Re: [Cz-L] Report on trip to Chernivtsi

From: Marianne Hirsch <>
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2008 02:00:03 -0400
Reply-to: Marianne Hirsch <>

Dear all,

when Florence, Leo and I drafted the report to you in Kiev airport, we
decided to write a separate letter about the plaque. We were there
about the museum, but the plaque took up much of our time and energy.
It was a frustrating experience since we arrived there ignorant of any
arrangements Mimi had made but were treated as representatives of the
group who had the authority to make decisions on its behalf. We
agreed by the end that we would report to you on how things stand but
that we would then hand things back to Mimi (and Maita, as you will
see below).

Joseph has taken care of the first set of permissions and has
identified a well-regarded and experienced sculptor (I saw another of
his plaques). Next, a design has to be presented to the city for
approval, and then there are another set of approvals to pass,
concerning the location and probably other matters, I'm not sure. We
had three meetings with the sculptor Anatoly Piantkovsky. He came
back with a proposed sketch design and some price quotes. Bronze is
the most expensive. He suggested black basalt stone with a carved
text and an attractive subtle design, consisting of a border
representing lots of people on the street (to symbolize the many
saved) and also Popovici's signature, signaling the importance of a
signature in determining life or death. This, with our text (he
strongly urged us to cut it back significantly) would cost $1000. If
we added a carving of Popovici's face in bronze on the left corner (we
gave him all the photos we had ) it would come to $2500. We noted
that most memorial plaques in Chernvtsi have faces (eg Stainbarg,
Meerbaum-Eisinger, etc) but we feel that though this is definitely
part of the city's iconography, it is certainly not a requirement.
In any case, we would get to approve the design, this was just a sketch.

The problem with the conversations was that we could not speak for the
group. Nor are we an official organization anyway. We left it that
we would report back to the group and that Maita would be our
representative onsite. We told Anatoly that he would next hear from
Maita. If we authorize him in writing to do so, he can take care of
the entire permission process -- I would recommend that. I inquired
with Natalya and she told me he was trustworthy. He will certainly
need a retainer fee before going further. Joseph Zisses told me that
he himself is not in the position to oversee this project, since he
only goes to Chernivtsi once per month.

I am committed to this project but I do think we need to simplify our
process if this is ever going to happen. I'd suggest Mimi forms a
SMALL committee to work with her. the committee would be charged with
collecting the funds, communicating with the sculptor through Maita,
and making the decisions on all our behalf. I am willing to
contribute $100 but will not serve on the committee.

Finally -- just to underscore how important this is. I had a long
conversation with an historian there who specializes in Romanian
history. He had not heard of Popovici.

best, Marianne

[P.S. Maita: his number is 80505551307. He only speaks Russian and

On Jun 2, 2008, at 3:41 PM, wrote:

> Dear Florence,
> Thank you for your report on the Jewish museum in Chernivtsi.
> I had hoped that you would also tell us about the negotiations, you
> and Marianne, Leo and Cornel had with the city authorities and others,
> regarding the commemorative plaque for Traian Popovici.
> Could you please tell us what the situation is?
> Is there a specific city administration person, I need to contact?
> Is Josef Zissels still involved?
> Mimi

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Received on 2008-06-03 06:00:03

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