History and Photographs from Arthur Rindner

Dear Friends: After finding the Czernowitz Club [discussion group], I want to share with you some photographs I took during my 1988 visit to Czernowitz. I was born in Czernowitz prior to WWII. The Germans occupied the area and we were expelled and forcefully marched to TRANSNISTRIA.

At the end of the war we were liberated by the Russians, and returned to Czernowitz by foot. At the entrance of the city of Czernowitz, my aunt, Tante Fanny waited for us for days. She had heard from other returning refugees that we were liberated and that we were walking home. She stood there, at the entrance to the city waiting for us to return. On seeing us arrive, she was so emotional, and began to cry from happiness. I will never forget the meeting, she immediately took me to a Conditorei and bought me a Chocolate Kugel. This was the first taste of chocolate I had had in my few years, and I can still taste it to this day.

I was registered to go to school; the languages in the school was Russian and Yiddish. Czernowitz was occupied by the Russians and my father told the authorities that we were Romanians, so we were allowed to cross the border to Romania. We lived for about 2 years in Seret and later on we immigrated to Israel.

Many years later I was posted to Leningrad (St. Petersburg) by my company. I was restricted and not allowed to leave Leningrad without permission. I very much wanted to visit Czernowitz but several requests were denied. Finally, on my last request I received permission. I arrived by train from Lviv (Lemberg) the same train station where we had left 40 years earlier. On arrival in Czernowitz, the first thing that I did was to visit my Grandmothers house. We lived there after returning from concentration camp. I walked to my school, returning through the Volkspark, to my grandmothers home.

The hole in the fence where I used to make a short cut was still there, suddenly I heard music. An orchestra was playing in the gazebo in the middle of the park, just as it used to do when I lived there. Nothing has changed, chills went up and down my spine and it seemed as though time had stood still, I was back where I had begun. The old paths in the park were unchanged. Life had stood still for 40 years. I walked down the Hauptstrasse to the Ringplatz, gazed at the town hall, walked to the Herrengasse, found the Russischegasse, the street where I was born but could not find the hospital.

The following day I visited the town where we lived before the war, about 30 Km south of Czernowitz called Storojinets. I could not remember where we lived, I was only 3 years old when the Germans invaded and expelled us. I found an old man who remembered my father and he told me where our house was. It is now the Town hall of the city. I was unable verify this. I hope you enjoyed my story and the photographs, and if there is anyone who would like to chat with me please do so.

Arthur Rindner

Click here to view the photographs