Re: [Cz-L] a memory

From: Gabriele Weissmann <>
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 13:50:36 +0100
To: Czernowitz Genealogy and History <>
Reply-to: Gabriele Weissmann <>

Czernowitz Genealogy and History digest schrieb:
> Subject: [Cz-L] a memory
> From: Lucca <>
> Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 21:38:08 -0500
> X-Message-Number: 6
> Charles Rosner's story reminded me of my own
> experience ? and this is a story which I may have
> told you in the past, but I'll try to make it
> short.
> My late husband and myself were tourists in the
> renowned university city of Heidelberg. We had
> looked forward to see this town so famous through
> literature
> and music. But instead of finding the expected
> romantic atmosphere, we soon found ourselves in
> the proverbial tourist trap.
> It was raining lightly and we sought refuge in a
> crowded café. I spoke to my husband, who was also
> born and raised in Czernowitz, in our mother
> tongue, our own Bucovinean German.
> At a table quite close to ours, sat an elderly,
> bearded gentleman smoking a pipe. He listened to
> us for a while and then he turned to us and said:
> I'm sorry to bother you, but I am, or rather was
> a philologist all my life, and I am sure to know
> every accent of my mother tongue which is German.
> Now I am trying to figure out where you come
> from, are you Austrians? Somehow it isn't
> quite?or maybe you come from the Slovakei?"
> "We both were born in the Bucovina, I tell the
> gentleman, Now the Bucovina belongs to Ukraina,
> but once it was Rumania. Also Russia But we are
> actually Rumanians and we went to Rumanian
> schools!"
> "So shouldn't you be speaking Rumanian, or maybe Ukrainean?
> "Well you see up to the first world war The
> Bucovina was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire,
> and that's why we talk German!"
> The man couldn't let go and continued:
> But you were not yet born before the first world
> war as far as I can judge, and why did it
> happen? Why did this country change hands?"
> Philology yes, but history no.
> A young and beautifully tanned blonde got up from
> an adjoining table and approached us. With
> typical American arrogance which does not accept
> other languages she tells me:
> "I see a "TIME" magazine on your table! I haven't
> seen an English printed word since we started our
> tour! Could I have the magazine for a while?"
> I tell her she may keep it, I finished reading it on the bus.
> The professor approaches us again:
> "Your English is so good! How did you acquire this?"
> "After the second world war I lived with my
> parents on a small Caribbean island!"
> "Was it an English island?"
> "No, a Dutch one!"
> At this point the man gave up. He sat back
> quietly and smoked his pipe. We were served our
> coffee and cakes which looked much better than
> they tasted. The rain had stopped. We left the
> café.
> I think that we Czernowitzers find ourselves more
> often than others in a position where we have to
> explain our whereabouts. Sometimes we even enjoy
> it!
> Lucca
> ---
I must add one too! When we emigrated from Romania to Bristol, England,
in 1959, we tried to explain to the persons around us (especially in
school) where we came from and why we spoke several languages. It was
difficult, if not impossible, for the English to understand. They knew
few countries outside the Commonwealth, except Austria perhaps. But the
countries in the East block were very unfamiliar to them, and Romania,
Bulgaria or Hungary were all the same, although geographically speaking,
not too far away, still in Europe. They political changes which had
taken place in the past 50 years for Czernowitzers were hard to explain.
They would acknowledge the facts, nodd politely, but it was obviously
something very remote for them.
And in the small Jewish community which existed there, most of the
persons had come to England a long time ago or their grand-parents
(mostly from Poland or
Russia) and hardly anybody spoke Jiddish, and if so, they knew only the
odd word or two. My family and myself sometimes felt as if we had landed
on the moon.
It was a good thing, so we had to learn English fast.
A good, happy New Year 2008 to all of you,
 from Gabriele

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Received on 2008-01-07 12:50:36

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