Category Archives: Aliyah

Documentary by Oana Giurgiu: Aliyah Dada

▶︎Full movie, uncut and in English◀︎

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?

Documentary by Radu Gabrea: Jews for Sale

  ▶︎Full movie, Hebrew subtitled!◀︎

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.

Emunah Czernowitz – “Heimkehr” Essays jüdischer Denker

Another of the Jewish fraternities was “Emunah”.  On June 3, 1903, the Jewish National Academic Reading Society was “thrown open,” with the club colors gold-violet-gold. “Emunah” was highly active in the field of Zionism – a  characteristic for all the Jewish fraternities –  and also set up a library open to the public. Furthermore, “Emunahs” intellectual athmosphere culminated in publishing several books. To mention is especially “Heimkehr. Essays jüdischer Denker”  with a preface by Leon Kellner. (Homecoming. Essays of Jewish Thinkers). This anthology contains contributions by notable Jewish authors like Balaban Majer, Nathan Birnbaum (who coined the term “Zionism”), Max Rosenfeld, Salomon Schiller and Leon Kellner. It came out 1912 and is now available online via the university library of Frankfurt:


April 24, 1946: Postcard from Czernowitz (U.S.S.R.) to Tel Aviv (Palestine)

Zw1Zw2This correspondence between notable Czernowitzers is brought to you by courtesy of Peter Elbau. As sender we discover Rahel Zwilling, the mother of Matthias Zwilling [Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann by Volker Koepp], and the addressee is Dr. Elias Weinstein, the founder of “Die Stimme” and the author of “The Elias Weinstein Petition”.

Identify these folks for Andy Halmay

I found this very bright and clear snapshot (attached) of my late uncle Julius Gutmann with a group of happy looking people in 1943. To the best of my recollection, he and my aunt Hilda and cousin Turi together with 40 other Jewish families from Cz or Bukovina traded all their belongings for a ship which they intended to sail to Palestine. I believe this was in 1940.

The ship was not seaworthy and went down off Turkey but no lives were lost and they ended up in a British camp on Cyprus which, apparently, they thoroughly enjoyed.

I am not clear on when they made it to Israel. This picture was taken in Pedoulas, Cyprus. The text is from the back of the snapshot. He mentions some names that are not familiar to me which would have been known by my parents thus I presume they were Czernowitzers.

I would like our group to check the faces to see if anyone recognizes anyone.