were Romanian-Jewish intermarriages and the affected families ntervened with the government in Bucharest. There may have been some intervention from abroad, but that is not proven. As a result, the general issued a decree stopping temporarily the “resettlement” of the Jews. By that time three quarters of the Jews had been deported to Transnistria. There had to be guide lines concerning who was needed, who would be allowed to stay. Since the Jewish community could not figure out what was intended or who was needed, they started registration of specialists. My former elementary school was within the Ghetto area and registration took place there. Everybody was desperate and lists were made for any kind of specialty. I registered where ever they would accept my name. You did not have to show a document, that would come up later. I was on a students list (who needed students?), on a chemists list, nurse, anywhere. I put Father’s name on all kinds of lists, Yuda was in the same situation, although we had no contact at that time. He also registered on all kinds of lists and he got a certificate to return home as “factory foreman.” The deportations stopped temporarily. […]
The permit was not forthcoming until the last minute, when my mother and her parents were already at the train station to go to Transnistria. […]
When I heard that the certificate was taken to the railroad I ran again toward the station, without the paper. I arrived as the trains were ready to leave. My parents were in a cattle car, some people, were still drinking a last gulp of water at a pump. Almost unable to shout any more, I ran from car to car, asking whether anybody had a certificate for Spiegel. A man called from inside a cattle wagon, asked me for the first name and gave me the certificate for Markus Spiegel. I frantically ran and called my parents’ name and as the trains were about to leave, I got them out. A few minutes later the train left and the three of us trudged back to the Ghetto. […]
The permit had only been issued for my mother’s father, so the next day […]
Next morning I went to the military where the permits were handled, forced myself into the colonel’s office. I explained to him that my Father had a wife, so he added “and wife”; then I said that I was the daughter. He angrily turned to me and asked whether there were more sons and daughters. I said: “No, I am the only daughter.” Thus he added “and one daughter.” […]
Though bribes were part of my mother’s story at other points they do not seem to have been used to secure her family’s specialist permits.”
Stephen Winters (20.03.2012): I suspect most permits were given out based on perceived importance and/or proximity to the mayor’s office; however, I have at least one eye witness account of a permit being bought on “the black market”. Not to upset any one, but Jews and Rumanians may have worked together on this market to help those who were not deemed to be important enough. Sorry if tins upsets those who would like to believe otherwise.
Ruth Gold (20.03.2012): I don’t have documents to prove the fact that there was a lot of bribery going on. What I know for a fact, is that many of our relatives, who were no “SPECIALISTS” did buy the permits and stayed in Czernowitz. Moreover, the “Screening committee called upon the leaders of the Jewish congregation to prepare the lists, so the bakshees or bribery went through the hands of those leaders and the Romanian officials. Traian Popovici had nothing to do with all that. I am quite sure that he himself has not taken any money. We could have also obtained the permit, had one of my uncles given us the necessary amount of money but, unfortunately, he refused. (See Ruth’s Journey, chapter 2, page 43,44 and 45). I am sure that there still are some Czernowiters that will validate my statement.
Fanny Cooper (19.03.2012): I agree with Stephen, my father was a spiritus specialist and we got 4 authorizations from a general who took over a jewish factory and needed my father to run it. We immediately gave back three aut. so someone else could benefit. He worked under army supervision and only came home Saturday aft. He used to bring home flour and potatos and oil from the farm and we gave some to our neighbours in the building.
Ruth Gold (19.03.2012): Hi Stephen, Sorry, but I fail to comprehend your quote “suffering is not a competition.” What has my comment about the Traian Popovici permits to do with it? Please explain.
Frieda Tabak (19.03.2012): My uncle, Dr Salo Koffler, got his permit almost immediately. My family did not. My mother’s cousin said she knew an important official w ho, for 10,000 Lei, would add my mother, my brother and me to my uncle’s, permit, but not my father. The money was somehow scraped together and the permit came back with our names hand written on the bottom in green ink. My uncle realized that this addition did not come from the Popvici administration, and would not allow us to use it. Luckily we received our own permit, including my father some weeks later. Ergo, there were scams the, as they are today.
Miriam Taylor (19.03.2012): We already had a discussion whether Popovici accepted bribes in order to hand out permits, or not. At that time the majority opinion was that he did not. No one claimed to know definitely, that he did accept bribes. To my definite knowledge, some people who did not have the money to pay bribes were allowed to stay in Czernowitz. Romanians who took over Jewish owned businesses, often obtained permits for the former employees, because they needed them. These people got not only Popovici permits, but also Calotescu permits.
Stephen Winters (19.03.2012): Clearly this is an emotional issue. Some were fortunate. Some not. Every one suffered in one way or another. The suffering unfortunately even affected the next generation. When I was in university I took a walk with a girl one warm summer evening She was very bright. I told her of my mother’s plight in Bershad. She claimed her mother was also unfortunate during the war here. Her family could not afford to give her tennis lessons. That was our only date. We are both now physicians. Suffering is not a competition.
Cornel Fleming (19.03.2012): I am interested…as far as I knew there were very few cases of bribery etc. Do you have any evidence of what happened??? The story I heard was that there were not enough Pop. Permits for the people who should have got them.
Ruth Gold (19.03.2012): All the Jews, who were not “specialists” and not indispensable to the city’s infrastructure and still obtained a permit to stay, bribed the screening commission members to be put on the Popovici list. Obviously, this was the advantage of the rich. Unfortunately, my parents did not have the money needed for said bribe.
Cornel Fleming (19.03.2012): …there were stories about bribes etc, but not one of the rumours were connected to Popovici himself. Also, I remember being told years ago that there was an episode of a permit being sold on by a recipient! To me,all of these sound like the Jewish rumourmill going into overdrive!!!
Hardy Breier (19.03.2012): Popovici permits – no bribe: Dont be so cocksure about that!
Cornel Fleming (18.03.2012): I regret that I cannot help re the Reder family, but I need to comment on one thing…Popovici permits were issued without bribery and corruption!
Moshe Reder (18.03.2012): Hello. My name is Moshe Reder. Both my parents were from Czernowitz. My father Abraham (” Bubi”) was born in 1918. My mother Kreindel (maiden name Friedman) was born in 1920. Both families (Reder and Friedman) were very poor. I guess this this entitles them to the label of “non-bribers” and, consequently, unable to get a permit to stay in Czernowitz via Popovic. My father had 4 sisters and one brother. His parents (my grand parents) and siblings apparently were sent to Transnistria. I say “apparently”, because I was never able to find. […]