Under the headline “Discovering my 99% family” the Jewish Independent, Friday 04th, December 2015 edition, is publishing an outstanding article by Shula Klinger, author, illustrator and journalist living in North Vancouver. Shula is describing her success story researching her family history by becoming connected with Cyril Leonoff. Both Shula and Cyril are related to Betty Brotman, or more precisely Betti Brutmann, as per Shula’s grandmother’s birth certificate from Czernowitz in 1902. Shula writes: “… my older son asked me again. ‘Is he a relation? Is he ours?’ I told him, ‘Very possibly.’ And, again, he wanted to know the percentage probability. ‘Ninety-nine percent, then,’ Benjamin decided.” Since “Brotman” was initially “Brutmann”, as has been proven by the metrical records, why not going back to Bukovina as early as at the end of the 19th century, looking for the first Brutmanns, who setteled there? The register for “Jewish Taxpayers in Bukovina the the End of 18th Century” provides evidence:
Around 1798 there were just two Jewish families in Onut [Pereunegru/Paraul-Negru], 25 mi north of Czernowitz, namely the Liedermads and the Brutmanns. The farmer Juda Brutmann and his wife Demuth [“Devotion”, sic!], née Salomon, had two daughters, Esther and Susanna. While Esther, born April 25th, 1795, deceased at the age of 2½, Susanna, born October 1oth, 1798, survived.
If, by any chance, Benjamin is going to ask me “Are we 100% for sure, for sure somehow related to the Brutmanns from Onut, Edgar? Or just 99%, do you think?” I’d say in reply: “Benjamin, I don’t know exactly (yet), but for sure not very much less than 99%.” Shula, Benjamin’s mother, keeps following her family roots and with respect to our group she writes: “I have also found a home at Czernowitz-L, an email group hosted by Cornell University for people whose families come from what is now the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi. Once known as ‘Jerusalem on the Prut,’ Czernowitz – as it is still called by those who recall its Habsburg past – was once home to 50,000 Jews. Less than a third of this number survived the war. Like many third-generation Czernowitzers, I write messages to Czernowitz-L in the hope that someone, somewhere, will remember hearing my family name and be able to point me in the direction of a lost relative. Very often, we hear nothing, but once in a blue moon, we strike gold.”