07/5/14

The Czernowitzer Philipp Rubel at the Outbreak of WW I

ONB_F8ri

Exactly 100 years ago today, on July 5, 1914 the Austrian magazine “Wiener Bilder” leaded on the front page with a photograph, which became an icon of photography for the coming decades. It shows allegedly the capture of Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife and provided the pretext for Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia, which then led to World War I.

But was the detained person really Gavrilo Princip? Who was the photographer? How did it come into the media? Questions upon questions! We get the right answers by the Austrian editor and photo historian Anton Holzer, who published his research under the headline “The Murderer, Who Wasn’t”:

http://diepresse.com/home/spectrum/zeichenderzeit/766288/Der-Morder-der-keiner-war

To make a long story short: It wasn’t Gavrilo Princip on the photo, but his schoolmate Ferdo Behr, mistaken for the assassin. The photographer remains anonymus, but the CZERNOWITZER, who brought this photo into orbit was PHILIPP RUBEL, who ran a small postcard publishing company in Vienna, Porzellangasse 60. Above all, Philipp Rubel is related to our fellow member Ken Cutler, who wrote to me in 2012:

“A complete bio of Philipp Rubel, from my standpoint is as yet not possible. What I do know is that he was one of 12 sibs from Cz. He moved to Vienna, married twice and his daughter, Erika, came to the US in 1939 and stayed with my cousin Stanley for about 1 year. Stan lost track of her and I tracked her down and found her son and his children, she passed by the time I found her. Philipp and his wife Sabine were killed or died in the Shoah and Erika made an application for reparations in Austria. I have the address where Philipp and I believe other family members lived from researches and it’s the address indicated at his death. That address matches the letterhead on his letters to Stan’s mother, Helen. He was born 12 Dec 1871 and died 26 Oct 1938. That address was 1090 Porzellangasse 60, Wien, Austria. You have me hooked now, what is the mystery??”

What a thrilling story, but unfortunately, dear Ken, although I tried hard, I didn’t succeed to discover more on Philipp Rubel. On the other hand I’m positive, that you – and others – will enjoy Philipp’s contribution to WW I.

image

Porzellangasse 60 in Vienna

07/3/14

Transnistria, Then and Now

The territory of Romanian-ruled Transnistria (1941-44, 42,000 km2 / 16,216 sq mi) is incongruent with and included present-day Transnistria (4,163 km2 / 1,607 sq mi). Learn more on that subject from the disambiguation effected by Daniel Katz by clicking here for a PDF download of Daniel’s presentation, including detailed maps and additional links.

Please remember, Fabius Ornstein’s testimony “The Suffering of the Deportees in Transnistria” is still available at our Blog! 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. [...]

Maps of 2 territories named TransnistriaMaps of 2 territories named Transnistria1

06/23/14

“I Remember Them Now” by Laurence Salzmann

Blue Flower Press: In the late 1930′s, there were eight thousand Jews in Rădăuți, a small town in the Bukovina region of Romania. During 1974-76, when the photographer/filmmaker Laurence Salzmann went to Rădăuți on a Fulbright Fellowship, there were only two hundred and forty Jews among the entire population of twenty-two thousand.

“I Remember them Now” is a short film made from newly rediscovered, kodachromes and audio from the Salzmanns’ original time in Rădăuți.

06/4/14

Football in the Vanished World: Bukovyna Chernivtsi

Guest post by Michael Hudson, originally published at The Accidental Groundhopper on 12 October 2013 and reposted by courtesy of the author. Thank you so much, dear Michael!

“English games are played, as out on the vast exercising ground we saw football in full swing, several games going on”. 

“I also played a bit of football, near our house there was a football field; it was the town’s football field, called Maccabi. We had a really good football team. Sports…were very popular among the Jewish organizations”.

For almost two centuries the eastern gateway to the Habsburg Empire, Bukovina was ceded to Romania between the two world wars and is now one of the sleepiest parts of south-western Ukraine.  Two hundred kilometres south of Lviv, and a four-hour bus ride from Suceava across the EU border, Chernivtsi, the quirky, down-at-heel provincial capital,  was formerly known  as Little Vienna and Jerusalem on the Prut; the second city of Austrian Galicia, Czernowitz /Cernăuți was a cosmopolitan mélange of ethnicities, home to Romanian, German, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Polish speakers,  the birthplace of the poet Paul Celan, and one of the first places in modern day Ukraine to embrace the sport of football.

2013_0504Lviv0078

The first organised team Turn- und Sportverein Czernowitz, was founded by German students in the autumn of 1903,  the black and whites outlasting several name changes and two  losing appearances in the semi-final of the Romanian Cup until they were finally broken up in 1940, when the entire German-speaking population, including the playing staff and officials of  Fußballsektion Jahn Czernowitz, was forcibly transported out of Bukovina in the wake of the Nazi-Soviet pact.  Many Bukovinan Germans settled in or around Stuttgart, their sporting legacy surviving with TSV Jahn Büsnau, who currently play in a district league at the twelth level of the German football league.

