my Czernowitz connections

From: Renee Steinig <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 13:31:41 -0400
To: <>

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<FONT face=Arial>Thanks so much to Bruce Reisch for organizing and
publicizing this list.</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>I am interested in 20th century Jewish life and records in
Czernowitz. My mother and two siblings moved to the area from Poland (near
Mielec in what had been western Galicia)c. 1923. Rosa, Pinchas, and
EdaFALLIK-REIFER*, then teenagers,were brought to Neuzuczka to live
with their aunt, Rivke ReiferLEHR, after their parents' deaths.
Eventually, each of them attended school in Czernowitz and then lived and worked
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>My mother left for America in 1938. "Pinu"
(1909-1985)remainedin Czernowitzuntil his death. I'm told he
was director or the like of the philharmonic orchestra--very well known and
liked. His wife, Sidy THAL (1912 Tashkent - 1983 Czernowitz), was a
popularactress in the Yiddish theatre. Eda and her husband, Markus
SCHERZER (1911 Sadagura - 2001 Tel Aviv)made aliyah to Israel c1990. She
just celebrated her 90th birthday in Ramat Gan; unfortunately, her memory has
declined and she is not a good source. </FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>My mother always corresponded with her sister in
Czernowitz, but was afraid to write to her brother for many years following an
incident in the early 1950's: he wasjailed briefly when censors picked up
a reference in one of their letters to the possibility (or impossibility?) of
his coming toAmerica. My mother eventually made one trip back to
Czernowitz. In 1978, at the age of 70, she travelled there to see her brother
and sister for the first time in 40 years. At that time Czernowitz was off the
Intourist route, and she had to wait months for special permission for an
extended stay there. Yes, I am sorry I didn't join her on that trip.
At the time, having a six- and nine-year-old to care for seemed like a reason to
stay home. Twenty-four years too late, I realize they would have done fine in
Daddy's care! </FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>My mother's auntand uncle perished on the infamous
death marches to Transnistria. </FONT><FONT face=Arial>Rivka, born c1885
in Galicia, died on </FONT><FONT face=Arial>2 Oct. 1942 in Bershad. Isaac LEHR,
born1881 in what is now Boyany, Ukraine, died on8 Oct 1941 in
Chechelnik. Ironically, Rivkva and Isaac had emigrated from Europe c1900.
They met and married in New York City and had their first child (Samuel, aka
Monu) there in 1908. Supposedly because of a disagreement with relatives in New
York, they returned to Bukovina c1910; first World War I and then tightened
immigration laws prevented them from coming back to the US.</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>Life appears to have been difficult for them: Isaac,
conscripted into the Austrian army in World War I, was a prisoner of war,
and</FONT><FONT face=Arial>two of the three children bornto the
Lehrs in Neuzuczka between 1911 and 1923 died young. (I am eager to locate
records of their births and deaths, and would appreciate advice.)In 1930,
Sam--a U.S. citizen by birth--applied for and received a U.S. passport via the
U.S. consulate in Bucharest and came here to avoid military service in
Romania. The U.S. State Department visa file index at the National
Archives in Washington attests to hisfutile effort to get his parents out
of Europe.</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>Her box full of photographs from my mother's Czernowitz
years (late 1920's, 1930's) reflect the city's vibrant and sophisticated Jewish
life. An interesting episode inher last years was a reminder of the
culture she was part of. After a massive stroke in 1993 left her
cognitively impaired, she was still very verbal, and repeatedly told us a
Yiddishstory about a conversation between a brush and a shoe (spat),
ending with the words...</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial>"Oz du kenst
on mir nit glantsn, meg ikh, bruder, oyf dir tantsn!Ē </FONT><FONT
face=Arial>(Since you canít shine without me, brother, I can dance on
<DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT
<DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial>We had never
heardthese wordsbefore her illness and had no idea oftheir
source. We eventually discovered it: "Di Barsht un der Kamash" (The Brush and
the Spat), a parable byCzernowitz writer Eliezer Steinbarg
<DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT
<DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial>Thanks for
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>Renee</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>Renee Stern Steinig</FONT>
<FONT face=Arial>Dix Hills (Long Island), New York, USA<A
<FONT face=Arial></FONT>

<FONT face=Arial>* Parents' marriage wasn't recognized by civil
authorities. Fallik was their mother's name, Reifer their

Received on 2002-06-12 13:41:17

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