Libra Film: Following 130 years of the emigration of Romanian Jews towards the Holy Land, both history of East Europe and Israel will be revealed, in a light, colourful film depicting history in human stories and collages, as a tribute to Tristan Tzara – born in the same town from where first Jews emigrated to Palestine in 1882.
In the same time we will discover all absurdities and contradictions in the relationship between Romanians and Jews: Romanians were responsible for some of the cruelest pogroms during the Second World War, but still Romania had the largest Jewish surviving population at the end of the war, after USSR. Communist regimes were trading this population with Israel, and Ceausescu made even a step forward requesting cash payment per person, but same Ceausescu was the one convincing Egypt to sign the peace with Israel.
In Israel, the population from Romania became the country’s fourth largest group, but they always stayed in the shadow, sometimes hiding their origins, even though important personalities emerged from that community, even though they have brought important elements to their new country; the Israeli anthem and national dance “hora” are both inspired of the Romanian folklore, to mention just that.
Today, a return to democracy in Romania has attracted many Israeli investors, almost the same number as the former Jewish community that is slowly vanishing. In Israel, a museum of Romanian Jewry will be built, in the first settlement made by them in Rosh Pina. But will their memory be carried on by the new generations?
ASTRA FILM Director’s / Curator’s Statement:
The film approaches an unusual subject – “the largest citizen sale operation ever employed by a European state”. In 1974, a Romanian passenger carrying a diplomatic passport boarded from the Zürich airport with the destination Bucharest. Upon arrival in Bucharest, he noticed that one of his suitcases was missing. It was a suitcase handed over by an old acquaintance shortly before his departure. The diplomat was General M., a commander in the General Office of Foreign Intelligence, the Securitate’s espionage division. The suitcase contained one million dollars designed to facilitate the emigration to Israel for a certain number of Jews. This is just one episode in the history of the human trafficking operations organized by the Romanian communist state: the sale of Jew Romanian citizens to Israel.
Harry Bolner visited two other memorials in the Haifa Cemetery, shown here (Dorohoi-Radautz-Transnistria Memorial – photo supplied by Harry Bolner via Merle Kastner):
Nearby, one can also find a memorial to the Pogrom in Iasi:
Thank you to Harry Bolner for taking the two photos above and sharing them with us.
Merle Kastner has done extensive work documenting burials in the Jewish Cemeteries of Montreal. A memorial to the holocaust in Bukovina can be found there at the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery (photo courtesy of Merle Kastner):
Excerpt from the preface by Rita Calabrese: “[…] Dieser Band VI und hoffentlich nicht letzter ist der Musik und dem Tanz gewidmet. Nicht nur Stars wie Barbra Streisand, Amy Winehouse und Bette Midler sind zusammen mit Sängerinnen aus vielen Zeiten zu finden, sondern auch Pianistinnen und Violinistinnen zusammen mit Komponistinnen, die in Fanny Mendelssohn ihre Vorläuferin hatten, sowie auch Dirigentinnen. Auffallend ist die lange Liste der Künstlerinnen, die ein tragisches Ende in Auschwitz-Birkenau und anderen KZs gefunden haben, darunter die Pianistinnen Mathilde Borgenicht und Leopoldine Oppenheimer, die Violinistin Alma Rose, die Nichte Gustav Mahlers. Andere hingegen haben dank der Musik überleben können, wie Esther Bejarano und Fania Fenelon, die über das Orchester in Auschwitz geschrieben haben, Yvette Assaeler, Grete Klingsberg, Rachel Knobler und andere. Zu erwähnen ist auch Lin Jaldati, die während der Deportation Anne Frank kennengelernt hatte. Als eine der ersten hat sie die jiddische Musik in der DDR bekannt gemacht. Noch etwas zu diesem wertvollen Werk muss man hervorheben, und zwar die verdienstvolle Verfasserin. Geboren im k.u.k. Czernowitz, das später rumänisch wurde und längst zur Ukraine gehört, ist Hedwig Brenner über politische, geschichtliche und sprachliche Grenzen nach Israel gekommen, wohin sie das kostbare Erbe der deutschsprachigen jüdischen Kultur mitgenommen und einen neuen Anfang als Schriftstellerin gewagt hat.Im Hebräischen heißt Leben Chajim und ist Plural. Wie kaum eine andere zeigt Hedi Brenner die Vielfalt und Unschätzbarkeit der menschlichen Existenz, und dafür danken wir.”
The ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative was set up as a German-based non-profit organization in early 2015 with the core objective of protecting and preserving Jewish cemetery sites across the European continent through delineation of cemetery boundaries and the construction of cemetery walls and locking gates.
Funded in 2015 through a pilot grant of 1,000,000 euros from the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the ESJF is now working on some 30 individual protection projects in four European countries. 33 cemeteries were completed in 2015, i. e. 9,888 meters of fencing; over 60 sites were completed by the end of 2016, that is 11,876 meters of fencing.
During the summer of 2016, I traveled to Rădăuţi, Romania, and visited the Archives in the Town Hall. After some negotiations and with a little bit of luck, I was given permission to photograph Jewish vital records for the Rădăuţi, Solca, and Vicov communities of Bukovina; see my blog posting “Books of Seven Seals in Rădăuți and Suceava”. The first database resulting from these efforts is The Radautz Marriage Index Database.
Every society enlarges itself through marriages. When you are tracing your family history, this information can offer one of the most common missing links – a maiden name. All marriage records include the full names of the bride and groom as well as the marriage date and other additional information, such as the names and birthplaces of each individual’s parents. As part ONE of an ongoing project – birth & death records will come soon – The Radautz Marriage Index Database is a rich web resource for Jewish heritage in Bukovina. It contains over 3,000 properly indexed marriage records for the period 1870-1929. Copies of family marriage records are freely available upon request.
NEW: Even if final, but not trivial at all, death records are among the most important of all vital records. Death Indices typically contain the birth date of a person, date of death, cause of death and other details that are helpful in genealogical and historical research. As part TWO of our ongoing project, The Radautz Death Index Database is a rich web resource for Jewish heritage in Bukovina. It contains over 7,500 properly indexed death records for the period 1857-1929; some data refer back to births as early as the middle of the 18th century. Copies of family death records are freely available upon request.
Whether you are looking for an ancestor or trying to find a lost classmate, these records can provide a link to vital information and point you toward important clues. The free search provided by The Radautz Vital Records Index Database 1857-1929 can jumpstart your research project. Please check it out and let us have your comments…!
Our thanks go to Martina Lelgemann, who took care of the transcription, and to Bruce Reisch, who developed The Radautz Marriages search engine and website. Lucas Reisch provided php search engine expertise.