2013_0504Lviv0079

 A Polish team, Polonia Cernăuţi, was established after the German club splintered in 1912, and went on to become the region’s dominant force during its twenty-two years in the Kingdom of Romania.  Despite rarely owning a stadium of its own, Polonia spent three seasons in Divizia A, won the Bukovinan regional championships and held the Romanian national side to a 1-1 draw in front of 12,000 spectators in September 1922 before they too were dissolved in 1940. Fotbal Club Dragoş Vodă Cernăuţi, the favoured team of the city’s Romanian speakers, won the Bukovina championship four times between 1925 and 1933 but managed only a single season in the national top-flight, during which they won four out of eighteen games.  They did, though, share briefly in the development of Cernăuţi’s most famous footballing son, Alfred Eisenbeisser transferring from Jahn shortly before representing Romania at football at the 1930 World Cup .  Appearing against Peru and Uruguay,  Eisenbeisser contracted pneumonia on the return journey and was forced to stay behind when the ship docked at Genoa.  Rumours of his death spread through Bukovina; when he finally reached home, he found his mother busy preparing the funeral arrangements.  Eisenbeisser recovered sufficiently  to place thirteenth in the figure skating championships at the 1936 Winter Olympics, win another seven caps, and turn out over 140 times in the colours of Venus București.  Venus, like Dragos, were wound up in the late-1940s, having won eight national championships before Romania entered the war.

2013_0504Lviv0095

In 1919, when the region was annexed to the Kingdom of Romania,  Czernowitz’s Jewish population  had reached almost 30,000 people – or a third of the entire town.  The city twice elected Jewish mayors, streets were named after Jewish authors, rabbis and prominent city councillors, the first ever Yiddish [Conference] was hosted there in 1908, and the community’s two club sides,  Maccabi and Hakoah Cernăuţi, enjoyed regular success in regional competitions.

5121908_original

Maccabi, the oldest, had first taken to the field in 1909-1910, and would later supply a Romanian international of their own when Isidor Gansl, formerly of Fernencvaros [Ferencváros] and Hakoah Vienna, was capped against Turkey in 1923.  Hakoah played their first competitive game in 1920, and reached Divizia A and the Romanian Cup quarter-finals before they were subsumed by Maccabi eleven years later.  In 1932, a victory over Jahn resulted in a pitch invasion during which Maccabi players were attacked by supporters carrying revolvers shouting “Jews go to Palestine!”  By 1941, the team had been disbanded and many of its players transported to camps.  When the Soviets rolled back three years later, almost 50,000 Bukovina Jews had perished, either shot out of hand or loaded in to cattle trucks.  Jewish Czernowitz vanished in all but memory, its synagogue turned into a cinema six years after Celan published ‘Todesfuge‘ (Death Fugue):  Death is a gang boss…his eyes are blue. He shoots you with leaded bullets, his aim is true. 

2013_0504Lviv0075

Eight years after the traumatised city was incorporated into the newly-expaned Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Bukovya Chernivtsi emerged.  In 1958, a team including veteran inside-right Evgeny Archangelskiy, scorer of four goals during Dynamo Moscow’s 1945 tour of England, made its first appearances in the Soviet League.  Three decades later, with the Soviet Union on the verge of dissolution, Chernivtsi finally made their mark on the national stage, finishing in fifth place in the 1991 First League, a division which included Rotor Volgograd, Kuban Krasnodar, Zenit St Petersburg and Tavria Simferopol, the surprise first champions of independent Ukraine.  Present in the top-flight of Ukrainian football for three seasons, the yellow and blacks were relegated along with Metalist Kharkiv in 1993-94 and have since spent eleven seasons in the second tier and the same number in the third.  Narrowly surviving extinction this summer, survival is an achievement in itself in a country where four of the original twenty top-flight clubs no longer exist in any form whatsoever.

Chernivtsi has recently spruced itself up, with its red-brick university added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011 and both Central Square and the nearby Olga Kobylianska Street repaved and pedestrianised. The football stadium is just off Holovna, a ten-minute walk from the centre on the other side of Shevchenko Park.  The Bukovyna, the city’s fanciest hotel, is directly opposite, the bus station another ten minutes up the road.  When I went there, the stadium was empty except for a small group of workmen repairing seats and three sprinters practising their starts.  On a dirt pitch next to the ground, a shirts against skins game had just got underway.  I watched from the top of the uncovered stand, dust and sunflower shells blowing across my feet.